“Still, our first impressions of the Germans were rather reassuring. The officers were billeted in private homes, even in the homes of Jews. Their attitude toward their hosts was distant, but polite. They never demanded the impossible, made no unpleasant comments, and even smiled occasionally at the mistress of the house.” (5)
| The idea that the Germans weren't always harsh during that time baffles me. I always thought that the Germans were constantly beating down on Jews, and, even though they were for most of this historical time, this quote proves me wrong. There were times when they could be civilized and tolerant human beings. There was a belief during this time that the Germans and followers of the Germans believed that Jews were aliens, but I actually believe the Germans were the aliens. How they could go from being decent individuals, as stated in this quote, to being madmen who slaughter people for no good reason is utterly beyond me. The aliens must have taken over the minds of the Germans at this point in time. It's the only logical explanation...
| “Three days later, a new decree: every Jew must wear the yellow star. 'The yellow star? Oh well, what of it? You don’t die of it….' (Poor Father! Of what then did you die?)” (6)
| I find this quote to be quite sardonic. When you think about having something sewed onto your clothes such as a yellow star, you wouldn't think at all that it would kill you because, it's not directly hurting you in any way. This is what the father, I think, meant when he said "So what? It's not lethal..." But then, you look deeper and realize that the yellow star symbolizes all of these peoples' faith and religion, which is what's ultimately the reason these Jews were being persecuted, because of this faith and the things they believed in, and this is why Wiesel added this slightly satirical comment in parentheses.
| “I wanted to come back to Sighet to tell you the story of my death. So that you could prepare yourselves while there was still time. To live? I don’t attach my importance to my life any more. I’m alone. No, I wanted to come back, and to warn you And see how it is, no one will listen to me…” (4)
| This is when the harshness of what was taking place during the Holocaust first hit me in this book. This man has experienced and seen so much terror take place that he has lost his will to live. It makes me wonder how the Nazis could have lived with themselves after inflicting this kind of trauma into people’s lives (and taking lives, as well). This man feels his only purpose now is to save others from his terrible fate. It shocks me that someone could have been put through that much pain and suffering to the point of not caring about whether they live or not.
| “Behind me, I heard the same man asking: ‘Where is God now?’ And I heard a voice within me answer him: ‘Where He is? Here He is- He is hanging here on this gallows…’” (42-43)
| This shows all of the pure evil and hatred that the Nazis and Hitler poured out to the world. They were strangling God. Anything remotely good and wholesome was squashed immediately. God could no longer do anything to save Hitler and the monsters that followed him. They had bound him. For those monsters to have hung a child shows that their hearts are forever gone past the point of return. The poor child that they hung represents God. God’s love was suffocating throughout the world. So many cruel men (if you can consider them men, being the soulless, heartless beings that they were) were trying to destroy God.
| “’There are eighty of you in the wagon,’ added the German officer. ‘If anyone is missing, you’ll all be shot, like dogs...’” (15)
| This is just disgusting to me. Humans are being treated like a herd of animals. I do not understand how you can have such disregard for life. The German officer would not even think twice about killing the entire lot of them. He would not care that he just ended eighty lives, some of which would...
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