Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Night: Hangings and Torture

Gallows at Auschwitz

When we first completed our Book Walk of Elie Wiesel's Night, several of you commented on the painting of three hanging bodies on the back cover. Throughout our reading, you all have turned back to that piece of art and remarked on it. Today, we read about the story behind this work of art.

We started class with a fact about Zyklon B, the insecticide used to kill thousands (millions, more like) of people at Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Though Zyklon B was transported in crystal form, it produced a deadly gas when heated. The Nazis piped it into "shower" rooms and used it to murder many, many people, including Wiesel's mother and youngest sister.

As you all know, the gas chambers were not the only way that the Nazis murdered the Jews.  There was the starvation and the torture of these innocent people, but also hangings. Wiesel mentions that he witnessed several hangings at Auschwitz. Thinking about these hangings led us to talking about the use of torture against prisoners and POWs.

Our belief statement of the day (which will be added to your Personal Creed Projects) is about whether or not you believe that torture should be used on prisoners. Some of you thought that it has no place in our prisons, while others of you felt that there are certain cases where torture is an appropriate course of action to gain essential information from prisoners.

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