Points To Ponder

1. Repeatedly we see points of disparity between Wiesel’s memoirs and events as they actually happened. For example, the Yiddish and English versions of the book are written with slightly differing accounts, with the Yiddish version detailing Jewish revenge that occurred slightly after Buchenwald was liberated (in the form of, for instance, raping German girls), while the English version emphasizes that the Jewish men slept with girls but did not perpetrate revenge. There are Holocaust deniers who maintain that the entire Holocaust was a fabrication. Given that Wiesel seemed to engineer some of his facts, how can one accept this memoir as truth?

Possible Answer: Some aspects may be engineered to give it greater fictitious impact. The incidents, taken as a whole, were authentic.

2. Wiesel’s book was written to emphasize that it is important to remember that the Holocaust occurred and that one should, indeed, never forget. Some say, however, that “it would be senseless to burden our children with the tragedies of the Jewish past” (xiv). What do you think?

Possible Answer: One needs to know facts of history, whether they are palatable or not, in order to learn from experience.

3. Survivors of the Holocaust, among others, insist that the Holocaust could occur as a contemporary event to any nation, including America. After all, Germany was the most cultured nation of its era: It generated composers, philosophers, psychologists, and other learned men, yet nonetheless yielded the Holocaust. Do you consider them correct?

Possible Answer: One can never predict. Responses may differ here.

4. The classic question: How could a benevolent and omnipotent God have allowed the Holocaust to occur?

Possible Answer: Responses may vary here, including responses that God has omniscient perspective; His reasoning is inscrutable; the Holocaust was necessary in order to prompt the extraordinary Jewish exodus to Palestine and the consequent world interest in the Jewish settlement...

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