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Boston, US
Posts: 288

On Tuesday, assuming all goes well, you will have watched Schindler’s List, heard from survivor Rena Finder, and toured Auschwitz-Birkenau virtually. I want to thank you in advance (as of this writing) for your respectful response to Wojtek Smolen. And thank you also in advance for your questions for Rena; I’m excited to get you her answers later this week.

One note I do want to make: I have tremendous respect for the array of reactions that I anticipate you will have in response to the film, hearing someone who survived what you saw on the screen (and more), and then “visiting” the site where some of the worst atrocities in the Holocaust, let alone the worst atrocities of humanity, occurred. Some of you will be emotional while others among you will want to reflect and digest individually what you saw and heard. There is no "right" response, but I have complete respect for you and your peers as you respond to the film with maturity and sensitivity.

Now, I'd like to hear your overall reaction to the film, Mrs. Finder’s story, and the virtual tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau. You are invited to take your remarks in whatever direction you wish. Know too that we will talk about the experience overall in class. Moreover, there is a boatload of literature on Oskar Schindler and the events described in the film; let me know if you would like to read some of that material.

That said, a few questions/issues I ask you to ponder and discuss in your post:

  • When Schindler talks to Amon Goeth, the commandant at Plaszow (played by Ralph Fiennes in the film), about being able to “pardon” people, what does he mean? What is Schindler’s underlying view of power, in your opinion? What is Goeth’s view of power?

  • The film depicts innumerable terrible events, placing people in desperate and horrific situations. Some people took on roles that saved their lives; others refused to do so. Still others avoided risk, while various individuals chose to take tremendous risks to save themselves and others. We see compliant workers in this film, black market smugglers, Jews turned “Judenrat”—a police force staffed by Jews but working for the Nazis within the ghetto that could move you from the “bad” line to the “good” line, etc. People crossed plenty of moral and ethical lines in the film. Where would you draw the line? What is the line that cannot be crossed? What action can you NOT take in order to save your own life?

  • What made Schindler take the actions he took? Why did he seem to “change”? Was he heroic? In other words, how and why did he shift from being a “bystander” to an “upstander”?

  • Listening to a survivor like Rena speaking about experiences she endured more than 77 years ago is remarkable and often unforgettable. (How much will you remember 77 years from now?!) Know that Rena, now age 93 (b. 1929), is currently recovering from a broken leg and won’t be able to speak with you directly thanks to that injury and concerns about COVID exposure. So we are left watching her on film. What do you think is the value of hearing her memories and reflections in any medium? What will be the effect of the lack of living Holocaust survivors in a few years? ☹

  • Auschwitz-Birkenau as a place survived the war but we are left to imagine what happened there, whether we visit virtually (as you did today), see images in a book or film, or hear about it from others. What is the value of “visiting”? Is there such a thing as “the power of place”? How does “visiting” a place like Auschwitz-Birkenau affect the depth of your understanding of this history? And given the challenges of “preserving” a place like this, what is essential to preserve (if one has to make choices about it)?

Beyond that, I’d love to hear anything else you have to say about (a) the film, (b) Rena’s testimony, and (c) the visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and get your overall reaction to the experience.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 25

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler and on our field trip more broadly

When Schindler talks to Amon Goeth about being able to pardon people he is referring to him begging to be able to “buy” a select group of Jews to take with him to his new factory, which would prevent them from being taken to Auschwitz. When speaking to him it was clear that Schindler knew what answer he would get and knew exactly how to get Goeth to allow him to pardon all the people he had written on the list. It’s obvious that both men have a tremendous amount of power, but in this instance, I believe that Schindler had the most power. He knows Goeth well enough to talk to him, he created a plan to convince him, and he does it all in a “professional” way. Even the fact that he left a space blank at the bottom of one sheet because he knew that if he put Hellen’s name, Goeth wouldn't have even listened to what he had to say. So instead, he brought it up when he believed he had a better chance at convincing him.

It’s very difficult to imagine what I would do in this situation or any similar situation, especially if my life is in danger at every given moment. My first response would've been that I would do anything except hurt or kill someone else, but that wasn't the reality that these people were living. If I was truly in that much danger then I think it’s safe to say that I would find it very difficult to not put my life above a complete stranger’s life. That may not be the most ethical and moral response to the question, it is a truthful response. If I were to say that I would never hurt someone else, or even think about doing so, in this instance, I would be lying.

At first Schindler did what he did because he saw it as an easy and quick way to make money. He stood by and watched many many Jews get murdered for doing absolutely nothing, but he did nothing to stop that, he only protected those that were essential for the work he needed to be done. He was a bystander because he stood and watched, and didn't do anything to help because it was not affecting him. However, he became an upstander after witnessing more and more injustices. I think this began when Itzhak Stern was put on the train with other Jews by mistake. He came this close to losing his most valuable asset and could never come that close again. While trying to get Stern back, he witnessed the conditions the Jews were living in and probably realized that it was important to do something to change that. For example, when he insisted on getting a longer hose to get water all the way to the last car of the train because the people in the train were extremely hot. I’d say this is what ultimately made him become an upstander even when the other powerful people were laughing at him

Just like Wojtek Smolen said at the end of our Zoom meeting, the majority of what we know about the Holocaust comes from survivors and documents. Without survivors, we wouldn't know much, if any, of the history of the holocaust. If we don’t know about history, how are we possibly supposed to learn from it and ensure that it never happens again? Listening to the memories and reflections of Rena along with many other survivors is probably the most important thing anyone could ever do when learning about history. Their stories were not written down for us to just look back at without ever speaking to them. While they’re here, we need to acknowledge and listen to them. If not, we can never progress and history will just continue to repeat itself.

Visiting Auschwitz, looking at pictures and videos, etc reminds us of how real these horrific things we learn about are. I think that when he can see the extent of something in front of us, we become more interested in learning about it and becoming more aware as a whole. Sometimes when you hear and read about these things, they tend to just seem like a bunch of words on a piece of paper. For example, you can learn the estimated number of people who died, but when you see where they actually died, that number becomes more real. It just overall gives you a feeling that a textbook or a lecture can’t give you and that it is extremely valuable.

