November 2012: Essays on NIGHT

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Emmanuel Jal’s Anti-genocide Music Video “We Want Peace.”

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2nd Period

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Colton Robertson

The Holocaust, Night and Genocide

Have you ever read the book Night? If you haven’t, I strongly recommend it. It is a really good book, and there is nothing fake about. Elie Wiesel experienced the Holocaust himself, and he was one of very few survivors. He talks about what it was like, what they had to do, how they treated them and how he lost his family because of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a very horrible event. I hope nothing ever happens like that again.

I didn’t know much about the Holocaust before we read the book Night. I just knew that it was horrible and that a lot of Jews died from it. I didn’t know how they died really until I read the book Night.

The book starts out with Elie and his family living their lives as they have done every other day. But then all of that changes when the Germans come and evacuate all of the Jews out of their houses with nothing but what they had on them. The Jews that did not cooperate got shot and left. The rest of the Jews, along with Elie and his family, got on trains, with no food, no water, and nowhere to go to the bathroom. They thought that they were going to be on the train for just a couple of hours. But that was not the case; they were on the train for four to five days, sometimes more, just depending on the conditions.

After being on the train with no food, no water, and nowhere to go to the bathroom, they were getting close to the camp, and one of them had an idea of what was going to be happening. She kept screaming and trying to tell everybody she saw fire and felt death. But nobody would listen to her. She would not shut up. So they had no choice but to beat her until she was knocked out. But as they got closer, they all started to see fire and could smell this nasty, dead, burning smell. They did not know what to think of it.

When they finally arrived at the camp, they went through a big gate, and then the train came to a halt. Then they were all being ordered out and told to get into two lines, men on the left women on the right. There was a doctor at the front of the lines, picking the Jews that were eligible to work. If they weren’t eligible to work, they were sent straight to the gas chambers, but they did not know that. They were being told that they were going to take a shower and be cleaned up, but sadly that was not the case.

Even the Jews that were able to work only lived on an average about four months. They only got a piece of bread and a little soup once and a while. But sometimes not anything. That is why they would not last very long. But Elie and his dad made it way far, farther than any Germans thought they would. But sadly Elie’s dad got too weak and died when they are almost going to be free. After his dad dies, the Russians come and invade the Germans and rescue all of the Jews, and Elie still lives to this day. I learned that the Holocaust was not a good time to be in when it was happening, well at least in Germany. It’s too bad that all of those people had to suffer for no reason at all.

Now I have seen a bunch of examples of Genocide, but I don’t know which one is worse. There cannot be a good one, that’s for sure. They are all horrible. All the people involved in the genocide or the victims all get treated like animals. They get beat to death, stabbed, chopped up, tortured and any other way they could figure out how to make their victim’s life the worst it could be. Believe it or not there is still genocide going on today, all around the world. And we are not doing anything about it. Its bull crap. We all need to step-up and stop genocide and make sure that it never happens again. Because everybody deserves a great life on Earth, being treated as human beings, not animals.

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Rebecca Schrock

Wiesel’s Book Night, Holocaust, and Genocide.

What makes humanity hate someone so much that they are willing to kill that person based on their cultural beliefs, religion, or just simply the way they look? In the Pyramid of Hate, it shows us that the first step towards genocide is our own hate that we have inside ourselves that can be directed at a certain type of people. Everyone has the ability to hate. Some people let their hate stir and simmer until it becomes an act of violence. Then the act of violence turns into killing, into genocide. Genocide is always a mass killing. However genocide always has to do with politics. There is usually a leader involved. To kill a lot of people at once is not spontaneous. It is organized, planed out and soldiers are mentally prepared to dehumanize the victims.  The people who are the murders in the act of genocide or the Holocaust believe they are doing it for the “greater good,” to build a “utopian country,” or they believe that some people are holding them back from making their country evolve or progress. So, why not get rid of the problem, right? No! This doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t make it okay to still have genocide today. So why do we? I think it all starts with hate inside ourselves for others.

Before I read the book Night, by Elie Wiesel, I only knew that Hitler killed not only Jews but also homosexuals, gypsies, and the mentally ill. I knew that one of the ways Hitler killed people was gas chambers, and I knew that he would have experiments done on people at the concentration camps.

However, after reading this book, it was like having a real experience in  Auschwitz, one of the most deadly concentration camps during the Holocaust. It is a horrific experience what Elie Wiesel had to go through in Auschwitz. I don’t think anyone should have to ever experience what Elie went through, and yet there were millions of people who did. I did not know about the selection and how 90% of the people who arrived to the camps would instantly be killed. I also didn’t know about the train rides they would have to take to get to camps or “the gates of hell” because it was HELL. I also learned a lot about humans and how literally your survival instincts kick in when you’re living on the edge of death. This book, Night, shows me how all human beings are capable of all types of emotions. We are all capable of doing good as we are as doing evil and harm to one another. In the end when everyone in the world has fallen silent, even God, in the act of evil. It is easy to lose your faith.  When Elie talks about how he is angry at God while he is in the concentration camp, because even the great almighty isn’t doing anything to stop the living and breathing evil that lurks at Auschwitz, it made me really think that maybe we really are alone… and God may have grown tired of us.

What makes us hate someone so much that we are willing to kill someone? Maybe it’s a lack of understanding and forgetting that we are all human. I hope one day that we have the will inside ourselves to take a stand and teach ourselves and the future generations not to hate, so we can have peace. Yes, we all have the ability to hate. We also have the same ability to love and care for people. Another thing that I have learned about genocide is that it teaches me that every life deserves to live, and we will never be a perfect society.

So let’s stop trying because it will never happen. The imperfect things in life are what make life perfect. We need to love our neighbors as best as we can, even if it seems like we come from two different worlds and have different values. With all of the video clips and interviews done with some of the genocide victims and even the people who did the killing, all when the aftermath is over, I saw how sorry everyone feels for each other. So how do we stop genocide and stop the hurt? It starts with YOU first.

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Christian Ibarra

The Holocaust & Night

Why did Germany decide to annihilate the Jews in 1933? Where did they take the Jews? How did Elie Wiesel survive from the Holocaust? The Holocaust started on January 30, 1933, and it took place in concentration camps. Concentration camps are a system that kills or provides suffering to Jews in a camp unless ordered to another camp. The book Night explains how Elie Wiesel first interacted with the repugnant Germans. It also explains his calamitous history, trying to load death on his back which was arduous for him. I learned that people mustn’t lose faith in accomplishing something, even though death is around us; we must be potent in our hearts and have courage to keep going on the same path.

I knew about murdering and the destruction of Jewish beliefs being tossed away. I also noticed that the Germans burned these human beings but didn’t realize the main reason why they did it. My question is why didn’t the majority of the Jews believe that the kid was telling the truth in Elie Wiesel’s neighborhood? Why didn’t they protest about being taken to another region without being notified? The process of execution interested me in gleaning more information on this topic. The fact that Ukrainians joined the Germans to be armed guards and the treatments they expressed towards the Jews shocked me.

I finally understood of why Adolf Hitler wanted to extirpate this religion. I also fully understand why citizens didn’t subvert Germany, and the reason for annihilating every concentration camp. I acknowledged from this topic that people will always have obstacles in their lives, ready to be achieved without losing faith within them. This meaning reflects in the Jews who survived in the camps, who didn’t lose faith and achieved their goals. Do people with strong hearts survive longer than people who are intellectual?

Today, Holocaust is still occurring for many reasons which are named genocide because it’s less destructive than the murdering of the Jews was. For example, the killing of White South Africans in Africa today is caused by the different colors of skin others were born with. Genocides are developed from an individual hating another for something. For example, Jews where hated for their beliefs about the Germans. Yes, we can still prevent genocides by having a more stable government for our citizens’ protection. Deniers are people who reject the event of genocide, and a historical revisionist is somebody who revises the steps of the genocide. I think that genocide can still occur, but we could abridge the amount of the reoccurring event by having a more stable government. I acknowledged the fact that genocide can occur from an individual’s hatred on another, and humans could learn their mistakes that they’re developing. My question is why is the government allowing these events to happen and not stopping them for our own safety?

