MOVIES: Schindler's List

*I have seen this movie a few times…it’s been a while. I was flipping the channels tonight…it was on one of the movie channels. I said to myself, eh only a few moments, I will watch it for. My dd who is 13…sat down with me…my husband was working, she said…I’ll watch this with you mom.

So, we watched it. My dd was so saddened, so shocked…to watch the expression on a young girl’s face watching the scenes where the women and men were being ripped apart from their children…the scene when the women were taken into the showers, but they thought it was the gas chamber…the scene (and this pained me tonight, greatly) when the men and women were asked to strip down and run through the courtyard while the doctors inspected who would be retained to work, and who would I imagine, be sent to the gas chambers.

I cried and cried. I grew up with many jewish families…in NJ. Also, Italian families too. I took piano with a woman who was in one of the work camps, I was a young girl, she was around 60, I believe, back in the 80’s. So, she would have been in her 20’s roughly, in the Holocaust. I think everytime I see a documentary or a movie about the Holocaust, I remember all of my jewish friends and that one special lady, who took piano by my teacher so many years ago.

I just can’t believe that this happened. I know this is a very old movie perhaps to post here, but if you have not yet seen this, please find the time to do so. If you have seen it, what did you think?

I saw it and found myself quite detached from it all. I found instances of bleak humor, and a lot of darkness, but at the same time there was light in that darkness. I didn’t think the film was that inspiring, but understood that of its own merit it was a decent film. It might just be me, but the only thing that comes to mind is naked skin. I don’t mean this in the sense of a carnal interest, but more like it reminds me of twisted art I’ve seen where humanity is removed from the body and it becomes a mere thing. Perhaps that was the story though, of how humanity is robbed from form or rather degraded. Then again, it might be that I don’t really know too many Jewish people or people around me just don’t talk about the bad things they’ve experienced themselves.

I remember seeing the film a long time ago. I’ve also read the novel Night. There’s a difference between the two, I’ve found.

Schindler’s List depicts the Holocaust, what the Nazis did. Night, on the other hand, depicts the horror of the Holocaust and how the Nazis destroyed so many lives. The movie felt less like a portrayal of the people in the Holocaust and more like a portrayal of what happened to them. The book, for me, felt less like a portrayal of what the Nazis did and more like a portrayal of the human face, in all its hope, all its ugliness, and all its tears.

It is a gift to feel things deeply, and when we know someone who is connected to this horrific time it becomes so much more than just a movie or pages in a history book.
I’ll bet it was even more difficult to watch with your daughter - thinking how many were separated from their children. I knew a women, back in the 1970’s who came to where I worked - she had the numbers on her arm as did her husband. They had been the couple in the neighborhood that welcomed all the kids, made cookies, – they didn’t have any kids of their own - although she never said anything, someone told me it was because of what was done to her. She was so kind, and like you I think of her when I remember this. Our Holy Father just returned from his trip to the holy land - hopefully his presence will help bring peace to everyone!

I really love the book Night, terrible yet so very human. I first read it at 15. So I wasn’t that far removed in age from the young man in the book. It had quite an effect on me. I was not familiar with those events on the human level.It was more a general knowledge of the events. That book really brought home how horrific it must have been. I thought Schindler’s List was a good movie. But I was more affected by Elie Wiesel’s book.

Several figure skaters have used music from this movie, including most notably, Katerina Witt, a German skater.

In my next novel, which will be out soon, the synchronized skating team uses music from Schindler’s List and attempts to perform a competitive program that fights hatred and teaches people to love. They study an underground movement of young people called die Weisse Rose, or the White Rose, which was active in Germany during the war (until they were captured and executed). And the skaters work to track down a hate group that attacks many of the minorites on their skating teams.

The logline is, “How far would you go to protect your friends from hate?”

The novel is called The White Rose Affair. Watch for it on my website. Target age group is 8th grade, but reading level is considerably higher due to use of the figure skating and “Holocaust” vocabulary words. Younger children with advanced reading skills have test-read the novel and enjoyed it.

I think it’s important that we “never forget,” as Elie Wiesel said in Night.

If you are interested in “holocaust” reading material for your children and young teenagers, try The Devil’s Arithmetic. Excellent novel.