Chestnut Hill, MA, US
Posts: 28

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler and on our field trip more broadly

Schindler's List is among one of the greatest movies of all time. Its precise reinvention of life in Poland during the Nazi invasion and seeing the outrageous treatment of the Jews, truly allows people watching the film to get more insight into the overall tragedy that was the Holocaust. Personally, whenever I think about the history of the Nazi Political Party and what they did, I tend to focus more on Adolf Hitler -- his life, his intentions, etc -- and briefly understood the extremity of his victims' lives during the years before, during, and after the Second World War. Steven Spielberg incredibly accomplished a film that didn't glamorize any factors of concentration camps or "heroic" figures as do many other movies such as the infamous "Boy in the Striped Pajamas". This movie was raw, realistic, and struck me to my core as I deeply realized the horrors of the past.

During the viewing, what was very interesting and a sort of pivotal moment was when Schindler talks to Amon Goeth, the commandant at Plaszow about being able to "pardon" people. This happened because Schindler saw and heard just how many people Goeth was hunting -- as Rena Finder also put it -- even though they did nothing to enrage him. In one scene, Goeth is shown shooting people randomly as they are working, and repeatedly throughout the film he kills many others, even if they do obey his orders; a woman was killed for correcting her group's work as the foundation of the house was built wrong, yet Goeth agreed she was right after shooting her. Being able to "pardon" people in these types of situations, simply means not killing them. Here, specifically, is where we can see the difference between Schindler and Goeth occur as Schindler's underlying view of power is having so much that you are able to withhold killing whereas Goeth sees power as an excuse to kill. Furthermore, Schindler actually seems to "change" and go from a bystander to an upstander when he understands Nazi leaders alike his "friend" Goeth, are killing innocent people with families. He also becomes close with many of his Jewish workers, especially Stern -- his Jewish assistant in the factory -- which causes for a more personal connection. It also seems that guilt takes over Schindler as he insists that he could've saved more people, although 1,100 were already rescued thanks to him.

This movie demonstrates the scale and risk people would go to in order to survive or protect their families. With plenty of people crossing moral and ethical lines, including Oskar Schindler at the beginning of the movie, I think I would draw the line when it comes to killing another person so long as I had another option. As Schindler tells the guards at the end of the film, I would rather go back to my family as a human than as a murderer. The line that cannot be crossed is going out of your way to snitch on others fleeing just because I was "doing my job"; I would never become a "Judenrat" and work for the Nazis, helping them find fellow Jews who are hiding and kill them. Additionally, an action that I would never take in any circumstance would most likely be to sacrifice a family member of mine. In no way would I ever leave a family member or risk their lives to save my own.

Listening to a survivor as Rena speak on behalf of the traumatic experiences during the Holocaust and the memories that are now 77 years old is something that leaves the message of how impactful this was. At the age of 93, Rena still feels all of the emotions she faced as an adolescent transpire again because it was just THAT bizzare and overall a lasting effect. Although there aren't that many first-hand survivors from Schindler's list left, visiting a place like Auschwitz-Birkenau can be almost equally as valuable when it comes to understanding the value of its history. It establishes that this was a real place where real people lived and suffered for 6 years. Perserving something like that is a necessity to keep the history of the 6 million Jews alive. In a few years, if these are not perserved, the events described in the film and what Rena said in her speech will not be remembered nor taken to heart.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 22

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler and on our field trip more broadly

When Schindler talked to Amon Goeth about power, he was trying to convince him to stop killing the Jews in his camp for no reason. Though I do think that Schindler's view of power was similar to what he said. Power is the ability to kill someone for no reason, but deciding not to. I think Schindler's underlying view of power is that mercy is power, and giving a person a life when there is no reason to, which is technically what he did in the movie. Goeth's view of power is more of the fear kind, where a person is powerful if others fear them, which is why he stopped taking Schindler's advice. He didn't like the feeling of "pardoning" people more than he liked killing them.

I feel like the lines between "bad" and "good" in a situation like this are extremely blurred, if not nonexistent. People would often do anything to save themselves or their families. I can't accurately say where I would personally draw the line, because I have never experienced a situation like this. I was going to say that I would stop at physically harming someone else, but I honestly don't know. If it was to save my own life or someone I loved, and people were getting hurt and dying every day, I don't know what I would do. A line that can not be crossed, at least for me, is hurting a child.

At the beginning of the film, I couldn't tell if Schindler was a "bad guy" or a "good guy." I didn't know anything about the movie or Oskar Schindler's life at all before watching, so I went in completely blind. It seemed like he made the shift from bystander to upstander when he had encountered the actual people affected and heard their experiences, like how the man with one arm expressed his gratitude and the woman came to ask him to employ her parents (I think). I think his conscience couldn't take it anymore and he had to do something for these people, realizing that he had the means to do it. I think he was heroic, because it stopped being about the money for him and become about the people, so much so that he went broke trying to protect them, knowing that he was going to be hunted for being a Nazi after the war ended.

Hearing Rena's story was very powerful. After watching the movie I knew about events that took place and the timeline, but it was very valuable to hear one person's experience and feelings about the whole thing. I can't imagine remembering something in as much detail as she did, 77 years form now, but I suppose if you've gone through a traumatic experience it's pretty much ingrained in your memory. Although we couldn't truly visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, it was still a valuable experience because we can still imagine the events that happened there, even with a limited understanding of it. The fact that it still stands is a reminder that it was real, and that people did suffer there. It's evidence for the experiences of hundreds of thousands of people. Also, I was surprised at how big it is, and truly how many people were there and how many died. The whole thing was a great experience and one I won't be forgetting anytime soon, though I can't guarantee about 77 years from now.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 28

An unforgettable day

Today’s field trip was an unforgettable experience. It was informative, heartbreaking, exciting, powerful, and concerning all at the same time. Schindler’s List was an amazing film that, despite being about a terrible historical topic of the Holocaust, must be acknowledged and understood. Schindler was an admirable man who played an extremely dynamic role throughout the film. Despite starting off as a bystander, ambivalent to the horrors occurring around him, Schindler gradually changed throughout the film. At the beginning of the film, Schindler cared solely about his business and profit, hiring Jewish people to benefit himself. He treated them very harshly and similarly cared little about the ways others treated them. Fast forward to the end of the film, Schindler was “buying” as many Jewish people to work for him as possible in order to save their lives. The businessman who once cared so much about his wealth and image was now upset because he didn’t think to sell his Nazi pin, distraught that he could’ve helped even one more person.