The Jews have suffered a lot during the Holocaust, and very few of them have achieved their goals in surviving in this disastrous event. I learned that people today and in the future would never learn from their mistakes by preventing genocide from happening. Maybe in a decade or so, everybody will learn from their mistakes, from these events, and will stop these genocides from reoccurring again in the future. Readers can learn from Night about how and why genocides are developed. For example, an individual hates another for his beliefs which his hatred amplifies to an action where he kills that individual. The moral meaning of Night is that you have to keep going on, no matter what the situation is in life. Elie Wiesel once said, “There’s a long road of suffering ahead of you. But don’t lose courage. You’ve already escaped the gravest danger: selection. So now, muster your strength, and don’t lose heart. We shall all see the day of liberation. Have faith in life. Above all else, have faith. Drive out despair, and you will keep death away from yourselves. Hell is not for eternity. And now, a prayer — or rather, a piece of advice: let there be comradeship among you. We are all brothers, and we are all suffering the same fate. The same smoke floats over all our heads. Help one another. It is the only way to survive”

Cited Sources

http://www.genocidewatch.org/southafrica.html

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/holocaust

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Eric Saiz

The Holocaust, Night, and Genocide

            Do the Germans regret doing all that they did to the Jews? The Holocaust was the most disturbing thing that anyone could do to other human beings. It was a horrible experience for anyone who was there. All the Germans got mostly all the Jews in Germany, and they would pack them up in train cars, thousands of Jews. They would all be crammed in there with very little food and no water, no windows, or bathrooms, and they were in there for a couple of days until they got to the camps, and when they arrived there, they would be separated from their family, depending on their age. If they were too young, they would go to the gas chambers or also if they were too old. They would tell people to take all their clothes off, that they were going to shower, but they would actually send them to gas chambers and kill thousands of people at a time. Babies, little kids, women, men, just anyone who was too old or not old enough to work. If you were good enough to work, you would get put in the work camp. They would give you an outfit of clothes, and it was very thin clothing that you would have to wear every day you were there. You would get very little food and water. My thoughts about all this is that I think all this is wrong and that people shouldn’t go around killing other people just because they don’t like them. That is just wrong.

Before I read the book Night. I knew that the Nazis killed millions of people and put them in train cars and sent them to concentration camps. When they got there, they would either kill them or put them to work. They separated families, and they picked the people who were going to work by their age. If they weren’t too old or too young, they would put them to work, but if they were too old or too young, they would be sent to the gas chambers. When I found out that they did experiments on the people, I was shocked because I didn’t know anything about that. I had no idea that they tortured them even more than they already did. They would infect them with disease to see what would happen to them and that they took twins and also tested them. The mentally damaged people they would kill right away because they were no good.

The author of the book Night is Elie Wiesel, and he was in the Holocaust. He is one of the Holocaust survivors, and he wrote a book about how it was to be in the Holocaust. He went to the Holocaust when he was about 15. I think he went in there with his whole family, his sister, father, and mother. He was separated from his mother and sister at the selections. His mother and sister where killed. They were sent to the gas chambers. He and his father were sent to go to work in the concentration camps.

The book Night is a really good book. It gives a real good idea about the Holocaust and how everything was and everything that they did to the people and how they were treated and all that other stuff they did during the Holocaust. I personally like the book. I think it’s pretty good, and it gives you an idea of how it was to be in the Holocaust, and from what I read, I would not have liked to be in there, and I don’t see how they would do all that to all those people. How were they able to live with themselves knowing that they had killed thousands of people? Didn’t they feel remorse for what was happening and what they were doing? Do they regret doing all that they did to the Jews? I’m not sure if they do regret killing all of those Jews. It didn’t say anything about that in the book.

The people suffered a great amount of pain every day for as long as they were in there until they died or got killed. They were given very little food and very little water. They only had one set of clothes that they rarely washed, and the clothes they got were very thin. All of the prisoners had to live in bunkers, thousands in one bunker. They didn’t get a mattress or anything. They used straw. In the winter they only had a pair of shoes that didn’t really help when walking through the snow. This made me realize even more how bad the Holocaust was, and it made me feel really bad about what those people had to go through and how much they suffered, and it makes me wonder why? Why did they do this? That is the question I can’t find the answer to.

No, I do not think that the Holocaust is going on right now. I’m pretty sure that it is over and that nothing like that will ever happen again, or so I thought. But something like the Holocaust is still happening today. It’s called the genocide, and this is happening in Serbia, Darfur, Iraq, and those are just some areas where it is happening. There are several more places where this genocide is happening as well. Genocide happens because of hate, because people don’t like other people.

My thoughts about all this is that I think all this is wrong and that people shouldn’t go around killing other people just because they don’t like them. That is just wrong. I don’t think it should be happening still. I still want to find out my answer to why, and how could people kill other humans just like that, As if they were animals? I still do not understand that. They also kill in genocide to eliminate groups of people. We can stop future genocide if we didn’t have hate. Hate is what brings people to kill other people. Do they regret doing all that they did to the Jews?  One of the important things that I learned was that don’t hate because that just leads to violence. “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”—Elie Wiesel, Night.

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CORBEN M.

The Holocaust and Elie Wiesel’s Book Night

Why were the Germans so passionate with de-humanizing the Jews? I believe it was this way because Adolph Hitler was a master at brainwashing. It is just too bad that he was so stuck on getting power and ruling the world because I think that with his skills of being able to influence people, he could have done a lot of positive things with his words. Speaking of Hitler, that is when it all began in 1933 when Hitler had become the chancellor of Germany, which ended in 1945. In the time of the Holocaust, many horrific things had happened as the Germans planned to annihilate the Jews. In the terrible things that had happened to the Jews, not all of them died. There were survivors of the Holocaust, and many of the survivors have written books on their hardships. I have recently read a book; the name of the book was NIGHT by Elie Wiesel. If we can all find internal and external peace then there would never be war or violence, stopping all genocides.

All I knew about Hitler and the Holocaust was that Hitler was a dictator of Germany, and he had a plan to kill all the Jews. One question I had before I started reading my book was if Elie Wiesel was a real survivor of the Holocaust. After reading NIGHT, I found out that he was a real survivor of the Holocaust.

One thing I found that was interesting as I did the research on the Holocaust and the book Night was that it did not seem to matter how healthy the Jews were, even though the Germans held them in concentration camps, they were worked to death and in many cases starved. It just goes to show that they did not care about the extermination of the Jews if they could work them to death. The Germans would work them until they could not work any longer, and then they would kill them. That is one thing that I had learned while studying the Holocaust. When I was studying the Holocaust I learned that the Germans were treating the Jews really badly. I never knew that they would starve the Jews until I read this book. Elie Wiesel talks about many people going through extreme starvation. When I found out these people were starving still, my one question was, “Why did the Germans starve the people who were working for them?”

Genocide is real, and yes, it still happens to this day. It all starts with the Triangle of Hate. The most recent genocide I can think of was south of Mexico in Guatemala in the city of Guatemala. So the question is why do Genocides happen? It’s simple. When hate builds up over time, sooner or later, it will blow up, and when it does, it mostly comes with an act of violence and discrimination. I believe that there is no way of stopping future genocides because there is no way of stopping hate. There will always be hate on this planet. I believe that it is really too bad that there will always be hate, but that’s just the way it is. Things will never change. The Hate Triangle stands tall.

So why were the Germans so passionate on exterminating the Jews? Because of the hate in the world! If we can all find internal and external peace then there would never be war or violence, stopping all genocides. All genocides come to an end, but what if they never started? Why not have peace with yourself and the people around you so that we will never have to see people go through the hard trials that the Jews had to face? Find peace and stop war!

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Chelsea Bowman

Night and the Holocaust

                Why did the Holocaust happen? The Holocaust happened because the Nazis hated the Jews so much, and they thought that they were better than the Jews. There was one person who was mostly in charge of all this, and his name is Adolf Hitler. He was the one that was in control of the concentration camps.  The author of Night is Elie Wiesel. He went through a lot. He is one of the people who thought he needed to share his story and make everyone informed about what happened. He explains everything he saw and went through. In the book he and his dad were going through this together. When they first got there, his mom and siblings went to the gas chamber and died. Him and his dad went through almost all of this together until his dad got too weak and couldn’t go on anymore. He was very young when he had to go through this. What I learned about the Holocaust is that no matter how bad you hate someone you should never put someone, through what you would not want your family to go through. Everyone is human. No matter what, you should always treat people like you would want your family and friends to be treated.

