posts 1 - 15 of 24
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 334

On Wednesday, assuming all goes well, you will have watched Schindler’s List. We will most likely not have heard from one of the few remaining survivors, Rena Finder (age 94), but on Thursday in class we will probably hear a bit from her on film. Rena is not well at the moment, but she is eager to receive and respond to your questions. So as part of this assignment, you are to pose at least one question for Rena.


A note: I have tremendous respect for the array of reactions that I anticipate you will have in response to the film. 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. 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 addition in a 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”?

  • At the end of the post, in a separate paragraph, pose a question for Rena Finder. Know that I’ll be copying and pasting, combining similar questions/topics and getting her to respond.
Snailaligator
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Although this was not my first time seeing the film, seeing it on a larger screen changed the experience for me. The disturbing and shocking scenes depicted in the film felt much closer to me and even though this time I was able to mentally prepare myself for the events that I knew were about to be shown, this time was even harder to watch. I think that the movie is excellently done. With many movies it is easy to be unaffected by what is shown by simply telling yourself that none of it is real. Steven Spielberg clearly knew how to make the film undeniably real for the viewer.

When Schindler discusses the idea of “pardoning” people, he means that it takes more power to restrain yourself rather than to exploit others with your power. Schindler believes that power is not measured by what a person is capable of without being punished, but rather someone’s self control. Goeth’s view of power is being able to impose his control over others, especially in very cruel ways.

I think that the question of the morality and ethics in this film, especially of the Jews that were being persecuted themselves, brings up another bigger question. Is there morality without freedom? Many of these Jewish people had extremely limited choices, and as time went on their choices quickly faded and faded. I don’t believe that you can hold someone morally accountable if they are not free. I do not think that anyone can draw a line that works in every situation. I believe that a person cannot kill others in order to save their own life, but even that is a more utilitarian view and I am sure that there are hypothetical situations where I would not think the person is crossing the line.

I think that the more Schindler was around Jews who were treated in incredibly dehumanizing and horrible ways, he started to shift from caring purely for financial gain, to caring more about their treatment. I think that he knew that what was happening around him was wrong and being a bystander made him uncomfortable. It’s hard to say whether he was heroic or not. Although he sacrificed his wealth in order to save those lives, for a long period of time he had no problem with feeling superior to Jews and exploiting them for his own gain. It’s also hard to know whether some of the language he uses around the other Germans (ex: when he discusses owning “his” Jews) is to gain the respect of the Nazis or whether he also thinks in that derogatory way.

Question for Rena Finder:

Do you think that Oskar Schindler was a hero?

autumnpeaches
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Schindler’s view of power means having the power to kill someone, but ultimately using that power not to kill them. Like that example he gave us of the king and the man. The man knows he has done wrong and the king has every right to kill him, and the king DOES have every right to kill him, but he does not. The king pardons him, because although he has the power to kill, he also has the power to save. On the other hand, Goeth’s view of power means having direct control over people, being able to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime. Even the actor for Goeth, Ralph Fiennes, said he felt disgusted with himself because he felt powerful being in that uniform and could almost sympathize with Nazi leader due to how immersed he was in his role. That’s from an ACTOR’s point of view. Now imagine how Amon Goeth would feel being a true Nazi. He must’ve been addicted to that power, the feeling of “superiority” over the people he was killing.

I understand the actions of the Jewish children in that one scene. It might seem wrong to us, but I know why they didn’t allow that poor boy to hide with them. Because of fear. They were scared that the boy hiding with them could increase their chances of being found, therefore increasing the chance of them being killed also. Plus, it wasn’t just about them, they also had mothers to go back to, mothers who cared about their safety. If I was in that situation, I couldn’t say I would make a different choice. But if there’s one line I wouldn’t cross, it would be selling out people. If there were people hiding in the floorboards beneath my feet, and to save my life I had to expose their location, I really wouldn’t be able to do it. If I live, then I’ll feel that guilt for the rest of my life, and if I die, then I’ll feel that guilt even in my death.

