They Were People Too

Without a doubt, one of humanity’s darkest times were those of the Holocaust. There was mass-murder; men, women, and even children were killed, their bodies piled up on top of one another. For what reason? Did these people commit atrocities so great that even their children had to be killed to atone for their sins? No. Was it because they were criminals, sentenced to death? No. Did these people rebel in any way, shape or form, against higher authorities? No. Their only crime, their only flaw, was that they were born Jewish. Nothing else. They worked hard. They cried, loved, fought, befriended, and laughed. They had successes. They had failures. They had families.

They were people too.

The person who is responsible for the mass-murder of these PEOPLE is none other than Adolf Hitler, who was the leader of Germany, as well as the one who started the holocaust. The reasons he had ordered such an atrocious act is nigh impossible to understand, although it is known that he did not consider the Jews actual PEOPLE. They were considered to be lower than insects, killed whenever they were seen as a nuisance. They were forced to work, which was the only way for the Jews to live at the concentration camps. They were given little food, little rest, little comfort. Their lives were made into a Hell, all because of a deep hatred. This hatred is shown in many of the novels released about the Holocaust, as you see the terrible acts the SS soldiers carry-out against the Jews, and some of these acts are just so terrible that you have a hard time believing them to be true; however, regardless of all that, the Nazis were also human. They had families that they would return home to. They were capable of enjoying their lives, of showing human traits (although the darkest of human traits). They were capable of loving someone.

They were people too.

We have studied quite a number of texts about the Holocaust, such as Night, by Elie Wiesel, “Life is Beautiful”, by Roberto Benigni, an excerpt on An Epilogue: The Next War, by Gustave Gilbert, among others. These texts present different perspectives on different situations; however, in all of the texts, the people we feel sadness for, is the Jews, and for me, the people whom I dislike, and see as “Pure Evil”, would be the Nazis. In every single text. One of these texts is even written by a German journalist. If we can see these acts as being so monstrous, then why couldn’t the Nazis? Weren’t they like us, like the Jews at that time, people, born into this world? What made them so different? How did they not see what they were doing to the Jews? How is it possible for one human to slaughter other humans, without showing the slightest feeling of remorse?

After all, they were people too.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

-Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (by Harper Lee)

We could try to look at everything from the Nazis point of view to understand them, but even when I do, I can’t seem to hold onto any reason to hate the Jews. I can’t find any reason to kill their children, even after researching on the history Jews and contemplating about what the Jews have done, I can’t. It goes the same way for the Jews; although it is much easier to find motivation behind the action of the Jews, there’s not really a reason as to WHY. Why did some Jews choose to accept their death, without fighting back? I believe it to be resiliency against the Nazis, but that may not have been what they were thinking. They may have been thinking of accepting their deaths, or of showing strength in front of their children. We’ll never know. Which just shows the impossibility of trying to understand someone else. When Atticus Finch says “…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”, I feel that Atticus Finch is trying to tell us how it is impossible to completely understand another person, no matter how close. It’s impossible to climb inside of another person’s skin and walk around in it, and that’s why I think Atticus Finch used that example. We will never be able to completely understand even our most closest friends, brothers, sisters, or parents, much less the Jews and the Nazis.

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.

-George Bernard Shaw

The Nazi’s could not have thought less of the Jews; they were even lower than the smallest of insects. The Nazi’s were the most superior race, every other race being inferior to them, but the Jews race could not have been allowed to live on. So the Nazis resorted to murdering them. Their men, their women, their elderly, their children. All of the Jews. The execution methods were not peaceful either. Mass-murder was committed through gas-chambers, firing squads, or even slowly through starvation. It was all a matter of utmost superiority, and extreme inferiority in the minds of the Nazis. We cannot do the same in this generation. We have to be able to look at each other, thinking, “I am not greater than you, and you are not greater than me. We are equal.”, rather than, “I am standing at a higher position than you, and that means I am greater than you”. This includes everyone, even the Nazis, even the most evil people in all of history. No exceptions. This is extremely difficult, in fact, I’m having a hard time with this. My heart and mind are conflicting over this certain idea of “Everyone is equal”. My temporary solution to it, is to ask myself:

Aren’t they people too?





