Would you be silent, or are you 1 in 16,000?

Racism. Discrimination. Hatred.  Prejudice. Bias. Stereotypes.

All of these words hold negative connotations. Some may see a ‘joke’ as harmless fun, but ultimately what do these things lead to?

The Holocaust was an awful event – one that will leave a black mark on our history forever.  The term originates from Greek roots, meaning ‘sacrifice by fire”. (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005143)

During this time, some Germans believed that they were ‘racially superior’ and that there were ‘inferior’ threats to the ‘German’ racial community. The groups that were targeted were Jewish people, Gypsies, some of the Slavic people (countries like Poland and Russia), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and the disabled (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005143)

The number of lives lost from the Holocaust is alarming. 6 million Jews and almost 2 million non-Jewish people were ‘exterminated’.

But this got me thinking; could something of this magnitude could ever happen again? Sadly you can draw on history;

  • Apartheid
  •  Yugoslavia
  • Bosnia
  • Rwanda
  • Stolen Generations

These are to name a few – there are many other cases of human depravity that have since occurred. It is alarming; and yet still possible. Why are we not learning from our mistakes? Why isn’t society standing up and demanding change? We acknowledge the wrongs – and yet what steps are taken to move forward and ensure that these types of horrific events never happen again?

Picture the MCG at full capacity. You have 100,000 people. Imagine these people being those who aren’t Jewish, Gypsies, or African American decent or homosexual. How many do you think would have helped someone who identified as one of these categories? 50, 000? 10, 000? Maybe even 1000 – 1% of the group, surely? You would still be wrong! Well surely 100 seems like a more reasonable figure – no still wrong! The number is 6! Six people would have stood up against those soldiers and said, ‘No, this is not right’. 6 people out of a potential 100,000!

Edmund Burke said – “For evil to triumph good men need only do nothing.” So although you may not overtly say things or behave in a way that treats others differently – does being a bystander and doing nothing make you just as guilty? While the Nazis committed the Holocaust, it was ordinary everyday people like you and I who allowed it to happen. They could have stood up and objected, but they did not. They made a decision. They did nothing and let it happen. If a holocaust occurred again, would you be silent and do nothing, just like the “ordinary every day people” of Hitler’s time, or would you be different? How could you be different?”

How do we create a drive to want to make a difference? To take what we know, and what we can learn, and educate others on what happened. As time goes on, the few remaining survivors of the Holocaust will, sadly, diminish, however, being able to share their story will not. Although we cannot change history, we can learn from it. Just from critically considering what is written here – what have you learned? What can you do? Why should you do it?

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25 thoughts on “Would you be silent, or are you 1 in 16,000?

  1. The victims were people just like us. Even though this poem is not written by a Holocaust survivor, it well captures some of what was lost.

    Holocaust by Barbara Sonek

    We played, we laughed
    we were loved.
    We were ripped from the arms of our
    parents and thrown into the fire.
    We were nothing more than children.
    We had a future.
    We were going to be lawyers, rabbis, wives, teachers,
    mothers. We had dreams, then we had no hope.
    We were taken away in the dead of night like cattle in cars,
    no air to breathe smothering, crying, starving, dying.
    Separated from the world to be no more.
    From the ashes, hear our plea.
    This atrocity to mankind can not happen again.
    Remember us, for we were the children whose dreams
    and lives were stolen away.

    Source: http://www.auschwitz.dk/id6.htm

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  2. personally I think that only 6 in 100,000 people would stand up against someone and say “this isn’t right” is kind of sad. I can relate in a way, my dad’s side of the family are from Yugoslavia and I have family that are Jehovah’s Witness, and they are proud to be, yes they have received some biased, discriminative or prejudiced comments, but I think that these people only say what they do is because they don’t understand the religion or are scared of it because its unusual to them or is ‘weird’. I’m not Jehovah’s Witness so even I don’t fully understand why they chose that religion but people need to keep an open mind to things and if you are scared of a religion, maybe do some research on it before you start insulting someone about it. People may find that the so-called ‘Scary/weird Religion’ isn’t so scary or weird after all. It’s just misinterpreted.

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  3. I’m sure a lot of people would say that they would stand up to something as awful as this, but would they actually take the action? You can do the talk, but can you do the walk? Also, a lot of people can’t really relate to something like this, simply because they’ve never understood that something horrible could happen to them. That’s why there are still some developing countries in the world, because people can’t relate and reach out. So imagine if you changed the situation to something a little closer to home. The Nazis would be the ‘bully’, the Jews and the others persecuted would be the ‘victims’, and you would be the ‘bystander’. What would you do? Walk past? Then say how horible that person is without actually doing anything about it? What’s to stop you from standing up, if you have enough of your friends to agree with you? If you can find the answer to that, maybe you can find the answer to why those ordinary people let so many Jews be killed.

