During task didn’t think about that too

During the Holocaust there was so much death and tragedy. In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe was over nine million. By 1945, the Nazi’s and their followers had killed almost two thirds of all European Jews through implementing  the “Final Solution.” In all this darkness there were little sparks of light: the people that made efforts to try and help the Jews that were being hunted. Some rescuers saved hundreds of Jews and some rescuers saved only a few. After the Holocaust many people started looking into the sociology of these rescuers. Sociology is the study of the development, collective behavior, and interaction of organized groups of human beings. Rescuers are often thought of as strong, brave, and adventurous but sociological studies show that the reality for Holocaust rescuers was unexpectedly different. The actual act of rescuing was very dangerous but the people that decided to take on this task didn’t think about that too much or how it would affect them personally. Their main concern was that someone’s life was in trouble and they could help (“Choosing to Rescue”).When a family took in a child in need it was an adjusting experience to get used to the new ways they had to go about their life. Some families found it more difficult than others, especially when one of the people in the family did not support the decision to take in the new “member” of the family. If this situation did occur, it created an uncomfortable atmosphere for the whole household. Creating new routines and ways of living revolving around the new child or person was often difficult to get used to. Spouses gave up their privacy and children often found that they had to share sleeping arrangements with strangers that they were now supposed to call their brother, sister, aunt, uncle, etc. Rivalry among “siblings” was a common situation that developed. Some rescuers found that the stress and danger that came with keeping a Jew was overwhelming at times. A Dutch rescuer spoke about a time when German soldiers arrested a 16-year-old Dutch girl for saying “hello” to a member of the Nazi resistance in their custody; she was then sent to a concentration camp and was killed an hour later for “insolence.” She was murdered simply for being friendly, an example of how the consequences of being caught were crystal clear to others in the community (“Choosing to Rescue”). Harboring Jews was a very risky situation and people who decided to do it often didn’t think about it; instead, it was usually an impulsive response to an urgent situation or plea. Sociologists grant this to being an integrated person, meaning there was very little to think over when it came down to being asked to help save an innocent life. Nechama Tec was a Holocaust survivor and went on afterwards to research the sociology of the people that rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Tec corrects the distorted view that Jews were passive victims of Nazi persecution and demonstrates that Jewish altruism, courage, and resistance helped save Jews’ lives in addition to their “rescuer” allies (Fogelman). She was also known for her important work, Resilience and Courage: Women, and Men, and the Holocaust, which tackles the complex issue of gender in the Holocaust, using hundreds of first-person accounts to depict the different experiences of women and men during World War II. Tec’s mission was to address and make known the inaccuracies surrounding the Holocaust and to bring light to untold tales of rescue, which encaptures the goal of her work (Fogelman). Tec is a very important part of the Holocaust studies because she brings the training of a sociologist and the background and first hand information as a survivor. Her studies about Jewish and Christian rescuers during WWII have brought a new level to the understanding of Heroism in the Holocaust. Nechama Tec’s interest in rescue and resistance stemmed from her own experiences as a hidden child in German-occupied Europe. Tec was born in Lublin, Poland, in 1931 to Roman Bawnik, a businessman, and Esther Bawnik. Nechama lived three years during World War II under her Christian identity (Sheramy). With the help from other Catholic Poles, her sister and parents also managed to survive the war by hiding in homes and avoiding German detection. In 1975 Tec was reminded about her memories from the war and she was inspired to write her memoir on the Holocaust. The result was Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood (1982), a story about her life in Poland from 1939-1945. This book represents a turning point in Tec’s life and career. While recalling her memories from the Holocaust she came to think about her Christian family and how they endangered their lives for her. This got her thinking about rescue and survival and questioning “why did certain Christian Poles help save Jews and what were the experiences of other Jews who, through passing and hiding survived?”(“Choosing to Rescue”). Tec’s next book, When Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland (1986), is a systematic exploration of just that. It was about the backgrounds of rescuers and survivors and how that affected their life choices. She also goes into a the possible motives of the gentile rescuers to dig up why they decided to put their lives in danger for others. Tec doesn’t agree that rescuers are rescuers purely because of their “class, friendship patterns, or political or religious affiliation” (Sheramy). She more believes that the personality characteristics that each person happens to hold contributes to whether they are rescuers or not. These include, independence, continuous generosity, and belief in equality. They also didn’t blend into their communities and don’t over think their choices, especially when it comes to saving a life. Most importantly they didn’t get caught up in the anti-jew propaganda that was going around.  (“Characteristics of Rescuers”). What Tec doesn’t fully agree with but many sociologists find is that the early life of a child really determines whether or no they will be rescuers or followers. What they are exposed to as children might define them for the rest of their life and shape their values and beliefs (Fogelman). Based on situations the person has been through, where the family is from, personalities they have been surrounded by, and the location they lived in Germany or other Nazi-invaded countries people developed to believe certain things. If the family is from somewhere where violence is high maybe they taught their children to be extra cautious making them put their own safety above others or vice versa. If the parents were very caring and sweet raising a child that might give the child might grow up with a strong sense of empathy (“Characteristics of Rescuers”). If the person lived in the outskirts of Germany or other Nazi-invaded countries then maybe Nazi propaganda didn’t affect them as much as it did the main part of the country. There are so many contributing factors to the personality traits that make rescuers they way they are. Out of 700 million people in Germany and other ally countries, only a couple thousand found the courage and bravery to help those in need; the rest remained bystanders and indirectly helped kill millions of Jews. Social psychologists, Bibb Latane’ and John Darley, invented a five stage process that lets bystanders determine whether or not something is going wrong and if they need to step in. It’s applicable to whether or not to initiate a rescuing act as well. Step 1 of this 5 step process is to notice when something is going wrong. The second step is to then interpret if the person or people in the situation need help. Next, ask the person possibly in need of assistance if they need help. Proceed to devise a plan to help them, and lastly help them. Latan? and Darley’s first two stages,noticing and interpreting, are what sociologists refer to as awareness. Being a rescuer includes having a strong ability to be aware of danger and how to avoid it. Once the decision to help had been reached and the rescue had begun, “a different self, a rescuer, emerged to do what had to be done” (Oliner).Sociologist Robert Wuthnow emphasized the importance of a language for motivation: “We must have a language that allows us to explain to ourselves and others why we are doing what we do”. Being able to backup why someone does something is really important in this world and society, having access to language that lets people fully describe their reasoning is essential. Sociologists have said that this is just as important as having a sense of self (Choosing to rescue). How rescuers describe their motives is varied from person to person. Some rescuers were motivated by ideological, moral, or professional reasons. Others had an unpopular respect or admiration for Jewish people. Some sociologists found that a few rescuers secretly took pride in their ability to maintain moral integrity, ideological beliefs, professional standards, or humane relationships. They took pride in their social and mental skills that are seen today as common sense; It’s interesting to see how things change.Rescuers are deeply empathetic. Sociologists found that  empathy and charitable behavior were closely linked—helpers simply could not stand by and see others suffer (Fogelman). It took a determined effort to discover the truth and to be aware. Those who became rescuers made that effort. Bystanders that became rescuers had a very strong sense of empathy  that they hold on to. Bystanders that didn’t make this transformation weren’t raised with a strong sense of empathy and were easily brainwashed by Nazi propaganda (“Characteristics of Rescuers”). A psychologist Daniel Goleman’s theory of “psychic obtuseness” was about how people notice certain things and block out others, especially those matters that cause anxiety or pain, are kept from consciousness. He suggests that some of the people were so affected by the Nazi’s terrorizing the country that it made them subconsciously block out the horrors that were happening in the camps.  “We crop our mental picture”, says Goleman, and by doing this, they ignore clues that indicate that things are not right. Rescuers that were asked to think about the situation this way said that they wouldn’t be able to live with themselves if they had to ignore a clear cry for help (Oliner).In an interview for a book called Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust by Gay Block and Malka Drucker, Johannes DeVries, tells his story. When he was growing up his family had very few rules for him. They were told to not lie, steal, or kill and to help the children and elderly. He says that other than that, he was free to do whatever he wanted. He and his family lived in the country part of Germany like many Rescuers did, according to Nechama Tec, where they were not fully impacted by the Nazi propaganda. He married when he was 17 and soon after had two kids with his wife Janke; then they noticed that Jews were starting to be transported from Germany to Holland. In 1940 a