When I first started to learn about the Holocaust, I didn’t know that much. All I knew was that they would kill a lot of innocent parents and children, but only if you were a Jew. They would kill you in many different ways. The worst way would have to be the gas chambers. They would tell you that you needed to go and have a shower and get cleaned. So they would take all of your clothes, and they would send all the moms and children in to take a “shower,” but what they didn’t know was that they were really going to die. There is still one question a lot of people have to this day. Could genocide or the Holocaust still happen to this day?

When we read the book Night,I really didn’t know what they would use in the gas chambers or anything about how they would transport all of the Jews to the camps. They would use trains to transport all the Jews to the camps. They would put about 100 or more people in one train car at once. Some train rides would take up to days. No one would know how long the rides would take. When they were in the trains, they would not have any food or water or have anywhere to go to the bathroom. Some of the people that were in the trains would go crazy and start seeing things and freaking out. Some trains they put people in when they didn’t have room in the camps for everyone, but wanted them dead. They would put this stuff called “lime acid” on the bottom of the train car and take them into the middle of nowhere and just leave them to die.  The lime acid would eat away the flesh on their bodies so they would just have to die.

Could genocide really happen in our town today? I think that it could happen anytime, anywhere. There are certain things you need to have in your town so that this could happen, and if you think about it, we have a lot of hate and racism in our country today.  If we had sick people in our towns that had these nasty things going through their minds, then it could happen any day.  Some people say that when it happens that it is going to be way worse than the first time. They also say that it might happen again, and it could keep happening until the end of time.

Why did the Holocaust happen? I think I answered this really good, and I got out of my research everything I think I needed to know about my question. I think the most important things I learned is that you should never put people through stuff that you would not like to go through yourself. I think this has opened my eyes a lot of what people in the past had to go through. People think that today they have it rough, but if I had to go through what they did, I would have a totally different look on life. I would never want to be in their shoes. “If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example.”  –Anne Frank

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3rd Period

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Angel Zamora

Night and Genocide

In the book Night Elie Wiesel talks about how he survived the Holocaust and the horror that he went through just to survive. The sacrifices that he made just to make it each and every day, like leaving his father calling his name while he died. And in this essay we will talk about genocide and how they start and how to prevent and stop the ones that have started that so we can have peace. In order to prevent genocides from happening, we need to accept people for just being people.

Before I read the book Night, all I really knew of the Holocaust was that Hitler killed a lot of Jews in a gas chambers and someone told me that he liked blond haired blue-eyed people, and that he killed the Jews because they (the Jews) killed Jesus. That is a summary of what I knew about the Holocaust. I was most interested in learning about how they slept, like if they slept in different places, if they had different sleeping arrangements or did they just sleep wherever there was room.

Now that I have read the book Night, I learned more about the Holocaust. Like I learned that they would actually eat. Before I read the book, I didn’t know why, but I thought that they didn’t eat at all. I thought that the Germans just starved them and made them work, and when they die, they just die without eating anything at all. But after reading it, I know now that they eat. It wasn’t like a steak, but they ate something. And I also didn’t know that the Germans had other people do their work for them, like the Poles. I also learned that there were more than one concentration camp. I thought there was only one super-big camp where everyone was sent. I also learned about how people act when they start going hungry, like for example, Elie Wiesel says in his book that in the last days of the Holocaust when there was a bombing, the guards left rations of food,  and there were people willing to get shot for that ration, and the person who achieved to get to the ration was shot in the forehead.

I believe that genocides are not a good thing. Now that is my belief, but unfortunately that is not everyone in the world’s belief, and for that reason is why genocide keeps happening. There are people who say that one race or sex are holding them back or are making them to believe that they are less than them, and they have to eliminate them for others to succeed. Like in the Holocaust the Germans believed that they were the best race and that the Jews were not even humans, that they were like dogs or cockroaches. In Rwanda they killed people for belonging to a different tribe. The Hutus killed the Tutsis, and the only way to see the difference with them was their height and build or weight. In order to stop genocides, we have to remember the pain and the suffering that other genocides in the past have brought to people we know or people we hear about. What I have learned from this is that there are a lot of people in the world that are still going through this that still have to live in fear of people killing their families living in fear just because they are a different religion or race.

In order to prevent genocides from happening, we need to accept people for just being people. A question that I would still like to answer is why did  Hitler hate the Jews so much that it drove him to gassing, burning, and starving the Jews to death? The thing that I want people to learn is what I keep repeating: to accept people for who they are and that they are human and that nobody should be treated how they don’t want to be treated, and I don’t think people want to get tortured or be hacked or gassed to death.

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Lakaiya Craig

What I Learned about the Holocaust from the Book Night by Elie Wiesel:

What is the Holocaust? Who is Elie Wiesel? What is the book Night about?

The Holocaust was something that the Germans put together, mainly Adolf Hitler. It was a way they thought that they could kill the Jews by doing and starting this. They wanted to get rid of all the Jews. They did this because Hitler thought that the Jews were undermining the German economy. Hitler also thought that the Jewish people were sub-human, quivalent to animals. Who is Elie Wiesel? Elie Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor, writer, professor, political activist, and a Nobel Laureate. He is a Jewish-American. He has published 57 books. He was about fifteen years old when he got taken from his home and family to the concentration camp named Auschwitz in Germany. He Lived in Sighet. He was the only boy in his family, besides his father. He had three sisters. When they got to the camp, his mom and his sisters got selected to go to the gas chambers, and that was the last time he saw his sisters and his mother. He and his father got selected together only because they lied about their age. One burning question that I had while reading this book and learning about the Holocaust is how could someone be so hateful and starve and work a person to death. The reason they did this was because the Germans thought that the Jews were an inferior race.

What did I know about the Holocaust before I read this book? Before I read this book I knew that they Germans tried to kill all the Jews and sent them to camps. That’s all I knew before reading the book Night and doing Holocaust research. I don’t understand why someone would kill innocent people and why they would kill another human being . Something that interested me the most about the book Night and the Holocaust research is how strong the Jews were and how they did what they did just to try to serve thought the Holocaust.

What else did I know about the Holocaust before reading and doing research on the Holocaust? I didn’t really know anything about the Holocaust before I read this book and did research on the Holocaust. I knew that Hitler and the Germans were the ones who did it. I didn’t know exactly what they did to the Jews or why they did this to the Jews and how they did what they did to the Jews. The question I asked myself while reading this book and doing the research is why they would kill innocent people? What did they want to gain out of this? I think that the book Night and the research I did on the Holocaust was all interesting to me. What interested me the most is how Elie Wiesel survived the Holocaust.

In the book Night I learned about a boy named Elie Wiesel who was a Holocaust survivor. I read and learned what he did and what happened to him when he got taken to Auschwitz. The Germans worked them to death; they’d make them run and also starve them for days. When they were bombed, some Jews took bread and later got killed for it. They tattooed numbers on them to tell who they were, instead of calling them by their names. It amazes me how he survived through this.

What do I think about genocide? I think that genocide is evil. I think that it should be put to a stop. Why do genocides happen? Genocide happens because one person wants to take out a certain race. It usually starts with one person and/or a little group. Do Holocausts still happen today? Yes, holocausts still happen today. They don’t call it Holocaust, They call it genocide. It’s called genocide because it’s not as bad as the Holocaust and not as many people died. It happens all over the world. In Cambodia, Africa, and many other places throughout the world. What have I learned from this? I’ve learned that you can’t trust you own kind. What can humans learn from this? They can learn kind of what it was like for these people and hear their stories and try to prevent genocides from happening. The questions I still need an answer to are how could someone kill someone they once loved and once used to be friends with.

One burning question that I had while reading this book and learning about the Holocaust is how someone could be so hateful and starve and work a person to death. The reason they did this was because the Germans thought that the Jews were an inferior race. The question that I still have is why people aren’t putting a complete stop to genocide. The biggest lesion I learned from all this is that you can’t trust anybody. Never take anyone for granted and to cherish everyone and everything that’s in your life cause before you know it can all be gone.