By our definition of a good person, Schindler definitely wasn’t one. He constantly cheats on his wife, he was part of the Nazi Party, he was an icky womanizer, and he only cared about his own interests and profits (initially). However, the number of people that he has saved cannot be glossed over. I think the main reason that caused this change was how people viewed him as a “good person” even though he was not, and that pushed him to actually be better. The first time we saw this in the movie was when the one armed mechanic thanked him for saving his life and giving him a job. “God bless you sir, you are a good man” were the exact words he said. Schindler had complained to Stern that hiring a one-armed man was not productive for the factory, but after he was killed by the SS soldiers, Schindler defended him, saying he was a good worker. In another scene, the young girl comes to beg Schindler to hire her parents because his place was seen as a safe haven where no one was killed. Same as last time, Schindler gets angry that they all see his place as a haven, but ultimately, he still hires them. As he saw more and more bloodshed and innocent lives being killed (like that girl in red), Schindler realizes that this is wrong and that he has the power to save them. So he does.


My question for Rena Finder is: What was life like in that factory, and did you ever get to talk or interact with Schindler at all?

Martha $tewart
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Schindler's List

This film was very well done. It was an interesting mix between a movie and a documentary. I enjoyed the use of color and camera angles (in some scenes it felt like we were watching from the point of view of a cameraman who was actually present during those events). However, some of my friends mentioned after watching the movie that it was hard to stay on top of who the different characters were at times.


In my opinion, Schindler felt that power comes from knowing that you can do whatever you want, but choosing not too. Goeth felt powerful when he did whatever he wanted, even if that was killing people. Goeth enjoyed sniping people from his balcony for not working hard enough, but he himself was overweight and had people do everything for him. I think he felt conflicted, especially in the case of the maid, Helen Hirsch. He seemed to have feelings for her, but his Nazi ideologies prevented him from overcoming his hate for her race. After Schindler tells Goeth his ideas on power, Goeth briefly agrees, but then changes his mind. It is mentioned in text at the end of the film that he spent time in a mental institution, that could tie into this somehow as well.


I think that when you are a victim, there is no line to cross. It's of course important to look at things from a moral standpoint, but right and wrong don’t really matter when you have no power. As Ms. Freeman said, these people were stuck between a rock and a hard place, they had to make “choice-less choices”. Though it’s impossible to know exactly what it was like to be in that situation, I know that I would save myself and my family, even if that meant getting others caught or killed. Helping others is always important and admirable, but I understand why the Jewish people who served as police for the Nazis did what they did. Self preservation is human nature, as long as it didn’t harm anyone I love, I would take any action to keep myself alive. The Nazi’s went leaps and bounds over the line when they started the genocide of the Jewish people, and after that I think the line disappeared.


Spielberg highlights one of Schindler’s turning points to be when he sees that the girl in the red dress had been killed. Before that, he watched her walk around the streets filled with violence and death, but she acted like any other child. I think that him being close with Itzak Stern also gives him a closer insight into the struggles that the Jewish people have to cope with. Though he does help many people, I wouldn’t consider him a hero. He starts doing what he does because it is profitable for him. He eventually seems to help people out of kindness, but in my opinion this makes him a person, not a hero. Schindler saved lives, but he also wore the Nazi pin on his jacket and put on a show to make it seem like he was never directly opposing the party, just focusing on his business and the war. He was an upstander because he helped those in need, but he was just doing what everyone else should have done, he wasn’t exceeding any moral expectations. I also think that there was probably some ego at play in that situation. Schindler referred to the people working in his factory as “his Jews” and chose to rescue those people in particular instead of anyone else when offered the chance at Auschwitz. He was also very touchy-feely with the women in his workforce and it still felt as though he considered the Jewish people slightly less than human and didn’t fully respect them.


Question for Rena Finder: In the eight months that Schindler’s ammunition factory in his hometown was open, did anyone from the Nazi party ever try to interrupt what he was doing or threaten the safety of the people on Schindler's list? Were the Jewish people at Schindler's factory truly trusting of him?

