Victims of the Holocaust Essay

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Resistance, Imprisonment & Forced Labor: a Slovene Student in World War II by Metod M. Milac is a memoir and primary source of his experience as a non-Jewish person during the Holocaust. Told through the perspective of Metod, his experiences between 1934 to 1950 allowed readers a glimpse of what it was like for non-Jewish victims experiencing Nazi occupation and encroachment in their homeland. Like another notable Holocaust figure, Anne Frank, both had to deal with incredible hardships brought on by an army that disregarded human rights, yet for someone like Metod, who was a student at the time, he had to deal with such difficulties in the open and with little hope for solace or comfort. The Jewish victims of the Holocaust had to hide or perform illegal actions to evade capture and imprisonment. Non-Jewish victims had to deal with the armies and the brutal treatment they would often receive from the soldiers. Both classes of victims suffered, but in different ways.

Milac offers in the first two pages of his autobiography an explanation of his preoccupation:

Official histories of World War II, or any other calamity of that nature, regardless of how many details they include, cannot describe the totality of human suffering, especially by those not directly involved in the conduct of the war.... The deceptions during the war years were most depressing for me. Not the planned military deceptions, which are as much part of the strategy as anything else, but deceptions in interpersonal relationships (1-2).[footnoteRef:1] [1:

Milacc, M. M. Resistance, imprisonment & forced labor: A Slovene student in World War II. New York: P. Lang, 2002.]

This was an excellent representation of those that suffered that were not part of the main characters of World War II. While many Jewish people were brutally killed and tortured and made most of the atrocities committed in World War II, other people endured violence and torture as well. The German armies and their allies occupied many countries during the world war and Milac's story is just one of many from the non-Jewish perspective.

The beginning of the story provides much of what non-Jewish people had to contend with during the Holocaust, and that is a confusing and often jarring political life. Milac explains his experiences with Fric Novak and the group of Partisans he led, including political life in Ljubljana. Similar to Anne Frank's account, Milac describes his life through immediate family and other personal aspects of his identity with the exception that Milac's family experienced a political division.

Milac's brother decided to join the Domobranci or 'Home Defenders'. Milac chose the pro-Anglo-American underground organization. Such a choice led him to Auschwitz.
Regardless of which organization an individual chose in that area, many Chetniks and Home Defense men died with his brother being one of them. "Close to twelve thousand Home Defense men, Chetniks, and many civilian followers were massacred. The goal of the Communist Party in Slovenia became very clear- the establishment of a Soviet-style disenfranchisement..." (207).[footnoteRef:2] His brother's death coupled with the flight of anti-Communist resistance members led to a great deal suffering that was barely addressed after the forcible repatriations after the war. [2:

Milacc, M. M. Resistance, imprisonment & forced labor: A Slovene student in World War II. New York: P. Lang, 2002.]

The main and key difference of non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust and Jewish victims of the Holocaust is the aftermath of the war. There still lay many divisions within families of non-Jewish people that could not be mended after Germany lost. The Jewish survivors of the Holocaust not only gained financial reparations for their suffering, but gained a country to call home through the establishment of Israel in 1948. People living in Poland, Slovenia, and China, did not receive anything other than further political and economic instability.

There were not just differences when it came to victims during the Holocaust. There were similarities. The main similarity was the loss of life and loss of family. Many outside of the Jewish population experienced death as seen in Metod's autobiography. His retelling of the thousands of lives loss due to a resistance movement was common place during this time.

That is, many lived in countries that experienced political instability before, during, and after the war. During the war, people joined resistance-based organizations that either supported or went against some political ideal. While Jewish people lost their lives in concentration camps, non-Jewish people lost their lives in battles and during military occupations. Father, brothers, even daughters died during this period, disrupting many families and causing tragic and devastating loss.

On top of loss, there was also a need to go against the government and perform illegal actions. Anne Frank evaded capture by hiding as did many Jewish people during the Holocaust. There was even resistance in the concentration camps. Non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust joined resistance and rebel organizations helping Jews escape countries controlled by Germany and provided refuge. They both worked together to try to end specific ideals that they felt threatened human rights.

Milac's book details the Slovenes inability to define their historical national interests and thus such ambiguity led to unorganized resistance efforts that resulted in illegal activity and the deaths of thousands. Such efforts came from dealing with bitter feelings and a….....

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