Saturday, March 3, 2007

Power of evil

Posted by: Margaret Lincoln // Category: Bystanders,Persecution // 9:46 am
  1. Can events such as the Holocaust bring out evil qualities of individuals? Have there been other tragic events during your lifetime which allowed individuals to show their evil sides?
  2. Why did Gerda’s neighbors display a Nazi flag when Bielitz was invaded?  How would you have reacted in a similar situation?
  3. Should the German nation be held collectively responsible for the Holocaust?
  4. What role does apathy play in the spreading of evil?
  5. Was there an event during your lifetime when you were treated unfairly or inhumanely (bullied, made fun of, etc.)?  How might such an event affect you for years to come?


  1. DClott

    Darryle Clott, Viterbo University, La Crosse, WI
    1. The Holocaust brought out horrendous evil in mankind, turning many into monsters. It also must be recognized that the Holocaust brought out tremendous good in rescuers and those in the resistence.
    3. Elie Weisel says Germans should not be held collectively responsible for the Holocaust; I agree wholeheartedly. He says Germans should not be held responsible for the sins of their forefathers.
    4. Apathy contributes to evil in a huge way. The Holocaust could not have happened without the bystanders. Denmark is the only country who refused to give up their Jews & is a perfect example of what happened when citizens were not bystanders. I try to teach my students if they see an injustice occur & do nothing to stop it, they are just as guilty as the perpetrators.

  2. HarperCreekHS

    Kayla, Advanced Literature, 1st Block
    1. Events such as the Holocaust can shine light on the evil qualities in people sometimes. Until a tragic event like this occurs, you don’t really know the true character of those people.
    2. Gerdas neighbors displayed a Nazi flag when Bielitz was invaded because everyone else was doing it. They wanted to fit in with the majority because lets be honest, none of us want to be in the minority. If I were to be in this situation, I am not sure what I would have done. I would like to say I wouldn’t put the flag up because I didn’t and still don’t believe in it but maybe I would have put the flag up to fit in with the rest of the people. I guess I would have to be put in a situation like this to really know how I would react to it.

  3. HarperCreekHS

    Jessica, Advanced Literature, 1st Block:
    1. I believe that individuals are influenced by others, whether it be good or evil. This is apparent throughout all of time and only the extent has changed. I believe the Holocaust was brought about by one person influencing another, until the mindset was that all Jewish persons were evil and undeserving. It is because of the people and their followings that the events occurred and were as intense as they were. Many things bring out evil; sorrow, stress, pain, and even happiness. Evil is apparent in everyone’s life, it’s just how you treat it that makes the difference.
    2. Gerda’s neighbors displayed the Nazi flag because they were fearful for their lives. They believed that they would make it through the invasion alive and together if they played along and were out of suspicion. I would like to think that I would not give in and represent my beliefs, however if it meant life or death, I would do everything I could to survive and know deep down inside that my beliefs remain the same, and I am still the person I am.
    3. I believe that if the German nation is making a clear and apparent effort to acknowledge and prevent the events of the Holocaust, then there is no reason for people to be held responsible for events they did not act upon. I would like to believe that times have changed and our world has learned from the past.
    4. Like stated previously, influence is the cause of most evil. If one is apathetic to evil, then they are only spreading the “disease”. 5. I think that everyone faces a time in their life where they are on the low end of the todem pole. No one is nor ever will be perfect. Significant events in one’s life stay with him/her forever, unless they do something to change things.

  4. HarperCreekHS

    Katelyn, Advanced Literature, 1st Block
    1. Events such as the Holocaust shows you a side of mankind that the world doesn’t want to face. It baffles me how people could do that to one another. Torching and killing thousands of innocent people just because they are Jewish. It’s easy to be persuaded to believe something one person says and follow their beliefs. Hitler had the power to manipulate the people of Germany and turn them against the Jews and hate them with a passion. Evil is something that is inside all of us.
    2. Gerda’s neighbors displayed Nazi flags outside their homes when Bielitz was being invaded so that they were not believed to be associated with the Jews. Gerda’s neighbors turned on her and her family. Kids she went to school with were giving Nazi soldiers food and flowers. I would have been devastated.
    3. I think the German nation is responsible for the death of the thousands and thousands of Jewish people that were killed during the Holocaust. They didn’t do anything to stop it. It was the German people that let the massacre go on for so long. It should never have begun in the first place.