Now, how did this dramatic shift from a bystander to an upstander take place? Working in an environment with Jewish people, Schindler got to know them and formed closer and more personal connections. Therefore the generalizations and vague ideas of Jewish people as a whole shifted to personal relationships. He began to see Jews not simply as a group of people, but as individuals with stories, dreams, and personalities. Being in a difficult situation, Schindler did his best to make morally right decisions and is therefore a hero. He wasn’t perfect, but he learned and changed, which is what is most important.

As Schindler’s character changed, he even tried to communicate his ideas to his fellow Nazis, perhaps hoping to change their perspectives also. When he talks to Amon Goeth, he tells him that it is important to “pardon” people rather than unjustly kill them. By arguing that Goeth “pardons” people, Schindler wants Goeth to be more lenient, forgiving, and accepting of Jewish people. He wants Goeth to understand what Schindler came to understand throughout the film regarding power. Goeth believes that power is about the ability to kill and elicit fear into everyone else, or in his words, “control is power.” Schindler argues, however, that power isn’t simply about the murder and fear, but about the ability to “pardon” and forgive people when necessary. Rather, power is about killing when it is justified, and when Goeth killed, it was never justified.

This brings up an important yet complicated question; how do we know whether something is justified or not? Throughout Schindler's List, the line separating “good” and “bad” is very hazy and unclear as people are often going against moral and ethical lines to protect the lives of themselves or their loved ones. And when I think about where I would draw the line if I was in a situation like this, I don’t think I would ever really know. I believe that I would do anything in order to save my life except take another person’s life, but the truth is, no matter how much I want to believe that’s true, I don’t really know. It is hard to truly understand the fear, pressure, and dread of being in the moment. This is exactly why this line between “good” and “bad” is so complicated. It is not a distinctive line but rather depends on every little detail of a situation. Most importantly, this line depends on my emotions. During these times, people often react according to instinct rather than reason and thought. Emotion is unpredictable, and so is this line of morality.

Understanding the emotions and experiences of Jewish people living in Nazi Germany is simply impossible and unexplainable. No matter how much information we learn, we will never be able to truly understand the extent of the horrors that took place. Virtually visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau was, however, a very helpful step in the direction of understanding. Seeing images of Auschwitz-Birkenau filled in many of the gaps in my understanding that couldn’t be filled with information or facts. This is because the actual images helped put a greater picture in my head and made it feel more real. Additionally, seeing the site helped shape my thoughts and the stories I was learning about. The small prison cells emphasized the poor treatment of Jewish people, images of the many buildings within the camp emphasized the huge numbers of Jewish people in camps, etc. These images helped in understanding the terrible treatment Jewish people were subject to. The remains of Auschwitz-Birkenau are therefore so important and must be preserved. I think that it is most crucial to preserve evidence that points specifically to the violence and horrors Jewish people had to face. As time progresses and an event like the Holocaust gets farther and farther into the past, the great extent of the brutalities and atrocities committed often diminishes. This is why it is absolutely necessary that evidence of the horrors of the Holocaust, although hard to face, must be preserved.

The most important thing to preserve, however, is not the physical buildings or artifacts in Auschwitz-Birkenau, but the stories of those who lived during the Holocaust. After listening to Rena’s story today, I realized more than ever before just how important it is to preserve these stories. Her experience is unforgettable and more valuable than any textbook or artifact ever could be. By listening to her, I learned about the huge impact the Holocaust had on her and her loved ones, the emotional turmoil that came with it, and the bravery she demonstrated. After all, history is all about stories. And if we lose or forget about these stories, we are forgetting about history itself. The voices of Rena and others must be carried on for years to come. When people look back and want to learn about the Holocaust, stories such as Rena’s will express the pains and frustrations of Jewish people, but also reflect the hope and resilience they carried with them.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 27

A Reflection on Today's Field Trip

Schindler’s List is a fantastic and extremely important film. It doesn’t stray away from the ugly parts of the Holocaust and doesn’t dumb it down or censor it in order to make it more palatable for its audience. Schindler’s List is a difficult film to get through. If it wasn’t, Spielberg wouldn’t have done his job right. If it wasn’t a difficult film to get through it wouldn’t have done the story justice at all. It is because of this raw and authentic take on the history that it stands out and resonates with its audience on such a deep level. For example, the scene where the Nazis come in and raid the Jewish Ghetto is a very long sequence, to the point where you start to feel the length of it. Audiences watching the film are used to seeing those kinds of scenes be over within a very short period of time, but because of its length and graphic content it forces the viewer to face the horrendous actions committed by the Nazis and the pure terror felt by the Jewish people.

Another stand out moment was when Schindler discusses power with Amon Goeth, and says the famous line: “Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don't.” He adds that if an emperor faces a criminal and chooses to pardon them that it shows power. Schindler believes that power lies in one’s own ability to go against the masses and not succumb to the addictive nature of power itself. When you have every reason to do something, but don’t anyways because you believe it is wrong, that shows personal strength. This definition of power is displayed by Schindler’s actions throughout the film with his role as an upstander. Schindler was in a very high position of power within the Nazi party all throughout the film and definitely did exercise his power in negative ways at the beginning, but by the end he did use his power for good. On the other hand, Amon Goeth views power very differently, and thinks that power is instead defined by the position you have and the actions you are able to commit because of it. He doesn’t have the same kind of personal strength that Schindler develops and becomes high on the power that he has, as displayed by the scene of him shooting people from his balcony. Turning back to Schindler’s famous quote, however, I think it could easily be interpreted very differently in a way that aligns more with Goeth’s story arc. With a more malicious meaning it could be interpreted that by pardoning people while still having the ability to kill them you are making people more dependent on you and instilling a cruel combination of both hope and fear within them. Perhaps this is the meaning that Schindler tried to appeal to Goeth with in order to prevent him from killing more Jewish people.

Throughout the film we saw many different reactions from Jewish people to the horrific and traumatizing events that they were put through. In the midst of all of this, a lot of moral and ethical lines became increasingly blurred. For that reason I’m not sure where I could “draw” a line, since the line is hardly even existent in the film. I’ve never been put in the kind of position that everybody in this film was put into and for that reason I find it especially difficult to draw a line through or around their actions. I think this blurry line is very telling about the horrible situations that these people were put in and the effect it has on people’s actions. It’s certainly interesting to look at, but I don’t think I’m in the position to look at these with a critical or judgmental eye.

