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The Impact of Themes Portrayed in Schindler's List on the World

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The movie Schindler’s List was directed by Steven Spielberg, and was published on December 25, 1993. In 1993, Steven Spielberg brought a story that had gone untold since the tragic events of the Holocaust to the screens. Oskar Schindler was a Nazi party member, and, Schindler’s List tells a true story of a Czech factory owner who saved 1,200 Jews from dying from the Nazi concentration camps by recruiting them to work in his Polish factory. Schindler’s List explores themes of life, death, and the war between good and evil. Schindler’s List depicts the horrors of the Holocaust, the Nazis’ attempt to rid the world of the Jewish people and others the state considered undesirable. While most films about the Holocaust focus on the tortured Jewish people themselves, Schindler’s List is about Oskar Schindler, a German businessman. Six million Jewish residents of Eastern Europe were exterminated during the Holocaust of the 1940’s. Families were dragged out of their homes and were put into ghettos, (which were large prison type establishments that 20 plus people lived in). They were then separated from their families. Men were separated to the left, and the women were sent to the right side, and they were all placed in concentration camps. In 1993, Steven Spielberg directed a film, Schindler’s List, that depicted the life of one man who risked his life and money to save as many Jewish families as he could. This man, Oskar Schindler, ran a factory, which kept the prisoners from being sent to their death. The movie is an incredible and epic representation of Schindler and the Jewish workers he risked his life to save. The three themes/areas that I will be talking about in this essay are death, life, easiness of denial and war.

Businessman Oskar Schindler arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which has just started. After joining the Nazi party, he fills his factory with Jewish workers for pragmatic reasons. When he begins exterminating Jews in the Krakow ghetto, Schindler arranges to have his workers protected to keep his factory in operation, but soon realizes that in doing this, he is also saving hundreds of innocent Jewish lives. The director of the movie wants to show the perspective of Schindler during the horrific period of the Holocaust. He wanted to show how there was someone like Schindler who was part of the Nazi, but still was trying to save the lives of Jews because he thought this was unnessary. The setting of this movie is Krakow. The main character of the movie that it was based on was Oslar Schindler(Liam Neeson). Some other characters were Itzhak Stern(Ben Kingsley), Amon Goeth(Ralph Fiennes), Emilie Schindler(Caroline Goodall), Poldek Pfefferberg(Jonathan Sagalle), Helen Hirsch(Embeth Davidtz). The main themes of the movie as mentioned before are death, life, easiness of denial and war.

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This film is very accurate compared to the real incident of the Holocaust. However, there are some scenes that do not resemble the real incident. Movie: Businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which has just started. After joining the Nazi party primarily for political expediency, he staffs his factory with Jewish workers for similarly pragmatic reasons. When the SS begins exterminating Jews in the Krakow ghetto, Schindler arranges to have his workers protected to keep his factory in operation, but soon realizes that in so doing, he is also saving innocent lives. Real Life:Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. There are some differences from what is in the movie and what happened in real life. He was infact a nazi member from the party that was not mentioned in the movie. In the movie it had just said he came to save lives. Also, the similarity is that in both movies and real life he was able to save the lives of many jews and also that was his main focus. It is believed that this takes away from the historical value because this causes the audience not to know the full story. For example, someone would know from the movie that Schindler is a random guy that came and saved Jews. This way they will not know why he did it and that he was a Nazi member before. This is a comparison between the movie and real life regarding how the incident was portrayed in the movie and what was accurate about it and what was inaccurate. The significance of knowing the difference between the movie and real life is very important. This is because some times the movies show the wrong information since they might have a different perspoectie, however in this movie for the most part the incident of the holocaust was displayed very accuratly.

An important theme of Schindler’s List is the easiness of denial. This theme can be seen many times throughout the movie and in the history of the Holocaust itself. Looking at Oscar Schindler, we see that throughout much of the rising action of the film, he cares little to none about the misery and persecution that the Jews in Kraków are facing. He cares only about the luxurious lifestyle and profits that he can get from swindling the Jews. Schindler is not the only one, though. Many of the Jews working for Schindler and living in Kraków refuse to acknowledge the horrors of their situation. Even when forced from their homes, shipped into cramped ghettos, many still insist on seeing the good of the situation, even as Jews just like them are being killed at random. Another example of denial is the scene where smuggler Poldek Pfefferberg’s wife worries aloud about the rumors of extermination camps. She has heard how dozens of Jews are being gassed and cremated at Auschwitz. Instead of being comforted or reassured by her fellow sufferers, they angrily rebuke her and insist that would never happen. This theme very accurately describes what had happened during the Holocaust. In this paragraph it talks about how Jews were gassed which is true as jews were tricked into entering the chamber to which they did not return alive. Also, this paragraph explains that this was one of the most effective ways to kill the Jews at that time as they were tricked to enter the chamber thinking they were about to take a shower and they were locked inside the chamber to which they died because of the gas. Then they were taken out and thrown into a pit of bodies and blood after they were gassed. This theme that has been portrayed in this movie is significant when it comes to understanding what Schindler’s List is. In the movie and real life it is shown about how Jews were kicked out of the houses they lived in and were put in concentration camps and ghettos. This shows how the movie accurately represents the real incident. This paragraph explains the mindset of Oslar as to what he had come to the city to do, and to what he ended up doing after realizing what is correct. This movie does a very good job in blending the information into a movie form that will clearly explain the whole situation to the viewer without any remaining questions in the mind of the audience.

