April 6, 2009
I would like to share with you what I am learning about the Holocaust because I think it was a major historical event that everyone should be informed about. The Holocaust was the genocide of six million European Jews during World War II. It was a deliberate extermination planned and executed by Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler. It is important to understand the Holocaust because it will help us to make sense of similar tragic events that go on today. For example, there is ongoing armed conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan. At least 400,000 people are dead, and as many as 2.5 million displaced from their homes. The more you talk about what is going on, the more people will learn. Therefore, I will pass on my knowledge of the Holocaust to you by discussing a movie that a recently saw called “The Pianist.”
Directed by Roman Polanski, “The Pianist” made a significant contribution to Holocaust studies. It is a unique story about German Nazis and Polish Jews because it tells the story of the Warsaw Ghetto and one if its inhabitants named Wladyslaw Szpilman, a pianist. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of the Jewish ghettos established by the Germans during the war. Thousands of Polish Jews were brought to the Ghetto which was filled with disease, starvation, and poverty. “The Pianist” shows a scene of people fighting over a can of soup and eating the spilled soup of the pavement. It also shows how the Jews in Warsaw were humiliated by the German officers who made them dance in the street. The officers even show a disabled man being thrown out of his wheelchair from the top of a building. People are being killed for no reason. Even though the movie sounds like it is very hard to watch, Szpilman’s story is important and deserves to be told and heard.
Historical fiction is a type of genre that helps paint a more captivating and colourful picture of the past. It combines fact and fiction as it presents mostly fabricated characters set in a definite period of history. Ship of the Hunted, by Yehuda Elberg, defines this genre as it entwines the lives of a fictional family with historical facts and elements such as life in the Warsaw ghetto, hiding ...
The Jews in “The Pianist” started a resistance movement which was eventually defeated by the Germans. Still, the Jews fought back and made a good effort. By the time of the revolt, Szpilman had escaped and watched the action from a hiding place. He felt bad that he didn’t stay to fight, but he knew he would be killed if he did. He had to play dead in the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto to avoid being killed. “The Pianist” has many details that are accurate historically. Polanski gives specific dates for the events. Three hundred and sixty thousand Jews were moved into the ghetto in Warsaw, which made it like a concentration camp.
“The Pianist” succeeds in getting the message across about the tragedy of the Holocaust. Two other works that I have studied about the Holocaust are “Night,” a book by Elie Wiesel, and “Steal a Pencil for Me,” a documentary by Michele Ohayon. “Night,” like “The Pianist,” is also told from the perspective of a male Jew during World War II. Elie was a boy who was sent to German concentration camps, and was later liberated at the age of 16. Elie describes how he was humiliated by the Germans and felt ashamed. This is similar to the way the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto felt. In “Steal a Pencil for Me,” a male Jew is also portrayed. This documentary is about a Jew named Jack who was married but had a lover also. The three of them all end up in the same concentration camp. Jack considers himself a lucky Holocaust survivor for having been in the camp with his wife and his girlfriend, but he still discusses how it wasn’t easy. In all three of the works, the horrible circumstances of the war are described, yet in all three works, the men whose stories are told survive the war.
I hope that this letter will persuade you to learn more about the Holocaust. The main lesson you will learn is that we can learn from the mistakes that others made in the past. That is why it is important to pass along stories like the stories of Szpilman, Elie, and Jack. I hope you will take the time to watch “The Pianist” and “Steal a Pencil for Me,” and to read “Night.”
The lives of the Jews in Germany were punctuated by long periods of suffering and many problems. The Jews went through a lot of hardships such as; going through hard labor, loss of family union due to separation, torture and their freedom was also suppressed. Introduction Holocaust was a serious happening ever witnessed and it involved killing of over six million people (Jews) at the time of World ...