Schindler throughout the course of the film had a lot of character development. Initially he started working with Jewish people to have cheap slave labor that maximized the profits of his business and thus enhance his own wealth. Over the course of the film, however, you see a shift in his behavior and he begins using his power for good and helps save the lives of Jewish people. What caused this shift was his growing friendship with Stern. Through his friendship with Stern, Schindler was forced to face the humanity of a Jewish person everyday and see the direct effects of Nazi’s actions on his friend. In addition, the connections and truths that came through Stern also forced Schindler to acknowledge the humanity of other Jewish people. This increased an empathy within Schindler and got him to become an upstander, create his list, and even sacrifice the monetary success of his business. That last point was extremely significant, since that is ultimately what got him started in the business in the first place. I think by the end of the film, some of his actions could be seen as heroic and hearing Rena’s impression of him definitely drove home that point, since she was in direct contact with him.

Moreover, I think it was extremely beneficial to hear from Rena’s own testimony about her experience with Schindler and throughout the Holocaust in general. A first hand account of such a horrific act is truly a powerful and indispensable thing to have and to hear. The lack of living Holocaust survivors in the next few years will be extremely devastating. I think having people still living from that event in history makes it feel a lot less distant, and without them I think the next generation will have trouble grasping that this happened less than 100 years ago. Additionally, being able to see what Auschwitz-Birkenau looks like to this day was also an extremely valuable experience. Seeing images of the buildings where such human atrocities happened and seeing those buildings still standing was mind boggling to see and think about. In addition, with both the buildings slowly deteriorating and the remaining survivors passing away it leaves us with less that we have to directly face and recognize. I fear that with both gone important parts of history may be lost to time because it will be more distant and we won’t have to directly face it anymore.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 29

I think what Schindler means when he talks about pardoning people he means mercy. Like the story he told with the emperor it sounded like mercy to me. He means that they have the power to have mercy on others. Schindler seems to see power as restraint. This is shown especially when he says that “Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t”. This indicates restraint and it indicates the empathy Schindler has because he realizes the power he has but doesn’t wish to use it. Goeth’s view of power seems to be absolute like he wants to have complete power over somebody and he wants to use it. Like when he starts sniping people in the camp he wants to play God and have that absolute power.

It is incredibly difficult to speculate where the line is when one is just trying to survive. After all these people were just doing their very best to survive the Nazis and did whatever they saw fit to continue living. What also makes it difficult to speculate is that this is not an experience I have lived and I hope to never live so I don’t know how I would react myself. If I don’t know what my own actions would be then I don’t know how I can draw a line or say definitively what to do or not do. Personally, if I were in the situation I might try not to hurt anybody else but even with that if I were forced in the situation I don’t know what I would do or be forced to do to protect myself or those I care about.

There was an interesting shift that happened for Schindler throughout the film. I wasn’t completely familiar with the plot of the movie which made it even more interesting to watch. At the beginning of the film, I really thought Schindler was just an awful person attempting to exploit Jews for enslaved labor. So as the film went on I was surprised to see how much Schindler changed and the compassion that he ended up having for the people that worked for him. Originally it seemed that Schindler was motivated by enterprise and making a profit from what was going on but that changed more towards the end of the film. It was interesting how Schindler changed from harshly only choosing Jews that he could pay the lowest price to spending his millions to protect them. He didn’t change from a bystander to an upstander. I think he was originally a perpetrator because as he said in the film he benefitted from and exploited slave labor and he was a criminal. As far as the audience knew he had no intention of saving Jews by employing them. Some saw it as saving them from being worse off in concentration camps but it was exploitation nonetheless. I don’t see his actions as heroic, but rather as what is expected. I think as human beings we have an obligation to each other to do whatever we can to help another person, especially in times as dire as the Holocaust. He did shift to being an upstander though when he ensured the safety of those on Schindler’s list.

The final scene of the film is what I found most compelling and the most intense scene. It was incredibly powerful to see what I thought was the actors paired with the real people they played. Watching them put rocks on the tombstone made me tear up and I never tear up during movies. I don’t know if any of my other classmates picked up on this which is understandable because many of my peers aren’t Jewish. But placing rocks on the tombstone is a Jewish tradition that is usually only performed with Jewish family members or loved ones. I thought it was extremely powerful that Schindler was recognized with this Jewish tradition. There are many explanations for this tradition that I’ve heard but my favorite one is that rocks last longer than flowers. I love this explanation because I believe it fits perfectly with what was said in the film that by saving those people Schindler allowed for many generations of Jews to come about. This is where the rock fits in perfectly that it is more permanent and I think it is beautiful.

There is an immeasurable value to listening to Holocaust survivors. There is obviously nothing compared to hearing her speak live but it was still interesting to watch the video of her talking about her experience. I doubt I will be able to remember as much as she does 77 years from now. But listening to her talk it was interesting to hear the number of similarities between what she said and what was in the film. For example, the part about the children cleaning the shell casings was exactly the same. I fear that the lack of Holocaust survivors in the future will mean there will be a great loss of knowledge. There obviously have been efforts to preserve the knowledge these survivors have but not everything can be captured. And what is most concerning is losing them as people and hearing their thoughts and perspectives and the ability to ask them questions because it is really hard to write down every question that might be asked of them.

There is a great value of visiting and learning about historical sites. Auschwitz especially is a place that must be studied because it is one of the places where some of the greatest crimes against humanity took place. It is also extremely important that people learn about it and it must never be forgotten. There is absolutely “the power of place”. It is a completely different experience to be in person somewhere especially where such horrific things happened. It deepens my understanding of history to see this place because it allows me to form more of a connection with what happened. It makes what happened more real in a sense to be able to see where it actually happened. Sometimes it can be difficult to empathize with events when there is nothing visual or tanglible to connect with it but when there is it feels more like one can connect with it. It is essential to preserve places like this to ensure that this history is never forgotten. I am not an expert on the camp and am hesitant to point out any one thing as the most important to preserve but I think the gas chambers are one of the most important because they are evidence that everything happened.

