Oskar Schindler Essay, Research Paper
In a time of fear, horror, and humility, where everything is lost and nothing is to gain, there remains one element that keeps a person alive. Hope. Schindler s List tells a tale of one man s cunning and determined attempts to give that feeling of hope back to the victims, themselves, the Jews.
Presumably the most moving and poignant scene of Schindler s List was the conclusion of the film. The movie ends as members of the Jewish family lay stones on the gravestone of Oskar Schindler. It not only specifies the tremendous numbers of people murdered in this time period, but portrays the treasuring and affection given to Oscar Schindler for freeing over a thousand victims of Nazi punishment. One of the most distressing scenes of this film was one where the overall terror and fear of the Nazi s by Jews was depicted. The children s fear of the Nazi s in particular was a very powerful point shown. In one scene, a little boy was in such panic to find a place to hide, that he jumped into a latrine, only to find others already hiding there. To do something so loathsome and putrid could only depict just how terrified they were and how detestable of a plight these conditions truly were. I found it very inspiring how throughout the entire film, a sense of hope never failed the victims of Nazi punishment. It all goes to show that if you have a little faith and try to get through the situation the best you can, then there might be light at the end of the tunnel.
Oskar Schindler was a shameless and seemingly fearless man. For this, I both like and dislike him. I like him because he is very courageous, especially when dealing with the Nazis. He has many virtuous values towards the Jews, leading to his personal freeing of over 1,000 people. Yet, I somewhat dislike Schindler because he came off as a big shot businessman. He was willing to take advantage of others’ misfortune, was a drinker, a womanizer, and a gambler, all before he saw what the conditions were really like. He saw a strong business opportunity for himself in Nazi-occupied Poland and was focused simply making money out of the situation, not helping the Jews. This seems to change throughout the film, as did my opinion of him. As Schindler began to see with his own eyes how bad the Jews were being treated, he seemed to begin to think less about money, and more about Jews. This leads him to eventually write a list of over 1,100 names of men, women, and children whom he knew personally, so that they could then be freed to work in his factory. He felt so strongly that he risked his own life bribing and lying to Nazi officials and officers. Here, his values and virtues appear to be true. I liked him better for this.
Throughout the cruelty and horror presented to the Jews, one has to wonder what force kept driving the Nazi’s to do this. They believed that Jews were pure evil, and had no right to remain living. They believed this strongly through series of lies and falsified stories, all to make the Jews appear as very bad individuals. In the film, Jews were not even viewed as people. Killing takes place left and right as if the Jews were some kind of wild animals. I think the beliefs and views set up by the many lies fueled this attitude.
The children throughout the film brought some of the most powerful points across. The children lived in a complete fear of their lives. The blackened, sickened look saturated their eyes as they struggled to survive. Even with this, the children back then are probably very much the same as children today. If any child today was a first-hand witness of the brutality and horror brought upon friends and family like in the film, there is now doubt in my mind that children now would have that same, fearful look in their eyes. Adults and children were so desperate to hide from the Nazi’s that finding a place to hide that wasn t already occupied was scarce. Sometimes, there was room for at least one more person, yet people were still turned away. I think this was being selfish, yet cautious. Those hiding did not want their hiding place discovered while another person was climbing into it. I think the only other explanation for this would be selfishness–that they wanted their hiding place for themselves, and no one else.
Throughout the torture, cruelty, and humiliation endured by the Jews, a sense of community throughout was achieved. This was critical to their survival in that they all stuck together and helped each other out. Without this, they most likely would have died much more easily from grief and lack of hope throughout this time. Throughout the film, Oskar Schindler appeared both righteous and altruistic through his efforts to help the Jews. Righteous individuals are honest, noble individuals. They are virtuous and sincere, and seemingly willing to help. I believe that there is also such a thing as altruistic personality. Anybody who is unselfish and considerate of others possesses this. Most “righteous gentiles” do not consider themselves to be heroes. This is most likely due to the fact that a righteous person is an honest, helping person. They believe that everyone should act this way and that there is no reason why they shouldn’t. If the righteous gentiles called themselves heroes, then everyone could have the potential of being a hero.
When People don’t do things that they are accustomed to, they are thrown into confusion and turmoil. Oskar Schindler took action as the customs and ways of life changed in the eyes of the Jews. He knew what was right and what was happening was wrong. If he didn’t revolt against these acts of indiscretion, his lifestyle of daring and unyielding determination would have been corrupted. He couldn’t change the person who he was.
When I look around today, I still see things that are not right, not how they should be. I see the hatred, the bigotry, the crime, and the injustice. It may not be World War II, but the things that we have become accustomed to may not be something that we should take pride in. There are definite causes that needed our help. Drug use has begun to rise again over the past few years. Crime will always be a factor in everyday life. Prejudice against each other continues day after day. Even when some of these problems seem hopeless, it is important to examine what we can do to help. If we don’t do anything now, it will just be harder to control it later on.