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ShyAnne Mendoza

What I Learned while Reading the Book, Night, by Elie Wiesel.

            Elie Wiesel once said, “To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” The Holocaust was a horrible time in history during World War II when Adolf Hitler started genocide toward the Jewish people in Germany. He wanted a superior race, and Jews weren’t part of it. Elie Wiesel is a survivor of one of  Hitler’s concentration camps. The book is about the trials and difficulties he had to overcome to survive these horrible acts. It also gives you more information on the Holocaust. Therefore, we can’t forget what happened to these innocent people. Their stories deserve to be heard.

Before reading Night, I knew a little bit about the Holocaust. The subject has always fascinated me. It amazes me to think of how cruel people can be. Hitler was a sick person, and I want to know why he targeted Jews in general. I knew about Anne Frank and how she was hidden for a little while in an attic. And I knew about the gas chambers in the concentration camps. I want to look into it more, and someday I’d like to visit some of the Holocaust museums.

I did my research on the T-4 Euthanasia program. It is a very interesting to learn about how they killed people for their disabilities. I’ve met a Holocaust survivor, but I was in elementary. So, I don’t remember who it was. I’ve never even heard of Elie Wiesel before reading this book. I learned a lot about all of the hardships the people went through. The SS had no mercy. I look at the survivors with a new perspective. They had the courage and will to live through the nightmare they had to accept as life.

The Holocaust isn’t the only case of genocide in history. There have been genocides all over the world for centuries. Adolf Hitler reined in Germany from 1939-1945. During this time 12,000,000 civilians were deliberately killed plus three million Russian POWs left to die. Another example of genocide is the story of Pol Pot who was a leader in Cambodia. He killed many Cambodian civilians as well as Vietnamese. They worked them to death and starved them. Pol Pot started a group called the Khmer Rouge. They were a communist society, but those obviously didn’t work out the way it was planned. Genocides happen because of hate and irrational thinking. We need to be more aware about hate and the crime rates around the world. We need to look at the past as an example for what not to do in the future. Learning our history makes us more aware of what to look for to prevent genocide because it’s happened one too many times.

So, we must always remember these horrible acts and remember those who suffered. If we don’t know about our history, we will never know if it’s going to repeat itself. We need to look back and realize that our history is more corrupt than we think. We need to stop hate and look at each other as equals. No one race or anything is better than another. “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” –Elie Wiesel. Never forget and never hold back from being heard and telling your story.

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Ashley Stewart

What I Learned from the Book Night

How could someone sleep well at night when they had killed hundreds of humans that day? “To forget the dead would be asking to killing them a second time.” That’s what Elie Wiesel had said in his book Night. The Holocaust was a period of time in the 1940s where the Nazis would go into homes and arrest the Jews, Gypsies, Gays, etc. They took people from kids to the elderly, no matter what their age was, they would take them, and take them to concentration camps. They would kill them in all sorts of ways shooting them, burning them alive, starving them to the point where they were so weak they just died. They would set them into a tunnel they called “gas chambers.” If you weren’t killed, you were kept alive to work for the Nazis. Later if you became too weak to work, they would kill you. Elie Wiesel explains in full detail of what had happen in these camps. Why? Because he was in one at the age of 15 and was held there until the American soldiers freed the prisoners. In the book Night, it’s his story; it’s his thoughts on what was going on at the time.

I knew before reading this book that the Nazis would just come in homes and arrest all Jews. I knew that they were taken to camps and had horrible things done to them in the camps that usually you don’t think is possible to be done to any human being. I wanted to know what it was like from the prisoners eyes. I couldn’t see what happened. But reading the book you can only imagine how he felt, what he was thinking when he no longer had family there to be by his side. Not only him but everyone else there that lost their loved ones during this horrible time. I think what interested me most was that people can be cruel to other human beings. It’s just a surprise from what Elie had said in his book that people thought so little of another. You always just hear about the Holocaust, but having someone who had been there, who has lived, it gives you details on how it really was. It just makes you interested even more because of their actual, true facts.

I learned that the Holocaust wasn’t just an issue for Jews. It was for gays, gypsies and others that people thought weren’t worthy of living. I have always been told to give someone a chance, just because everyone has their own story to tell. The Nazis never gave the Jews a chance, treating them as if they were animals is no way to treat anybody. No matter how low you think they are. I couldn’t imagine going into someone’s home and taking them to camps knowing they were going to die a horrible way, if not as slaves for the Nazis’ amusement. If I had any questions to ask, I would just want to know why? Why hurt innocent people because of what they were? Why discriminate somebody for something that shouldn’t matter?. We’re only human, and what we believe in and are born into shouldn’t affect anything.

There is much genocide that still goes on today all around the world. In 1994 in the African country Rwanda, the Hutus began killing the Tutsis. The Hutus started taking over the government and excluded the Tutsis. That was until years after Tutsis took control, and the Hutus people didn’t like that. That started the big conflict between the two. The massacre lasted 100 days. 100 days of nothing but slaughter, killing thousands. Genocides happen because of race, religion, government, so many different ways. I personally think there is no way to stop genocides in time. We help after the fact, when many were already dead.

I learned that there are many conflicts in this world that we don’t seem to pay attention to. We should be more aware of what happening all around the world. No one has any right to go in a house killing families.

I ask, how can someone sleep well at night after being a part of a massacre so big and be happy with the fact that someone innocent was killed for no apparent reason? There are so many questions I have about the Holocaust, questions I know I could never get the answers too. Like how could someone kill another human being for what they are born into, such as religion, their race, etc. From reading the book Night, everyone should have gotten the idea that there are horrible things in the world we have no idea of. We can’t control how other countries’ governments work, but we can stop the killings. “Monsters exist, but they are too few in numbers to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the functionaries ready to believe and act without asking questions.” – Primo Levi

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Zane Norr

Night & the Holocaust

            Why did the Holocaust happen? The Holocaust happened because Adolf Hitler wanted the Jews to die because they took all the credit for WWI in Germany. Hitler also thought that the Jews were “liars, greedy, cultural scum, and bottom feeders.” The author of this book, Elie Wiesel, has gone through “hell” and back. Elie Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor. He explains the things he has gone through and what he saw. Elie Wiesel was about fifteen years old when he got sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. When he arrives his sisters and mother were both sent right away to the gas chambers. It was only him and his dad left out of the family who survived. I think the most important thing I learned most out of all this, no matter how much someone hates a certain race or culture they’re still human.

When I first learned about the Holocaust, I really had no Idea what it was, and when I did, I asked myself, “Why would Germans kill their own people?” I learned that they just sent the Jews to a camp, and they killed them. I didn’t really get specific details on why they did it and how they did it till a few years ago. Hitler killed “Jews” because he thought they were liars and that they took all the credit for WWI. One of the questions I still have Is could genocide happen in our country?

Till I read this book, I didn’t know what they killed the Jews with and how they killed them. Also the process of being selected, if you were going to “die” or “live,” and Elie Wiesel gives good details about it all. The SS officers had to shave the hair of the Jews and searched them for gold, pictures, watches and valuables. I learned in the book that the officers took their clothes and gave them to the German people and pulled out their teeth looking for gold.

Do Holocausts still happen today? I think they still do. A perfect example of one is the mass murder about 800,000 people in the East African state of Rwanda in 1994. The estimates of the death toll ranged from 500,000 to 1,000,000 of the countries populations that are twenty percent of the country. It all happened because of the tension between minority Tutsi and the majority Hutu people. The Tutsi people had controlled power for centuries when the Hutu people had come to power in a rebellion. “The Rwandan military and the Hutu militia groups, notably the interahamwe, systematically set out to murder all the Tutsis they could reach, regardless of their sex and age.”

Why did the Holocaust happen? There are many questions like this asked of thought by a lot of people. Why did it happen? They happened because the “people” or the “Leader” thought those people were worthless to the society, and they shouldn’t deserve to live. I think the most important thing I learned most out of all this, no matter how much someone hates a certain race or culture, they’re still human.

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4th Period

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Monica Montez

The Holocaust and Night

Holocaust–the genocide of European Jews and others by the Nazis during World War II was a massive slaughter. Hatred didn’t solve anything during this time but caused broken hearts. Elie Wiesel, the author of the book Night, talks about his experience in the concentration camps with his father. He is a survivor of the Holocaust.