The second theme is death. The Jews in Schindler’s List, suffer from a denial of their true situation. This denial afflicted many Jews who fell victim to the Holocaust. They leave their homes in the countryside and move to Kraków and later to the ghetto because the Nazis forced them to as they were dragged out and separated. Once in the ghetto, they believed the bad times would pass. Their denial of their situation continued in the labor camp, as killing surrounded them. A prime example of denial occurs in the scene when Mila Pfefferberg tells the other women in her barracks about the rumors she heard of the death camps like Auschwitz. She tells the women how Jews are being gassed to death altogether, their remains cremated. The women respond with an almost angry dismissal, saying something like that surely could not happen. They have suffered enough horror already to know mass extermination is possible. This theme very accurately describes what had happened during the Holocaust. In this paragraph it talks about how Jews were gassed which is true as jews were tricked into entering the chamber to which they did not return alive. It also states that Jews were pulled out of there houses and sent to ghettos where they were shoved in with many other Jews, and were separated from their families. Also, children like twins were taken to be experimented on. This theme that has been portrayed in this movie is significant when it comes to understanding what Schindler’s List is. In real life the death of many jews is shown and in this movie it shows where they are killed and how, and where they are put which also happened in the real incident. This paragraph is about the theme death portrays the importance very accurately. It explains that this period of time was very horrific and that it was nearly impossible to survive. This also explains how the Jews were tricked into taking a shower which caused them to enter a gas chamber where they were killed from the gas. This movie does a very good job in blending the information about the holocaust into a movie form that will clearly explain the whole situation to the viewer without any remaining questions in the mind of the audience.

The third theme is life. “Whoever saves a single life, it is as if he had saved the whole world” (Rodkinson) These words, as spelled out in the Babylonian Talmud, signify a people’s tradition; a people with a history of persecution. Undeniably, the persecution experienced by the Jewish people has helped to shape the perception of humanity and the approach to racism, bigotry, and intolerance. Movies about the Holocaust can teach us about intolerance of man which both fueled the atrocities that occurred during World War II. The theme of life was very important and rare during the period of the Holocaust. The holocaust was designed to get rid of all the Jews in Germany, however there were ways to live which is why life is a very important theme when it comes to Holocaust. Oslar was a big part representing this theme in this movie. He was a hero for the Jews that were saved during all the extermination. Oslar was a Nazi member that would help in the exterminatio of Jews, however he decided what is happening is wrong and that he has to give these Jews life. He knew that trying to stop it would result in his death and not saving anyone. He then decided to let Jews work as “slaves” in his factory so that they are alive. This way he was able to help 1200 Jews escape the treacheries of the Holocaust. In real life it is not shown how oslar has saved the lives of money, however they have explained the story which is shown through the movie in a visual representation. This theme very accurately describes what had happened during the Holocaust. In this paragraph it talks about a person named Oskar Schindler who is a Nazi member that helped Jews live. This was a real incident and this movie is based around him as they wanted to show how even one man could make a difference and has. They showed Oskar Schindler saving the lives of 1200 Jews by keeping them in his factory as workers so they were not killed in the gas chambers as mentioned in other paragraphs. This paragraph is about the theme life and is portrayed perfectly. Life was what the incident was based on as that was the main focus of Oslar, so the movie portrayed this theme in an efficent maneer that allows the audience to understand the immportance of life during the Holocaust. This movie does a very good job in blending the information into a movie form that will clearly explain the whole situation to the viewer without any remaining questions in the mind of the audience.

