Walking through the concentration camp and seeing everything for myself, the experience had a much deeper meaning than reading texts and looking at pictures from a historical book about World War 2. Since my group also had an experienced guide, who we could ask questions to that may not have been included in informational books; I got more insight on the horrors at a deeper level.
The tour through the camp, starting with entering the same entrance many innocent people were forced into; walking through the uneven and uncomfortable rocky roads that many people who are considered prisoners because of their differences, seeing for myself the amount of room and freedom (which is virtually non-existent) they had and facing the room that people who were victims of discrimination walked into to meet their death.
All these individual experiences will have a much deeper and realistic meaning than books, no matter how detailed the books are. You can never imagine the scorching heat or freezing cold that the prisoners had to go through, walking the stony road paths that they had to walk through with shoes that don’t fit their feet, and feeling the confinement of their limited space. Not even mentioning the torture and abuse that they had to go through. All this because they are different. But then comes the question: Why did people do all these things to those who they believe are different? Is it because they are evil? Or is it because they don’t know better? I don’t believe in pure evil, there is an origin to evilness, but evil is never born. Evil thoughts and actions can only be passed down and learned. A world without evil will never know the concept of being evil. Immoral and unethical acts exist because people learned about them. But of course, only a certain group of people enjoy these actions, and if they do when knowing it’s wrong, I would consider them psychopaths.
That is many of the cases with those who forced innocent people such as Jews, gypsies and homosexuals into pain and camps. However, there also may have been those who simply don’t know any better. In the time of the Nazi’s, many young children joined the Hitler’s youth program. They might have been brainwashed and made to believe unethical things from the beginning. This led them to commit the hideous crimes against people who they were told to hate. This, however, does not justify their actions, and definitely does not make the things they have done morally correct.
But here’s the main thing, how do you know what’s morally correct when you know one thing, told to believe one direction and taught to do one action. Such as in the case of the Nazis, hating and discriminating against those who are different. We now know that the things they have done are wrong in all ways, but could they have known? We were taught 1 plus 1 equals 2 our whole life, but what if from the very beginning, we were taught that 1 plus 1 is 3? That’s wrong, but how could we have possibly known that it’s wrong? It’s only wrong because we were taught that it’s wrong. As much as I am afraid to think about it, what if I was a child in Nazi Germany?
I would most definitely have been brainwashed into their ideology, just like many other children. Would I have committed those crimes too? Because that’s all I’ve known and taught? Because I’m told I’d become a hero for doing those things? Would I have the knowledge to know that it’s wrong? Now we are taught about horrors humans have created, and learn about morals and ethics. But back then, I’d have been taught to believe in one ideology.
Could I have known better if I was taught to hate and not love from the very beginning? You aren’t born with instant knowledge of what’s wrong and right. That comes from people telling you what to believe. It terrifies me to think about the possibility that I could’ve been taught to believe in torture, pain and death.