Rethinking Perpetrators, Bystanders and Rescuers: The case of Max Schmeling
STUDENT WORK SAMPLES
Here are some representative journal entries from students. These two students chose to comment on being a bystander and a rescuer and then considered these concepts in their own lives.
Evil things grow and get bigger because of bystanders. Because people sit there being silent while others hardly different, if different at all, from themselves are being persecuted and destroyed. Bystanders aren’t bad people. They’re good people; it’s just that they might as well persecute people themselves because they do nothing or are silent.
When I notice something wrong and don’t agree with it, I rarely act on it. I have stood up for my views and opinions if someone offends me or others, but I will admit to being a bystander. I want to defend people as a whole. For example, if someone makes a racist joke, I want to be able to voice or act on my opinion and defend that minority. When it comes down to it, I should also try to stop caring about what people think or how they see me.
I realize how truly considerate the people of Le Chambon, France (most of this village of religious Christians helped rescue Jews throughout the war) really were. They might be modest about their actions, but they saved many lives. If everyone would have thought the same as these citizens, then many more Jews from the Holocaust would still be alive. Even though they never outwardly stood up to the Nazis, they realized how terrible the Holocaust was and did what they could to save lives. I always beat myself up when I don’t do something I should have. Although some people have a conscience that tells them to do something, only the truly decent people take action against something that terrible and inhumane.