It is difficult to grow up in the world today without hearing about the horrors of the holocaust. From an early age, I recall hearing about it in history classes. The numbers and facts were all there, the millions that were slaughtered, the atrocities that were committed. Yet, it is an impersonal type of reporting that is given in a history class, and while the mind can sympathize and agree that the event was horrific, the heart is not as affected by facts and figures. When the story is told from a more personal perspective, whether it be the cinematic effects of Schindler’s List or by reading Borowski’s story, the events become more real to anyone with a heart.
Watching Schindler’s List, for me, was a heart-wrenching ordeal that brought an entirely new perspective to the holocaust event. While it is more easy to be detached from facts and figures, it is difficult to not feel the emotion of the real people, adults and children alike, who whose lives were devastated by the events of the holocaust. The black and white footage of Schindler’s List did not diminish the amount of emotion that the film brought out in the audience, and in fact probably added to the dramatic effect, especially in the case of the little girl with the red coat. I do not remember ever crying so much during a movie in my life. This scene was, for me, so painful because I could not imagine the mindset that would drive one group of humans to act so brutally to another.
Borowski’s story, “Ladies and Gentlemen, To the Gas Chamber” reveals the minds behind the holocaust. The German soldiers that participated in herding the frightened victims into the chamber, were wardens of a death camp. Their lack of humanity and lack of emotion reveals a very troubling aspect of the holocaust, how a mindset can turn a emotional human into an unfeeling animal. Borowski reveals to the audience just how the holocaust was able to occur. Without the German soldiers on the ground, working the death camps, the holocaust would never have happened. It is impossible to blame one man for the tragedy occurs, for Hitler was only a leader. His follower’s were the ones who actually committed the atrocities.
Even though it is very difficult for me to watch movies on the holocaust, or to read stories about it, I feel it is very important for the story to be told and re-told, so that humanity can learn from the past and make sure that an event of this nature is never repeated.