Week 9 Holocaust Responce

All students are required to respond to other student posts each week The goal here is to ENGAGE in respectful dialogue – be supportive of each other, even as you are critical of each other’s ideas.

Gabe:

Read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, Foreword and Preface

1) In a single sentence IN YOUR OWN WORDS (IYOW), describe the main argument of the Foreword and Preface re: the importance of Frankl’s book.

What is described in the foreword is the importance of the book and in the preface, both why it was successful and why Frankl did not go to America when given the chance.

2) Provide THREE specific pieces of evidence provided to support this thesis. Use 2-3 sentences for EACH and feel free to number them.

“There’s a clarity to his analysis of how prisoners felt in this most dehumanizing of experiences that is both surprising in its lack of bitterness and illuminating in its lucidity: The feelings of shock, dismay, and fear that victims felt having been pulled from their homes and brought to unfamiliar and frightening places. The cycle that the mind must have gone through as it adjusted to living within the electrified fences of death. The basic human urge that must have forced a person to do all he or she could simply to stay alive. And then the effect on the devastated psyche for those victims who survived the experience and found themselves liberated into a changed world, who would take decades to come to terms with the things that had taken place,” (Frankl, xi). This work is important because it forces the reader to really dwell on the experences of those who lived through the Holocaust. It also makes us wonder how those victims felt all these years.

“Whereupon I react by reporting that in the first place I do not at all see in the bestseller status of my book an achievement and accomplishment on my part but rather an expression of the misery of our time: if hundreds of thousands of people reach out for a book whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life, it must be a question that burns under their fingernails,” (Frankl, xv). This work was successful according to him because of the title and the problems it deals with. It is a question or wonder of how many how others deal with such tough problems as surviving the Holocaust.

“It was then that I noticed a piece of marble lying on a table at home. When I asked my father about it, he explained that he had found it on the site where the National Socialists had burned down the largest Viennese synagogue. He had taken the piece home because it was a part of the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. One gilded Hebrew letter was engraved on the piece; my father explained that this letter stood for one of the Commandments. Eagerly I asked, “Which one is it?” He answered, “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land.” At that moment I decided to stay with my father and my mother upon the land, and to let the American visa lapse,” (Frankl, xviii). He did not leave for America when given the chance to avoid the Holocaust out of respect for his parents. The fourth commandment bears on his conscience and makes it a duty to honor his parents, pushing him to stay.

I wonder if you would have done the same in his given situation?

Jessica: 

1) In a single sentence IN YOUR OWN WORDS (IYOW), describe the main argument of the Foreword and Preface re: the importance of Frankl’s book.

Life has meaning, and life is worth living to find that meaning, and achieve it.

2) Provide THREE specific pieces of evidence provided to support this thesis. Use 2-3 sentences for EACH and feel free to number them.

“Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life” (page X). This sentence, written by Harold S. Kushner, is taken out of the foreword, and explains one of the key ideas of the book, and the author’s life.

“I have known successful businessmen who, upon retirement, lost all zest for life” (page XI). This is an example of someone who’s work gave their lives meaning. Kushner goes on to explain that he has seen people endure terrible hardships, as long as they believed there was a point to the suffering.

“I had wanted simply to convey to the reader by way of a concrete example that life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable ones” (page XIV). Victor E. Frankl describes how even through the worst moments, there is still a meaning in life.

Revelations:

There was a certain number of prisoners that had to go with each transport out of the camps.

Germany’s racial laws identified anyone that had 3 or more Jewish grandparents as Jewish.

LGBTQ+ culture was flourishing in Germany, until the Nazis came to power.

Question: Do you think life has one large meaning, or is it many small meanings that contribute to life?