The last theme is war. Schindler’s List (1993) begins with the flick of a match and the lighting of a candle. It is a war film that begins, untypically, with a prayer for peace – a Jewish family, assembled around a table, as the traditional Sabbath blessing is recited. This opening scene is a brief moment of colour in a black and white film. Steven Spielberg creates a moment of peacefulness that will soon be extinguished, alongside the candle’s flame. As the camera moves in to observe the candle’s final breath, the scene drains of colour and turns grey. The plume of smoke dissolves into the steam from a departing train, evoking the transportation of millions of Europe’s Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust. Where a flame first symbolises peace, it will later represent the burning of bodies, an image that Spielberg repeats, in the smoke from the crematorium chimney at Auschwitz. This theme very accurately describes what had happened during the Holocaust. In this paragraph it explains the usage of colours to demonstrate war. This is not a scene that had happened in the real incident, but it is in the movie to show the audience a horrific moment. It shows that a candle that is lit represents the peace that is there at the moment but will soon be extinguished representing the start of the Holocaust The theme of war is portrayed very strongly in this movie. This movie shows the blood throughout the movie as it shows many dead bodies and the blood lakes that have been created from the slaughter of millions of Jews. In real life it is also shown as it is in the movie which makes it more realistic as in both the movie and the real incident it shows the dead bodies in many places buried and it shows gas chambers which was used to kill many lives. This makes it very important as the audience is really able to get a feel for whatthe Holocaust was and what had happened. This also helps the audience realize the horror from this time period and what the Jews had to go through and what had happened to them. This movie does a very good job in blending the information into a movie form that will clearly explain the whole situation to the viewer without any remaining questions in the mind of the audience.

Although there are four main themes in the movie of death, war, life, and easiness of denial, there are a lot of important things that must be acknowledged from the movie. The first thing is the girl in the red coat. The girl in the red coat is the most obvious symbol in Schindler’s List, simply because her coat is the only color object, other than the Shabbat candles, presented in the main body of the film. To Schindler, she represents the innocence of the Jews being slaughtered. The second thing is after Schindler died why they placed rocks on his grave with is significant to the movie. This custom dates back to biblical times, when people put piles of stones on graves to mark the grave and to protect it from wild animals, we see this in Movies on TV. Nowadays it signifies that somebody cares and has been there. A stone is more permanent than flowers. Another important part from the movie is why Schindler is a hero to all the Jews and in the eyes of the audience. Oskar Schindler’s actions to protect Jews during the Holocaust have earned him a special place among honored rescuers. Schindler was an unlikely hero. An ethnic German living in Moravia, Czechoslovakia, he joined the Nazi party in 1939. These were some of the main things that were important to note regarding the movie and why these are very significant. Also, there are some literacy components that help describe the movie in a better way which are: Bloodshed- This represents the loss of the Jewish population. Black blood pouring onto white snow. Darkness- Life without light is equal to darkness which is no colour=black and white. Holocaust was life without light. Last but not least there was the Jewish Tombstone Road- Symbolizes the true wickedness of the holocaust, the Nazis were not satisifed with kiling alive, but needed to deny the existence of a group of people. This movie does a very good job in blending the information into a movie form that will clearly explain the whole situation to the viewer without any remaining questions in the mind of the audience. Also, this movie has a lot of symbols that explain the horror of the situation like the girl in the red coat. As it implies that she is the only coloured object which represents the innocence of the Jews being slaughtered.

It is quite easy to see why a film of this emotional depth about the Holocaust would make an impact on the world. Spielberg was motivated to make this film because he wanted to find a way to make Holocaust victims more than just tragic statistics. Traditionally, when we are taught about the Holocaust, we are truly overwhelmed by the horrors and atrocities that were committed and this overwhelming feeling tends to almost desensitize to it. We have so much disbelief that this could ever be allowed to happen that we can not grasp the full emotional reality of it. It is that desensitization that Spielberg works (successfully) to overcome. Spielberg achieves his goal to communicate the fear and uncertainty the Schindler juden had, whether it was while they were in the ghetto, working for Schindler, or riding the train to his factory in Czechoslovakia. The audience feels like they are actively partaking in the action on screen instead of sitting passively by. We emotionally meet each character and devote ourselves to following their journey’s outcome. This viewer-to-character connection was goal Spielberg made the purpose of his film. By truly humanizing all of these characters, the audience is forced to deal with the atrocities that the screen and history show us. He needed every viewer to see and feel invested in each of the characters of Schindler’s List. He did not want them to walk out of their theater and return back to their mundane way of thinking. Spielberg wanted to remind the world of the horror of World War II and make it so that whenever genocide or discrimination was seen in the world, every viewer of this movie would not settle to passively sit by and do nothing. This movie also helps the audience realize that this was not a lie and that the Holocaust had actually happened and that it is nessesary to educate everyone about this inncident.

This movie is one of the best and most accurate movies that has been created regarding the inncident of the Holocaust. This movie clearly explains the incident as it explains what the main reason was of Schindler coming to Germany and what ended up happening. It clearly expresses that he came and helped hundreds of Jews as he forced them to work in his polish factory to prevent them from being killed in concentration camps. After realizing how accurately this movie explains the Holocaust, It is highly recommend this movie to all history students that would like to watch a history movie, or for a project. Also, not just history students, but also students and whoever wants to know about the Holocaust in the duration of 3 hours.

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