The Holocaust: Victims and Perpetrators
The Holocaust: Victims and Perpetrators
The Holocaust is the period between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945, a time when Adolf Hitler was at the helm of Chancellor of Germany. The Holocaust is also referred to as Shoah in Hebrew. The Nazi Germany circulated propaganda that the Jews were responsible for the grievances of the Germans so they made deliberate efforts to fight back. Hitler devised what he called the “Final Solution” where the Nazis subjected the Jews to harsh treatment before the Nazis started murdering the Jews in cold blood in June 1941.They killed Jews in the Soviet Union; Poland; Latvia; Lithuania, Estonia among other European nations. The Nazis did not face much resistance in Europe because majorities of the European countries made it difficult for the Jews to leave the continent. In the end, Hitler’s operation led to the murder of 6 million Jews including 1.5 million children.
Oskar Schindler was a German businessman who managed to save the lives of over 1,000 Jews from the Nazis. In the movie Schindler’s List, the Jews are projected as faint with no means to resist or retaliate the animosity they went though in the hands of the Nazis. Schindler also paints a picture that the Nazis were determined to make the Jews suffer for all the misery the Germans had gone through, which they blamed on the Jews. Furthermore, it did not matter to the Nazis that some of the captives were innocent children, but what mattered to them is that they carried the blood of the people they loathed so much. This is the same picture painted by Primo Levi, a Jewish author, in his book Survival in Auschwitz. Levi was of Jewish ancestry with Italian citizenship who was taken into captivity on December 13, 1943 by The Fascist Militia. In his book, he portrays the Jewish population as victims of unwarranted hostility from the Nazis, not to mention that innocent lives were lost during the Holocaust. Levi goes ahead to say that the Jews did not have the capacity to defend themselves because they lacked the necessary resources including funds, military, expertise, and contacts (Levi 13). In Italy as well, the Fascists and the Nazis had no regard for families, and they bundled all the Jews in detention camps irrespective of their age. In both the movie and the book, the Jews felt dejected and hopeless because every development caught them unawares, and they did not receive any support from the rest of the world, which at the time was also in war.
A person watching the Schindler’s movie or reading Levi’s book would agree that the Jewish victims are on the bottom, as Levi prefers to put it the second chapter. The Jews were on the bottom because they were helpless with no means to fight back for lack of an organized military, funds, and expertise; thus they sat patiently waiting for death to come. Furthermore, they were caught unawares by the developments that transpired with every new day since they did not have contacts or spies who could leak information to them to help them plan their next course of action. Moreover, the rest of the European continent made it difficult for the Jews to leave the continent, which indirectly put the Jews at the mercies of the Nazis and other pro-Nazis militia (Levi 22). The Jews felt more helpless because the rest of the world did not oppose the brutality of the Nazis on the Jews. It is also clear that the Jews were despondent because parents could not provide care and protection to their children because they did have the power or capacity to do so since they were all held captives. However, there were those parents who managed to send their children out of Europe; but even then, they were disconsolate because they would not be there to raise them.
Levi wrote another book called The Drowed and the Saved, which detailed the days that led to the chaotic uprising in October 1944. According to the book, the revolt led to the death of millions of Jews, and only a few survived (Levi 56). Those who survived included Levi, who was a laboratory assistant in a synthetic rubber plant among other Jews who held positions such as those of waitresses; sweepers; bed-smoothers; messengers; barracks chiefs; kettle washers; night-watchmen; interpreters, clerks. Those who survived are the saved, and those who died from the bloodshed of the revolt are the ones who drowned.
Levi, Primo. The Drowned and the Saved. New York: Vintage International, 1989. Print.
Levi, Primo, and Primo Levi. Survival in Auschwitz ; And, the Reawakening: Two Memoirs.
New York: Summit Books, 1986. Print.