Response to Malissa’s Question

2.) Based on Elie’s account, there is at the very least some evidence that the German people were aware of what was going on in the concentration camps, (watching the marches from their windows and they could have seen and smell the same smoke and fire coming from the chimneys) yet they did nothing. Were they in power to do something? Should they have done something regardless? What could they have done?

I think that this is a difficult question to answer because I think many of the Germans were powerless to these issues. In other books and articles that I have read, different Germans attempted to give Jews bread or water as they were marched through their towns and if the SS caught the German doing this, often times they were beat as was the Jew. Many Germans saw this occurring, and not wanting to live the same fate, often stayed quiet and did nothing, because they knew they would be punished.

I think that some of the higher up commanders may have had more power than the average German citizen because it was them that Hitler put directly in command. I think that they could have been able to give more food to the Jews and help them escape from the camps. I feel that many of the German civilians were so afraid to do anything because of the punishment they would face. Many different Germans tried to even hide Jews in their basement or in their homes for as long as they could, before they were eventually found out.

German civilians could probably have attempted to reach out to the Allies by newspaper articles or possible radio broadcasts that were disguised in a code that Allies could only understand. Unfortunately, at this time it was hard for the citizens to get their hands on the means to do this, because everything media wise was ran by the SS and Nazi Party. I think the Nazis made it really hard for German civilians to reach out because they did not want to get beaten or killed for helping the Jews.


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