  5. HarperCreekHS

    Mary Jane, Advanced Lit. 1st Block
    5. I was completely harassed at one point in my life where I felt that nothing even mattered anymore. For a while I tried to hold on to hope that life would get better and that these people would realize what they were doing was wrong, and that they would leave me alone. When this even occurred, I honestly feel like my whole high school career was taken away from me. I feel as though I had lost three years of my life. Moving to a new school and leaving all the people that I knew had changed me forever. Graduating at a different school is already a harsh reality for me because I am not going out with the same people that I came in with. I don’t get to share my memories of growing up and going to school with Harper Creek students because I don’t have any memories with them of elementary and middle school and growing up, and it makes me deeply sad. I know that being here now though and the things that occurred had happened for a reason though, because it has changed my life forever. The evils that happened to me turned my life in a new direction. The fact that these bad things happened to me, has caused me to push myself harder than I ever have before, to go further, to be all the more successful, because that is all I can do. Because of the fact that I was mentally and physically abused during high school has made me lose trust in all humanity, but it has made me realize that I do need to watch out for myself. The world is not a perfect place as though I thought when I was young and innocent and all I knew of hurt was a scratched knee from rollerblading. The world is a scary place, although there is some good. It is just sometimes very scarce to find, so I try to be as careful as I can.

  6. LakeviewHS

    matt World at War, 2nd block

    1. There has not been a siuation in my lifetime where people were killed off in the magnitude of the people killed during the Holocaust. However, there are still genocides going on in the world right now led by governments, like in Darfur. Their government is killing off many people from there varying tribes. Really there havn’t been individuals in my lifetime that show there evil side its entire governments and countries that show their evil, and it bothers me that they get to do this without anyone doing anything to stop them.

  7. LakeviewHS

    I like what Marry Jane had to say.

  8. BYounglove

    from Bill Younglove, California State University Long Beach:
    Wow, Mary Jane of Harper Creek, your words really hit home, not because of any personal experiences I have had, but because I have seen too much of the kind of thing you describe as a teacher in various schools in Michigan and California. I think so many young people feel that, to put into effect high ideals, they need to wait until they have some age, power, or position in life. In truth, they can take a lesson from your eloquently described experiences and feelings. They can and should refuse to be(come) a part of harassment. Minimally, they need to walk away when it happens. Maximally, they can speak out in places and at times when it will do the most good. One of the things that astounds most of us who study the Holocaust is how it was that so few perpetrators and collaborators had any empathy for their victims. We rail: HOW could they do that?! So, in our own modern, public world, how can some people treat others in such a way to make them feel that three years of their lives have been lost?

  9. PennfieldHS

    Jaime Probol, German II
    1. As seen and heard by almost everyone, the Holocaust can most definitely bring out evil qualities of induviduals. I’m sure everyone has a great and not so good side to them. During the time of the Holocaust, the bad sides of people really came out.. why else would people torture other people like that? There’s just no excuse.
    A tragic event is currently taking place, the war over in Iraq. The evil qualities of people are coming out over there. Unlike the Holocaust, this war is well-known about, so there are no concetration camps or anything like that. Still, it is a war.
    2. Gerda’s neighbors displayed a Nazi flag to make an attempt to stay safe. With this flag, the Nazis would believe the family had nothing to do with the Jews. I would have not reacted in such a way in a similar situation. My beliefs and goals won’t be shot down that easily. I understand they were saving their lives, but some people, like me are just too stubborn to be walked over that easily.
    3. The German nation should be held responsibly for all of the events of the Holocaust. They obviously knew what was occuring, just miles away from home, yet no action was taken to stop this horrid event. I have nothing against the Germans now, but the ones who lived during that time could have done something to let the world know.
    4. Apathy plays a large role in the spreading of evil. The Germans were very apathetic towards the past events. They just didn’t care, they were too worried about their own needs to care about anyone else.
    5. I’m sure there has been an event in my lifetime when I was treated unfairly. Yet, nothing too big of an event to really remember. An event like this would make me a stronger person in the years to come. I just hope a massive event will not come into my life and affect me in the worst ways.

