The Holocaust: A Third Generation's View This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Many people wonder about the atrocities of war. We are taught about them in history where the Western nations are portrayed as noble victors. But what are the real pictures of war? The ones that are left with those who had to live their lives constantly in fear, praying that their dear beloved would not be shot or taken away? Only they can know. Though it is very important to remind our generation that these inhumane events can occur, it is difficult to relate these evils to our relatively carefree lives. What we, as the future of the world, must do is to learn from society's mistakes and prevent such bloodshed from occurring again, though this may be easier said than done - with Sarajevo in our midst. We must remember our roots, which all come from one stem, and stop the Hitlers of the world who want to divide us. This may sound idealistic, but it is from idealistic thoughts that compromises are made.

I am a descendant of Eastern European Jews who, at the mercy of Hitler, were ruthlessly slaughtered. Though more than half my family perished in the gas chambers of Dachau, I can only empathize because I never experienced any such event in my lifetime. Though we hear of the horrors that occur around the world, these events are just scenes on the news, since we do not personally know those people killed. Such is the way with the Holocaust for the third generation. Though I mourn those who died, I cannot truly feel the sorrow and pain that my grandparents feel because I did not know them. However, I can still feel the horror of their plight by hearing stories from those who survived. By reminiscing, the faces of relatives in family albums can now have lives to go with them.

At first Jews were just tormented and hassled in the streets by people they once called friend. As Hitler's popularity grew stronger, the Germans who once envied successful Jewish businessmen now had the power to take over their businesses and be successful themselves. Jews were relocated to ghettos where living conditions were not fit for animals. Yet the Jewish people refused to believe their homeland could betray them in such a horrible way. Many never made it to the gas chambers, dying instead of malnutrition or disease. In the camps, people were forced to work until they had not an ounce of strength left in them. It was only then that they were killed. The Nazis did not even view the Jews as people, but as animals with ape-like complexions. They had no mercy for their prisoners because as they became more and more drunk with power, they lost their ability to focus on what was right and what was wrong, only wanting to please their FPIhrer.

Germans throughout the Allied countries were viewed as evil and immoral, a stereotype that was sometimes disproved. Oskar Schindler, for example, was a wealthy German businessman who used an armament factory as a cover-up for keeping Jews alive. Though he was a member of the Nazi Party, he disagreed with Hitler's ideology. In his view, randomly killing innocent people because of their religion did not serve a purpose, since these people were helping Germany prosper and become a wealthy nation.

There are people who doubt that such a holocaust ever took place. It is possible for uncertainty to arise because as its witnesses die, proof becomes available only through documentation and not by word of mouth. As more and more of these "doubters" appear, another attempt at genocide will become more realistic. If anyone could somehow believe that the Holocaust never occurred, the concentration camps (as well as the documented Nuremberg trials) are physical proof of the inhumanity.

Though my generation can never conceive of an event like the Holocaust of World War II ever happening, the event is too fresh in history to be taken lightly. Although we can learn about it in textbooks, we will never feel the true depths of the European genocide until we experience one in our own time and closer to home. I hope, however, that such an event will never happen because I do not think that the Jewish population could survive another round of extermination. Even though I am not an Orthodox Jew, I appreciate my religion and the time period I live in. I am grateful for the freedom I possess to practice Judaism without fear for my life. My deepest desire is to keep the Israeli state alive so Jewish people will have a place to go in case Adolf Hitler's soul rises in another. *

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 12:56 pm
i love this so much!
greatexcpects:) said...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 9:28 pm
i love learning about the holocaust!very good job!:)
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