*Cat–I didn’t know you were in the midst or wrting a novel, that’s terrific, and yes, I will be on the look out!

elise, thanks for your reply here, yes watching it with my daughter was very moving, and peering over at her facial expressions…I could only imagine what it must have been like.

jevinslil and eucharisted…My son read Night last year, he was 15 then. He loved it…he said it’s a very quick read though. I have been meaning to read it, also…You know, I felt that Schindler’s list did an excellent job of sort of showing it all–the nazi treatment of people, the psychological damage that was done to the jews (ie the man in the factory who doesn’t put the hinges together quickly enough), and the torment of the jews…such as the maid, and her personal relationship with the crazy guard. I also have always found it particularly offputting, that right after the war was declared ‘over,’ how the nazis, many of them, were put to death. How the jews were just supposed to go back to a life that no longer existed.

At the end, when Schindler says…‘I could have gotten one more.’ When he looks at his car, and realizes how stupid and greedy he was with money…that was very powerful to me. How wasteful are we all? How could we be giving our money to those in need, and are we doing all we can? It was very enligtenening to me.

Thanks for your thoughts. My eyes are still swollen today, from crying on this last night. :o*

Does anyone else wonder what you would have done had you lived in Germany or one of the occupied countries during those hard times?

Would I have helped Jews and other peoples that the Nazis persecuted, even at the risk of my own life?

Or would I have looked the other way and trusted that my government was doing the best thing for me and my country and for the Jews, too?

That question has haunted me since I was in middle school. My family is of German ancestry and proud of it. What if they had stayed in Germany instead of immigrating to the U.S.? What would I have done?! :confused:

I read Mein Kampf when I was in middle school. There are many parts of the book that would make Catholics and good Protestants stand up and cheer! I’m serious. I can remember reading the book as a young teenager and thinking, “This doesn’t sound so bad.” But then I would come to other passages that were demonic, and I would say, “Oh, yes, this is bad.”

But I had the advantage of hindsight, which the German people didn’t have in the 1930s. I can easily see why people were fooled into believing that National Socialism was a good thing for Germany. (Besides, from what I understand, many Germans never actually read Mein Kampf, just like many Christians never actually read the Bible!)

My great grandfather on my dad’s side (his mother’s father) was Jewish and from Austria. He came to the U.S. well before the Holocaust but many of his family were murdered in the camps.

I’ve always felt things deeply and especially about the Holocaust. I read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and The Devil’s Arithmetic when I was in fifth grade. I haven’t seen Schindler’s List but I’ve seen La Vita È Bella in the 6th grade (my dad, being of both Tuscan and Jewish descent, can’t watch it but I love it) and I’ve seen The Devil’s Arithmetic.

It touches me very deeply. Maybe because of my own family, my Jewish ancestry, all my Jewish friends, especially those who lost family? Maybe it’s the fact that murder of any kind horrifies me? I don’t know

I went to the Holocaust museum for the first time when I was 16. I had to go again this semester for a class assignment. It made me physically sick both times. I also went to Dachau when I was 18. If it weren’t for the tranquility of the chapels and convent (where I spent part of my time praying the Divine Mercy chaplet), I wouldn’t have been able to stay. There’s something evil and awful that hangs in the air. I don’t put much stock in ghosts or anything but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some spirits.

I would have been a resistance fighter. I would probably have been spared, as a Catholic, but I wouldn’t have been able to stand for my friends and family being arrested and killed :frowning:

Hitler was a monster:mad:

There is a really good book called Parallel Journeys. It is the story of a young German Jew girl and a former Hitler Youth boy who were born within just a few miles of each other. I’m sure we all want to be able to say that there is no way we would have gone along with any of it, but at the same time, when you read something like this, it is easier to understand why people would have. When you are young and this is all you have ever known and been taught, when it gives you the kind of power so many teenagers want, and when the leaders aren’t telling you the whole truth, I can see how it would be easy to be taken in with it all.

Also did anyone catch the CSI-NY a couple of weeks ago? I cried during that one, lots. If anyone is interested, you can see it online here, just click the full episodes tab and it is epsode #22, “Yahrzeit.”

I’ve seen the film once…and probably that will be the only time. It broke my heart, especially the scene where all the little kids were being rounded up, and obviously were being sent to the gas chambers. They were so innocently oblivious, some were singing, but their mothers knew. I can’t imagine the pain.

When DH and were searching for our first apartment, we saw a small ground floor apartment. We didn’t take it, though because DH often worked late and didn’t want me on the ground floor alone. As the landlord showed us around, I noticed a tattoo on his arm. I realized it was a serial number, given to him in a concentration camp. Very, very sad.

