Choose ONE of the writing prompts below. Keep in mind that this is a reflective essay. There is not a right or wrong answer, but there are good and bad essays. Tell us about what you are reflecting on, and then offer us your reflections on the learning experience.
At which point after 1938 could the German people/leadership have shifted course away from the mass murder of Jews? And what would that decision/action have been? In other words, what was a post-1938 lost opportunity that was not taken that could have prevented the Holocaust? Why are you choosing that turning point instead of other possible turning points?
Write a first-person account of your life as a Jew in the period described in Chapters 6 to 11. Think about your age, gender, family, friends, work, religious attitudes, political attitudes, plans, hopes, fears, and anything else that you think is important. Create a vivid portrait that covers 1938-1945 and incorporates both emotion and historical detail.
How do you assess the moral culpability of those average people, whether they were government/military personnel or civilians, who looted, assaulted, oppressed, and/or murdered Jews? How at fault are they for going along with things or “just carrying out orders,” whether in ghettos, einsatzgruppen, or death camps? What does that mean for your understanding of the human condition?
Revisit the movie Schindler’s List. Why did he do what he did while many more people failed to act to save more Jews? Or, to put it another way, why were Germans nearly able to accomplish their gruesome goal of the Holocaust despite living in a modern, western, mostly Christian nation of seemingly normal, caring people?