Some of Life's Lessons Learned from the Holocaust
The most unexpected can happen.
Life is not always what we make it but what it makes of us.
Money can solve many problems, as can wisdom and forethought. The combination of both is unparalleled. The wealthier Jewish population who foresaw from history and circumstances what lay ahead were able to rescue themselves before it was too late. The courageous encouraged their loved ones to leave, even if by circumstances or lack of affidavits or passports they were unable to join them at that moment.
Denying the Jewish religion was of very little help and brought more tragedy when found out.
Support from fellow Jews brought relief, whereas the Christian population exploited the situation and became the “willing executioners” and recipients of the misfortunes of the persecuted.
Wickedness knows no limits.
Arrogance disappeared and rich and poor alike were abused as one, without regard to education, profession, or status.
Might makes right. Those in power decided the fate of the Jewish population.
Advantages turn easily and consorts with evil deeds: Jewish “friends” and neighbors were abandoned and open theft was considered heroic.
Fear of the unknown can become our biggest foible. Those Jews who were afraid of leaving their homes, “their country”, their earthly goods, their security, became the victims of their “Angst”. There were a number of the German Jewish population who insisted that they would leave only “mit dem letzten Schnellzug” (the last train). Indeed they did leave with the last train: To Dachau, Bergen Belsen, Theresienstadt, Matthausen, etc.
Under certain circumstances, especially when danger looms, acting swiftly and decisively is of the greatest help!
Hiding from the truth is self destructive and an illusion. Looking at reality with a sober attitude can save lives.
Psychopaths have no mercy and no conscience. It was seen during the Hitler era and can be seen in the criminal mind in our current culture. Examples are such men asSanchez,Daumer, Vick, Gacy, DeSalvo, Manson, etc.
We cannot be subservient to our enemies. In our historic past we placated, we bowed, we scraped, we turned the other cheek. We played the role of subservient “Untermensch” to avoid conflict. Conflict must be faced and tended to in a manner befitting the circumstances with might. We learned this from our Israeli brothers and sisters, who do not hesitate to retaliate and have become a people who defend themselves, their country and their right to exist.
Let us remember the lessons learned from history and be proud of our heritage, our wisdom, and our Jewishness.
Conclusion & References
A study of the Holocaust can be effectively integrated into any number of subject areas. Sample curricula and lesson plans, currently in use around the country, have been collected by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and are available for reference purposes. For further information on the range of materials available, and how to acquire copies of these materials for your own use in developing or enhancing study units on the Holocaust, please contact the Education Department, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington, DC 20024; telephone: (202) 488-0400.
Oliner, Pearl M. and Samuel P. Oliner. “Righteous People in the Holocaust.” Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review. Edited by Israel Charny. London and New York: Mansell Publishing and Facts on File, respectively, 1991.
Totten, Samuel. “The Personal Face of Genocide: Words of Witnesses in the Classroom.” Special Issue of the Social Science Record (“Genocide: Issues, Approaches, Resources”) 24, 2 (1987): 63-67.