Hi Mary–are you talking about the scene when the nazi guards are chasing the kids around to round them up onto the trucks, and then the mothers are running out to the trucks as they pass by? The boy that was running, and hid in the latrine…ugh, that was gut wrenching. Is that the scene? I guess I was thinking some of those kids were reunited with their parents, no? But thinking back to it, I think you’re right. :frowning:

*Hi Maria, I agree. :mad: Believe it or not, there is a Holocaust museum in/around Tampa Bay area, and my dd is going soon for a field trip before school lets out. I imagine it is small, I haven’t read or heard much about it. I actually would like to visit one, although, I think I too would become physically ill.

Did you see the movie The Pianist? Also about the Holocaust, but a different twist…plot is a man trying to survive after he beats getting placed on the trains to Auschwitz, etc.

I didn’t know you had jewish ancestry–oh my, this must affect you terribly. I really marveled at what Schindler did…he saved basically 6 generations of jews. *

*Cat–that is such a good question. I really believe I would have fought to protect the Jews…without being there, hard to fully know. Looking at this, I think it is easy to say, yes I would have done this or that. The interesting thing, was at first, Schindler was worried that he’d be found out…and he hid his real reaons from many, for fear of his own safety, and that of those he was protecting. I thought Speilberg’s magnification of that was so interesting. *

For anyone interested in a heavier tome of information about the Holocaust, there is a book called Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhagen.

This book demonstrates, with extensive documentation, how the Germans were indoctrinated for many decades prior to the Holocaust, with anti-Semitic teaching.

This mindset pervaded all of Germany, even the schoolbooks and even the CHURCHES, including the Catholic Church. Although many Germans disagreed with the brutal slaughter of Jews, many of them agreed that there was a “Jewish Problem” and that the Jews were contaminating the German stock and hurting the economy.

The Germans were systematically taught this anti-Semite viewpoint over many decades, in fact, for more than a century. In fact, through out European history, an anti-Semitic feeling pervaded the peoples of these countries, but especially Germany. Because of these generations of “teaching,” many Germans did not regard the Jews as fully human, but as another race entirely.

The advent of the “science” of eugenics provided scientific “proof” of these ideas. This “science” was hugely accepted in the first part of the 20th Century; we even had laws on the books here in the U.S. forbidding the marriage of alcoholics, epileptics, and other flawed people! And Britain had a whole system of “Selective Breeding” policies to encourage the marriage and breeding by higher races and to discourage breeding by lower races.

So it wasn’t just Germany. This obscene “science” was practiced around the world.

Again, the author of the book provides documentation out the wazoo to prove these points. This isn’t just speculation on his part. It’s a well-researched book.

After reading the book, I came to the conclusion (as he did) that it was virtually impossible for a German to escape that mindset and to come away with a pure, good, Christian view of Jews.

It’s kind of like certain mindsets that currently permeate the United States. For example, many of us are convinced that being free is the only acceptable alternative. We say we are willing to die for our freedom. It’s just part of an American mindset. People here will not willingly be given over to any kind of slavery, including exorbitant taxation, government regulation, etc. Freedom is part of the American value system.

Same for anti-Semitisim in Germany. It was ingrained into the German way of thinking.

And so I fear that I, like most Germans, would have trusted that my government was doing the right thing and allowed the Jews to be mistreated because I would have seen them as a “problem.”

The immensity of the Shoah is so great as to make it almost incomprehensible. How can one imagine that good productive loyal citizens would be murdered for the sole “crime” of being Jewish? How can one even begin to imagine six million victims, one in every two European Jews? The power and benefit of movie’s like Shindler’s list is not that they can truly convey the unimaginable horror of the Shoah but that they can make it accessible. We cannot grasp six million victims of genocide but we can gain some understanding through books and movies reducing it to a few identifiable victims with whom we may identify. A single Anne Frank speaks louder to us then hundreds of thousands of nameless daughters who met a similar fate.

I agree that the immensity is just unfathomable. Last year I did a project with the kids where I work and we discovered that if you had one grain of rice for every Jew who died in the Holocaust, it would fill about 5 large trash cans full. And that doesn’t even count other groups who were killed in the camps, much less in the war in general. It is just this HUGE number. :frowning:

I enjoy watching movies about the holocaust because they always remind me of how bad life can be and how grateful I should be for the easy life I have to live. I also like to put myself in the Jew’s shoes while watching and play out in my head what I would’ve done in that situation. I’d probably slice one of the soldier’s throats first chance I got…no second guesses.