Holocaust and Individuality

Look at the following map to remind yourself of the sheer numbers involved in the Holocaust.


Having done this, follow one of the links provided to discover individual stories:

Voices from the Inferno: Survivors describe the last months in the Warsar Ghetto

The Untold Stories: The Murder of Jews in the Occupied Territories of the former USSR

Transports to Extinction: Holocaust Transport Database

Holocaust Survivor Video Testimony

The Righteous Among The Nations

Take 10 – 15 mintues to craft a response to the concept of individuality and the holocaust. Use the following excerpt from novelist Vladimir Nabokov to help if you wish. Please post your response in the comments box before you leave the classroom.

“Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, bankruptcies, train accidents, cancerous growths—until the Germans put her to death, together with all the people she had worried about.”
-Vladimir Nabokov


3 thoughts on “Holocaust and Individuality

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  1. I read about ‘The Righteous Among the Nations’ – the lighter side of the Holocaust

    During the holocaust, many people put their lives on the line in order to hide Jewish people. These people took enormous risks to their own person safety for the hope of saving another life. There are many stories of these heroic deeds but they are often forgotten by the sheer amount of devastation.

    One story I read about was how a man who looked after a graveyard, dug special hideouts for a family of Jewish people. When the winter time came, he hid them under the floorboards in the funeral parlor. This single act managed to save one Jewish family.

  2. The Holocaust was a horrible time period between 1933, and 1945, which resulted in the deaths of over 6,000,000 Jews. It is horrible to think that the Germans would sweep the streets in search of Jewish individuals and families. What people do not realise, is that each of this 6,000,000 Jewsish people who died were unique individuals with their own passions, hobbies and fears. They were normal human beings, many innocent and loving. These people all fought hard for their survival, however, nomatter how hard they tried, many had the same fate.

    When looking back at past recollections and stories of what happened, I couldn’t believe the horrible events that took place. More shockingly, I imagine myself in their positions and how they would have felt during that time period. I found this article from one of the links above, stating the fears of a Jewish family being transported by tain to the concentration camps.

    The excerpt reads:
    “Dear Hilda,
    We are now at the train station. A sympathetic railway worker has allowed me to send the following lines [to you]. My last wish is: take care of the children and of Mother.
    We have been cruelly punished and are suffering enormously, but we don’t even know for what reason.
    Farewell. I am not even able to say: until we meet again.
    From the bottom of my heart,

    It is sad to realise that Raga was being sent to her death, but had the chance to write her last, loving words to her loved ones.

  3. The Wikipedia page on the Holocaust is filled with hundreds upon hundreds of dates, statistics and facts. “6 Million Jews”, “40,000 German facilities”, and “67 precent” are among the sea of massive but simple numbers that, for many, are the definition of the Holocaust. I believe that one would learn an immense amount more about the Holocaust by being able to learn from a single Holocaust survivor, about their experiences throughout the war and also before the war.

    Before the war every single Jewish person was an individual person, with their own personalities and dreams. The progression of the war saw the Nazis push to turn them from this into simply ‘A Jewish Person’. Dehumanising propaganda and ghettos were a part of this changing of people’s mindsets, to think of Jews as all the same; all worthless.

    The loss of individuality is right at the core of the Holocaust. 6 million individual people were killed, and none for any reason personal to them. Their individual hopes and dreams died with them, as well as many if not all of their loved ones.

    It is difficult for people to get their heads around the concept of the stories of one of the abused Jewish people during WWII, let alone 6 million.

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