FlyingCelestialDragon
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

This is my first time seeing this film. The film left me disturbed and flabbergasted because of the scenes of how the Jews were treated. Sitting there I could feel the pain and fear of the people. In my opinion, Schindler’s view of power was that if you’re powerful you shouldn’t be troubled by the little inconveniences. Which was why he believed in the ability to pardon people, because he saw these people as inferior and not important enough for him to bother with. While Goeth’s view of power is that with immense power, he should be able to do whatever he wants. Which is what you can see him do in the film, for example shooting people that he deemed useless.

It’s hard to cross the line here because everyone is trying to survive and whatever they see fit to live longer. The Jews had limited decisions and all of those decisions were bad. I don’t think you can blame someone if they and others around them are trapped in the same situation with limited decisions, because if they were not treated as prisoners of war, their decisions would be questioned. An action that I cannot take in order to save my life is to blame someone else and use them as a shield for my life.

Schindler took those actions he made because he constantly saw the Jews around him suffering and he felt empathetic for them. Which was why he took those actions. I’m not sure if I would call him heroic since he did a lot of terrible things and this is only one good thing that he did for the Jews. Also when he’s with the other Nazis, he calls him his like they are objects. We don’t necessarily know how Schindler truly thinks of the Jews.

A question I have for Rena Finder is:

What do you think of Oskar Schindler and his actions?

What was your experience with working in the factory?

the_rose_apple
Posts: 13

The film was powerful because it showed more of a focus on the violence and desperation they faced during the war than any other film or book could. You could see the places they lived, where they worked, their living conditions, and the things they would do to survive. Schindler’s List gives a more humane look at the Holocaust as opposed to just camps, nameless stories, and statistics. It shows people, who had families and lives before the war, and that tried to survive the best they could while being put in impossible situations. The sudden murders, remorseless officers, and abuse everyone faced for multiple years. They were terrified for their lives every second of the day and that can really be seen throughout the film. For example when Goeth “pardoned” the child cleaning his tub, which the child found odd at the moment, but unfortunately ended in his death.

Schindler’s view of power has to do with mercy. I think that he believed that one could show off their power by suppressing the urge to hurt others for something one did not like. Instead of hurting anyone that didn’t do exactly what he said, he would let them go and tell them to do better next time. Telling Goeth about “pardoning” people could have been a way for Schindler to prevent him from killing more innocent Jews at Plaszow. Goeth viewed power as being able to show superiority towards others (his preferred method being murder) and by being able to command people to do his bidding (both the Jews - including Hellen, his “housemaid” - and the Nazi officers). Goeth first tried to pardon the boy that didn’t remove a stain from his old tub, but after reflecting on it a bit, he shot and killed the boy.

Throughout the film, everyone makes decisions about what they would do to protect themselves. Most notably, the man who went to the sewers and his wife that didn’t want to. He barely survived in the sewers after Nazi officers killed the rest of his group and the woman most likely got sent to a concentration camp. Additionally, when some people were talking and eating in the ghetto, one woman said that she would never hide like a coward and the other woman next to her said that she knew a few spots to hide in. These differences in opinions show just how desperate they were and the danger they faced. I wouldn’t ever accuse someone of any crime, especially one they didn’t do, but I would be angry at the person who committed even a minor infraction that ends up in the killing of many innocent people. I would always try my best to get both myself and as many others as I could to safety even if that means sharing a very tight hiding space with others.

At the beginning of the film, Schindler doesn’t seem to care about anything other than money. All he wanted was more and more money, no matter who was working for him and what they were going through. The more he saw the violence the Jews faced, the more he began to sympathize with them and see them as real humans. I think his turning point was when the one-armed mechanic repeatedly thanked him for giving him a job. It made him realize how they were more than just his workers, they were people too. He then began to bribe, manipulate (in Goeth’s case), and find new ways to protect his workers and other Jews. Unlike the rest of the Nazis, Schindler felt guilty about the part he played in the Holocaust. In the last scene where he broke down and listed ways that he could have saved more people if he hadn’t “wasted” his money or if he would’ve sold his car or used the gold on his Nazi pin to save more people. He started out being just another person profiting from the suffering of others to an upstander that endangered himself to save more Jews from death.