  10. PennfieldHS

    Charles P, German II, 2nd Block:
    Events like the Holocaust can bring out evil in individuals. Events like war can cause people to succumb to the temptations of greed and ambition. I belived that Gerda’s neighbors rasied the Nazi flag to appease the Nazi conquerers. I would probably react with the same feeling of betrayal as Gerda, and act like that would be a strike to one’s pride.

    Germany as a nation cannot be held responsible as awhole for the radical actions of the Nazi’s. Too many innocent people would be punished and only fuel a cycle of hatred.
    Apathy aids the spread of evil by providing a medium for it to spread without resistance.
    Events in my youth of bullying and teasing have effected me as a person. I have learned not to be too sensitive or take too deep a sense of pride as it is foolish. I have also gained an understanding of the weaknesses of people.

  11. PennfieldHS

    Wilhelm Schmidt – PHS – German II

    The Holocaust and other genocidal events most certainly bring out the most evil in history. The spread of terrorism and other similar events have shown many evil people and their true colors.

    Gerda’s neighbors displayed the Nazi flag to appease the Nazis, and I think that the Weissman’s could understand this action for its underlying reason. I believe that I would have felt the same if something similar happened to me.

    I do not believe the Germans should be held responsible

  12. PennfieldHS

    Wilhelm Schmidt – PHS – German II

    The Holocaust and other genocidal events most certainly bring out the most evil in history. The spread of terrorism and other similar events have shown many evil people and their true colors.

    Gerda’s neighbors displayed the Nazi flag to appease the Nazis, and I think that the Weissman’s could understand this action for its underlying reason. I believe that I would have felt the same if something similar happened to me.

    I do not believe the Germans should be held responsible for the actions of one political party, especially when many did not support them in their actions of genocide.

  13. PennfieldHS

    Kiley, German II 2nd Block

    I believe that horrible events such as the Holocaust can bring evil out of people. When people are scared, they might not care how someone they never met before survives. What looks pure evil in some eyes, might just mean that the soldier who ordered someone shot, is just a coward. But that is only some of the people.
    Gerda’s neighbors put up a Nazi flag for their own safety, though they probably didn’t agree with the Nazis. In a similar situation, I believe I would do the same as far as putting up a flag. It’s a harmless act.
    Germans themselves should not of been responsible, only the Nazi. The Germans were forced into what had happened, most of them probably didn’t agree with the killing of Jews.
    Apathy has a big part in all of this, just because sitting back and watching (Whole countries), is almost as bad as the solders who watched thousands of Jews die, and didn’t do anything about it. Something can’t be fixed if nobody did anything to solve it.

  14. PennfieldHS

    Rachel – GERMAN II BABY!!

    1) I do think that events of the holocaust can bring out the worst in people. I think that maybe some of the soldiers would not have done what they did if they new that they wouldn’t be considered traters and probably be shot becauseof it.

    2) Her neighbors placed a flag out so that they would not be targeted as Jews. I would have done the same thing.

