Jewish or non-Jewish, being a victim of the Holocaust did not always imply a sense of innocence. In other words, simply being a victim, did not free one from complicity. During this time, people were forced to make decisions that people should never have to make. Complicity during the Holocaust, is a problematic issue to address. It is important to remember that a modern perspective can never judge the actions of those who made what one might view as abhorrent decisions, in order to ensure their or their own family's survival. For all, survival was the ultimate goal and people did absolutely anything to stay alive. The decisions faced by many, stretched the limits of what these people thought they were capable of, or of what human being were capable of. This difficult question of complicity of victims blurs the line between victim and perpetrator. Do victims transcend from victims to perpetrators once they become complicit?
[...] There is something here so reminiscent of Hannah Arendt's Banality of Evil in which she relays the way in which Adolf Eichmann's mere paper filing caused the murder of millions. The fact that Leo L.'s actions are reminiscent of Eichmann himself, automatically exacerbates the complicity of his crimes. In a very loaded sentence, Rawicz writes that was through the efforts of our own constabulary that word became flesh, and flesh-smoke” (Rawicz 22). First of all, it is interesting that Rawicz chose to use in describing the constabulary, when he could have simply used In using he partially implicates himself in these acts as well. [...]
[...] As Borowski creates this link between the narrator and the SS men, the narrator shows his complicity, especially in the first half of the novel. The dehumanization of the most innocent of characters appears possibly even more disturbingly in Blood from the Sky. In what is doubtless the most graphic and upsetting scene of the entire novel, Rawicz demonstrates the way in which Boris feels complicit. This is the scene in which the Nazi lieutenant cuts the young boy's tongue out and gouges out the “gemlike” eyes of the young girl. [...]
[...] The reader knows that, at least in the beginning of the novel, the narrator has little respect or understanding for the Jewish victims, other than the fact that he acknowledges that their suffering is immensely worse than his own. It is almost as if he blames the Jews for what is happening to him. To him, without the Jews, he would not be in this camp and there would be no gas chamber. This is even more obvious when he writes about the rabbi who sleeps below him in the barracks who annoys the narrator by wailing his prayers and “monotonously” (Borowski 32). [...]
[...] Raul Hilberg gives an excellent description of what it was probably like to be Leo The Jewish leaders were in the cauldron themselves. They too were victims. How, in these circumstances, did they judge their own positions? . They did not think that they enjoyed undeserved privileges, even though they were aware that they ate better and were housed more spaciously than most other Jews. They believed their service was an obligation, and they were convinced with absolute certainty that they carried the entire burden of caring for the Jewish population (Hilberg 116). [...]
[...] Rawicz seems to share some of this guilt in the mere fact that he survived and his inability to act in crucial circumstances, which perhaps points to the broader sense of guilt felt by many Jewish survivors who were the only one of their families to emerge from the smoke of the Holocaust. He also makes important reference to the complicity of the Judenrate in his discussion of Leo L. One way in which both authors convey the complicity of respective victims is by manifesting the way in which they begin to dehumanize their fellow victims around them with casual language. [...]
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