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12.5 year old asks about holocaust Why didn't they just kill
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amother




Mocha
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 8:22 am
For sure convey the attitude that this is a normal question and he is normal for asking it...
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 8:46 am
amother Mayflower wrote:
I heard of a rav who was niftar a few years ago who as a teen in the camps wanted to run into the electric fences and kill himself as others did, but an older rav talked him out of it.


Did your son hear about such stories?
The survivors I knew spoke about just making it through the day, focusing on their next morsel of food. If they could focus on anything else it was not losing their humanity to get that food, e.g. stealing, etc. So you could tell your son that such feelings were understandable and they did happen.

But we are resilient. We get through it and if we're fortunate we have the dmus dyokno of someone to keep us going, and then we rebuild. It's lather, rinse, repeat throughout our history.
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FmrNewEnglander




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 10:31 am
Obviously, every child is different so answers will differ. Personally, I would say most people did not although a few did. Most people tried to survive -- and never gave up. They tried to go day by day. (I agree that giving a reading assignment is probably not such a good idea -- but Rabbi Lau's book is haunting -- and not sugar coated -- but answers the question of your child). (I am sure that there are people who said it is ASSUR to commit suicide but I am not sure even that if it was assur -- that we could possibly judge.)
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amother




Steelblue
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 10:34 am
amother Blue wrote:
Many did and many tried to but it was actually against the rules of the Nazis. They wanted everyone dead but in an organized way. If someone committed suicide by throwing themselves against the barbed wires the nazis would kill 100 people as punishment.


I also heard that the Nazis wired it just enough the person would suffer excrutiatingly but not enough to actually kill them.
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amother




Maroon
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 10:39 am
I think people are conditioned to survive. We don't want to die, we want to live and as long as we can keep on hoping for a future then we don't want to throw that away.
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amother




Steelblue
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 10:42 am
amother Maroon wrote:
I think people are conditioned to survive. We don't want to die, we want to live and as long as we can keep on hoping for a future then we don't want to throw that away.


Many people kept themselves going because they had a family member to care for or hoped to reunite with.

I think Eli Weisel writes that losing his father was a turning point for him when he stopped caring about his own survival.
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 10:47 am
One of my daughters did a report (in high school) on her great-grandmother's experiences escaping from the Holocaust. DH's grandmother had the opportunity to flee, and did so despite her mother's objections to her leaving (ETA she consulted with Daas Torah about this). She lived with survivor's guilt for the rest of her life ("How could I have left her there".)

DD called some great-aunts (my MIL A"H is no longer with us) with questions, and I remember feeling really shaken when she told me "Ma, I would never leave you". I told her quite strongly "I would want you to save yourself!" (not judging anyone ch'v. I think DH's great-grandmother - a widow with 3 children - really believed it would all blow over. It was hard for her to part with her only daughter and be left alone with her younger sons. They were later killed in a mass grave, HYD.)

OP I thinkyour son is grappling with questions that none of us should ever ch'v be tested with. I don't think there are right and wrong answers really. It's all really beyond our imaginations, none of us really know how we would've acted, what we would've done.

I think what's important is the conversations we have with our kids, and letting them know they can talk to us about it.


Last edited by Chayalle on Tue, Aug 16 2022, 1:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Springgreen
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 11:05 am
Because as long as there is life there's hope. Some tlgave up and killed themselves. But many stayed strong and held on to the hope to be rescued. The strong ones were able to survive. Some held onto their emuna others had leaders, spiritual leaders, giving them chizuk.
The klausenberg Rebbe for example, went through torture in the concentration camps. He lost his wife and children. He was supposed to dig his own grave before being rescued. He moved to Eretz Yisrael and America and started fresh. He remarried, built a family, built a hospital in Netanya and a whole community that he gave chizuk to during the war became his talmidim.
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amother




Steelblue
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 11:16 am
amother Springgreen wrote:
Because as long as there is life there's hope. Some tlgave up and killed themselves. But many stayed strong and held on to the hope to be rescued. The strong ones were able to survive. Some held onto their emuna others had leaders, spiritual leaders, giving them chizuk.
The Divrei Chaim for example, went through torture in the concentration camps. He lost his wife and children. He was supposed to dig his own grave before being rescued. He moved to Eretz Yisrael and America and started fresh. He remarried, built a family, built a hospital in Netanya and a whole community that he gave chizuk to during the war became his talmidim.


I assume you're referring to the Klausenberg Rebbe. The Divrei Chaim was his great-grandfather who lived well before the Holocaust.
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Chickensoupprof




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 1:21 pm
So just to clarify. Suicide nowadays is by BH most daas Torah's and gedolei hatorah's seen as an outing of severe illness. BH my BIL was able to buried in on the beis chaim ground, he had a proper hesped, there was a proper shivah etc.

