Prevention of Genocide and Surviving Auschwitz

The United Nations is a organization of worldly governments established to promote co-operation amongst various groups. Created in 1945, following the Second World War, its main purpose was to prevent another one from happening. On December 9, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The various articles in the document serve to established guidelines for governments to follow, ensuring that these mass destructions won’t happen, or are stopped in the right amount of time. The language presented in the document surround strict rules, for a person or persons that disobey the agreed upon guidelines. The documents audience directed and applicable to the general public, with intent to provide information to the public surrounding issues of potential genocide. The general message serves to inform the public with guidelines to how situations of genocide can be handled and prevented.

The second reading¬†Survival in Auschwitz¬†by Primo Levi, discusses his survival of eleven months in confinement and horrible conditions in Auschwitz. As a twenty-four year old, anti-fascist, Italian Jew, Levi was always willing to put up a fight either with Resistance movements or with opinion, but when in Auschwitz his opinion was silenced. “I give up asking questions and soon slip into a bitter and tense sleep. But it is not rest: I feel myself threatened, besieged, at every moment I am ready to draw myself into a spasm of defence” (38). To some extent Levi presents conditions in Auschwitz as an “every man for himself ordeal”, as “there is a vast category of prisoners, not initially favoured by fate, who fight merely with their own strength to survive” (92). With skilled tactics, Levi and others were able so survive the unpleasant and horrible conditions using skill, smuggling tactics, and good fortune; ultimately and having a bright mindset and willingness to survive and be free.

Discussion Question:

Article 7: “Genocide and the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall not be considered as political crimes for the purpose of extradition.” What if genocide is committed towards a specific political ideology or political party? In relation to Auschwitz, people were transported by the truckload from various parts, how does this specific article compare to the situation?