Staying Quiet Never Helps

Tolerance unit final project


Have you ever wondered why it took so long to stop the Nazis? We didn't stand together at the first sign of trouble, that's why. A man named Elie Weisel (a concentration camp survivor) once said "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, we must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." Staying quiet never helps, history has taught us this much it's whether or not we choose to acknowledge it that will make the difference.


One example of this would be that not everyone was a bystander during the holocuast, some people hid jews in their homes and businesses. A few weeks ago a woman named Madame Harkness came to my class and told us about how her family did not sit and do nothing, they fought against the Nazis. Madame Harkness' family not only lived throughout the holocuast but they helped save people from it. Her grandmother owned a hardware store that she used to hide jews until they could get to the free zone in France where they lived. Her grandmother saved at least 300 people, but it wasn't just Madame Harkness' grandmother that helped her mother and uncle were also involved with the resistance, her mother was a messenger and her uncle was a sharp shooter. This further proves my point that staying quiet doesn't help. The people who were brave enough to stand against what they knew was wrong, like Madame Harkness' family demonstrates.


Further on, there are many different ways of conveying a message, such as an allegory."Terrible Things" is a book by Eve Bunting that deals with bystanders and what happened by no one standing up against the Nazis. In this book there is a group of different animals that live together in the forest in peace until the "terrible things" show up and start taking animals. None of the other animals try to stop them except for one brave little rabbit (named Little Rabbit) tries but fails. In the end he is the only animal to have survived, he says "If only we animals had stuck together, things cold have been different." "Terrible Things" displays that standing up is better than doing nothing.


Last but not least, Gerda Weissmann was an amazing woman who survived the unthinkable. She was a holocuast survivor saved by an angel. Gerda And her family practiced the Jewish religion, they were sent to concentration camps. Gerda's whole family died, she was the only one to survive. She was liberated by a solider (whom she later married) who was a Jew, before the war started his parents sent him to America and when the war did start he joined to fight against the Nazis. Gerda Weissmann was saved by someone who didn't take the discrimination, someone who fought for what was right.


Staying quiet never helps, history has taught us this much, it's whether or not we choose to acknowledge it that will make the difference. The next time you see something unjust don't just stand and watch do something. Please don't be a bystander, stand up for what is right.


1) "Gerda Weissmann." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. <>.

2) "Great Prices on new and used books." N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. <>.

3) "A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust-Bystanders." A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust-Bystanders. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. <>.

4) "European Youth Portal." Standing up to bullying. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. <>.

5) "Iran: Marking Holocaust Memorial Day With Holocaust Denial.." The CST » Blog Archive ». N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. <>.

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