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The Depictions of the Holocaust in Night and Schindlers List

Throughout history, the Holocaust has been infamously known for genocide, as well as the extreme prejudice towards the Jews. Many works such as Night by Elie Wiesel and Schindler’s List, Directed by Steven Spielberg, display a clear and concise depiction of the atrocities that took place during the Holocaust. These two works display the living conditions, lifestyles, labour, as well as many other aspects presented in the time of the Holocaust. These works also outline the atrocities witnessed by these individuals during this tragic period in history. The Holocaust was a time period between 1933 through 1945. During this time, Adolph Hitler, as well as many other members of the Nazi Party, set the plan to eradicate the population of Jews in Europe into action. Its foundations took place after Hitler took power and began to make progress in his plans to purge Germany as well as many other European countries of the Jews.

This was enacted with the instating of The Nuremberg Race Laws, which stripped the Jewish people of their citizenship as well as many other rights that they had in society. Later, Jews were moved to the Ghettos and later taken to concentration camps, where a majority of them were killed in gas chambers and disposed of in crematoriums. The ones that were kept alive were forced to perform manual labour. This went on for a few years where the weak were killed, and the adequate were kept alive. During this time, as many as eleven million Jews were exterminated within a period of 12 years. After the allies finally overthrew the Nazis, they were captured and put on trial in Nuremberg, where they were later executed.

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Night by Elie Wiesel creates a clear depiction of the atrocities that took place during this time. It starts off with Elie Wiesel, a Jew who lives in the village of Sighet in Northern Transylvania. Things seemed to be going as usual until a pious caretaker of the Synagogue Moshe the Beadle was taken captive by the Hungarian Authorities and nearly executed. He escaped to try and warn the town of Sighet of what he had seen, but no one would listen. Within the next year and a half, the impending threat on the Jews had seemed to come closer, and soon the town was occupied by German Officials. They gradually constricted the village of all its rights and began to move them. They were all transported to a Ghett,o where they were constantly kept under watch. They stayed in this condition for some time until they finally started to deport them.

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Elie and his family were loaded into cattle cars for transport and taken to Auschwitz-Burkena,u where many Jews were taken to be either gassed or burned on the spot. Tragically Elie’s mother and sister were take,n and he remained with his father. At Burkena,u they learned became accustomed to the harsh ways of the concentration camp. With small rations of bread and margarine for a meal and strenuous labour, Elie begins to question his purpose as well as his faith. There were also many brutal deaths that Elie had witnessed during his stay at Auschwitz Burkenau. Since there was no toleration for weakness in the concentration cam,p many old me,n women and children were put to death. During Elie’s stay there his valuables such as new shoes and gold teeth were taken away from him. During his stay at Auschwitz, he was completely dehumanized and on the brink of death.

After this experience at Auschwitz, he was later transported to a new concentration camp called Buna. While in Buna their trail was reduced but they were still in the face of danger at every instance. The officers at the camp assigned Elie and his father to a block in which the majority of the inmates were musicians and have not suffered as much as the others have in Auschwitz. This newly found relief soon changed. The conditions soon worsened once the officer in charge of the camp was replaced by a more cruel and brutal new one. This new officer was less tolerant than the last one. He had shown his capabilities by hanging many of the inmates of them, including a young boy, for a transgression such as stealing soup. Elie and his father endured their stay at Buna until 1945 finally they were given a beacon of hope. Many times there have been rumours of the allied army encroaching on the concentration camps in the Nazi territory, but this time there was proof. One night the bombing of a nearby factory by an American plane woke everyone with a start.