    And the reality is…there isn’t really an answer. There isn’t an excuse to let somebody walk over somebody and make decisions for them. So why are people still so indifferent?

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  4. Its pretty sad and low that only 6 in 100,000 would stand up for what they believe in. Just because they dont come from the same place as you doesnt mean that they cant fit into society. People only mock them because they think they know where they come from and they think they know what there whole religion is about. They just judge people before they get to know them. Yeah sure , everyone has been racist every once and a while but you dont have to contuiously keep it going. Not everyone can live up to people expectations. Everyone is as equal as each other.

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  5. A lot of people in would say they would stand up defend what they think is right, but in practice only a small ammount would, yes it is sad if I was in that kind of situation it would be hard to stand up, you’d be scared of what might happen for speaking out against that kind of leader.

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  6. Only 6 out of 100,000 people standing up for what they beleive is sad, I think that now day this figure would be a bit bigger as people have a lot more to say and have a very one sided opinion, but in this case 6 out of 100,000 is pretty bad. Like Kyle said, standing up to a leader as big as Hitler would be very frightening. If you did stand up for what you believe in you probably would have been executed, which I think is terrible. I think that you are very couragous if you die for standing up for what you belive in.

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  7. 6 out of 100,000 people standing up for what they believe in is a very poor number. I believe that more people should stand up for themselves or even others around them and do something towards the situation that would benefit or help a lot of people, it does take courage to stand up in front of others and say how you feel and to show people that they are not alone. This one small thing can turn into something big, it sometimes makes a difference as well. Although standing up for yourself takes courage it is one thing to say something but it is another to take action and do something about it.

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  8. Okay that last comment I made was a shocker, I was trying to type on a broken keyboard here’s a little rewrite.

    It is fairly sad that only 6 out of the 100,000 people there would stand up, but it is understandable in that kind of mind frame, a man with an army of who knows how many, if you disobey one order you could end up dead along with anyone else who disobeyed. Personally I’d sit, but inside I’d really feel like what was happen is truly wrong.

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    • That is a very candid response Kyle. The fact that only 6 in 100 000 did protest suggests something other than indifference was going on in people’s minds. That “something” was of course fear. The penalties for speaking out against the Nazis kept most people silent. If it was easy to speak then we could criticise those who remained silent, but it took great courage to speak out. Having said that, if everyone had stood up as a unified whole, the story could have been different. People will join in with a large group, but being one of the first takes an inner strength that, it appears, very few people possess. Does that seem to fit what we see happen in life? If so, what is required to be different? What is it that gives a person such strength of character that they are prepared to be one of the first to speak out irrespective of the consequences to them personally?

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  9. 6 out of 100,000 that’s pretty poorly. im sure that many other people in that 100,000 do think that it is wrong but are afraid to say. Afraid of the consequence it might bring or even an event they might start. But then again it takes ‘guts’ to say “no, this is not right”. but in this generation when something is not right people usually form in big groups to battle out the rights and wrongs. bit by bit people are convince on what is right or wrong to the situation it is based on. Standing up to Hitler would be suicide literally, many people would agree to you that what Hitler is doing was wrong but would be too afraid to stand with you. It really all comes down to the consequence after your say “no, this is not right” you wouldn’t know what they would do nor say…

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  10. The 1 in 16,000 are the ones that have the ability to be mature about the different races, ethnicities etc and would be able to stand up and say that it’s wrong. The non 1 in 16,000 obviously don’t understand the culture or the reasons behind being ones such as gypsies etc. Looking at the culture of these people is a good way to be able to understand there reasoning’s behind why they are like this instead of making it out as weird.

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  11. I think that 6 in 100,000 that stand up for what they believe in is a pretty bad number because we have the freedom to go for our hopes and dreams. It would take a lot of courage to stand up to something as bad as the Holocaust and to stand up to the mastermind behind it. The people keeping their heads down do it as a safety thing like if they don’t get involved that nothing will happen. I think that an organisation needs to be formed to bring everyone together as one if there isn’t one yet with like games on the site for people to learn and you can donate there to expand it to the whole world.

