Survivalism: The Art Of Self Preservation In The Holocaust

1995 Words8 Pages
Survivalism: the Art of Self-Preservation Self-preservation is defined as the protection of oneself from harm or death, especially regarded as a base instinct in human beings and animals. It drives us to do things we otherwise would not do, to accomplish things we didn’t know were possible. Self-preservation can often be found throughout history and literature, always in the most desperate of times. Nowhere is it more prominent than in the history and literature surrounding the Holocaust, during which over six million Jews, including 1.5 million children, were brutally murdered in what has become known as one of history’s most deadly and widely publicized genocides. For almost 80 years, historians and Jewish survivors have authored and published their firsthand accounts of the pain they were forced to endure. One such piece of literature is Elie Wiesel’s Night, a memoir illustrating his own experiences in German concentration camps, where every day was dominated by the impulse to stay alive. As Wiesel demonstrated repeatedly in his novel, during the Holocaust, self-preservation forced millions of victims to abandon family members and friends; commit desperate, sometimes suicidal, acts; and blinded many victims to the reality of their situations throughout the genocide. One of the most psychologically destructive aspects of the Holocaust was the forced isolation and selective targeting of Jewish victims, many of whom were killed or separated from one another. However,
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