Overall I personally really enjoyed the field trip. I was happy I finally got a chance to watch Schindler’s list because it is a film I have heard so much about but never had the chance to watch. It was also incredible to hear from Rena and so kind of Wojtek to give us a tour. If I am being honest it was hard to stay focused the entire time because the film was hard to watch to begin with and then it felt difficult to pay attention and stay engaged with the other information being presented to us. I still learned a lot but if things were more spread out I might’ve had a better chance of being able to fully engage with and process all the material.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 25

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler and on our field trip more broadly

Being able to "pardon" someone is forgiving an individual for something that they did wrong. Goeth's view of power during this time was that having control shows your power, so even if the slightest inconvenience happened he would choose murder on an innocent person. He believed that this proved his power, as no Jew would even come close to doing something wrong, knowing that he could shoot at them for anything. Schindler has a different view on this, as he calls out Goeth for constantly punishing workers. Schindler never felt the need to shoot at a Jew to show his control, which was just as effective since they looked up to Schindler and listened to him.

It is very difficult to draw the line since no one has experienced the intolerable events that these innocent people experienced. It's easy to take what we have seen and heard and judge others for decisions they have made, but I think it wouldn't be fair to since we haven't formally experienced it ourselves. I believe that some of the crimes that were committed were okay as they weren't even close to comparing to what the Nazi's did. Schindler took a lot of risks and himself too committed crimes, and in most cases it was for him to make more money. What he did wasn't right, but his people were in a much better place than the other camps controlled by the Nazi's. In the film, you can see through Schindler face that he did care about his workers. His intention was never to kill or harm anyone out of annoyance, he wanted to keep his workers since it would benefit him as well. He even got mad at Goeth, since he would shoot at anyone for no apparent reason. Schindler did end up saving countless lives, even though these individuals faced unforgettable circumstances. His tears and emotions at the end of the movie showed just how much his workers meant to him and he wished he could have done more to save others lives.

Hearing survivors stories is very important, as there is only so much of the history to be heard. Hearing what happened from someone who actually went through and experienced these events is far more realistic and helpful than hearing it from a third person point of view. Being able to hear Rena's emotions through her voice gives us a much different impression than reading a history book. Rena's story is so special and important, and I feel very fortunate to have listened to her. After hearing Rena's story, and watching the film, being able to tour Auschwitz pulled everything together. I was able to connect some of the things I heard and make better sense of what happened. Auschwitz holds so much history as well as countless lives, which is why it's so important to keep it preserved. From Holocaust survivors to being able to visit Auschwitz, they hold so much history that cannot be forgotten in the future. I feel very fortunate to be able to hear the story from one of the very few Holocaust survivors that are still alive today, and being able to tour Auschwitz since it may soon deteriorate overtime.

West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 25

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler and on our field trip more broadly

Oskar Schindler talks to Amon Goeth about pardoning a group of Jewish people from Auschwitz. Schindler wants to buy these people to come work in his factory and save them from extermination in a Nazi camp. Schindler's idea of power is having the power to kill someone but choosing not to. Goeth's view of power is forcing people to obey out of fear. Schindler and Goeth have very different views on the world, which is part of why they are remembered so differently in history.

I do not think there is any line that defines moral and ethical actions for this time period. If I were placed in this situation, like most people, I would do whatever it takes to be able to save my family and myself. I do not think there are very many things that would stop people from fighting for their families. People in this time were killed every day for no reason. If it came down to it, I think people would sacrifice the lives of others to save their own families. It may not be ethical, but it is the reality of the time.

Originally, Schindler was a bystander. Schindler used Jewish workers in his factories because it was cheap and easy. After seeing them work and express their gratitude to him, Schindler realized that these people are still people. They are no less man than any German and are being treated indifferently. Schindler realizes this and begins becoming an upstander. He pardons other Jewish people from Auschwitz to come work for him simply to save their lives. Schindler is a hero for being the one to stand up. Itzhak Stern began this uprise. He saved lives by making Jewish works seem essential, and eventually convinced Schindler to do the things he did. Both of these men combined saved generations of Jewish lives.

Listening to Rena helps the audience connect the experiences to real faces. Often, movies are not able to capture the realistic feeling of the way people's lives were affected. Listening to the stories of survivors remind people that it really happened and was not all that long ago. Soon, we will no longer have this option. In a few years Holocaust survivors will not be able to tell there story, because there will be none left. One thing I fear is that the Holocaust will be forgotten in the future. The concentration camps will not last forever and survivors can not live forever. Soon, there will be no way to express the reality and extent of the Holocaust. I hope that we continue to teach the true history of the Holocaust and the people who suffered here are never forgotten.
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 28

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler and our Field Trip.

When Schindler speaks of being able to pardon people, I believe he means forgiveness and mercy. Throughout the development of his factory, Schindler gained ‘power’ through his pardoning of people, especially his Jewish workers, and in exchange for his kindness, he was given their loyalty. In comparison to Goeth, Schindler didn’t take power, instead, he earned it through trust, bonding, and empathy for others. Goeth displays little to no restraint in his actions and completely indulges in his cruelest and hateful thoughts as he views himself as the ‘top of the food chain. Goeth inherited the power that came with the title of the commandant of a concentration camp, and being entrusted with Jewish lives that were viewed as equivalent to rodents, gave Goeth an unhealthy amount of power. Goeth considered the power to be gained and executed through violence as he saw fear as the easiest way to gain control over individuals. The fact that his villa was located in an area that gave him a complete overview of the concentration camp accurately reflects his view of power, especially in sequences when Goeth’s seen shooting random people from his balcony in the morning.

As someone who hasn’t been confronted with a mass genocide against my community, I cannot say where the line must be “drawn.” The holocaust brought out human beings’ innermost networking in which we do all that we can to stay alive. Morals and ethics simply get lost in violent, life-threatening, horrifying environments like those that Jewish people woke up to every day in WWII. Jews had been reduced to the status of rodents, and when confronted with a government and country that hates your presence to the point of murderous intent, survival mode is switched on. Now that the Holocaust is over, we have the privilege of judging the risks some Jews took to save themselves and others in regards to morality and ethics, but if we were put in a Jew’s position in WWII, it’s safe to say morals and ethics wouldn’t be the first thing on our minds.

Schindler was one of the few characters who willingly looked at the horrendous acts committed against the Jewish community. Most Nazis had little to no contact with concentration camps or ghettos nor did they take the time to watch Jews, of all ages, get shot for no reason besides simply “being.” Schindler took time to actually get to know his Jewish workers, especially his accountant Itzhak Stern. These one-on-one experiences with Jews humanized them and simply contradicted the hateful rhetoric that Schindler was constantly exposed to. By being exposed to the actual horror and violence endured by the Jewish community, Schindler was able to empathize with the Jewish community and put an effort to grasp who they truly were outside of a Nazi mindset. In the end, Schindler’s motivation to create profit and materialism shifted to a determination to save and protect his Jewish workers as he truly saw them as “essential” in all fields besides the workforce.