Question for Rena: Did Schindler ever speak of his opinions on the Nazis, their ideology, and concentration camps, or ever speak to any of the factory workers in a friendly tone rather than that of a boss?

freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 334

In response to the_rose_apple....

Originally posted by the_rose_apple on November 30, 2022 18:24

Throughout the film, everyone makes decisions about what they would do to protect themselves. Most notably, the man who went to the sewers and his wife that didn’t want to. He barely survived in the sewers after Nazi officers killed the rest of his group and the woman most likely got sent to a concentration camp.

Just fyi: the man who went to the sewers (and was part of the black marketeers in the Krakow church at the start of the film) was Leopold Pfefferberg--aka Leopold Page, who was the owner of that luggage shop in Beverly Hills that I referenced yesterday in class. Leopold's wife Mila Pfefferberg survived and we saw her again in the film multiple times (she's the woman who is in the bunk beds at Plaszow, telling about the rumors she heard about people being gassed at Auschwitz). In the final scene of the film, the actress who played her walked with the real Mila Pfefferberg (now an elderly woman) to place a stone on Schindler's grave in Jerusalem.

sand
Posts: 13

Schindler's List

Schindler's list was a very well executed movie, and watching it in theaters was unlike anything I'd ever experienced- and I don't think I ever will again. Everyone who worked on that film did a phenomenal job.

I think that Goeth's view of power was a very superficial one compared to Schindler's. Goeth believed he had jurisdiction over others because he though of himself as a superior, but he was not a leader. Goeth had power because he had a superficial title and weapons which he would use to threaten; a leader has power because people choose to follow them. Unlike loyalty, weapons and titles can be easily stripped away. Without his means of using scare tactics, Goeth is left without any power at all; it stops immediately and can be given to someone else at the drop of a hat. Since Goeth couldn't see loyalty as a visual "reward", he couldn't see the value in it. Schindler was able to get what he wanted without using force. When Itzhak Stern was put on the train, Schindler successfully got him off by threatening two of the workers. He asked for their names and said something along the lines of "you'll be in Russia by the end of the month", and the workers complied with his orders immediately. The workers were not afraid that Schindler himself would forcefully drag them away to another country, but fear set in once they realized he had power over the people who would. Schindler knew that true power lies not in the person holding the gun, but in the person who commands them to pull the trigger.

In times of war, morals get particularly skewed. It brings out the worst in people. Schindler himself said that the person he was in the war, was not the person he would be out of it. My first priority would selfishly be securing the well being of the people I care about. I know that may seem selfless- to put others before myself- but I don't want to go through the pain of losing people. I'd rather put it on someone else; I'd rather be mourned than ever mourn anyone myself. Beyond that, I would say my line is drawn at harming people to save myself. I don't think anyone else's life is less valuable than my own. If I ever made a decision that put myself above someone else, the guilt would eat me alive and I wouldn't be able to take it.

Honestly, I don't know what made Schindler change. I frankly thought all his actions were still motivated by an underlying sense of self gratification/selfishness. I still thought he was a bad person- just one that made a few good choices. My mind was only changed at the end when he dropped the ring he was given, and searched for it so frantically like it was his most valuable possession. The man who had everything only cared about what was essentially a tooth cap he got for free, all because of who it was that gave it to him. Then he started to spiral thinking of all the things he could've done to save more people. He broke down into tears. It was the most emotion he had shown throughout the entire film. It felt like a bucket was being filled drop by drop until it overflowed- like Schindler was witnessing horror after horror until he decided to do something. But the bucket was being filled so slowly that I couldn't tell when the first extra drop- the one that would make it overflow- actually fell. I feel like it was a great example of how people actually change. It's so gradual that it's difficult for others to believe it's true. But in the end it was genuine. It contrasted Goeth's "change" after his and Schindler's conversation about pardoning people. His change was sudden, like the flip of a switch, and was entirely an illusion. I think the film did a brilliant job highlighting the immense good he did, without glorifying him.

