This Way for the Gas, Ladies & Gentlemen

729 Words3 Pages
The sole factor that separated Tadeusz Borowski from the gas chambers when he was at Auschwitz—beyond the fact that he wasn’t Jewish—was his cooperation with the S.S. soldiers. He assisted the Nazis in eliminating thousands of Jewish men, women, and children. “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” ultimately uses the narrator to convey Borowski’s message of what really happened during the Holocaust. This also explains why the story is in first person: it reflects the author’s own experiences. Borowski’s writing is quite crude: harsh yet realistic. Readers cannot judge Borowski negatively; he was as much of a victim as the people coming off the transports.
Throughout “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen,” Borowski portrays the
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soldiers while ultimately they are equals to those being sent to the gas chambers.
Borowski mentioned a key reason as to why he did not commit suicide. His own question—“What will the world know of us if the Germans win?”—allowed him to fight through the struggle in the hopes of getting out alive one day and sharing the truth with the world; it would be the only way the truth emerged (Charters 150). What may seem immoral to people outside the camps is ordinary to those inside as proven by Henri’s actions in the story. Ultimately, though, the two worlds are incomparable. Due to his need to collaborate with the S.S. soldiers in order to keep himself alive, many may consider that Borowski indeed played a huge part in the deaths of thousands of people when he could have taken a more “noble” route—self-immolation—as the girl did in the story. This is hindsight bias, however, and does not take into account the terror that filled the prisoners. In a hope to see life beyond imprisonment, anyone would take part in this process. The “survival of the fittest” theory created by Charles Darwin analyzes organisms’ behavior towards one another and their environment to see who will thrive. In concentration camps such as Auschwitz, the only method of survival was assisting the S.S. soldiers if one was not already sentenced to death by default. To be able to collaborate day in and day out and stomach the
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