Why didn’t everyone help the Jews?

  • Print

Not many people in The Netherlands helped the Jews. This doesn’t mean that those who didn’t helped the Nazis, but they didn’t do anything to stop them.

The Search

Graphic novel about the persecution of the Jews

The Search

Antisemitism: Past & Present

This book explores many of the questions and controversies surrounding the complex phenomenon of antisemitism in a concise manner. 

More...

Discuss people’s different motives for helping or not helping. You can illustrate this with Anne Frank’s story. Why did Miep Gies, Bep Voskuijl, Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler help? Because of: friendship, compassion and human obligation.

Danger

It was dangerous to help Jews. Helpers risked imprisonment or deportation to a concentration camp. Fear prevented many from helping. Being discovered helping had enormous consequences.

Did people know?

How much did people know about the concentration camps? Was it clear what was happening to the Jews? These questions are difficult to answer. Research shows that the existence of the camps was known but people couldn’t/didn’t  believe that such terrible things were happening there.  

Tip

Ask the class what they think, very often they arrive at the answer themselves. Discuss with them why it’s important to help someone even though it’s dangerous.

What do you think?

Recognize this question from your own class?

Tell us about how you dealt with it.

See also

Who betrayed Anne Frank? Pupil's question

Unfortunately we can’t answer this one...

More...

Why is Anne so famous? Pupil's question

First explain that Anne Frank was just an ordinary girl...

More...

How were the Jews murdered? Pupil's question

The answer to this is that  they were killed in different ways...

More...

Why did Hitler hate Jews? Pupils’ questions

An important term to mention here is ‘scapegoat’...

More...

Jews have plenty of money don’t they? Pupil's question

This is a recurring comment and is a prejudice rooted in history...

More...

How did they know who was Jewish? Pupil's question

In Nuremburg in 1935 the Nazis created a set of laws based on race...

More...

Did Hitler murder other groups? Pupil's question

The Nazis ‘racial doctrine was based on different races...

More...