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Historical Themes Schindler’s List Essay

Light can still be found even in the darkest of times; Oskar Schindler shows this through his actions during the Holocaust. In the novel Oskar Schindler’s portrayed his motives and ways one man can help thousands of the struggling Polish Jews. What he did absolutely contradict what his country and leader wanted; they were planning to eradicate all Jews from the face of the Earth. By using his factory as a place for the helpless Jews to work, he avoided thousands from being sent to the concentration camps where they would work as slaves and eventually die.

At first Schindler liked the idea of Polish workers but after he found out what Hitler’s true intentions were he quickly felt remorse for them and determined himself to save as many as humanly possible. He began employing more and more Jews, he saved thousands of lives but ruined his business in doing so. Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally brilliantly portrayed the courage and human spirit in one man in the midst of terrible evil. Schindler proved the difference that one man can make by using his wit against the Nazis. Without the historical validity incorporated into the novel, the themes and overall story would not be up as great as it is already.

Hitler’s Nazi regime ran a dictatorship with Adolf Hitler at the very head of the tyranny. Hitler’s master plan led to hopefully conquering the world and creates his version of society with perfect people and culture. Starting with the invasion of Poland he took Jews from their homes and forced them to do tedious work as slaves in concentration camps claiming that it was for their own protection. He tore families apart, and treated them with indignity in the camps by giving them very little food and forcing public nudity. Entire clans or families died at the order of the Nazis and no mercy could be seen from them as they killed the Jews in ways which would be seen as cruel and evil, even to humans.

These events led to the deaths of six million Jewish citizens during World War II. Jews’ murders took place in many various ways; one way was in gas chambers disguised as showers. Corpses and left over residues burned in huge infernos that made it snow ashes of people. Human remains were also being used for the benefit of the Nazis; they used skin and lamp shades, hair as insulation, and skin also as a type of paper. Many Jewish families were desperate to not find themselves in the terrible camps that they did everything they could not to be captured and sent to their demise. Thomas Keneally describes the setting of Germany in the novel very accurately to the time period, and also the social status that some people had at the time.

Germans lived being treated very normally by all soldiers of Hitler’s rule, but all others were treated as second class citizens or actually sub human. In the eyes of the Nazis Jews must be the lowest of the low to the, they were considered not as human but as some kind of sub species below all other humans. This aspect that was included in the novel is very true to history in Germany for 1943. Owning businesses or running one was against the law for any Jewish citizen.

Many businesses burned down to the ground at the hand of the soldiers, ruining even wealthy land owners and workers. During World War II over six million Jews were killed by the Nazis and that is a fact included into the novel also. After the rest of European Jews heard about the genocide of Jews they and many others began hiding and helped hide people to avoid capture. People did everything to save themselves and others, some hid in the attics of Germans or in the barn of farmers. They started to become desperate to hide; Oskar Schindler used his very own factory where he produced pottery as a way to protect the Polish Jews.

Oskar Schindler’s career led him to becoming a business man and entrepreneur in the pots and pans industry. His factory had become very successful because of the labor force provided by the Jews that were crowded into cities by the Nazis. In 1942 the Nazis really did begin to round up all the available Jews into ghettos or slums in the city to contain them like in the concentration camps. At the same time as Oskar Schindler a lady named Irena Sendler helped to save over two thousand Jewish children from the ghettos that the Nazis set up for them. . She and many others helped humanity by using their intellect, courage, and resources. If an event like this happened in any other time period it just would not be the same.

Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s List showed how one person can make a giant difference for many people. His novel’s historical aspects were accurate in most ways, it helped to enforce the themes in the story of the human spirit and one man can make a change. Throughout history it has been proven that if one person does one change it can help thousands of peoples’ lives forever. Adolf Hitler and his attempt to eradicate the Jewish population is the darkest time in history of humanity. But still, light can be found in the midst of total darkness and evil.


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