Response to Lindsey Goode’s question on Night by Elie Wiesel

3.) Why do you think the Nazis forced the Jews to strip out of their clothes and followed this by shaving their heads? What did this do to the Jews?

The act of being exposed naked in front of all to see, being forced into cattle cars, to use the restroom in corners, to have your head shave, and other things that the Nazis did was to humiliate and dehumanize Jews. It was not only a form of conditioning to teach Jews to look upon themselves as lesser beings, but also for the Nazis who run the camps. Perhaps in doing this, it made it easier for the Nazis to kill them and broke the spirit of the Jews in the camps in order to prevent a rising.

This question reminded me of harrowing images of lynching where women, men, and children are smiling while they take a picture in front of a man who has been lynched or burned and lynched. These images were then made into postcards. This too was not only to teach blacks, but also white people that black people were inferior beings, especially the men, women, and children in attendance.



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