For Rena Finder:

Are you worried at all about your story- and the stories of other survivors, ones that help show the true extent and real effects of the Holocaust- being lost after you're no longer with us? In, say, 100 years time- once all who were ever involved are gone- do you worry that future generations will lose certain information? Or do you believe that the work you've been doing- and the work of other survivors, and the work of those those born after the Holocaust- has been enough to cement adequate portions of what happened? Can and/or will it ever be enough?

SillyGoblinMan178
Brighton, MA, US
Posts: 14

Schindler's List was one of the best films I have ever seen. It is a beautifully shot piece that offers a stunning exploration into the horrors of the Holocaust. My personal favorite scene of the movie was Schindler and Amon's discussion about power. Schindler's remark about "real power" coming from when you have every reason to kill someone, yet choose not to, stuck out to me. In Schindler's mind, power comes from the ability to be completely arbitrary. Amon believes that power comes from having control, reflecting the ideology of the Nazi Party. They believe that if you control the laws and expectations of a society, then you have absolute power. However, if all the laws and expectations say a man should die, but your word trumps that, then you have power over the absolute. Another intriguing aspect of the film was the Judenrat---a group of Jews turned into a police force under Nazi control. These people are caught between a rock and a hard place, which forces them to make awful choices nobody should have to make. From my own personal morals, I would draw the line at knowingly condemning others to death in order to save myself and only myself. Oskar Schindler starts the movie off as a venture capitalist seizing an opportunity for a profit, but by the end, he becomes a genuine hero. In my opinion, what made Schindler take the actions he took was witnessing the death of the girl in the red coat, who symbolizes the innocence of the Jews being killed. She is one of the only things in the film in full color, the only others being the opening scene and the Shabbat candles. Seeing this last blossom of innocence being killed by the Nazis is what makes Schindler realize he must save as many Jews as possible.


How do you feel about the representation of the Holocaust in media before and after the release of Schindler's List?

johndoe
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

I thought the film was an excellent portrayal of the horrors of being a part of the Holocaust. Spielberg was obviously very thoughtful on his cinematography, and the brief use of color impacted my entire perspective of the movie. All of the actors do a fantastic job staying true to their characters throughout the entire film.

He talks about pardoning people as a means of demonstrating power. Schindler seems to view power as the power of restraint rather than the power of violence. He advocates for controlling himself instead of resorting to his previous actions. Goeth assesses power as the ability to inflict harm on anything "below" yourself. He shoots Jews seemingly for fun, and has no control over his own actions.

I believe that if I was in the situation of these people there is not a line I wouldn't cross in order to guarantee my safety. The value of my life is my top priority no matter how wrong or immoral that may sound. In a life or death situation, life always wins. There are certain lines that would be hard to cross but safety and security is incomparable.

Schindler regretted his choice of money over everything in the end. He changed because he realized that life was more valuable than possessions. However I will say that I do not think Schindler is a hero, as he still was a Nazi and forced slave labor upon over a thousand Jews. He shifted to being a better person after the factory moved because that's when he stopped actually making items for the German army.

Question: Did saving all of these people give Schindler any sort of god complex when the factory first started?

palmtreepuppy
Posts: 10

To answer Ms. Freeman’s question from the movie theater, for me this film was hard to watch because generally when we see something distriding in a film we can have the reassurance of it simply being fiction but because this movie is based on fact and first hand accounts we can’t say that this is fiction. Although we only get a fraction of the stories of the survivors and victims, even in that small fraction we are able to look back and see what life was like for Jews at the time.

