?

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  1. DystopianApocolypse
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    DystopianApocolypse Member

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    Is simply having a character from the holocaust insensitive?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by DystopianApocolypse, May 31, 2016.

    Alright so a current piece I am working on has much to do with the afterlife. I am thinking of having a character in the "afterlife" (Hell), be someone who when they were alive, died during the holocaust as a young boy. There was, of course, no reason for his death, and only died because he belonged to a family of Jews. Now, I am trying to be considerate, but the death gives my character major motivation for his death and is a pivotal point for his mental state.

    If you think it is insensitive, then please try to help me if you can, offer up a way for a young boy to traumatically and senselessly die in say the late 1800's to early 1900's. The way should be easy enough for someone to remember the incident of. He should have singed ties with his former faith because of his death or the outcome of his death, and yes I cannot stress this enough, It would be in the best interest of the child to die because of or in relation to his faith.

    NOTE:
    It's not hell hell, it's more so a central afterlife for most everything. There is a hell hell for the damned and all that, but this isn't helll hell it's just that this afterlife is so bad that it's in opinion a hell. There is a higher up like an executive lounge type deal, but that's more restricted space than the overpopulated ground floor.
    Does that explain it any better?
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2016
  2. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that having a child going to Hell would be a bigger issue than how he died.
     
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  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, agreed. Never mind that his death was during the holocaust. If it's a child, what did the child do (or not do) to earn a ticket to hell? If there were to be any flipping of my switches, it would be in the answer to that question.
     
  4. DystopianApocolypse
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    DystopianApocolypse Member

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    It's not hell hell, it's more so a central afterlife for most everything. There is a hell hell for the damned and all that, but this isn't helll hell it's just that this afterlife is so bad that it's in opinion a hell. There is a higher up like an executive lounge type deal, but that's more restricted space than the overpopulated ground floor.
    Does that explain it any better?
     
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  5. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I'd advice you to read a lot of accounts from survivors. Also about their ways of adjusting to a new life. How society dealt with them. I realise that is not what your WIP is about, but lets say.. sometimes there is critical information missing from the news-flow wherever you live.
    Just got some sharp lessons about that..
     
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  6. stampman
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    stampman Member

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    I don't really see an issue with it. And I would say Purgatory sums up what you are describing. Media has a few examples of holocaust survivors. Like Magneto.
     
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  7. misteralcala
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    misteralcala Member

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    Most accounts from near-death experiences recount how peaceful and serene it is, with their loved ones seeming at peace. So the main character must be in a different afterlife. Also, those who believe in afterlife / past lives agree that when a person dies, they are made to let go of who they were so they can proceed to the next level of being. Spirits who hold to tightly to life are said to end up as ghosts, forced to exist between worlds until they can move on. Just my two cents.
     
  8. Ziggy.
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    Ziggy. Member

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    The simplest advice I can give you is this, and it's to the point.

    Fuck insensitivity.

    A story is a story, and your control in it means it should be told with the rawest emotional punch. There's no need to think "Is this insensitive?" If it's evoking something out of your reader, whether it's good or bad, your story will always be insensitive to somebody even when you do tone it down. So don't cut things because it could offend others. Write it how you think it really should be written.
     
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  9. Mikmaxs
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    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    I'll piggyback on this and say: Maybe don't fuck insensitivity, but you can at least buy it a couple drinks and see how things go. (This metaphor got confused somewhere...)

    Point is, it's great that you're considering whether or not this is potentially offensive, but don't let that stop you. If you're worried, maybe make sure to do a good job representing the character, but don't let worries about insensitivity keep you from writing the character.
     
  10. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    No. Why would it be?
     
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  11. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    I think that as long as you make it clear in your story that this "hell" isn't a place of punishment or that the reason he's there has nothing to do with his faith, you should be okay. Perhaps you could include a Gentile in the afterlife to show why they're there. The idea the dead continuing to develop and grow (if that's the right word) in directions influenced by their deaths is a pretty good one.
     
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  12. joeh1234
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    joeh1234 Active Member

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    @Ian Aschendale Your avatar pic is seriously creepy.

    OP- Don't worry about offending people as others have said, however if it is a stumbling block for you and the holocaust isn't central to the story. Then you could just look through history texts for fires or train crashes from that time, or child labour and he got caught in a machine etc etc
     
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  13. Buttered Toast
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    Buttered Toast Active Member

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    I was going to say the same as Joeh
    he could have been killed in a fabric machine while going through Child Labour?
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can you explain "singed ties with his former faith"? I'm assuming there's a typo but I can't work it out.
     
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  15. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    In and of itself, a boy who died during the Holocaust is not insensitive. In fact, acknowledging that he died in a concentration camp would be an accurate reflection of history. Many, many, many children died in that time, from disease, starvation and violence.
    Any insensitivity would come from others making light of it.
     
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  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    One of my concerns would be about whether the religious link would be handled accurately, if the author doesn't know much about the Jewish faith.
     
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  17. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    @ChickenFreak there is that, too.
    So, in addendum, research, research, research. Talk to people, ask questions. Read about what people went through. Ask what a boy from that culture at that time would know about his faith.
     
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  18. agasfer
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    Perhaps you want to call your afterlife Hades, to avoid the connotations of the Christian Hell. Or Valhalla. But having a Jewish boy in an afterlife is not insensitive. Books about children affected by the Holocaust are published by the thousands. If you're worried about offending Jews, note that the modern Israeli author Etgar Keret is much more irreverent but does not seem to be at the end of any Jewish condemnation. Even very religious Jews don't make a "black list" against books they deem undesirable, although they do educate their children to stay away from them.
     
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  19. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    It is rather confusingly worded in multiple places. I feel like I'm missing crucial information.
    To answer the OP, no, it's not. The devil is in the details here. But while this is a sensitive topic, it's actually still surprisingly easy to do fine. Just do some research so it feels respectfully accurate (though you don't need to be aggressively accurate unless you want it to be a very accurate story) and make it clear you are not saying or accidentally implying something rude. To reference advice given to me recently on the subject of doing dark stuff; what you need to avoid is making light of the subject. Or obviously being to sympathetic to the Nazis, though Der Untergang (the move with the angry Hitler clip) shows that some people will whine about anything less than utter demonisation of them.
     
  20. ashurbanipal
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    I'm not sure if the afterlife you are writing about is intended as a 'universal afterlife' regardless of one's religion/belief system, but one thing that struck was that traditionally Judaism does not place a strong emphasis on the afterlife and concepts are hell are absent from Judaism. Having a character from the Holocaust isn't insensitive, but I think Jewish readers may find it a bit odd that he is now in a presumably non-Jewish afterlife?
     
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  21. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    No, and fuck political correctness.

    "There was, of course, no reason for his death, and only died because he belonged to a family of Jews."

    That isn't fair on the Nazis. They had a (very flawed) reason for rverything they did.
     
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  22. ashurbanipal
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    ashurbanipal Member

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    From the (Jewish) character's perspective, his death would have been caused by his identity as a Jew, though. Regardless of what other designs and motivations the Nazis had.
     
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  23. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    True.
     
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  24. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Political correctness has it's place. It's just taken too far sometimes.
     
  25. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    Small cancers are still cancers.
     

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