Hearing directly from a Holocaust survivor, let alone a “Schindler Jew,” is such a unique and fascinating opportunity. The experiences of Holocaust survivors of course varied but they’re all connected by the violence and horror they saw and personally encountered. No history textbook could ever accurately portray what it was like to live in the Holocaust, thus the stories of Holocaust survivors are extremely important as they help paint the horrid picture that was the Nazi regime. However, as more and more Holocaust survivors die over the course of the next few years, future generations will lose the opportunity of hearing these stories, and the feelings they will experience when learning about Holocaust will only be limited to pages of a textbook. Future generations won’t understand the vast scope and fluidity of Jewish experiences that took place during WWII. Talking/listening to a Holocaust survivor makes the Holocaust and WWII more real to us, and it is that feeling that will be lost in years to come.

Visiting places like Auschwitz-Birkenau is vital, not only for educational purposes but also for our understanding of the history that took place there. Distancing ourselves from historical events such as the Holocaust is common as one might not have an emotional connection to it besides watching disturbing documentaries or reading about it from a textbook. However, visiting these historic sites brings life not only to the site itself but its story and relevant history. Physically being at these sites helps create a unique connection between you and the events that took place--and describing this connection can be difficult. By being presented with physical evidence of an event, let alone a genocide like the Holocaust, all the stories we had heard regarding the event begin to feel so real as we deepen our understanding of the history at hand. Preserving every aspect of places like Auschwitz-Birkenau is extremely crucial if we want to preserve its eerie, eye-opening, and historic effect. Nonetheless, I will never forget this field trip and the things I had learned over the course of just a few hours.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 28

Thoughts on the Actions of Oskar Schindler and our field trip more broadly

I experienced a variety of emotions while watching Schindler’s List, including angst and sadness. The atmosphere of the movie and the way it was filmed truly conveyed the emotions of the Jewish people as the events of the Holocaust took place. As viewers followed along with the events, I felt the angst and fear that they felt. At times, it was hard to process my emotions and what we were watching because of the cruelness that was exhibited by the Nazis. I had known evil crimes were committed during the Holocaust, but nothing could have prepared me to watch the murders of innocent people in context. It is easy to understand that people were killed by saying a statistic, but when you see the emotions of the people and the exact events that led to each person’s death brought a deeper level of empathy and understanding that these were all individual lives instead of just statistics. A statistics groups millions of individual lives into one number that you forget that each of these people had different experiences.

When Schindler was explaining being able to “pardon” people, he was implying that the greatest power one can possess is when you do not kill even when you can. Overcoming and controlling the urge to use that ability to kill is the greatest power one can have because it means that you have self-control. Schindler views power as something that comes within one’s body and is formed through their own actions. While Schindler was explaining pardoning people, Goeth noted that Schindler is never drunk despite the fact that he drinks non-stop. Schindler is never drunk because he has managed to tame his emotions and behavior while Goeth has not, which is why Goeth was drunk and Schindler was not. Goeth measures power based on the extent you can affect other people.

The experiences of Jewish people in this film have shown that in desperate circumstances, one does not behave the way that they normally would. The fear and natural sense to protect one’s self change people’s character. In all honesty, I wouldn’t know where I would draw the line if I was put in the same situation as Jewish people during the Holocaust. It is easy for me to say that I would draw the line at killing another person to save my own life because what gives me the right to decide that my life was more important than the other person’s. I would like to think that my conscience would not be able to let me live knowing that I killed another person to save my own life. However, I have not experienced that situation. I completely understand the people who were willing to do anything to save their life. In times such as the Holocaust, it was pretty much every man for himself.

Schindler’s opinions about Jewish people changed because he rose over the propaganda that he was being fed by the Nazi party and finally realized the truth about what was going on. Schindler’s initial interaction with Jewish people was because he could get cheap labor from them, but as time went on and he witnessed the events of the Holocaust unfold, he realized that Jewish people were just like him. They could feel pain and hurt, not just animals that the Nazis often compared them to. By maintaining his facade of being a Nazi party member, he was able to become an “upstander” and use his connections to his advantage to help save the lives of over 1,000 Jewish people.

Hearing Rena’s memories and reflections in any medium give us a different perspective of the events of the Holocaust. As I said earlier in my response, millions of people had their own experiences and feelings that one statistic does not do justice to. Hearing Rena’s own experience, we learn about the internal thoughts and feelings that Rena personally experienced as well as the way they affected her in her adult life that many others were not as fortunate to experience. When one listens to Rena convey her memories, one can hear and see the emotion that just reading can not teach. When there are no longer any living Holocaust survivors in a few years, it will be harder for future generations to understand the true human aspect of the Holocaust. They will hear the numbers and see the pictures, but they won’t truly understand how much of an impact the Holocaust had on individual human lives and the emotions that people experienced.

“Visiting” a place allows you to see little details that may be overlooked when the place is described through words which is why it is so crucial that places like Auschwitz-Birkenau are preserved. They teach history in a way that textbooks cannot. Seeing a physical place materializes the event and upholds the fact that people endured these horrific conditions. The places are physical reminders to us that these events took place so that it does just become a thought of the past. Seeing the place also allows you to visualize what it would have been like for the victims who had to live in a place like Auschwitz-Birkenau and feel connected to their experiences. It is especially important to preserve the living quarters and the gassing rooms because some of the worst moments of the victims’ time at Auschwitz-Birkenau took place in these spaces. The loss of these places will mean the loss of their experiences and history.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Field Trip thoughts

- When Schindler talks to Goeth about what power truly is, it counts on the two's different definitions of power. Goeth defines power as fear and control of other people; the ability to be able to kill at any point in time. Schindler, however, defines power as the ability to control yourself, or, as he said in the movie, when someone has every right to kill but doesn't. When he talks about being able to pardon people, I think he's talking about how it's powerful to see beyond what's being fed to you and see that people aren't rodents, or bugs. I think the pardon story also can talk about the ability to forgive? Which is a really difficult thing, but is also inherently a tool of power.

