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Who's Worse? The Dangers Of Bystanders In Witness To The Holocaust

841 words - 4 pages

Who’s Worse?
In the documentary Witness to the Holocaust, Miles Lehrman suggests that a perpetrator is not as dangerous as they are thought to be. In fact, he says that the bystanders are more dangerous than the perpetrators themselves. This is a logical claim.
First, to show that Lehrman’s claim is true, Kristallnacht serves as a great example as to what effect bystanders have on events and how they are more dangerous than the perpetrators. On the night of Kristallnacht, many German citizens were bystanders may be out of being scared to stand up or even out of approval for what was going on. Another example of bystanders on this day were the firefighters. Although they cannot be ...view middle of the document...

And in this case, Rosa’s peers and the teacher were just showing approval for what the Nazis were doing which was persecuting Jews.
In one article, Samuel Oliner, a Holocaust survivor, gives his perspectives of bystanders. He says, “I would claim there is a predisposition in some people to help whenever the opportunity arises,”. He also says, “A bystander is less concerned with the outside world, beyond his own immediate community. A bystander might be less tolerant of differences, thinking ‘Why should I get involved? These are not my people. Maybe they deserve it?’ They don’t see helping as a choice. But rescuers see tragedy and feel no choice but to get involved. How could they stand by and let another person perish?” (2) Ultimately bystanders don't act upon what is happening and in fact show approval by not standing up. Furthermore, by not standing up they are only supporting the perpetrators, which once again can prove to be more dangerous than the bystanders. After all, there are more bystanders than perpetrators, and more number equals more power.
One might think that being a bystander is not bad and that it is not against the law to be a bystander. Or some might argue that the victim probably deserved it, or that they don’t want to hurt themselves and the victim by getting involved. But on the contrary, being an...

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