bomb was dropped on Rotterdam, a city in South Holland, which lead to many children without homes. Johannes and his wife took in one of the children that was now homeless. After the first child found a permanent home the DeVrie’s were approached by a woman who asked them to take in another child this time, a Jewish child. After the couple discussed this, they decided that it would be immoral of them to close their door on a person in need of protection. Johannes reasoned by saying, “When you would close the door on someone like that and you heard later that he was destroyed, how would you feel the rest of your life? I think I would be destroyed myself” (Rescuers). This is very similar to what different sociologists found in rescuers, they just feel the obligation to help these people in danger, knowing how guilty they would feel if they didn’t. The couple treated the child like their own and grew to love him. They were very glad that they took him in because he had asthma and still wet the bed, and another family might have given him back because of that. One of the couple’s biological children treated him like a sibling and felt empathetic; when he cried Greta, their daughter, cried as well. They even took in the boy’s sister when they found out that her family wanted to give her up because they were too scared to keep her. They took her in because they thought if they were going to get shot for keeping one child they might as well take in another. Their consequences weren’t going to get worse the more children they kept. This is also how most rescuers thought about rescuing: after they started there was no reason to stop (“Choosing to Rescue”). After this they kept housing Jewish children, sometimes for a couple of days and sometimes for a couple of months. They Protected about 15 children throughout the Nazi period. What helped them through this was that they had a friend in the police and he would let them know when there were going to be raids. Right before a raid, they hid the kids under the floorboards. Their dedication to help these people in need is inspiring.Marion Pritchard was a gentile that was appalled and shocked when she watched Nazi soldiers ransack a home in search of Jewish Children in Amsterdam and then throw them into a truck for deportation. Seeing this event inspired her to step out of her comfortable and safe life to start rescuing Jews. In a lecture in 1996 at the University of Michigan, where she received the Wallenberg Medal, she said, “By 1945, I had lied, stolen, cheated, deceived and even killed,” Pritchard had been influenced by her father, a judge, with a strong sense of outrage about the injustices perpetrated against the Jews and her kind and courageous mother. She recalled that one day when she was riding her bike to class she witnessed Nazi’s in the children’s home “picking up the kids by an arm or a leg or by the hair” and flinging the children into a truck. “Well, I stopped my bike and looked,” she said in an oral history recorded in 1984 by the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. “Two other women coming down on the street got so furious, they attacked the German soldiers, and they just picked the women up and threw them in the truck after the kids” (Sandomir) In this moment she knew that rescuing was more important than anything to her. In 1942 she was asked to house a 2- year-old boy Jewish boy by her boss at work. Even with knowing the risks that she would be taking by caring for this child she brought him to her parents house until she found a better location. After that, she moved in with a Jewish Family that had three kids helping their father, Fred Polak, while he was at work. They passed as a gentile family with her help. The neighbors knew what was happening but they were also rescuers. In her time staying with this family they were given away to the police and an officer broke into their house looking for Jews late at night. Marion, knowing there was no way out of this situation, she shot the police officer with her emergency revolver. She has never forgotten that night and the Policeman still haunts her, but she did what needed to be done. She stayed with that family until the end of the war while helping to find homes for other Jewish families. At the end of the war 110,000 Jews were killed she saved 125 families that would’ve been included in that number otherwise(Burns). Her story clearly shows that she was raised to have the qualities of a rescuer that Nechama Tec and others discovered, the independence, obligation to do the right thing, etc.Rescuers can be seen to be “born” and “raised.” They had certain innate qualities like independence and empathy, and they were taught a moral code that valued all human rights, which they took deeply to heart. Rescuers were not fools or suicidal. They didn’t offer assistance unless they thought there was a large probability that it would be successful and effective. They were forced to trust that they knew what they were doing and that they had the capacity to keep another human being safe. With little time for a full assessment of the situation, there was no time to think twice. It is clear that without these amazing people that risked their own lives and the lives of their families, so many more Jews would have been slaughtered. By recognizing and celebrating what they stood for, we can draw inspiration and put into practice ideas about how to encourage the same qualities in ourselves and our children so that the horrific abuses of the Nazi regime are never again made possible.