To sit still and watch someone suffer in anguish is inhuman. Up to the point of liberation, most Germans had no clue what was happening behind those barbed wire fences, but they had an idea. Some argue that Germans are hardly to blame, that the finger should be pointed at Hitler himself. But what about the people Wiesel described in his memoir, Night, the ones that threw bread into the open cattle cars, so they could watch the Jews fight? Of course they’re not to blame either.
It’s been brought up many times that the people that did know were too scared to confront the situation. For this reason they did nothing, said nothing. “Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented” (Wiesel’s Noble Acceptance Speech). This is very true. No one stood up to Hitler and he grew stronger. No one questioned his authority and he became the leader of Germany and creator (and founder) of the county’s lone political party, giving Hitler more and more power.
If, at the very beginning, anyone had spoken up and said something as simple as, “The Jews are our friends.” where would we be now? To answer that question, most likely in a place with less prejudice and hatred towards our fellow man.
Now-a-days we have help hotlines and anonymous websites made to reach out towards those in need. The kind of associations like sixbillionsecrets.com, where you can vent your emotions to the whole online world or others like Boys Town where you can call in to talk to someone who cares. With these organizations we can speak up for the trapped or voiceless.
That’s all Wiesel and other Jews wanted, a voice, any voice that would stick up for them. And that voice would have to choose a side and stand up for it.
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