The Holocaust is the world’s most dehumanizing incident that occurred from the years 1933 to 1945. It was a racial injustice in which Jews, along with people seen as inferior, were persecuted by the German Nazi’s. Author Elie Wiesel and director Steven Spielberg both do excellent jobs at educating an audience of the horrors people experienced during this time. In Wiesel’s novel Night, the Holocaust is shown from a Jewish boy’s perspective as Elie struggles to survive the torment of several concentration camps. Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List shows the Holocaust from a German Nazi’s perspective, as Oscar Schindler faces an internal struggle while attempting to protect several Jews. The stories share numerous similarities along with differences, however, when it comes down to which is a better representation of the Holocaust, Night will come out on top due to Wiesel’s first hand experiences inside the camps.
The Holocaust can be seen as one of the most devastating genocide that occurred in history and that is well known in many places worldwide. One may assume that those who played a part in the acts done by the Nazis in Germany may have been mentally disturbed and/or sick, evil people. However, the novel Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning provides another alternative to this statement. Browning provides the reader with the idea that anyone is capable of becoming a murderer, especially when the opportunity presents itself. In his book he attempts to prove this statement through multiple ideas and theories and also provides events which took place to analyze some of those ideas.
In the book Night and the movie, Schindler’s List, the protagonists go through major changes due to their experiences of the Holocaust, a period in history no man would want to envision. Schindler’s List is created to convey a different side for the tragic time in history, an ordinary businessman. This businessman, Oskar Schindler, wants to prove that there will be hope in this desperate time. However, the motive behind Night is different. In Night, the author Elie Wiesel aims to describe his experiences in the Holocaust to avoid the past from reoccurring. Hence, Night is more effective in demonstrating Holocaust education through characterization. As the characters undergo changes in the novel, the goal of the author is attained.
According to Gregory H. Stanton, President of Genocide Watch there is 8 stages of Genocide and in his opinion Genocide is a progress that is developing in the eight stages and which is predictable and not inexorable. At each stage there are possibilities to stop or at least influence Genocide and Oskar Schindler’s deeds are one example of moral courage and active resistance to the worst Genocide in the history of humankind during the Second World War. The following text will deal with evidences of Stanton’s eight stages of Genocide in Steven Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List” and Schindler’s attempts to stop Genocide in the different stages.
In Elie Wiesel’s Night, the aloof foreigner Moishe the Beadle gets deported from the town Sighet with other foreign Jews. After escaping, Moishe recalls the horrific scene where the Jews were taken into the forest and, “Without passion or haste, [the Gestapo] shot their prisoners… Infants were tossed into the air and used as targets for the machine guns” (Wiesel 6). During the Holocaust, the Nazi belief that Jews were of an inferior and evil race brought forth little discrepancy on their liquidation and abuse. Anne Marie Hacht puts this notion into a broader context in “Oppression and Genocide” from Literary Themes for Students: War and Peace, pointing out that, “Analysis of literary works… reveals a common denominator of cause: governmental abuse of power that results in the manipulation or attempted extermination of a political or racial minority.” Hacht’s analysis especially applies to the case of Moishe, who witnessed first-hand the massacre of the Jewish minority. The way in which the Gestapo conducted these executions shows just how “normal” acts of genocide and dehumanization were. Ultimately, the elimination and degradation of certain racial, religious, or social subdivisions of society was a common method of
Primo Levi, in his novel Survival in Auschwitz (2008), illustrates the atrocities inflicted upon the prisoners of the concentration camp by the Schutzstaffel, through dehumanization. Levi describes “the denial of humanness” constantly forced upon the prisoners through similes, metaphors, and imagery of animalistic and mechanistic dehumanization (“Dehumanization”). He makes his readers aware of the cruel reality in the concentration camp in order to help them examine the psychological effects dehumanization has not only on those dehumanized, but also on those who dehumanize. He establishes an earnest and reflective tone with his audience yearning to grasp the reality of genocide.
Gender theory is an effective framework to interpret Jewish deportation because it offers valuable insights into the subtle power relationships between Jews and their oppressors. In order to effectively use gender as a prism of analysis it is necessary to venture beyond descriptive usage of gender; Joan Scott’s characterisation of gender as an implicit way of signifying power provides a sophisticated avenue to explore this topic. When applying gender theory to Schindler’s List, scholars should modify their expectations in light of Zelizer’s critique that popular culture cannot mirror the Holocaust ‘as-it-happened’. To resolve some of these challenges researchers can ‘triangulate’ popular representations with photographs to ensure that their scholarship remains rooted in historical fact. Ultimately, provided that researchers are cognizant of the limitations inherent within both Schindler’s List and photographs, gender theory is a highly applicable intellectual backdrop to examine themes of power, masculinity, and authority during the Holocaust.