Before gaining more knowledge on the Holocaust, I knew this time period was very sad. They had gone through a lot, being pulled apart from their families. Specifically before going into this book, I wanted to know about Elie Wiesel’s life and what he had gone through. I was interested in the people who survived through this time and wanted to learn more about them and their input on the Holocaust. I also wanted to find out more information overall on the Holocaust.

I learned about the transports of the Holocaust and the concentration camps. Transports were used to take the Jews to the concentration camps. They were horrible and were lucky to survive during the three days without food and water. I also learned about the gas chambers that I did not know about. In the book Night, I learned about a Holocaust survivor and what he went through during his time at Auschwitz Camp and a few others. I learned that many of these people had extraordinary lives and went through so much. Having their family members die and dealing with so many emotions.

Holocausts still happen today… Can you believe it? I learned that these poor people went through so much torture throughout their lives, I couldn’t imagine being in their shoes. These survivors are strong and have impacted many people. This time period was terrible. I would never wish for that upon anyone to go through.

Rwanda, Africa, 1994, is an example. It was terrifying, and some of their own family members were killed by their relatives. These people were called “cockroaches.” Ukraine, 1932, all food supplies were taken away. Many were buried alive and many more were starved to death. I think genocides happen because of hatred and their opinion that through their eyes they were bad people. I learned a lot of knowledge from reading and researching the Holocaust. Things I never knew, like the gas chambers. Millions of Jews were killed during this time.

Hatred didn’t solve anything during this time, but caused broken hearts. My biggest question I have is why would you do such a thing to these innocent Jews? The Holocaust was a mass murder of millions of innocent Jews. Racism and hate led to such a horrifying time period. “But miracles still happen, even if we don’t think they do.” –- Diet Eman, Things We Couldn’t Say.

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Alejandra Sanchez

Night and the Holocaust

Did the Holocaust really happen? Kind of a stupid question!  Yes, the Holocaust did happen. We have hard facts on this subject.  But even after all these facts, survivors, books and even records, people still say “It never happened.” American Nazis, for example, claim it never happened. It’s a lot easier to pretend something this horrible couldn’t be possible. The Holocaust was an attempt at the extinction of the Jewish population.  It was all stared by one person, Adolf Hitler an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party.  He put fear in people’s minds, making them believe the Jews were bad people. He blamed them for The Great Depression; he also believed that the Jews were conspiring to rule the world.  He convinces many Germans to follow him, and to starting the Holocaust. There are hundreds of books based on the Holocaust, from hundreds of survivors. Elie Wiesel was one of many survivors of the Holocaust. He was born on Sep 30, 1928. He grew up in a small village in Romania, when he was 15 he and his family were forced to join a concentration camp called Auschwitz.  After seeing all he saw there and becoming a survivor. He came to write one of the most powerful Holocaust stories, Night. If I learned anything from this book, it would be how a one man can do all these damage. It’s really hard to eve believe people followed him or even worst, just sat there and did nothing.

Before reading Night, I knew very little. I knew there was a Holocaust, but I didn’t know why it happened. I really didn’t care much because I didn’t know all the facts. Now I’m beyond interested. I know everything there is to know. My first question was “why didn’t anybody do anything?”  I still don’t understand why. One of the most interesting things in this book for me was finding out about someone’s life. Knowing how this young boy survived something so horrible. It doesn’t have a happy ending, but I learned so much. I felt I was there living this.  For me that was the most interesting.

I learned so many things about the Holocaust. The whole dehumanization process really intrigued me. It made me ask more questions, how can someone dehumanize someone else? I went from a girl who did care about the Holocaust to someone willing to spread the word, let others know the truth. The whole meaning, my whole prospective, changed. Now I have new questions, like will this ever happen again? Will it be in my lifetime? Will someone try to stop it?

Holocausts happen all the time and they’re still happening today. Rwanda for example, about 800,000 people were killed. The worst part of all this was about 18 years ago. Do people still remember? I do believe if people know what’s going on and understand it there is a higher chance for it to STOP. But sadly there are some people who deny the Holocaust. We call them Holocaust deniers. There people believe the Holocaust was a myth. Some even say it’s invented by the Allies, the Soviet communists or the Jews for their own ends.  Stupid! Those are my thoughts. What I learned was that some people could be really ignorant. How can someone fake something like this? The evidence is everywhere. I guess I will never have the answers to why some people do the things they do. Or maybe I can understand why someone could take anothers person’s life.

So did the Holocaust really happen? I hope I answered the question. Do people deny it? Yes. Is there any proof? Yes. So why do they deny it? I don’t know. The main idea here is the Holocaust did happen and it could happen again. It’s our job to learn, to get educated and not make the same mistakes again. It’s also important to let others understand it a little more. “I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age. That humanity would never tolerate it . . .”

― Elie Wiesel, Night

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Christian Castanon

Holocaust and Night

What is the Holocaust? It’s a one of the most serious events that happened in World War II from 1933-1945 that killed millions of Jews. Who started the Holocaust? Believe it or not, one man started it. His name was Adolf Hitler. Why would he do something like this? Some of the reasons he did all of this is because he thought Jews were evil. Another reason is he thought that Germans were the dominate race.  Even with what happened, few managed to escape, and some survived long enough for the allies to free them. They all went on living, but with the nightmare still in their memories. Survivors write books. Some do other thing like go to schools and speak of their experiences on what happened. One author and survivor of the Holocaust is Elie Wiesel. He wrote Night. What I learned from this book was how horrible the Holocaust was and still is. German Nazis would make the Jewish feel less than people. They would make them work, if they wouldn’t they were killed, also if they were too young or too old or sick they would kill them in concentration camps.

The things that I knew about the Holocaust before reading Night were that Nazi Germany would kill every Jew. It didn’t matter who you were, poor, rich, good, or bad. They would round you up and send you to the concentration camp. There they would decide if you were fit for the hard labor or if you were weak. If you were weak, sick, a child, or in your senior years they would split you up from your family and send you somewhere where they would put poison gas in, and there was where you would die. I always wondered why no one tried to stop the Holocaust. I wondered why everyone just sat there and watched it happened. Always wondered why they tried to save them when it was too late. Many of them died, but I’m not saying they should have let them die. What I’m saying is why not save them from the beginning before so many where killed. While reading the book Night, what interested me the most was the numbering they gave the Jews, how they would use that to identify them instead of using their name. The sad thing was that the Nazis would do all that to make the Jews feel like nothing like trash. The Nazi party didn’t consider them people. They stripped them of everything property, class, and name. In the end the way they would identify them would be by number. They would tattoo a number on them forever; it would be on their body as a reminder of the hell they went through.

The things that I’ve learned in this book were how much pain and suffering the German Jews went through, that just one person can make horrible things happen. To think that all this was the cause of just one man, makes you think if this could happen just because of one man imagine if there were more like him during that period. No Jew man woman or Child would have survived. The worst thing is how broken the people were. So many lost faith in their God, how in the end they received death as freedom, that life was no longer meaningful. I can’t say I blame them. Some lost all of their family members and had no reason to survive, but they went on waiting for death to pick them up. The knowledge I gained from this is how much death has to happen before anyone notices, how much pain and suffering people have to go through before someone stands up to save them. I wonder how it most of it felt to them, like how did feel to them from the last time they were free.

Funny thing even after the Holocaust ended it never really did stop. It’s around even today. To think that we as humans as people, we have learned nothing from the past. We keep on doing the same mistakes every time. Rwanda was a place where things like the Holocaust happened. The Tutis were killed. This is what is called genocide. Why do genocides occur? Because of power or people who are afraid. They happen to think that one group is inferior then they are. So they kill them off. If we remember we can stop all the killings out there by always trying to take out the person with power who believes in that. The problem is that some people don’t believe the Holocaust happened. Those people are called Holocaust deniers. This would be tough for people out there who want the genocides to stop because those who don’t believe won’t help the cause of stopping genocide. All this could be stopped if the governments out there were trying to stop the killings, to interfere in the plan of genocide. We can learn how to stop genocide if we recognize the step, or the stages that lead to that.