-I think it's tough to know where you would draw the line if placed into a situation like this. People can preach about how they wouldn't do anything "immoral" while fearing for their lives, but realistically I think the lines between the two become heavily blurred because at the end of the day, survival is what's important. I feel like I, realistically, would try to save myself over others, just because of the fear of death and being caught. If given the choice to save people, I would, and even though I say now that I would put my life on the line, when it comes down to it I think it'd be much more difficult to do than to say because of the horrifying situation.

-Initially he just listened to his accountant and cared only about the profits; when the old man died, he was annoyed that he lost a worker, but even though he insulted the man before for only having one arm he told his friend(?) that he was a good worker. When Stern was put on the train by accident, Oskar panicked and I think that was one of the things that started to make him shift from bystander to upstander. Afterwards, with the lady's parents, after talking to Itzhak about it he decides to help them even though previously he told her a very aggressive no. I think Itzhak was one of the most important people in the movie. Without Schindler's interactions with him, he would not have done what he did and saved so many lives; Stern was an incredibly kind person and a loyal one, and Schindler, in my opinion, is really lucky to have had him as an accountant. At the end, when he realizes that the women's train has been sent to the wrong place, even though I stepped out for it because I couldn't bear to watch it's evident to see that he actually cares about them as people. In the end, when he has to flee, it made me really emotional to see him crying and feeling guilt over not saving more people, and it shows that he's truly changed to being an upstander.

- I really hope Rena recovers quickly :(

- The value of survivors' accounts is so great. I hold gargantuan amounts of respect for them for not only what they went through, but also being willing to share their story since I know that it's very likely really hard. The value of visiting places like Auschwitz-Birkenau is also immense. It reminds us that this was a real thing that happened, and not just stories and tales of an event, or some numbers on a page. It also shows us that many forms of media which tend to sugarcoat or downplay the Holocaust aren't true, and that the full extent of the genocide was unimaginably severe. And as for preserving places like this, I think Wojtek Smolen, who definitely knows a lot more about the Holocaust and on Auschwitz-Birkenau than us, pointed out something really important, which is that it's really, REALLY hard to reconstruct things and prevent people (ordinarily) from wrecking other unstable buildings, painting graffiti, etc. so I think the only things that are essential to preserve is what's left because it's the most realistic. I said before this that visiting these places are immensely important, but the risk of people destroying sites are also really big, so in the end I don't really know how to feel about who should be allowed to visit--obviously everyone who wants to visit to learn should be able to, but it also just runs the risk of further destroying the site.

-The field trip overall was a really enlightening experience! I got very emotional during the movie, but it was really interesting to learn so much about this.

Boston, MA
Posts: 16
  • When Schindler talks to Amon Goeth, the commandant at Plaszow (played by Ralph Fiennes in the film), about being able to “pardon” people, what does he mean? What is Schindler’s underlying view of power, in your opinion? What is Goeth’s view of power?

Power. A strong word with a strong connotation. POW you think it’s loud and vibrant. But Schindler’s list shows up the consequence of having power and how it impacts those who are powerless. Schindler’s view of power conotats with self control. He realizes there is power in holding yourself to humane values and building your own opinion of others and not being biased based off of the Nazi idelogoly. Goeth’s idea of power is recklessness. He wants to see how far his power can take him, with how much he can get away with. Goeth’s power is also strung onto his egotistical views of himself causing him to have the need to be dominant in comparison to others.

  • The film depicts innumerable terrible events, placing people in desperate and horrific situations. Some people took on roles that saved their lives; others refused to do so. Still, others avoided risk, while various individuals chose to take tremendous risks to save themselves and others. We see compliant workers in this film, black market smugglers, Jews turned “Judenrat”—a police force staffed by Jews but working for the Nazis within the ghetto that could move you from the “bad” line to the “good” line, etc. People crossed plenty of moral and ethical lines in the film. Where would you draw the line? What is the line that cannot be crossed? What action can you NOT take in order to save your own life?

I genuinely do not know where I would draw the line in order to save my own life over someone else’s. One can write that they would save someone’s life without a doubt but I feel as if that simply would not be 100% true. At the moment if everyone was on the same boat under the same circumstances I don’t think anyone would take someone else’s spot in death.

  • What made Schindler take the actions he took? Why did he seem to “change”? Was he heroic? In other words, how and why did he shift from being a “bystander” to an “upstander”?

Schindler changes after the scene with the girl in the red jacket. I think this symbolizes how his world was black and white relating to his ideology and once he saw the girl he opened his eyes to the reality of the world. At first, he did not care for the young lady asking for her parents at the office of his headquarters. He was actually offended people though his factory was a haven for Jews. I think he realized how much he could do at this time and fully changed his ways. He always showed little hints that he wanted to help the people, for example he was not too upset at Stern for hiring a worker with one arm.

  • Listening to a survivor like Rena speaking about experiences she endured more than 77 years ago is remarkable and often unforgettable. (How much will you remember 77 years from now?!) Know that Rena, now age 93 (b. 1929), is currently recovering from a broken leg and won’t be able to speak with you directly thanks to that injury and concerns about COVID exposure. So we are left watching her on film. What do you think is the value of hearing her memories and reflections in any medium? What will be the effect of the lack of living Holocaust survivors in a few years? ☹

Lacking first-hand accounts and experiences are always devastating. Nothing beats first-hand storytelling, there is power in these statements. It gives others the chance to be grateful for a time of peace in the world and a reminder that nothing like this should ever happen again.

  • Auschwitz-Birkenau as a place survived the war but we are left to imagine what happened there, whether we visit virtually (as you did today), see images in a book or film, or hear about it from others. What is the value of “visiting”? Is there such a thing as “the power of place”? How does “visiting” a place like Auschwitz-Birkenau affect the depth of your understanding of this history? And given the challenges of “preserving” a place like this, what is essential to preserve (if one has to make choices about it)?

The essential part of preserving is making sure people respect these places and their history. The value of visiting is one gets to step into the shoes of these people. The challenge of preserving is often the insignificant of the meaning of these places to certain people.

Posts: 25

A few years ago, I watched Schindler's list with one of my cousins, and although I did enjoy the movie and thought it was very interesting and informative, I watched it when I was younger, and although had learned a little about the Holocaust, I did not know to the full extent as to what had happened. Because of this, I was very excited to watch the movie again, knowing what I know about the events that took place during the Holocaust.