This summary paper on Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men will provide a summary and an overview of the main ideas of the text while attempting to focus on Browning's overall central argument which revolves around these seemingly “normal” and “ordinary men” and how they were transformed into murderers due to various elements. The summary paper will also be dedicated to the overall significance of the book and its significance in relation to the history of the Holocaust as a whole. Browning's novel is significant in generating a greater awareness towards the Holocaust but more specifically providing awareness towards who the perpetrators were as Browning provides an in depth examination into the ordinary men which were transformed into these mass murderers, while centering his argument on how and why did these normal and seemingly ordinary men transform into the mass murderers in which they became. The novel also takes the reader into an in depth, detailed account of the horrific actions of the German battalion towards the innocent Jewish population, as Browning details the
In December 1939, as the German-occupied Poland was being torn up by the events of the Holocaust, Schindler took his first steps in becoming a Holocaust hero. “If you saw a dog going to be crushed under a car,” he said later of his wartime actions, “wouldn't you help him?”(“Oskar Schindler,” Jewish Virtual Library).
One of the first connections I made, was the one where the Jews were treated poorly, and what it had shown in the movie. Throughout Schindler’s List, we see the Jews being bombarded with insults and racial slurs. A majority of the people saying these things, seemed to be neighbors of the Jews, before the Jews were moved to concentration camps or ghettos.
In his memoir Night, Elie Wiesel depicts the steady escalation of dehumanization to which the Nazis subjected the Jews during the Holocaust and how it helped the Nazis crush the Jews’ spirits and justify their persecution and eventual genocide. Before the arrival of German soldiers, Wiesel and the other Jews of Sighet live in relative harmony with their Christian neighbors. But once the Nazis arrive, they steadily remove the Jews’ human rights until their fellow citizens no longer view them as human anymore. Thus, there is little action taken by the non-Jewish residents of Sighet when the persecutions and deportations begin. Additionally, the gradual pace of the dehumanization managed to convince the Jews that nothing significant was happening and that this was just a temporary phase that would soon pass. This could not be further from the truth. Once the Nazis finally issue the order to deport the Jews of Sighet, Wiesel notices that his neighbors’ spirits have been completely crushed: “There they went, defeated, their bundles, their lives in tow, having left behind their homes, their childhood. They passed me by, like beaten dogs, with never a glance in my direction. They must have envied me” (Wiesel 17). Wiesel describes his fellow Jews as downtrodden and defeated since they are now completely subject to the Nazi officers. The Nazis have stripped their rights, driven them from their homes, and treated them like animals. Being called and treated like animals, specifically
Throughout the latter 1930s and early 1940s, many individuals experienced persecution. As Goldhagen mentioned in his novel, “Social death is a formal status...It is at once a culturally shared concept of the socially dead people and a set of practices towards them” (Goldhagen, 168). In Germany specifically, individuals part of a specific race were deemed to no longer be a human being in the eyes of the “superior race”. The social death of individuals such as Jewish people was obtained through the use of blame for problems faced and then the dehumanization of these individuals. Once the status of social death is reached, it is much easier for people to treat others in a degrading and violent manner. Those facing persecution, such as the Jewish, during World War II, faced immense atrocities. For individuals who were not killed themselves, the vast majority saw their friends and family killed, were stripped away from their homes and identity, were faced with torture, meager living conditions, and immense amounts of labor. On the opposite side, many individuals who took part in performing these atrocities against humanity were cognizant on some level to what they were doing, but were also obstructed
The atrocity expressed throughout Night, by Elie Wiesel, gives us a clear understanding into the levels of inhumane management which occurred in the times of World War II from the Germans. During the Holocaust, Hitler’s main objective was to make the Jews feel defective; he was ahead of the game. The Jews were tortured everyday for no reason at all other than for the SS officers’ own laughs. Wiesel exercises imagery, dialogue, and plot events to voice his own experience with the trauma of inhumanity.
Steven Spielberg's 1993 motion picture Schindler's List provides an account involving the Holocaust, an ethnic German businessman interested in exploiting warfare, and an affair during which he realizes that it is up to him to save hundreds of people working in his factory. The film's storyline is inspired from Thomas Keneally's 1982 novel "Schindler's Ark". This motion picture induces intense feelings in viewers as a result of its narrative and because actors manage to put across authentic acting. The seriousness of the film's topic makes it possible for viewers to acknowledge the gravity of the Holocaust and influences them in employing significant concentration when seeing it.