The Blindness Of The Jews – They could not understand Nazi Motivation

In Elie Wiesel’s autobiography: (All Rivers Run To The Sea, published by Alfred Knopf, NY in 1995) he tells how his Hungarian Jewish village ignored the warnings of impending doom at the hands of the Nazis. News of massacres in Poland filtered through to the village. "And that should have been enough to awaken us." He described how more than a thousand "foreign" Jews – those unable to document their Hungarian citizenship, were expelled to Nazi occupied territory in Poland, where they were promptly killed. Only one survived, Moshe the synagogue beadle. He came back and he told a hair-raising story. Those expelled had been slaughtered and buried naked in ditches…He talked on and on about the brutality of the killers, the agony of dying children, and the death of old people, but no one believed him. The Germans are human beings, people said, even if the Nazis aren’t. The more convincing Moshe the beadle tried to be, the less seriously he was taken. He has suffered too much, people said, so much that he doesn’t know what he’s saying. Then he would lose his temper. "Listen to me!" he would shout. "I’m telling the truth, I swear it!…If I’m lying, how come I’m alone? Where is my wife and our children? What about the others, your former neighbors? Where are they? I’m telling you, they killed them. If you don’t believe me, you’re crazy." Poor guy, everyone said, Raving mad.

Then the Germans occupied the village. For a few days, nothing happened. It was the Jewish Passover holiday, and the Weisel family looked for a guest for their Passover Seder. They had trouble finding anyone until they found Moshe the beadle. Elie noticed their guest’s smile at the dinner table seemed half ironic, half desperate. As they uttered the Passover prayers, the guest started laughing a joyless laugh. In the middle of the meal, he said "I thank you for inviting me. Everyone else forgot me. They’re afraid of me. You alone were not afraid. So I have a present for you. I would like to tell you what is in store for you. I owe you that." "Not now", said Elie’s father. "Your stories are sad, and the law forbids sadness on the night of Passover." At the end of the meal, Moshe exited the door and disappeared.

One reason Weisel gives for the Jews not being as suspicious of the Germans as they could have been was that in World War I German troops had also been in the area, and had behaved. Still, in many cases there were warnings, and the warnings were unheeded.

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