What I learned from this book was how horrible the Holocaust was and still is. What is the Holocaust? It’s a one of the most serious events that happened in in World War II from 1933-1945 that killed millions of Jews. Things learned through all this is no matter how justified or covered up genocide is, it still hurts innocent people. That all this can be prevented by keeping the governments in line and doing what it’s suppose to. All in all we can prevent all this some way, not going back, not reliving the past, but going forward going to live the future with all this. There might not be a future unless we stop it with all this bad stuff. We can make them right. To respect others to not look down on them or feel too powerful to hurt them because to achieve a bright future, we need everyone. To achieve a bright future, we have to stop living in the past and just move forward, that is, without forgetting.

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Katelyn Parkinson

Night And The Holocaust

Night is a book written by Elie Wiesel that explains what he has experienced with his father at the Nazi German concentration camps in 1944-1945. Elie and his father were sent to the concentration camps named Auschwitz and Buchenwald during the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928, in Sighet. He had lived in a community with Orthodox Jews. He was fifteen years old when he and his family were brought to Auschwitz. When they had arrived at the camp, Elie’s mother and little sister were instantly taken to the gas chambers. Adolf Hitler was in charge of the Nazi German men who murdered the six million Jewish people who were captured and were murdered in concentration camps during the Holocaust. The Holocaust was during the end of World War Two.

Elie was 16 years old when the Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated by the United States’ Army in 1945. After he was released he took a vow to not speak about his experiences. It took ten years for Elie to talk about what he and his father had gone through. Elie Wiesel says “Everything came to an end—man, history, literature, religion, God. There was nothing left. And yet we begin again with night.” What I have learned from this book is that people can watch other people be murdered every day and get used to it and know that they are next. But yet they still push themselves to survive.

Before we read Night, I knew that the Holocaust was between the Germans and Jews, and that the Germans would do experiments on twins. But I didn’t know that they were murdered every five minutes and tortured.

What I have learned from the Holocaust has changed my point of view on Germans. I know that Adolf Hitler had too much power, and that he did abuse it. He had not made a positive memory in history. I had no clue about when it happened and why it happened. I think it’s amazing that there are survivors. A lot of people were affected by the Holocaust. Still till this day there is still genocide. I have learned that people can be so cruel to others and not even have any sorrow for the ones that they had hurt. The Jews after the Holocaust didn’t even want revenge. They just went on and experienced things they missed out doing when they were in the concentration camps.

Genocides happen because of prejudice and ignorant people. When genocide happens, it is very harmful and dangerous to others. It causes a lot of drama and confusion. There’s murdering and negative actions from people that causes friction between other people and countries. They may have forgiven, but not forgotten.—unknown.

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Savanah Partridge

Night and Genocide

Elie Wiesel was a child when the events of his novel Night took place, just fifteen years old. Elie was fifteen years old when his small Romanian town of Sighet was made into a ghetto; just fifteen years old when his entire family was transported to the German death-camp by the name of Buchenwald. The year was 1944—just 68 years ago—and Elie’s life, along with millions of other lives was changed by these acts and acts similar to those; these were the acts of Hitler and his German followers during the Holocaust. Nothing can make these acts right or reasonable, but someone must make them real; someone must make them real to the people of today, and then the people of today must take action against these actions ever becoming headlining news again.

Holocaust

The German Holocaust is perhaps the most well-known genocide in the world’s history; implemented by Nazi Germany’s leader Adolf Hitler as the “Final Solution,” it, along with the second World War, would not only rock the world, but shock it as well.

Holocaust is defined as a great and complete devastation, as well as destruction, especially by fire. This is exactly what happened during World War II—to those of Jewish faith and descent, to mentally and physically handicapped individuals, homosexuals, Gypsies, and anyone else Hitler took offense to; they were greatly and completely devastated in physical numbers, and their hope and spirituality was stripped from the inside out.

Hitler’s genocide was a systematic one; beginning with him taking communities of people and rounding them up, stripping them of their valuables, herding them into smaller and small living spaces until finally they were pushed into the smallest of living spaces; cattle cars. These people—Jews, gypsies—were forced on top of one another as they were shipped from their homes to the Nazi concentration camps that had been erected all over what had become Nazi Germany. It was within the walls of these concentration camps that the real horror began.

Upon exiting the cramped and cruel spaces of the cattle cars, the men, women, and the children who had survived the trip were split into two groups: men to the left, women and children to the right. Immediately off of the train the killing began; the women and the children who were led to right were never seen again. It was a cruel death void of reason for those on the right, to the gas chambers, and then to the crematorium.

For those on the left, the old men, the young men, the selection began. A uniformed SS soldier would repeat the process of one group to the left, the other to the right; though this time the decision was made based upon how able bodied the scrutinized individual was. Too old to work? To the right. Too young to work? To the right. Healthy, of reasonable age? To the left—and then to the work camps.

The crimes committed in the name of Adolf Hitler by his followers were not solely committed within the walls of the concentration camps. But perhaps the most cruel, the most inhumane in the strictest definition of the word, perhaps the crimes committed within the walls of these concentration camps were the worst crimes man is capable of committing.

Elie Wiesel’s Night

Night is the memoir of Elie Wiesel—the memoir of the things he experienced as he was worked and beaten through the system implemented by the Nazis. The system history calls the Holocaust, most history classes cover the Holocaust. Classes of adolescents read textbook chapters on the atrocities that occurred an unreasonably short time ago; they learn the numbers, the politics behind it, the dates. But Elie Wiesel’s memoir brings these things to life—as alive as they can be for what they are.

Fifteen years old and dedicated to his Jewish faith, Elie lives in a small town with his mother, his father, and his little sister. Through the ears of an intensely religious boy we hear the rumours of the war closing in on the outskirts of his hometown; we hear the concerns of his people. Through his eyes, we see the sudden change in daily life; we see his family being moved from their homes, their belongings being left behind; we see the inside of the cattle car not as we would through a history book—a black and white picture but as a dark space, so crowded that its humid with the body heat, humid with the chaos and the fear.  And it is through the ears of a once intensely religious boy that we hear the cries and the moans his fellow condemned; it is through his eyes that we see the desperation, desolations, and decimation of an entire people. It is through his being—his heart—that we lose our hope and faith, along with thousands of other people.

The things that were done by men to man during the Holocaust are things we as an international society would prefer to ignore. Wiesel’s intensely personal memoir makes that impossible. Suddenly the selection isn’t a video clip in class, it’s something that happened to your younger brother. The barracks aren’t historical sites; it’s simply the only bed your best friend has. Through Night, the Holocaust stops being history, and begins being now.

The facts are the same whether you find them in Night or in a history textbook. But the reality of it? The impact? The only thing that makes it real is the idea that the man on the back of the book—the picture of the author—he was a little boy who had everything he loved ripped away from him because one man—one man—convinced an entire country that it was the right thing to do.

Genocide

The tragedies that occur within death are innumerable, and despite this, the act of genocide manages to multiply the idea of infinite and make it simply unfathomable. The tragedies that occur within the destruction of a whole people, of a whole class of society, are incomprehensible. There is no way to justify any of it, no way to justify the death toll, the pain of the survivors, and there is no way to justify the circumstances that drove those who committed the crimes to do what they did.

And yet… even without reason, even without justification, and even with every genocide following the same cycle of blame, dehumanization, mass murder, and finally, the sorrow and regret of all parties involved; genocide continues to happen. Genocides continue to plaque our children’s history books and the headlines of our newspapers: the Armenians, the Jews, the Tutsi.

So we do what we’ve always done: wait it out, interfere when it hits too close to home but only after so many lives have been lost. We keep count of the mass graves, of the dates, and of the speeches that political leaders make across the globe. I wish it weren’t necessary to point out that this is simply not enough: not enough as a country, not enough as a world, and certainly not enough as individuals.

There is nothing more painful than the loss of a life for us as people, to realize our mortality of ourselves and of those we are encompassed by. This is the reason it is so easy to ignore genocide: the pain of looking the evil that lies within us directly in the face, being able to fully face the fact that lives are so easily snuffed out; it takes bravery and courage to even begin to acknowledge things of this caliber, of this nature. But yet, that is the first step which must be taken. Recognition of the problem is the first step, and forgiveness is the only “final solution.”

