Dietrich Bonhoeffer Response to the Evil of the Holocaust Holocaust is from the Greek word holos which meant, “completely” and kaustos meaning to, “burnt”, the term generally refers to the execution of nine to eleven million people during the 1940s (World War II Era) by Hitlers Nazis. Approximately seven million of these people are Jews that the horrendous act is sometimes referred to as genocide of the Jewish nation. Since the outbreak of World War II, the persecutions of Jews were accomplished several stages and different methods. Persecution could be by detention in concentration camps which often lead to to the enslavement and forced-labor until the detainees die; by mass exterminations by way of shooting, by gas chamber, burning, torture and any other inhuman ways the Nazis can think of. The journey alone to the different concentration camps is dreadful to kill people even before they reach their destinations and did die along the way. In Auschwitz, the Nazis experiments utilized human beings as specimen for their scientific experiments which are oftentimes brutal and fatal for the Jews. The holocaust will be the background that will be use to present certain whats and whys of Bonhoeffers reactions, counteractions and endeavor to thwart Hitler and his Nazis atrocities particularly against the Jews.
This paper will explore all aspects and grounds behind Bonhoeffer and his groups decision to make a stand and say NO to Hitler’s policies of Jewish extermination (even amidst their own possible execution) while so may others did nothing but either watch or cower rather than stand up. Bonhoeffers response to the mayhem and havoc brought about by Hitlers policies and the eventual consequences to his life and the life of those people around him will also be covered by the paper. It is paramount that a rationale be established in order to understand why Bonhoeffer responded the way he did. The exploratory study will focus on three perspectives: his religious and philosophical beliefs as well as the possible ‘psychological’ basis that may have influenced him. Two major characters will be presented in light of their works and involvement in the World War II activities of the Nazi; the options and decisions they have made with and in their lives as well as the works they realized that shaped the history of World War II. These two men are: Adolf Hitler and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, both very important and central to the forestalling and attempts to thwart over and above the unfolding of atrocities against the Jewish people.
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They are both historically significant personages in the annals of the holocaust. Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler was born 20 April 1889, the fourth child of six, his father, Alois Hitler, a customs official. His mother, Klara Polzl, is Alois’ third wife, the family name Hitler was originally Hiedler which was probable change by a clerk into Hitler similar to the German word Hittler which connotes “one who lives in a hut” or a “shepherd” (Gassert).
Hitlers young life has been a very difficult one. It was reported that he was often physically harmed by his domineering father. Young Adolf lost his father when he was just about thirteen years old and four years later, his mother also succumbed to an early death.
The young Hitler was a fairly good student when he was young but his first year of high school was not the same story; he had to repeat the whole grade. It seems that even with his big dreams of becoming an artist; he does not have the compulsion to do things seriously so he can achieve his goals. His teachers, in fact, observed that he had “no desire to work (Madden, 1998).
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One of Hitler’s fellow pupils in the Realschule was Ludwig Wittgenstein, a Jew, one of the great philosophers of the 20th century. A certain book by Cornish insinuates that his conflict with some Jewish students, including Wittgenstein, during his school years was a vital role in Hitler’s transformation as an anti-Semite included in this might be the influence of Karl Lueger who convinced him that Jews are the incarnate of evil (Epstein).
During the First World War he volunteered with the German Army, awarded with Iron Cross twice but never rises from the rank of corporal in spite of the awards, he had developed a shell-shock and was brought-in in a military hospital.
He was able to recuperate and returned to Munich, he became involved in politics then joins the German Workers Party where due to his oratorical excellence made him in charge of the propaganda. It is through him that the emblem of swastika was adopted and changed its name into National Socialist Party or Nazi, its platform calls for the expulsion of Jews from Germany whom he believed to be responsible for Germanys defeat in World War I. He also blamed the Jews of the economic downfall of Germany making the marks so low against the dollar. He was arrested for attempting to overturn the government in Munich, he was charged with treason and sentenced to 5 years where he wrote his Mein Kampf meaning my struggle calling for the superiority of the Aryan race and emphasizing the menace of the Jew (Davidson).
He was release in 1924 and he became the leader of the Nazi party, his Anti-Semite propagandas thrived through his charismatic oratory, emphasizing above all nationalism and the rise of the German race. As it grows strong, it made several arrests and murders of their political opponents whod gone against their ways. He was able to restructure the economy and armed the military where his dictatorial and fascist character has started to evolved.
He became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and in 1934 he was ca.