Saturday, March 3, 2007

The power of good

Posted by: Margaret Lincoln // Category: Faith in humanity,Resistance // 9:47 am
  1. Can events like the Holocaust bring out extraordinary and unexpected qualities of individuals?  Please explain.
  2. Have there been other tragic events during your lifetime which allowed individuals to show their extraordinarily kind and generous sides?
  3. What is Gerda’s first impression of Lt. Kurt Klein?  What does he represent to her?  Why does she feel compelled to tell him they are Jews?  What is his response?
  4. How does Lt. Klein make you proud he is an American?
  5. List as many small deeds that were done for Gerda during WWII which took little effort yet had a significant positive impact on her.  Has anyone done such small deeds for you that had a significant positive impact on you? Have you done such deeds for others?


  1. DClott

    Darryle Clott, Viterbo University, La Crosse, WI
    3. When Kurt Klein first metGerda who weighed 68 pounds & was covered in dirt & lice, he referred to her as a lady. After years of living under Nazi domination, she felt compelled to tell him she was Jewish. My very favorite line in ALL BUT MY LIFE is Kurt’s reply, “So am I.” Many times I have heard Gerda joke about Kurt telling her later that when he first met her, she was a “fright for sore eyes.” With Kurt’s care & concern for Gerda as a human being, he restored her sense of dignity. They were married for 56 years. He died five years ago in April, & tears still well up whenever she speaks of him. Kurt & Gerda’s love story is one of my very favorites. All of us can do a great deal in our own little world by treating others the way we wish to be treated with dignity.

  2. HarperCreekHS

    Jake N, 1st Block, Adnvanced Lit. 2. One tragic event in my lifetime that showed the extraordinarily kind and generous sides of people would have to be 9/11.

  3. HarperCreekHS

    Sara, 1st Block, Advanced Lit., Events like the Holocaust can bring out the extraordinary and unexpected sides of people. In time of crisis or tragedy, individuals will be generous and unselfish. In the aftermath of 9/11, people did whatever they could do and the country united to help those in need. Lt. Klein makes me proud that he is an American. Our soldiers in Europe went in and did what was right.

  4. HarperCreekHS

    Katelyn, Advanced Literature, 1st Block
    1. An event such as the Holocaust can bring out qualities in an individual that were not seen before. If a situation occurred that put your life and the life of your loved ones in danger what qualities would be brought out in you? When Gerda Weissmann was put in the train with all the younger girls to be taken to a camp she had a fire of hope in her that she would see her family again. Her hope rubbed off on the other girls and brought them peace. Something that really touched me about Gerda that makes her an extraordinary person is her willingness to give. During the three month march the thousands of girls went on she always made it her responsibility to take care of her friends. When Isle, her best friend, became sick Gerda would rather starve then see her best friend die. How man people can honestly say that they would give up their life for another?

  5. HarperCreekHS

    Vanessa, 1st Block, Adv. Lit.,
    1.I think that any event can bring out the best (or worst) in a person. In times of need the true charter of an individual can show through. The Holocaust was one such time of need.
    2.I myself haven’t been affected by tragic event even though I have lived through a few wars.
    3.To Gerda, Lt. Kurt Klein is freedom. She tells him that the girls are Jews because she doesn’t want him to have any false illusions as to who or what they are and because the Nazi brainwashing of “Jews are worthless” has sunk into Gerda’s mind. His response is to tell her that he too is Jewish.
    4.He makes me proud because he does the right thing by saving them.
    5.Simple thing have the greatest affect on Gerda and the same goes for me.

  6. BYounglove

    from Bill Younglove, California State University Long Beach: Regarding #1 and the Power of Good: Goodness in us, I suspect, is as strange a quality as is evil. Many of the studies which have been done of many of those 21,000+ people (Gentiles) called “the righteous” have found that many of them acted with immediacy and simply because “it was the right thing to do.” In other words, their acts were not based upon some kind of deliberated or carefully weighed last minute calculus, but, moreso, were decisions of the heart, as though they had always supposed they would act that way in such a human crisis. I am amazed when I learn what so many of the rescuers risked–often their own lives, their family’s, and their property–to help people who were, at that time, adjudged to be “outside the law.” Maybe, to become “righteous,” we need to practice being so each day…

  7. HarperCreekHS

    Jenna, 1st block Advanced Lit.
    During my lifetime there has been one major tragic event that really stands out to me; September 11th. This tragedy brought out the extraordinarily kind and generous sides of many individuals. After 9/11 many Americans became more patriotic and all of a sudden started caring more about their country. It’s events like these that can really change an individual and bring out characteristics in them that have never been revealed.

  8. HarperCreekHS

    Danielle, 1st block, Advanced Literature

    When Gerda first meets Lt. Klein, she says that he is the definition of heroism to her. He was so kind and gentle to Gerda and the other girls that she felt compelled to tell him they were Jews. It was as though Gerda thought that if Lt. Klein knew they were Jewish, he wouldn’t have treated them as kindly as he did. Gerda felt like this because she and the other girls on the death march had not been treated with the slightest trace of decency in so long that kindness was the last thing she and the others expected.

