The Holocaust has been romanticized in different ways. This has potentially endangered the legacy of what occurred to the millions that died during the Holocaust. The “White Rose” is a movement founded by individuals who were anti-Nazi genocidal policies. This type of movement greatly affects the perception that an individual may have towards what occurred during the Holocaust, because it lessens the tragedies’ horrific aftermaths. The intent, of course, most likely is not to make light of the disaster. But it does create a storyline, which derives the attention from what was important to remember – millions of Jews, those with physical/mental disabilities, Roma’s… were tortured and killed.
When we memorialize those who fought back, we give them a heroic label and we essentially romanticize the story they fought back for. It becomes about what they gave up as individuals. So, it is more about the battle than the actual war. I do not believe we should ignore the sacrifices. However, it does direct the attention to a group of students being killed from the big picture – a mass killing of an entire population.
We run the risk of predicting what we would do, because we cannot say for certain unless it actually happens. These individuals had to think of their families – daughters, brothers, parents, before rebelling against the Nazis. The primary factor might have been hope. If you have hope that you can make it out, instead of rebelling and getting murdered on the spot – then it’s hard to say that I’d choose to die on the spot. There would need to be a group of individuals willing to risk it all before a single individual can have the courage to give up their lives or the life of a loved one instantly. This is why genocides happen. Because it is hard to sacrifice it all when your loved one and fear is on the line.
“Not my backyard, not my problem” is such a dilemma when it comes to how individuals function naturally. The picture below is a quote that reads: “First they came for the socialist, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak to me.” I took this picture at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – I was inspired to visit it a few weeks ago after my Holocaust/Genocide Studies course. This was deep and authentically real. Individuals look the other way, until it directly affects them.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Photo by Luz Diaz.
Luz Diaz is currently a student in the Graduate Program in International Studies. She loves to spend time with her loved ones, travel and taste delicious food (usually ethnic food). After graduating, Luz aspires to dedicate her time assisting refugees and migrants. She has been involved in research/fieldwork in refugee crises in Greece and South America. Her passion for inclusivity and cultural awareness has lead her to immerse herself in what she truly loves.