The German officers began to fear the nearby front slowly approaching, and so they began to move the population of the camp to a new location. That night they gathered up the whole populous and began to run through the snow. Whoever stopped or slowed down was either shot by the officers or trampled by the mob. They ran until they finally ran 20 kilometres and rested in a nearby abandoned town where they spend the night. The next day they begin to walk again and reach a train station where they are loaded into cattle cars. While in the cars, they travel for ten days, during which they throw out the dead and hold on to their own lives. When they finally arrive at their new camp they unload the cars. The car that once held 100 inmates now held 12. During their time at this new camp Elie losses, his father to dysentery and he loses his want to live. After this happening a few months later a rebellion was held in the camp forcing the SS guard to flee. The rebels now had charge of the camp and within a few days, an allied tank had come to their aid. The Iron grip that the Nazis had on them was now gone, and they were free.

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Schindler’s List also shows a clear depiction of the treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust. The starts off with a failing businessman that wants to start a new life and pay off his expenses through a business venture. His plan is to make enamelware for the army. He sees the plan of the extermination of Jews as an opportunity to make a lot of money. He begins to get acquainted with the officials in the higher ranks of the German army and soon gets the right to own the Jews and make them into his workers. With the help of Itzhak Stern, a member of the Jewish council he begins to recruit skilled workers in order to man his massive factory. During this time Stern begins to recruit unnecessary workers into the factory in hopes of saving them from the clutches of the German SS. Schindler sees through his efforts but makes little effort to stop him. His business began to prosper because of the cheap labour from the Jews. Schindler began to indulge himself with the better things in life and grows pity for the Jews.

However, this great success soon comes to a halt when all of his Jews are taken into the custody of the German Army. There are now no workers to power his factory and so he begins to bribe many other officers in the Nazi party in order to rebuild his wealth. As he begins to gain back his wealth he realizes that his wealth doesn’t mean anything to him anymore and that the human lives that got him to his high status are more valuable to him than anything else. Once he starts making money again he hires anyone that he can in order to save them from the concentration camps. He finally becomes bankrupt after the bribing of the officers in order to obtain so many Jews. Just as the war ends he loses all his money and sets all of his workers free. However, he has become the one who is hunted by the Allied forces because of his involvement in the Nazi party. In the end, Schindler saves the lives of about 1,200 Jews as well as many generations to come. Some 4,000 Jews are descendants of those who worked in Schindler’s factory that still lives to this day.

There are many aspects of Night and Schindler’s List that prove to show its accuracies in history. One way that this is shown is in the transport in which the Nazis utilized in order to move the Jews from camp to camp. This means of transportation was the cattle car. Many Jews were transported from Ghettos, as well as to other concentration camps in the area. Night and Schindler’s s list gives a clear depiction of the means of the extermination. These two words describe the historical accuracy of how many Jews were gassed if they did not reach the requirements of the SS guard. They also told about how the many Jewish corpses were disposed of by the means of cremation. At many times in the book as well s the movie there were concise depictions of the treatment that the inmates at the many concentration camps. Many of the extreme conditions that the Jews were put under such as malnourishment, abuse and overall brutality was described in horrific detail throughout the duration of these works.

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There were a few historical inaccuracies in Night as well as Schindler’s List. One of these inaccuracies includes the absence of non-Jews that were sent through the concentration camps and suffered the same fates as the Jews. Large populations of Gypsies, Homosexuals, communists and disabled also made up a significant portion of the inmate population. However, in neither Schindler’s List was their mention of these condemned populations. This historical inaccuracy also leads to another inconsistency with the historical facts. While at the concentration camps the different types of inmates were assigned a card to identify what type of class they fell into.

These classes included communists which had red cards, Homosexuals who carried pink cards and Jews who carried black cards. They were then filed into different blocks of the concentration camps according to their class. This depiction of the organization was seen in neither the book nor the movie and centred on Jewish inmates. In conclusion, many depictions of the Holocaust are seen in many modern works of our time. Schindler’sLlist, as well as Night, are clear and concise examples of such works that create a distinct interpretation of this time period in history as one of the most infamous mass murders in human history.

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The Depictions of the Holocaust in Night and Schindlers List. (2021, Aug 16). Retrieved August 14, 2022, from