  9. HarperCreekHS

    1) I truely believe that horrible events like the Holocaust can bring out extraordinary and unexpected qualities in people.
    For example Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, which was a non-violent resistence movement, fought against the Nazi Regime, because they saw that what the Nazis were doing was wrong. They moved many people with their leaflets, which they published throughout Germany, not only in Munich, where they went to college.
    With these actions they all risked their lives, but that was secondary for them.
    In the end Sophie, her brother Hans, and Christoph Probst (another member of the White Rose) were found guilty of treason; only a few hours later they were beheaded.

  10. HarperCreekHS

    Paul Adv Lit 1st block:

    1. Events such as the Holocaust are so great that it doesn’t seem unusual that it would bring out unexpected qualities in an individual. When you are talking about an event that is on that high of a scale and that unusual, people may begin to start acting weird. The events that took place during the Holocaust were sick and so unusual to a normal person that I think the Jews were so uncomfortable they began to act abnormal.

  11. HarperCreekHS

    Steven, 1st block, Advanced Lit.
    The only major event that has really impacted my life is the Iraqi conflict. This is due to the sensitive nature of the situation, I am opposed to it. Consequently, it has encouraged me to engage in politics and debate it in Congressional Debate. Furthermore, it is the primary question I engage in extemporary speaking.

  12. HarperCreekHS

    Neil, 1st block, advanced lit.

    1. Yes, I think problems can either make or break someone. If they can stand up and fight through the pressure then amazing things can happen
    2. Yes, my Grandfather has ben in the hospital for the past 5 months and other people have been helping my Mother and I with everything.’
    3. She thinks that he is her savior, and she tells him thinking that he might not help her if she was a jew. He also responds that he is a jew also.
    4. He helped out even though he was from a different country. Others might have been focused on protecting their own country.
    5. I’m sorry, but i have to say i dont remember much about the book we have already started reading another book and i have forgotten much about this book here, but i remember that the German officer let her go with the english book thing and then the pass to go see Abek’s family. Many people have helped me with my work in school and transportation before I got my license and a vehicle.

  13. […] excellent start to the blogging project, online discussion continues with posts focusing on historical relevance, life and religion, the power of good, and the power of evil. We look forward to yourcomments. […]

  14. LakeviewHS

    Katie 2nd block World at War

    1. Events such as the Holocaust allow many people to show the different sides of their personality. Anne Frank believed that “everyone is good at heart”. Many books that i have read have shown many unexpected good qualities of people. when Gerda was caught by one of th Nazi officers for having english books, the Nazi commander showed great kindness in letting her go home. The kindness that he showed was very unexpected toward Gerda.

  15. BYounglove

    from Bill Younglove, California State University Long Beach: Steven of Harper Creek, you are a man after my own heart because you have indicated that you are not ignoring politics. Anatoli Kuznetsov was about age 12 living in Kiev, the Soviet Union, when he observed the Nazi destroyed some 33,000 Jews in a very short period of time in a ravine known as Babi Yar. In his book of the same name, he says, on pages 44-45: “On the basis of my own and other people’s experiences and of experience generally, on the basis of much thinking and searching, worry and calculation, I say to you: THE PERSON WHO TODAY IGNORES POLITICS WILL REGRET IT.”
    I did not say I liked politics. I hate them. I scorn them. I do not call upon you to like them or even respect them. I am simply telling you: DON’T IGNORE THEM.” In the complete passage, he explains more about why such ignoring is so dangerous.

  16. PennfieldHS

    Charles P, German II, 2nd Block: I agree as well. I can see how in hardship and tragedy people tend to show more qualities of kindness and care for those around them.

  17. PennfieldHS

    Wilhelm Schmidt – PHS – GERMAN II

    I do believe that events like the Holocaust can bring out extraordinary qualities in people. This is almost cliche; this statement is usually true for at least some people in an event.
    People were forced to rise up during the Holocaust to preserve their culture.

    I have had traumatic events in my life, and people have shown me their generous and kind sides.

  18. PennfieldHS

    Rachel Burton- Wilhelm Schmidt is my hero- GERMAN II BABY!!

    I do think that events such as the Holocaust do bring out the good in people. Thinking of examples from my time period, when 911 occured I saw the best in people. People realize how important their lives are and how important others are in there lives. Tragic events like these always bring out the best in people.