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4 thoughts on “They Were People Too

  1. Dearest Rehman,

    Wow, just wow – you have left me breathless, speechless, in awe. I have no words left within me to explain how deeply this piece touched me and how a myriad of emotions flooded through my soul with each word I read. Thank you a million times over for writing this.

    As Ms. Hunnisett has said, you have a voice that is very factual in its essence – but it’s not just that. Your voice carries a potency and a beauty with it that has the power to pull on every single string of one’s heart that exists. Your voice has the ability to penetrate through the walls of one’s soul and one’s mind and steal people’s breaths from within them.

    The rhetorical questioning utilized throughout your piece really caused one to sit back and reflect upon the whole idea of judgement and how those around us are people too, no matter how good or how bad. I thank you for bringing me into a place of reflection through your writing.

    I truly appreciate your voice and I thank you once again for writing this. Your writing is improving with every piece you write, and I’m so proud of you.

    Yours truly,


  2. Dear Rehman,

    My goodness. This was truly an amazing piece. Your viewpoint on the role of humanity and the overall equality as individuals that we have in society is incredible. Your use of different sentence structures and styles really helped contrast and draw attention to your different ideas. Also, your ability to connect to your audience and portray your ideas clearly and consistently is incredible. In the first paragraph, when you bluntly answered the questions you presented, I thought it was a really effective way to start to really capture the audience’s attention. All of your ideas are really coherent, and I feel as though the piece flowed really well.
    Simply the concept of how everyone is a person, and “they were people too” really gave me insight into your point of view; and I couldn’t agree with you more on the fact that once you strip everything away, all the surrounding circumstances and labels, we are all, essentially, the same. We are all humans. We are all people. We are all equal.
    Thank you so much for sharing this piece with us Rehman. It is a very important one, and and thank you for opening our eyes.
    Congratulations on such an awesome piece of writing man.


  3. Well I forgot to hit “enter” so I’m wirting this again.


    This is an especially incredible post, it just goes to show your proficiency with ethos and logos. You are truly a gifted writer, and the way you present your evidence is especially good for formal essays. The way you applied the life-lessons that readers learn in “To Kill a Mockingbird” was very impressive. It really tied your work together, combining something so difficult to understand such as the Nazi’s hate for Jews with the simplistic, yet meaningful morals thought by Atticus Finch and try to achieve an to fathom such inhumane acts in history. The last picture also fit very nicely into this, it goes to show that we are of the same species and race. Amazing work sir!

    For what you could Improve on?

    Try to blow the reader’s mind with some facts, an example being this blog itself, I found that the parts which included references to quotes and To kill a Mockingbird made me go “wow, this is really great and insiteful” as opposed to your first part which contained facts which had a “yeah that’s true” effect. Here’s what I’d recommend, you have an amazing approach no doubt, but references to literature would like we were taught in class.

    Overall Rehman, absolutely AMAZING and I look forward to reading your future posts my man!

    Keep up the excellent work.


  4. Rehman,
    I noticed that throughout your piece, there was the constant use of rhetorical questions, this was very effective when it came to getting your point across. One thing that was quite interesting about your piece was that you mentioned how you tried to think about things from the Nazi’s point of view. Most people never really bother to think about how things were from the viewpoint of those always dismissed as “pure evil” and I must commend you for doing this. You also used quotes from other sources such as To Kill a Mockingbird, which were good additions to your post, and though your piece could have still sounded good without them, I think that the inclusion of them showed how invested you are in the topic of equality. Your writing is very thought provoking, bringing up many good points that aren’t usually explored, one example is how you asked if everyone is equal despite their actions.
    I look forward to seeing more from you in the future,

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