Bystanders: Conscience and Complicity During the Holocaust, by Victoria J. Barnett

On a wall of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., is a quotation from Israeli historian Yahuda Bauer: "Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander." At first glance, the "above all" is problematic. Why is it not better to be a passive witness to evil than an active agent? And--some would say--if the choice is between surviving injustice and being destroyed by it, why not survive by being a bystander?

 

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