One part of the movie that was extremely interesting was the conversations between Goeth and Schindler, when Schindler asks Goeth about the people that he would like to “pardon”, which in this case basically meant that Schindler would buy these Jewish people, so they would come “work” for him in his factory, basically saving them from the fate that would await them if they had gone to Auschwitz. Throughout the entire movie, we see the absolutely cruel actions that Goeth takes while running his camp, including killing people at random from his house that viewed the camp from above, just because he felt like it. I think that while Schindler is talking to such a horrible human being, he shows the sheer amount of power that he possesses, by being able to convince this man who simply wanted to see death to all Jewish people, to basically save them. Schindler makes the switch from a bystander to the Holocaust, into an up stander in this scene, as he comes to terms with the actions that many Nazi leaders such as Goeth are taking, and he is able to personalize with the tons of Jewish people that were being killed and ripped from their families by people like Goeth.

Just as it is depicted in Renas testimony, and from Schindler's list, it is clear that people had to take serious risks to save their own lives, that may cross their own moral or ethical lines. I think that the overall chaos of the whole situation is what led to this, and there was really not that much time for thinking, as for the Jewish people within the Ghetto or camps, one split second decision could either save or end their life. Although, the one place I would draw the line is killing another innocent human being, when it is not the only option at hand. I think that some people were killed indirectly from the actions people took to save their own lives, but directly killing another innocent life is where I would draw this imaginary line.

I think the main event in Schindler's life that made him change from a bystander to an up stander was simply the act of viewing the cruelty that was being portrayed by Goeth. Schindler witnessed the wildly inhumane conditions that the Jewish people in Goeth’s camp were going through, and I think it is this that made him make the decision that these people did not deserve any of this. I think hearing from a survivor of the Holocaust and someone who was on Schindlers list talk about their own personal experiences, especially after watching the film, was extremely powerful, as it took what I saw in the film, and personalized the events that took place into being able to hear that from a real person who actually went through it.

iris almonds
Posts: 29

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler and on our field trip more broadly

Schindler’s List is one of the greatest and most eye-opening movies of all time. The movie was able to convey and give a glimpse into the thoughts and emotions of what Jewish people were going through during the Holocaust. The movie followed the life of Oskar Schindler and his transformations during the Holocaust. He was a member of the Nazis but saved hundreds and thousands of Jews by allowing them to work at his factory. I have read and watched videos about the Holocaust, and the severity of the situation. I have seen the statistics and heard about how tragic the events were. These were I wouldn’t say “easy” to process but by comparison to the movie, they were easy to process. After watching the movie, there is a level of sympathy because you are able to understand what the Jews went through at a deeper level. Seeing people get shot on the spot and seeing children hiding in toilets really brings understanding of what the Jews went through to a different level.

When Schindler talks to Amon Goeth, the commandant at Plaszow, about being able to “pardon” people Schindler is talking about the ability to control one’s power. It is to not kill when one possesses great power and has the ability to kill. To “pardon” someone is to forgive someone or let them go. Both individuals posses great power at this point. Schindler views power as the idea of being able to control and lead, but also be able to forgive and “pardon” people when necessary. Through Schindler’s transformation as a character, he realized that thousands of innocent Jews were getting killed and he pardoned them in a way by allowing them to work in the factory instead of being sent to concentration camps. Goeth views power as the ability to strictly control others and everyone must obey. If one decides to stand up and speak out, you will automoatically get killed, showing how much power Goeth posses. It is the ability to make people fear him. Schindler asks Goeth to pardon people as he believed what Goeth was doing was unjustified since Goeth basically viewed killing as sort of a game.

Throughout the movie, individuals chose to take tremendous risks to save themselves and others. Moral and ethical lines were crossed a number of times. Being an indivdual that isn’t in this situation, thinking with logic and reason under no pressure, I would probably draw the line at killing people. I would try to save myself in any way possible as long as I am not deliberaly hurting or killing someone. I would never sacrifice someone for the sake of my own life. But to be truthful, I would not know what to do if I was placed in the shoes of a Jew. I would have a completely different state of mind and situations are changing so rapidly that I would not really know what to do. It is easy to say I would never take someone’s life to save my own or someone I am closely related to or know. But if I was placed in that situation and I had the option of killing a complete stranger over saving my child, it is hard to say which I would choose. Alot of the times, people act with instinct when placed in situations that are quickly changing, so to say I would draw the line at killing and hurting others is not completely accurate.

Schindler shifted from being a bystander to an upstander because he was able to see the events that unfolded when he was on top of the hill with his wife. He witnessed thousand and thousands of Jews just being murdered by the Nazi party and he was shocked and started to have a sense of sympathy for them. Before going on top of the hill and viewing this horrendous event, Schindler used Jews for cheap labor and he cared about money and the economic status alot. As a Nazi memeber, he didn’t really know how horrendous the situation was for the Jews until he got a view of it himself. Schindler finally realized the truth behind what was going on and he used his place in the Nazi party to his advangtage in order to be an upstander and save thousands and thousans of Jews from being shipped to work at concerntation camps.

The holocaust seems like an event that happened a long time ago, an event where there would be no survivors. But having Rena as a suvivor and being able to hear from her really bring the situation to reality. You suddenly realize that wow, these events didn’t unfold hundreds of years ago, there are still survivors that we hear from today. Watching a movie or film is one thing, but being able to hear from an actual survivor is another. The value of hearing her memories is the ability to be able to hear from someone who experienced the event in their life time. We are able to hear what she went through and the real emotions that she felt. When listening to Rena, you can hear the emotions that go through her which is really hard to convey in a text. When there will be no Holocaust survivors in a few years, it will be harder for furture generations to understand how real the whole situation was. It will be harder to convey emotions and bring the full picture to the table. They won’t be able to understand how the Holocaust truly impacted someone.

Visitng a place like Auschwitz-Birkenau most defeintly deepens you understanding of history and is another way to learn about history. Visiting places is of great value and importance because it allows you to see where the event really took place and brings even more light and value into the whole situation. Visiting a place allows you to look at the details of the place and it is very different from reading a textbook. It allows you to kind of realize that these are events that really took place and the place in which it took place is preserved. Preserving a place like Auschwitz-Birkenau is super important but I think one thing that is essential to preserve is the gas chambers and the barracks in which people lived because those two places affected the people there the greatest. We learn about the gas chambers and the horrendous living conditions in which the people face there. But being able to see those places really brings light into the situation, making it that much more real.

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