Maus is a graphic novel full of enlightening illustrations and dialogue, capturing the lives of multiple survivors of world war two in Poland. Among the survivors, Vladek Spiegelman mainly speaks of his own story of before the war, and during, as well as after the war when he shifts to present time. Within this project, the goal is to capture the emotions of the characters at different points within the novel. While the novel is emotionally driven, giving insight into the minds of Anja and I, I try to capture the fact that it wasn’t just six million of us, it was six million fully aware people, who had jobs, spouses, children, and parents.
While I only cover the story of a few, it represents the conditions for millions during the war.
This journal of mine was a way to vent and not feel hopeless, but I release it, for it is meant to capture the unsaid in my novel.
To create this, I had to ask myself what most people think of when they are alone in a horrible situation. In adverse conditions. Based on other accounts of adverse conditions, many will only think of their loved ones for a number of reasons. Even in horrible conditions, it is normal for their significant other to be on their mind frequently. Love drives hope as well as motivates someone to keep pushing and continuing on through the rough bits of life, and even more so if they are in a harsh situation.
As captured through the notes of soldiers at war, if under intense fire, the soldiers will be thinking of their loved ones and fighting for them. In the case in Maus II, when both of us were in the awful conditions of Auschwitz, we would always continue to worry if the other is even alive. This alone almost broke me. I couldn’t put this in my novel because I didn’t want to just talk about my sobbing nights, mourning over the deaths of my friends and potentially my wife.
The scene in the novel when Anja and I traded supplies over the fence is an indication that in our situation we would still risk our lives in order to help the other. By tossing the supplies over the fence, it would be no shock if the guards opened fire on us immediately, but to me it is worth it. “She also went back and forth until it was safe to approach over to my food packages” (Spiegelman 65). As her husband, I needed to do whatever I could to keep her safe, to do this I tried to feed her when I could. Within my Maus novels, I never explained how much I loved Anja, why I loved her, as well as what I would do in order to make her happy. One of my challenges in releasing this was saying the unsaid, but I believe it is crucial to understand my motivations for doing such things as well as how I got through such a hard time. Based on how much I missed Anja, readers can assume that she meant the world to me when she was alive. Just the assumption is not enough. I must release my journal because these are pure thoughts of a hopeless man who is in a camp, not those that I try to recall from the past. Please listen to my words and don’t forget what it was like for me for if there were to happen again in the future, someone would share my story, and that is not another that needs to be.