This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen Essay

1394 Words May 4th, 2012 6 Pages
Evan Califano
4/24/12
Modern Europe
An Analysis of “This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen” The short story “The Death of Schillinger” was a story about a First Sergeant whom ruled over labor sector ‘D,’ a laboring portion of Birkenau which was formally known as the Auschwitz extermination camp. Schillinger was a short stocky man and was truly evil at his essence; “He visited the crematoria regularly and liked to watch people being shoved into the gas chambers.” (pp.144) One day in August of 1943, the SS were unloading a transport and preparing to load stripped Jews into the gas chambers. However, before this could be done Schillinger took a liking to one of the nude women and grabbed her out of line; she threw gravel in his eyes,
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The sick Schreiber carried his box to Block 14, and then the Waschraum. Onlookers thought he was odd considering he could have given these items away before being executed. However, one onlooker; a doctor reminds the readers that, “Something [could] surely happen along the way. Holding a package would be a little like holding somebody’s hand.” (pp.150) The theme of this short story is that the victims of the Holocaust were surely strong at heart and would not give up until the bitter end. Lastly, another theme that could be derived is that no one can understand death until it is staring them in the face; this was symbolized when the author stated, “The Jews who were driven to the gas chamber sand some soul-stirring Hebrew song which nobody could understand.” (pp.151) While most of the prisoners in the camp were Jewish, no one except those being driven to their deaths could understand the hymn that was sung. “A True Story” was about a malnourished man sick with typhoid fever whom told many stories to his bed neighbor Kapo Kwasniak. Kwasniak detested inactivity, but had poor kidneys and could not eat or work like he once used to. Kwasniak was not humored by the old man’s stories unless they were true as Kwasniak was not impressed with romantic literature, adventure films, or fictional novels. The malnourished old man began to tell Kwasniak a delusional story of a young boy he met in prison; the boy was found to be guilty of writing on walls and was shot