  15. PennfieldHS

    First off, most soldiers of Nazi Germany were forced to serve their country for a set amount of time whether they wanted to or not, yet I believe that everyone likes to be on the winning side, so many of the soldiers may have adopted their governments ideal of hating Jews, simply because they did not want to stand out. I haven’t really seen true signs of evil in any of my acquaintances, yet I have seen much apathy in people I know.
    Gerda’s neighbors displayed the Nazi flag after the invasion because they completely believed they were being liberated by Germany. If I were in that situation, I would feel absolutely desperate for help from anyone. Although I know that what got the ball rolling with the Holocaust was Nazi Germany, I do not believe that the Holocaust was all Germany’s fault. There was so much apathy around the entire world, and say if you were a Jew in Poland, your neighbors you have known your entire life, would completely cut off all ties with you and not care about your personal situation at all, save for maybe a few. That, I believe(apathy), is a root of evil. Not caring about your neighbors bad situation is a root of evil.
    -Branden, German 2

  16. DClott

    Darryle Clott, Viterbo Univesity, La Crosse, Wi
    Mary Jane,
    You are a very mature young lady to be able to have gone through what you have & still have hope. That is exactly what we can learn from Holocaust survivors. They lived through hell and yet still have hope for the future. The ones I am privileged to know are deeply patriotic; we all need to take a lesson from them. Regarding your future, the adversity you have faced has given you amazing strength & resiliance. You won’t cave when things get tough. Another thing, I know this makes no sense now, but trust me on this. The people you meet after high school are the ones who will become your everlasting friends. We graduate & go in different directions & become involved with those who share our interests. The one thing I wish is that people would treat others the way they want to be treated. I try to teach my students that if they see an injustice occur & do not get involved, they are just as guilty as the perpetrators. There is a wonderful Native American saying, “Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins. “

  17. HarperCreekHS

    Harper Creek, Paul

    1. Indeed events such as the holocaust could bring out evil in an individual. All the differant situations that these jewish people had to incounter in my eyes definately could have braught out the evil in them. Im sure it came to the point in some cases where they had enough,and retaliated against the germans the best they could. This is there evil side, but it was also for there own good.

  18. HarperCreekHS

    Mary Jane, Adv. Lit 1st Block
    3. Naming one nation or subject responsible for such an event in my opinion should be based on the time frame. I do not believe now that we can look at the nation of Germany and still put forth blame on the country for these horrid actions toward the Jewish people because most of the people living there now were not even alive then. The German people that I know say that even wearing a swastika would be considered a crime there so it is not like they still encourage the violence. Putting a sole responsibility on Germany at this point would clearly be the same as putting the blame on the United States for Slavery. Yes, at that time, the U.S. was completely responsible, but what good does pointing fingers now do? We are all ancestors of the people that did these evil actions, but we ourselves did not do the crime. It would also be the same as saying that every single person in the world is responsible for original sin by Adam and Eve’s actions. It is important to look back on the past and recognize what has been done, so that is does not happen again, but to point fingers and blame is just a scapegoat and is irrational at such a point in time.

  19. LeggMS

    Logan, Advanced English
    1. I believe that war can bring out the evil qualities in people. Killing other people, even for a cause, is an evil thing itself. The Holocaust is an example, because of all the cruel things that happened to the Jews and people who resisted Hitler. I need not tell you the horrible things that happened there, but it amazes me that people are evil, cruel, and violent to other people because of their religion.
    3. I don’t believe that all of the German nation should be held responsible for the Holocaust. Lots of Germans resisted the Nazi uprise, and they didn’t take part in killing the Jews. It should be the Nazi followers that should be blamed, of course, not the nation that they were from. You must remember that Hitler overthrew the government and took it over. Its not like they invited him in for tea and crumpets, you know?

  20. LeggMS

    Brandy R., Adv.Lit., Legg Middle School

    3. I don’t necessarily think German should be held responsible, but then I think they should. Everyone thinks sooner or later that they’re better then someone, but they went and tried to destroy a whole group of Jewish people. They just assumed that all Jews were inferior and killed, even the innocent children and women. Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean you have to destroy a whole race. Not all of the people in the same race are the same. They’re all different. However, Hitler tried to kill them and succeeded in killing 6 million anyway. However, I do somewhat feel that the Germans should be held responsible because they really never had a motive except that they thought they were better then the Jews.