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  12. To only have 6 in 100,000 people who would stand up to someone who is clearly in the wrong is horrible. I’m not saying this is right but I’m saying it is understandable. For someone to stand up to another human being and say ‘no’ is a very hard thing to do. 6 of us are leaders and the other 100,000 are followers who will only stand up and say no if someone else takes the lead. Most of societies are followers not leaders. People then saying ‘I’m only one person, I can’t change that’ and pretending they don’t notice it is cowardly. People don’t stand for what’s write because there not courageous enough to deal with the consequences. People saying nothing is what lets the holocaust happen, people spreading hatred of different races, sexuality, and religion, then they let the bully do as much damage to a human being as they can. All it takes is one person to stand up and say no to get the person to stop. Only would you be a leader or would you cowardly look away?

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  13. 6 in 100,000 that stand up for what they believe in I think is ridiculous, people should have a right to what they believe in, most people would just sit there and won’t say anything because they are afraid of what would happen if they disobeyed. I wouldn’t want to sit down and not do anything but I wouldn’t want to go against it.

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  14. There would be alot of people out there who actually care about this but are maybe to scared to stand up and make a change because maybe they are afraid of standing up for something that alot of people will be against it. If you believe in it then you should stand up , who knows what life could bring you after that. Do something good before you go , i think that everyone should. But we all get told to stand up in what we believe in and when we do there are people who hate us for it. Society is very different nowdays because so many people are afraid to say what they believe because they are to scared to so they just really keep it to themselves.

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  15. The number of people that would stand up is pretty sad i must admit that. People are just scared becuase they my just want to protect their family fromm getting hurt after they have stood up for something they are comfortable in or believe in. Like for example, being in malala’s position, she was scared but she stood up but then was shot in the head for sstanding up.

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  16. i would be 1 16,000. Seriously this is so sad! The way i would think it would work is that everybody would know it was wrong, but just go with it, cause well, what can you do. But it would be a domino effect, the person next to you might be that one person standing up for whats right, and so you agree and do the same, and then next thing you know everybody who truly agrees that it is wrong, is saying it and standing up for it. But obviously thats not the way it works…

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  17. I think that 6 in 100,000 people is pretty sad especially if it was in the current society’s that we live in today and i could probably agree that around the same number would stand up. I don’t think this is because they don’t believe in helping the people or that they don’t believe what they’re not standing up for but because they have been cast into the shadows by fear. And it would be pretty easy to if it was someone with as much power as Hitler. I think today a lot of people wouldn’t stand up because of fer of being judged by what would be a larger group. Still i think everyone should stand up for what they believe in because a lot of people can’t to that because they are still being dictated by fear.

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  18. 6 in 100,000 is a terrible statistic and very poor, Especially when everyone is aware of racism and these past events like the Holocaust. At the same time standing up to racism can be hard if it isn’t affecting you because people don’t think they need to do anything about it if its not aimed at them. I think that i would probably stand up against it because i don’t like racism but there could be situations where i wouldn’t.

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  19. The fact that only 6 in 100,000 people are willing to stand up against racism and oppressive regimes like the Nazi Regime is a bad statistic should be avoided and reversed. However, i don’t think that it ever will be reversed because standing up and risking your life for what is right is hard if the scenario doesn’t directly affect you or is against you. Personally, I don’t think taht I’d stand up against if it didn’t affect me but that could be different depending on the scenario.

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  20. It is hard to say whether somebody would stand up, the question is would you be 1 in 16,000? It can be a hard question, it is easy for people to say they would stand up but in this time this was a big thing and the fact of the matter is people would not have stood up and said “no this isnt right” is because of fear.

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  21. I think that 6 in 100,000 that stand up for what they believe in is a pretty bad statistic because it means that people dont have the courage to say what they want withourt repercussions. It would take a lot of courage to stand up to something as bad as the Holocaust and to stand up to the mastermind behind it.

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  22. I think 6 out of 100,000 people is not enough people to stand up, more people need to stand up for themselves because if they don’t there could be a really big global issue. if we don’t have enough people fighting these issues back then the majority of people have confidence to stand up for themselves won’t have their confidence anymore. Then a lot of people will be left miserable.

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  23. I can not believe only 6 people would stand up, what are we turning into some outrageous bad people, and yes i would make all the other people who did nothing as guilty as the person himself who was doing the bad, because they did not try to stop the bad happening so obviously they were enjoying the show just as much as the bad guy.If people just got the confidence to stand up to the bad guys the world would have less bad stuff happening and bad people, because then they might get something going through their brain telling them that they should stop it because it is not funny anymore and that it is actually hurting the victim badly.

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