Examples Of Disenchantment In The Holocaust

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Destruction and Disenchantment After the World War Two, Europe was left devastated from war and the continuous bombing of many of its cities. The devastation was so massive that many people found it almost impossible to imagine rebuilding and life moving on. Not only were cities pummeled, the human condition had reached an all time low with survivors having to reconcile with the incredible and brutal reality of what took place during the holocaust. Combine this with the massive loss of human life from the bombings, battles, and systematic killing, and all that remains seemed quite hopeless. The grand ideas of world peace after the first World War, such as the policy of self determination, did not prevent war. In reality, after these policies…show more content…
This type of ‘us vs. them’ mentality was widely adopted by the Nazi policy makers in order to eliminate anyone that they believed to not fit the ‘German mould’. Many examples of the ambiguity of the definition of ‘undesirables’ are found in the discussion at the Wannsee Conference, in which top Nazi officials were discussing how to administer the total elimination of the Jews of Europe. One such example is the section on how second degree Mischlinge should be treated in terms of ‘evacuation’. Mischlinge are to be considered equal to full blooded Germans unless, “[the Mischlinge possesses] especially unfavorable appearance...that by virtue of his appearance alone he is counted as a Jew.” By this logic, one could be considered a German unless they look too much like a Jew. What a Jew is supposed to look like is largely subjective, therefore this leaves the potential for anyone to be accused of ‘Jewry’ and possibly convicted of it. This type of thinking is precisely why the policy of self-determination backfired upon its creators. It was almost impossible to tell who belongs where, and subjective definitions could be used to oppress anyone without a definite…show more content…
Nothing of this caliber was comparable in recent memory, and therefore it was shocking and devastating because of its scale, determination, and efficiency in ending human lives. Particularly disturbing was not only the public knowledge of the events, but also the public participation. An example of the fanfare of the public executions was conveyed by the book “The Good Old Days”, and tells of an incident of public attendance and participation in mass murder. An announcement was made early in a certain day that Jews would be executed at a certain time. Upon arrival, the account describes “fifty to sixty Jews (men, women, and children)...were being held under SS guard... Round and about stood about 150 civilians watching.” The account then goes on to describe the audience shouting out all numbers of grievances with the captured Jews, after which they were beaten for close to an hour. Finally, some were hanged, and the majority left over were loaded into a truck (which the crowd followed) to a large trench for a mass shooting. A crowd watched the entire ordeal. This example is one of many that came to light after the war. This type of mass participation lead to a mass responsibility for the terrors that occurred during the war. This is important because it is necessary to acknowledge that the things that took place were not simply the act of one evil

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