Betrayal in "Maus" Essay

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During World War II and the Holocaust, there was not only mistrust for the government but there was also plenty of mistrust for prior friends and neighbors. In the graphic novel, “Maus (Volume I and II) Vladek Spiegelman makes it very clear to his son, Artie, that one cannot count on their friends. He makes the point that in time of hardship, friends will abandon you quite quickly. Vladek says, “Friends? Your friends…if you lock them together in a room with no food for a week…then you could see what it is, friends! (Maus, VI. 5-6). Throughout the novel, we see examples of this gloomy point proven repeatedly. In the first volume of the novel, Haskel, a cousin of the family and a chief of the Jewish police is guarding the ghetto that …show more content…
The Spiegelman family and their comrades were trying to be compassionate and help someone that they identified with, someone who, through a shared desperate situation (or so they thought) they tried to befriend. Unfortunately, he was so quick to turn his back on the people who had treated him so kindly. Yet again, it becomes evident that no one can be trusted when the prisoners are being marched from the concentration camp due to the Nazis fear that the United States and allies soon would discover their operation. The Jewish prisoners arrange a plan with some of the German guards marching alongside them. The prisoners pay the guards with the agreement that when they try to run the German soldiers will fire over their heads and not kill them. When the time came to run, the prisoners break away from the pack and start towards the woods, however, the same soldiers that promised not to shoot them shot them in the back as they ran (Maus V II 82-83). The Germans that were supposed to be the friends of the Jews and help them escape took their gold and did not hesitate to shoot them in the back as they ran. Fortunately, for everyone’s sake, not everyone was only out to save himself or herself. In contrast to the many examples where betrayal was the norm there are several examples of friends who were genuine and helped to make the situation better for someone even they could not make it better

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