Conclusion

Nothing can make the acts of cruelty that go hand in hand with a genocide—any genocide– right or reasonable, but someone must make them real; someone must make them real to the people of today, and then the people of today must take action to prevent these crimes from being repeated as they have been repeated and are being repeated. Through history, there have been people who push to do this—Elie Wiesel, for instance, has come forward with reality and has had the courage to speak up, even more– the courage to forgive.

There are no answers: no rhyme or reason, and it is this knowledge that drives me to acknowledge that it is useless to ask questions about genocide. We all want to know why but there just isn’t an answer. There just isn’t an answer. But there are lessons; there are lessons to be learned within the pages of Night and within every genocide that has ever occurred, lessons of what we as men are capable of and in knowing this, we are able to work out how we might keep the aggression that lies within us at bay. There is a lesson in the resilience of Elie Wiesel, and in his life after the Holocaust: lessons of keeping faith, and of spreading faith.

Reading Night and learning about the genocides that have been committed all around the world have tested my faith in humanity, have tested my faith and belief that forgiveness is always the answer. However, I find that at the end of Night, and the end of this essay—a short exploration into the way I look at all I have taken in—I find my hope and belief renewed. What other answer could there be but forgiveness? Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Kari Larson

Night by Elie Wiesel and the Holocaust

“For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” –Elie Wiesel

How can we be so ignorant and hateful that we let the Holocaust go on for so long?    The Holocaust occurred in 1938 to 1945 because, basically, a large group of Europeans thought that the Jews were to blame for all of their problems and that they were trying to rule the world. Concentration camps were built and Jews were forced to work there under extreme conditions. They were fed very poorly and overworked. Most of them died. Elie Wiesel was 15 when he, his father, his mother, and his sister were deported to Auschwitz. His mother and sister were immediately taken to the gas chambers. He and his father remained in concentration camps for about a year, and just before they were about to be liberated, his father died from dysentery. He has devoted his life to educating and letting his voice be heard about hatred and genocide, for all those who perished. He wrote Night, to tell about his experiences in Auschwitz.

Before I read Night, I only had a vague understanding of the Holocaust. All I knew was that Adolf Hitler hated Jews and sent them to concentration camps to kill them. I didn’t know why he hated them so much and how concentration camps worked. I didn’t even know what the Holocaust was until I was about 12, and they still didn’t teach us very much.

I learned a lot from Night. I didn’t know that the women were usually killed right away, and that the healthy men were kept to work. Some Nazis would use Jewish babies for target practice or beat them against a wall. I didn’t know just how cruel people can be. I now realize the emotional and physical horror that the victims faced every day. One thing I still wonder about is how a lot of them still had the will to live. I don’t understand how they could keep living and holding on through all of that. I know I wouldn’t be able to.

Surprisingly, genocide still happens today. One example is in Rwanda. The Hutus, the majority ethnic group, felt as if the Tutsis, a minority ethnic group, were to blame for all of their country’s problems. In 1994, 800,000 Tutsis, about three quarters of the Tutsi population, were killed by the Hutus. I don’t think that genocide will ever stop, because there will always be hateful people in the world.

I think that one thing we should learn from Night and the Holocaust is the amount of hatred that people are capable of. Genocide can happen anywhere, even in the United States. It’s everyone’s responsibility to recognize this hate and take action. “I pinched myself: Was I still alive? Was I awake? How was it possible that men, women, and children were being burned and that the world kept silent?” –Elie Wiesel

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Karen Wyatt

Night and the Holocaust

Nazi German Einsatzkommando was a group of five Einsatzgruppen mobile killing squads during World War II. Mass murder became a daily routine in mid-1942. Germans would gas people using Zyklon-B, shoot people, burn them alive; they would also die of diseases and starvation. May 14-July 8, 1944, 437,402 people were deported in one hundred forty eight trains. Genocide is a very big deal because everyone’s life matters. Not many people exactly deserve to die or watch their family die.

I did not know much about the Holocaust before reading the book ‘Night’. Mainly only the fact that innocent people were being killed, I wasn’t sure exactly when, who, where, and what for. But reading the book by Eliezer Weisel, it gave me an opinion on survivors and the Einsatzgruppens that say it was only a duty but seemed as though they enjoyed or overdid the killings.

Eliezer Wiesel is an eighty year old writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and a Holocaust miracle. He has fifty seven books, such as ‘night’ which is about his experience as a hostage in Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camp. I couldn’t imagine going through life knowing what these people did to innocent minds, hungry stomachs, and weakened bodies. With all Elie Weisel went through, his biggest fear after the cause was not being successful and of course death. He began getting back involved with god again. He lost his father to dysentery; he says that his father was always trying to keep him confident in living, getting through everything and being able to tell his story. Elie mentions “to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all” and also “to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” He was always worried about how everyone else is, despite what he’s been through. The biggest quote that touched me is, “let us remember, let us remember the heroes of Warsaw, the martyrs of Treblinka, and the children of Auschwitz. They fought alone, they suffered alone, they lived alone, but they did not die alone, for something in all of us died with them.”

Children suffered the most I believe because they were often killed upon arrival to save gas. “Cost accountant considerations” led to an order to place living children directly into oven or throw them in open burning pits. If mothers would not give up their child they would be killed with them. After experiments they would be murdered, Mengele had hardly done any operations himself. He would have other “doctors” do many experiments on twins such as; injecting chloroform into their hearts killing them instantaneously, he would sew children together to try and create Siamese twins, he injected chemicals into their eyes to try and change the color, he injected them with lethal germs, he even went as far as doing sex change operations also removing organs and limbs.

Heinrich Himmler was a catholic schoolmaster and an educated officer cadet. “On the re-formation of the party, his diligence and loyalty were rewarded when he was appointed head of Hitler’s personal bodyguard in January 1929.” September 3, 1939 Himmler ordered Einsatzgruppen to shoot anyone who endangered the German life or property. Himmler quotes; “you Einsatzgruppen are called upon to fulfill a repulsive duty. But you are soldiers who have to carry out every order unconditionally. You have a responsibility before god and Hitler for everything that is happening. I myself hate this bloody business and have been moved to the depths of my soul, but I am obeying the highest law by doing my duty. Man must defend himself against bed bugs and rats—against vermin.”

“Cruelty is at the heart of genocide.” “Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.” Genocide is on the very top of five on the pyramid of hate, the deliberate extermination of an entire people. It’s all threats, assault, murder, arson, harassment, belittling, even scapegoating all together as one. People went as far as taking all food away to be sure ones would die. People would transfer diseased bodies for rations of food. I believe genocide is still happening today but sort of in a different way, kind of how most people don’t exactly care for the ones without food, shelter, personal needs, they only care for themselves, people should use their money for more important things than the latest electronics that are out. “All human life is equal, there are no anonymous casualties” is defiantly how I feel.

Kaddish is a Jewish tradition usually said by a son or close relative, and a group of at least ten Jewish men. Kaddish is said three times daily for eleven months and on the anniversary of death. It creates spiritual benefit and merit for a soul of the departed. There are no reference, no word even about death in the prayer. A Kaddish example to say is “blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded, be the name of the Holy one, blessed be he, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, amen.”

The question I have is why, why did we have to kill these people and order them around like prisoners? I thought us as America decided in 1864 we weren’t going to treat people like slaves anymore. Back then you could just walk by a dead body like it was just another day. Now you get charged with attempted murder for not mentioning anything. I wish we could somehow bring those people back so they could relive their whole lives, but where would our history be then? What do we have to say for our history these days? We invent new electronics and have different presidents that do nothing they say. People are careless and selfish. People in the old days looked up to and cared for one another. They’d make history by building a house with their bare hands or by growing new grains. Americans need to be more appreciative with what they have in life instead of being greedy for more because we have many more things to fix any problems we have, not instead of dealing with them as we did back then. That’s why I now know that genocide is a huge deal bigger than any of us, something not many of us can control.

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Dallin Heninger

A Little Night Reading

            “I’ve got more faith in Hitler than in anyone else.  He’s the only one who’s kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people.”  These are the words of 15 year old Elie Weisel, a Jewish boy during the Holocaust, and the author of the book Night. The Night is a story written about Elie and his father in the concentration camp during the Holocaust. According to dictionary.com, the word “holocaust” is an old word that referred to animal sacrifice in the Bible.  It means “to burn up the whole thing.”  In a Jewish Magazine article it talks about how the term began to be used with a capital “H” in the late 1940s.  It also points out that most Jews referred to that time as Shoah, or “the destruction.” When society focuses on the differences between people, lives and faith will be lost.