So, indeed lots of people did kill themselves during the war or after the war. Not only Jews, my mom also had a colleague from Poland and she had a great aunt who was in forced labor next to a camp she eventually killed herself and wrote in her diarys that she couldn't bear seeing Jews getting killed. And the sounds she heard over there and everything it made her sick.

Suicide is as I said an outing of severe illness, I bet some people got mentally so sick in the camps that they wanted to kill themselves, but I also can understand that you get such an adrenaline rush that you do everything to survive. People are different.
What irks me more is that in most frum novels it's about people who are still frum and stayed frum despite the camps.
This was true for some, and it's indeed a source of tremendous bitachon and emunah but not every Jew was it. My family started to assimilate before the war, most of my grandma's family was killed and most who were left never ever wanted to do anything with Judaism. They hated Judaism, my grandma told my mom she hated her and didn't want to have another child because she didn't want to have a difficult so Jewish looking child EVER again.
This exist, there are numerous people who were after the war too damaged to rebuild, life is hard,d trauma is difficult and it never heals propably.
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 1:23 pm
amother Springgreen wrote:
Because as long as there is life there's hope. Some tlgave up and killed themselves. But many stayed strong and held on to the hope to be rescued. The strong ones were able to survive. Some held onto their emuna others had leaders, spiritual leaders, giving them chizuk.
The klausenberg Rebbe for example, went through torture in the concentration camps. He lost his wife and children. He was supposed to dig his own grave before being rescued. He moved to Eretz Yisrael and America and started fresh. He remarried, built a family, built a hospital in Netanya and a whole community that he gave chizuk to during the war became his talmidim.


If anyone has Rabbi Frand's book Listen to Your Messages the chapter called To Give is Divine is magnificent. (And very appropriate for a 12.5 y.o.) (It features stories of the Klausenberger Rebbe zt"l.)


Last edited by PinkFridge on Tue, Aug 16 2022, 1:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Springgreen
 

Post Tue, Aug 16 2022, 1:31 pm
amother Steelblue wrote:
I assume you're referring to the Klausenberg Rebbe. The Divrei Chaim was his great-grandfather who lived well before the Holocaust.


Thank You I corrected it. Why did you quote me with the wrong information
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salt




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Aug 17 2022, 1:28 am
I think it's a very valid question. I'm not so brushed up on history but didn't the Jews on Masada in 2nd temple times all commit suicide rather than give in to the Romans?
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Aug 17 2022, 5:43 am
So many good responses here. I’m thinking better to just leave it then bring this up again to him. Only came up now because of tisha beav videos and seeing the pain of survivors.

He has hf autism and is a very sensitive kid. He is a very out of the Box thinker.
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amother




Hibiscus
 

Post Wed, Aug 17 2022, 6:10 am
My grandmother went through auschwitz and retold us the story of her family friend who both parents were doctors. They took an injection to kill themselves and gave it to their child too. The injection didn't work on their daughter who was strong girl but it made her weak and she didn't survive auschwitz. My grandmother believed she may have survived auschwitz had she not been given the injection.
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amother




Obsidian
 

Post Wed, Aug 17 2022, 6:38 am
PinkFridge wrote:
Did your son hear about such stories?
The survivors I knew spoke about just making it through the day, focusing on their next morsel of food. If they could focus on anything else it was not losing their humanity to get that food, e.g. stealing, etc. So you could tell your son that such feelings were understandable and they did happen.

But we are resilient. We get through it and if we're fortunate we have the dmus dyokno of someone to keep us going, and then we rebuild. It's lather, rinse, repeat throughout our history.

People did commit suicide. It's not something published in the more recent Holocaust books published by frum survivors but I read the original ones published early after the war (that's what was available in the 70s and 80s, the sanitized versions published later than that weren't out yet when I was a kid), but yes. Mostly through obtaining poison. Yes, religious people. Often right before deportation or on the trains or after immediate arrival when they realized what was going to happen.
And I know from family history, a close family member of a grandparent did so, when an arrest by the ss was imminent.
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Aug 17 2022, 8:56 am
amother Obsidian wrote:
People did commit suicide. It's not something published in the more recent Holocaust books published by frum survivors but I read the original ones published early after the war (that's what was available in the 70s and 80s, the sanitized versions published later than that weren't out yet when I was a kid), but yes. Mostly through obtaining poison. Yes, religious people. Often right before deportation or on the trains or after immediate arrival when they realized what was going to happen.
And I know from family history, a close family member of a grandparent did so, when an arrest by the ss was imminent.


Yes, I meant to say I did hear such stories. And I know they're not "stories," they're true. That's why I was wondering if OP's son had too, and that might have been the catalyst.
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