  21. LeggMS

    Kaity Adv. English

    I believe that events such as the Holocaust can bring out the evil in people. I have recently read The Diary of Anne Frank. In this novel, there are many circumstances when the people in the Secret Annex become very bitter towards each other. Even though they were lucky enough to go in to hiding, they still had problems getting along. they often argued over simple things like whose turn it was to do the dishes. Simple disagreements like that would lead to huge fights

  22. LeggMS

    Querubin, ADV. English
    1. The Holocaust has brought out tremendous evil within the eyes of many. Therefore, the reason behind Hitler and many others who thought that it was perfectly acceptable to kill people at will. Though with all these evil people, we have others who stand up to them at the time of need. Heroes who’ve survived the Holocaust to people who helped the Jewish people at there down fall. At least now we have the survivors to tell us about this outrage of evil.

  23. LeggMS

    A.J, ADV. English Legg Middle School
    The German nation should not be held responsible for the horrible events that occured in the Holocaust. Many Germans didn’t like the Jews, but they weren’t aware of what was happening in the camps. Some of the German soldiers that were fighting didn’t even know what was going on. Hitler and his regime were responsible for the millions of deaths.

  24. LeggMS

    Nace J. 8th grade adv. lit.
    I can’t beleive the torture that the Jewish communiy went through. I would have to gouge my eyes out after I have seen the torure the others in the camp went through. Then to have the terror of expecting that torture or something worse. It must have been an evil, demonic holding place. Even if you didn’t go to a prison camp, the guilt and torture the other is like a thousand hot needles stabbing your brain. If you got away from Germany to live wih relatives in America, you would still feel that guilt. However, you also had to deal with worry. You would be worrying about your family and how they’re doing, and how they since you left. I couldn’t imagine life as a child, knowing or not knowing if your mom and dad are still alive. The mental pressure is just too much for anyone at any time during their life.

  25. LeggMS

    Chelsey Gochanour (Tex) , Legg Middle School , Adv. English

    The Holocaust is one of my favorite subjects to look upon.This is a time when many things were going on,WWII,development of new technology,and even things in our own country(the bombing of Pearl Harbor and our country trying to avoid the war with Japan). This was also a dark time for not only the Jews but the Japanese(Back to the holocaust)I have read quite a few books on the details and seen many pictures even though i am only 14. I don’t believe that the German soldiers are to blame not even the SS. I believe this was in main part due to Hitler. He was a ruthless tyrant that perscuted a religon that did nothing to deserve the treatment they got. Partly we are to blame for the holocaust even happening,because after WWI we didn’t crack down on the Germans and let them build up there entire military and goverment and allowed the same thing to happen today with Saddam Huesain in Iraq. I feel the deepest sadness for any who has gone through this type of persecution.If you want another veiw of the situation (The Holocaust ) then I suggest you read a book called Black Cross(note there is some things in this book not suitable for the short minded.Gerda I don’t know how you had the will to survive but thank the lord you did, because now we can learn alot from your story of survial. This is how I feel about one of humanity’s darkest days.

  26. LeggMS

    Advance English-Adam
    1. The Holocaust could easily bring out pure evil within people, both in Hitler’s followers and in the captives themselves. When people are faced with such emotional stress as big as murder and such a high level of fear they begin to steadily go insane. With such a large amount of murder dealt by a solder to an instant victim and also with slight peer pressure from other solders and Hitler himself it would be almost unbearable to continue life as a solder. Being a Jew in a concentration camp would also be just as equally horrible to me as being a soldier. Having to watch your back; fearing betrayal, fearing death, steadily going deeper into a trance of unending emotional pain. What a horrible place to be soldier or Jew.

  27. PennfieldHS

    Jaime, German II
    I agree with DClott. I really like what you had to say about life, friendships, and the Holocaust. I totally agree with all of it.

  28. HarperCreekHS

    Kristen, Advance Lit,
    I think the Holocaust brought out evil qualities in people because it makes people feel powerful. It makes them feel as if they have control if they put fear in people.