  19. PennfieldHS

    People during the Holocaust did rise up, say that it was wrong, and fight back. Obviously, look at the Allies during WWII, especially the United States, since most that we know is what the United States did in WWII. I already described the “tragic” event in my life on a recent blog comment, so I’ll just go ahead and say that my very good friend Anna was always there for me when that was going on. She had gone through the same financial situation when her mother had cancer, so she knew exactly what I was going through, minus the cancer.
    -Branden, German 2

  20. PennfieldHS

    Jaime Probol, German II
    1. Events like the Holocaust can definitely bring out extraordinary and unexpected qualities of induviduals. People had to bond with one another and work together while at the concentration camps. Each person had to give it their all to survive, as well as helping others survive. Many people were so kind and caring, they gave up their small rations to people who really looked as if they needed the nourishment more.
    2. A tragic event has just recently occured in my life. I had dangerous and scary health problems. I never knew what would happen next. I was in fear for myself. My friends and family really showed they cared for me by always being there and helping me out. Everyone was so generous to me. My family and boyfriend were there in all of the waiting rooms and hospital visits with me, keeping me strong. My wonderful teachers even took the efforts to work with me on all of my late or missing work. My friends would always give me more hope that things would get better. I am now on the road to recovery, and I wouldn’t be doing this well without the amazing people in my life.
    4. Lt. Klein makes me proud to be an American. He went over to dangerous war zones to save helpless prisoners. What he did was really great, and it encourages me to be even more helpful to others.

  21. HarperCreekHS

    Conor, Adv Lit, 1st Block

    I think that any kind of situation as powerful as this, to anyone and everyone involved, is a perfect time and place for people’s true kindness and unexpected qualities to show. The actions that a lot of people took during the Holocaust may have very well been out of character to others, but may have been exactly what that person is inside, underneath everything else, and the series of tragic events brought that part of them out.

  22. KCC

    Phyllis,Harper Creek resident The most tragic event was Sept.11 and as Jenna said the patriotism that followed was really good. We should all remember how the country pulled together and go back to that attitude of patriotism.

  23. HarperCreekHS

    Calvin, Adv Lit, 1st Block

    I believe that devastating events such as the Holocaust can make an individual’s true qualities show. People were fighting the Holocaust during this time, and when people feel threatened and violated, they let their true feelings show.

  24. HarperCreekHS

    Zack, Harper Creek. . . .
    any kind of situation as powerful as this, to anyone and everyone involved, is a perfect time and place for people’s true kindness and unexpected qualities to show. The actions that a lot of people took during the Holocaust may have very well been out of character to others, but may have been exactly what that person is inside.

  25. PennfieldHS

    Kiley, German II, 2nd Block

    (1) Horrible events can bring out good, just as much as evil. People who are afraid and care more about their own safety, or their family’s safety are more likely to have evil acts brought out of them than someone who cares more about the people in general. Not that caring for yourself and the family is a bad thing, either. For example, the flooding of New Orleans brought out the good in people, people who went down there to help save people and some others who donated money to them.
    (2) I really haven’t had any major tragic events in my life, but I’ve seen it enough with other people to know it is there.
    (5) Small deeds make all the difference, many small deeds make up for just one big one. I believe I’ve done quite a few good deeds, such as volunteering and more little things for people.

  26. LeggMS

    The Holocaust was a horrible time. It was all the cause of one man too. Hitler caused more pain and hurt and suffering than anyone I have ever known or heard of. I can’t comprehend what life would’ve been like. Gerda Weissmann Klein survived the Holocaust and she wrote a book about it and a movie was made. She is an amazing woman to live through that over and over again. I don’t think I could have done that but I’m glad that she had the strength to tell us. If no one shared what the Holocaust was like we wouldn’t know about the horrible things those people had to go through.
    JJ Adv. English Legg Middle School

  27. LeggMS

    Sami- Legg Middle School
    8th grade- Advanced English

    Events like the Holocaust do indeed bring out unexpected characteristics in people. I think when people are going through a rough time they tend to be more open with people and are more straight forward about their opinions. When people are troubled people act differant. They might act kinder to each other or possibly more rude. For example, when a relitive dies someone you might barely know could show up to their funeral to show that they support you and treat you with extreme kindness because they feel sorry for you. Lt. Klien was a supreme example of this. He wanted to help Gerda and the rest of the girls she was with. This makes me proud that he is an American. He is representing us as kind people, and that’s GREAT! Before I leave I would just like to say, speciffically to Gerda herself, that your will power to press on in life after all the tragic events you have endured is absolutly amazing! It inspires me to keep going in life when I feel like I have nothing to live for. I couldn’t imagine going through what you have been through; losing everything and everyone I loved and not ever knowing what was going to happen to me next. It must have been extremly frightening.

  28. LeggMS

    Kaity Adv. English
    I think tragic events bring out more good in people than evil. People are no longer concerned with the petty differences, they are focused on survival. Also, if you lose almost everything, it make the things you have left seem more valuable. I am not saying that bad things should happen, but I do believe that it is within the human nature to unite with each other in a time of crisis.

  29. PennfieldHS

    jaime,German II
    I really like Bill Younglove’s first opinion on the power of good, and how we can all show it. You actually have to try to be a good person is what I got from it, and I completely agree.

  30. LeggMS

    Molly B. Adv. English

    Experiencing a life threatning event can bring out the most unexpected qualities, good or bad. When thousands of people around you are dieing and being abused everyday you can become angry, sad or have a sudden desire to help people. People dont care anymore about skin color or religion they just want to live. Although things such as the Holocaust are tradgic they can create better understanding of human nature. Someday hopefully something such as tradgic as the Holocaust will not have to happen for humans to understand equality. If you are not racist you will not be the cause of something so terrible and hurtful.