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Throughout history, there have been Jews who hated themselves for what they were made to suffer, for being the perennial focus of evil and violence wherever they were.

Apparently the phrase they were made to suffer is the passive form of the structure below:

Subject + Make + object ( personal predicate or objective one) + infinitive without to

Here, we mean that we want somebody to do something. for example:

Jane, I'll make you tidy up your room, whether you want it, or not!

and its passive form is:

Jane will be made to tidy her room ...

Now I want to know:

What's the active form of "they were made to suffer?

Could you please explain it to me?

The fuller text is:

Throughout history, there have been Jews who hated themselves for what they were made to suffer, for being the perennial focus of evil and violence wherever they were. Now we wondered, how much more difficult would it have been for Hitler had there been no Jews? How many Germans had joined the Nazi Party simply because it gave them the opportunity to snatch a share of Jewish property, to vent their frustrations? Maybe the Jews by their very existence had helped the Nazis to power more than anything else.

Under a Cruel Star, A Life in Prague 1941-1968 by Heda Margolius Kovály

Translated by Helen Epstein.

  • Maybe "The Nazis/Hitler made [the] Jews suffer"? – Kman3 Jun 10 at 20:22
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    X are made to Y [by an implied Z or actual Z]. Jane will be made to tidy her room [by her mother]. structure: to make someone do something. See also: let – Lambie Jun 10 at 20:26
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Asking such a question is the same as asking to make active the passive sentence "The wall was painted green." The point is however hard we try we cannot extrapolate who or what was the subject in the presumably original active sentence. In fact, such passive sentences are used when the speaker doesn't want to mention the actual logical subject or when the logical subject is irrelevant for the delivery of the idea of the sentence to the listener.

If you are still resolved to make the sentence about Jews active, you can choose whatever subject you like:

Jews who hated themselves for what they were made to suffer >

Jews who hated themselves for what Nazis made Jews suffer.
Jews who hated themselves for what others made Jews suffer.
Jews who hated themselves for what other nations made Jews suffer.
Jews who hated themselves for what gentiles made Jews suffer.
Jews who hated themselves for what goys made Jews suffer.

Irrespective of what you choose, your resulting active sentence will have some amount of information that the original author didn't intend to be there.

| improve this answer | |
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    After the object(jews) we use "infinitive without to". For EX: "They made jews suffer." – Peace Jun 10 at 20:38
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    @Peace - Yes, I thought about it, but hesitated. Thanks for the edit! – Yellow Sky Jun 10 at 20:41
  • "Intend" is perhaps too strong. There is a strong inference that the author did intend to discuss solely human evils inflicted by those not Jews. Cancer, rabid dogs, and hurricanes are not intended. I suspect that the author's intent on using the passive was not to hide the active agent, but to stress the resulting effect by ignoring the agent. Your suggested "others" does not seem to me to add meaning not intended by the author. I suggest it subtracts intensity from what was intended by the author. – Jeff Morrow Jun 10 at 20:42
  • @JeffMorrow - Surely it's about people. But which people? One thing is accusing the cursed Nazis, but quite a different thing is accusing all the non-Jews. Yet the short fragment of the text we have doesn't allow us to make our choice of the reconstructed subject with deep understanding of the author's intent. Anyhow, I'll say it again: whatever subject you choose, it wasn't the author's intent to use it. – Yellow Sky Jun 10 at 20:56
  • I'll argue no longer. You agree that it is people rather than people and lions. And the author does not include all Nazis or all people. Remember Schindler. "People say" does not mean "all people say." It seems to me that it is you who are now attributing things not said to the author. But I shall not bother you further. – Jeff Morrow Jun 10 at 23:56

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