As I’ve grown up I’ve heard people talk about the Holocaust, and I knew a few general things about it. I knew that Adolf Hitler was the Supreme Leader in Germany at the time, and I was familiar with terms like concentration camp, Nazi Regime, ghetto and Auschwitz.  I had heard of the yellow star, and I knew that people who survived had tattoos of their prisoner number.  I knew that Jews weren’t the only targets of the Nazis and that lots of German people knew what was happening but didn’t seem to care.

One thing I had never understood though was WHY the Jews allowed themselves to be rounded up and taken away from their homes.  Until I read Elie Weisel’s story, I had never thought about the religious part of all of this. And I had not thought about how we can feel detached when these kinds of things happen–until they happen to us or to someone we know.

As I read the story I started to understand a little bit about why they let this happen.  Through Elie’s story I learned that the Jews believed that whatever happened to them was God’s will.  They believed that they were in God’s hands and that He would guide their lives.  It seems that Hitler must have understood the psychology of their beliefs and took advantage of that.  I still don’t understand it totally, but reading this book helped me see how it could happen.  It was sad to see how the narrator began to question God.  Whether or not the readers of the story are religious, they can see how hard it was for him to lose his faith.  It’s very hard when you realize that something you “knew” to be true might not be.

Reading about the way he and his dad interacted was also really interesting.  He seemed to have such devotion to his dad, but then he would wish he were gone and then he would feel guilty.  It was a kind of parallel to his feelings about God through the whole story.  When the author tells about watching the people die, it makes the reader realize that we can sometimes ignore “mass” events, but when they are local or individualized, they become more real.  Elie knew that hundreds of people were dying in the incinerators, but it wasn’t until the hanging that he witnessed that “the soup tasted of corpses.”

One question that wasn’t answered by this story was why Hitler had such a problem with the Jews.  I did a little reading online to see if I could figure that out but I don’t think anyone really knows.  It seems that anti-Semitism was normal in Europe during that time, but that doesn’t really explain what his personal problem was.  One thing I did learn though was that the way people think about other people makes a huge difference in how they treat them.  If we think that people are like us and they meet our standards, then we can treat them well.  But, if we start to think about people as “other” than us, we can justify any bad behavior to them.  Even more, if we can convince people around us that “others” are bad, things like the Holocaust happen.  This kind of thing still happens in the world on a smaller scale, and people are still killing other people in large numbers.

In recent history, genocides have occurred in Rwanda and Darfur.  Any time one group of people can use their power to take out another group of people they don’t like, it seems that they still will.  It doesn’t seem to matter how “civilized” we think we are, we see this happening over and over.  Even things like bullying on a local level come from this kind of thinking.  If you have any kind of empathy for people or see them as equals, you won’t bully them.  If you feel like you are better than them or different from them, then that is where this kind of bad behavior starts.  If we want to change the future, we have to recognize that we are capable of this, but can choose to not act this way.

Some people choose to say that the Holocaust never happened.  For whatever reasons, bigotry or disbelief, they ignore a huge event in human history.  Other people try and re-interpret what happened or change it.  For the rest of us, we can choose to remember this event and work to make sure it never happens again.  We also need to remember  that when society focuses on the differences between people, lives and faith will be lost.  As Elie said “…never shall I forget that night…” As human beings we need to make a promise to ourselves and each other that we will never forget.

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Ashlee McCain

The Holocaust, Genocide and Night

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” –Elie Wiesel. Who started the Holocaust? Adolf Hitler, who was a German politician, and The Nazis did.  He was the main reason for the rise of fascism in Europe during World War II and for the Holocaust. Hitler talked people into killing the Jews and told them that the Jews are dirty people, that they are just there for us to exterminate. The book Night by Elie Wiesel tells his story of life in a concentration camp. I still believe with all my heart that no human should be judged or killed just because of the color of their skin or their religion!

Before reading the book Night, I didn’t really know that much about the Holocaust or even how much pain and horror these people went through. All I really heard about it was that a lot of people were killed. Why did people follow Hitler? What was so bad about the Jews? Why did they number the Jews, if they were just going to be killed? It seems they wanted other countries to know what happened to those innocent people. So they kept records.

One thing that shocked me the most was that people chose to follow Hitler and chose to kill not only the Jews but also regular German citizens. The Holocaust has taught me to be more willing to get to know people and not judge them unless I know them personally. That’s what is so strange about the Holocaust. The SS soldiers didn’t know the Jews. They just chose to believe in someone else’s beliefs. Do you think for a second that the SS soldiers thought this was so wrong? I know that thought would have gone through my mind, and I would have tried to put a stop to it!

Genocide is still very much real. The year before I was born in 1994, in Rwanda a Genocide took place. Did the USA do  anything? No, at least not until thousands were killed. I personally don’t understand how we can just sit back and watch this continuing to happen? Genocides still happen because the fact that we don’t hear about these world tragedies unless it affects the USA. The other problem is that people deny these historical genocides ever happened. I think we should be able to remember the victims and not deny it happened at all! The people killed in all this shouldn’t ever be denied or forgotten! One question that really disturbs me is could this happen here?

I still believe with all my heart that no human should be judged or let alone killed just because of the color of their skin or their religion! As Elie Wiesel says, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” The burning question that haunts me is why did we let it get that far? One of the most helpful lessons in all of this is don’t judge or hate someone just because of their beliefs, race, or just because someone else does! It worries me that if one man can start the killing of millions, imagine what a whole country can do? “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ― Elie Wiesel

Sources:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1049.Elie_Wiesel

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Dalton Stewart

The Holocaust and Elie Wiesel’s Night

     “Holocaust: noun, destruction or slaughter on a mass scale.” Picture a peaceful village or town of a few million people with uniformed police. Picture snow on the ground and smoking chimneys, the smell of apple-cider in the air. A president rules this town and directs what happens. Now replace the police with military soldiers. Replace the apple-cider with burning flesh and bloody red snow with rotting corpses buried under the dirt. This mental picture you are looking at isn’t even close to what the Holocaust was like for the 5.9 million Jewish humans who lived in this “death villages.” Elie Wiesel experienced all of this and survived to tell the horrific tale. I’ve learned that power, in the wrong hands, can lead to a horrible fate.

Before I picked up the book Night, I only knew little facts about the Holocaust. I knew about the gas chambers and how they made them work and suffer for months and months. I knew they would shoot them in mass graves and leave them there to burn, but I always wanted to know why. Why kill the Jews? Why did they have to go through all of that torture? When I picked my research topic, I had no idea what it was. I just thought the name sounded cool. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was definitely not what I was expecting. It turned out to be the answer to my main question I was always wondering.

I learned while reading Night that it was all based on a hoax. They should not have gone through that. I learned that kids and women were usually killed right off the start, and that the men were used as slaves. The most shocking part to me was that they killed so many Jews. Not only Jews either, it ranged from color of eyes to sexuality as well. Who knew Hitler was a homophobic? Not me, that’s for sure. The things that Doctor Mengele did to his patients were pretty shocking also. He was one psychotic dude.

Genocide still happens today, take the Rwanda Genocide for example. This genocide took place only 18 years ago. In Rwanda and Burundi, the Tutsi and Hutu have been in a civil war since the early 1990s, but before this they had been massacring and killing each other for decades. One day after the Hutu president was killed in a plane explosion mid-flight, the Hutu became angry. They took this anger and used it to exterminate the Tutsi. Over three months, more than 800,000 Tutsis were killed. All because of a power struggle.

Power, in the wrong hands, can lead to a horrible fate. Some questions are as foolish as “Did the Holocaust really happen?” to as weird as to “Why do deathly experiments on twins?” From reading Elie Wiesel’s book, we see now how scary power can be; how one person can misuse it to a level beyond extreme. “The Holocaust illustrates the consequences of prejudice, racism and stereotyping on a society. It forces us to examine the responsibilities of citizenship and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction.” – Tim Holden.

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