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Orthodox Judaism/on the film - surviving the Holocaust

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Question
Hello,
  I just saw this film and I wonder if there is a feeling that Hitler and the Nazis were demon possessed or influenced by the devil?  The things they did were so inhuman that they seem inspired by the devil.  What do you think?

Answer
Hi Ben,

I heard this since I am a kid.  In my humble opinion humans are very capable of doing terrible things and there is no need to come up with metaphysical explanations as to the choices the Nazi's made.  Consider human trafficking, 2000 Ramallah lynching, Rwandan genocide... would you really say these criminals do not know right from wrong and have lost their freedom of choice?  I would not award any Nazi the opportunity to plead insanity.  Watch the Nuremberg trials and the Eichmann trial.  Do you see Nazi's that are possessed?  Did they become exorcised or are they just trying to save their hide?  Their only regret was that they lost and got caught.

Just last week I heard about a Jewish community of which some members blame themselves for conducing the hate among anti-Semites in their midst.  It seems difficult for some people to comprehend the true nature of evil when observing the signs from a distance.  I don't have great difficulty calling the anti-Semites evil and I put the blame were it belongs.  I understand there are bad apples among Jews but as a community we are ready to take responsibility for them.  We certainly don't excuse their bad behavior.  We do not deserve the hate shown to us.

I would further say that in our relationship with G-d, it is very appropriate to blame ourselves for the evil that befalls us.  We fail in our service to G-d continually.  If we could direct the energy generated by our worries towards improving our devotion to G-d, then the so called Jewish Guilt will have served its purpose.

Best regards,
David.

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David Rosenblum

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I am an ex-student of yeshiva and I like to be presented with Torah study problems. If you have studied the Torah and have questions on the subject matter, I want to hear about it. I am not a Rabbi and not qualified to decide halachic issues. I am still interested in halachic questions for which I can sometimes offer general guidelines or present decisions in halachic works such as Mishna Berurah. I welcome questions from non-Jewish people but I cannot respond to religious references that are not part of Judaism. If you are working on a paper or doing research and want general information on a Jewish subject, I may or may not satisfy your need, depending on how comfortable I am with the question. If you have a personal problem, I am not qualified to help you but I will do what I can to offer you some assistance.

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