Depiction of World War II in the Mediums Number the Stars and The Book Thief

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World War II was a time when the human race became a game of cards, the Nazis and Hitler being the undefeated gamblers in a deadly game of who would die next. Every text read about this time, or even media watched about World War II, depict it as dark and scary. Innocent people were killed, and so it was one of the lowest if not the lowest point in all of history. The stories and language dealing with the war show it to be horrifyingly devastating; many lives were lost and will not be forgotten anytime soon. Humanity is a cruel thing even now. People are still killing innocent people today. However, that does not take away how powerful the Holocaust was.

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One of the mediums read was the book Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. The story deals with two best friends during the Holocaust. However, one happens to be a Jew. She ends up needing to go into hiding, so her friend’s family takes her in and passes her off as their daughter. The book takes place when Jews start heading and planning to escape to Sweden. In the end, they do succeed in getting her friend to Sweden. This book shows a lot when it comes to the Holocaust. It is fiction, but it still tells a more accurate story. The only fully fictional thing are the characters involved. Despite the book being aimed toward a younger audience than most Holocaust related media, it is still a very dark book when thought about. It shows just how ruthless Hitler was when it came to getting rid of Jews. One quote that stuck out when reading the book would most definitely be when the father states, “It is much easier to be brave if you do not know everything” (Lowry 91). This is a very true quote, especially put into the context of the Holocaust itself. There were many children that did not know every single thing that went on during the Holocaust, thus they were not as scared as the adults that feared for their children. This, in turn, made them a lot more brave so to speak than the adults who knew everything that Hitler was doing.

The other medium that was watched was the movie adaptation of the novel The Book Thief. The Book Thief has a similar theme in hiding a Jew from the Nazi soldiers. Liesel and her family hide the son of an old friend of her adopted father’s. Max, the Jew, stays hidden in their basement for awhile. Liesel and her family grow to adore Max despite the initial protest of hiding him as they become accessories. The book makes an even sadder turn than Number the Stars when a bomb destroys everyone Liesel loves; her adopted parents and her best friend Rudy. The Book Thief is more targeted toward the young adult audience instead of children, which could easily be why it was included. It tragically shows Liesel’s reactions to seeing her dead parents’ bodies as well as Rudy’s. However, at this point, Max was no longer living with them. So in the epilogue, it gets emotional when it shows that Liesel has gotten a bit older and Max shows up at the shop she works at. The reaction makes the entire tragedy a bit lighter as now the audience knows that someone she loved did in fact not die. The Book Thief and Number the Stars have a common theme of not losing hope. Liesel, though losing her family, did not just give up and allow herself to die in any of the war after that. Annemarie could have given up on her best friend Ellen in her time of need, but she did not. She instead helped her get to Sweden even if it meant not seeing her best friend for years.

Both of the mediums used show just how dark the Holocaust and World War II in general were. Innocent people who had done absolutely nothing wrong were getting executed just for being Jewish. A couple of the words used in the group discussions were “haunted” and “brave”. Haunted, a word used in The Book Thief, is said when Death says he is haunted by humans. This shows a different side to the story as he implies that even he is bothered by how many people he sees die as he is death himself. He is constantly going and getting people who have died. The fact that even he is bothered by all of the death is outstanding. Too many people died during World War II, and while it is indeed a fictional story, the fact that it was told from the perspective of Death and shows Death’s reactions make it even more interesting. The word “brave” was taken from the quote in the first paragraph. Brave is the perfect word to use when discussing the Holocaust and World War II. When it is thought about, everyone who had to go through the pain and suffering during that time were brave. They will always be considered brave. Even if they were all scared out of their minds, what they went through was too great to not consider each and every one of the victims brave. There will never be a time when people do not use that word to refer to people during that period. Every single person, whether they survived and are alive now or dead, was brave. They went through way too much to not be considered brave by everyone who speaks of them.

World War II was a dark and scary time. No one deserves to die based on their religious beliefs. Back then, it was Hitler people needed to fear. Nowadays, people fear humanity itself. The world is falling apart from racism, terrorism, and so many shootings that deal with both of those things. The world is still terrifying. No one can trust anyone as it seems as though anyone is capable of anything these days; just like Hitler during World War II. There is nothing to fear besides humanity itself, then and now. Too many things have happened now and in history to not be afraid. It can only be hoped that a second Holocaust will never happen and that the world will not go as far as Hitler did during the Holocaust and World War II.

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