To me being able to pardon people means to have the power to not make a certain person suffer. When someone in our country gets pardoned that means that the president has decided to relive that person of any criminal charges allowing them to avoid the repercussions. The same thing can be applied to Schinlder telling Goeth that he can pardon people because he has the power to relive the Jewish people that he was in charge of, of the torture and cruelty that the Nazis were inflicting on them. While both men say power as being in charge it was what they did with that leadership role where their views of power change. For Schindler, power to him was being in charge and using that to save and protect people with the resources that he had that Jews didn’t have to save themselves. However Goeth saw power as being a leader but needing everyone to know that he was in charge, disregarding everyone he wanted to as well as killing and torturing who he pleased. Schindler’s power was used for good while Goeth’s was used for a symbol of status.


Where I draw the line is between life and death. For the people in this situation they were simply doing anything they could to stay alive. To me the line that cannot be crossed and that I wouldn’t take in any situation would be giving up the location or secrets of people of my community. No matter what threat would be taken I don't think I could justify using someone else's life to gain what could be just a little bit more time for my own life. Something that we saw some of the Jewish police officers do was to help people that they knew even though they were being heckled by those around them while just doing what they needed to do to survive. To me, that does not cross any sort of ethical or moral line.


Something that I think changed Schindler was seeing the little girl in the red coat running and hiding and then seeing her corpse being burned. That to me stood out as something that changed him very personally. I think that he started to think more about the opportunities that he had to try and be part of the solution and help as much as he could. Schindler seemed to change because he realized what position he was in and how such a position could help the very people he was supposed to be killing. He went from being a worker to a person with some morals. Yes, he was heroic. He risked his life to save the lives of innocent people. While some might say that he did it for the labor, no, he wasn’t actually manufacturing anything and was doing it to help give some people a way out. Even though he could only save such a small amount of people, the shift from being a bystander to an upstander happened when he took the time to learn about specific people and how he could help save them. He stopped caring what people thought of him and started caring about what he held true in his heart.


A question that I have for Rena would be how has the fear that was instilled in you when you were just a child affected you further into your life. We heard that you were one of the few Jewish people to go back to Poland after the war and that you were met with hostility and hatred, what was it like going back to a place that was once home to you and completely taken over by strangers simply because she was Jewish and they weren't.


limitlessknowledge
East Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler

Schindler's underlying view of power in my opinion is whether you can kill somebody or not. Goeth's view of power is to be reckless and kill as he pleases almost for enjoyment. When Schindler talks to Goeth about being able to "pardon" people he wants him to control his urges and that it ultimately takes more power and effort to do this than using his own power. Schindler's view changed from seeing the Jews as a profit to feeling bad for them as they were being put in horrific situations and the more time that he spent around the more he wanted to take action for them. There was really no line to cross because they just wanted to survive during this time and the decisions that they had were very few one's survival instincts can be dangerous and because of this, I do not believe that one can be accountable for another person death plus they knew the risk that would be involved. Schindler can be considered heroic because of how he was able to save over 1000 Jews while sacrificing his wealth, but it doesn't change the fact that he was part of the Nazis and was not a loyal husband.

Question for Rena Finder

How much did the workers know about Schindler's view on the Nazis?

bigbear
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler

This was not my first time watching this film, but when I watched it I was still a young lad and not able to fully comprehend what was happening throughout the movie. The experience was also heightened due to watching it in theaters instead of inside my home.

When Schindler was talking about pardoning the people he meant to be more forgiving, and not have your first instinct be to pull out your gun, and that you are more powerful if you are able to do that. I believe that Schindler's view of power is something that shouldn't be abused and should be used only when necessary and a true sign of power is being able to have the people around you respect you, be loyal to you, and not forget your kindness. I believe that Goeth has a very different view of power from that of Schindler because throughout the movie he was someone who had little remorse for the people he killed and even when he tried to restrain himself, he couldn't and ended up continuing to kill. He believes that power is holding someone at gunpoint so they will never be able to do something against him, and have people begging on their knees not to be killed.

Even though they didn't make the best choices during this period of time, and put many others' lives at risk instead of their own. But, I don't believe it was their fault for doing so. They were living in constant fear during their stay in the concentration camps and had to do anything to survive, and even the smallest mistakes or choices would end up with them being killed in the end. So a scene that is morally wrong but I understand why they did it is when the kid was trying to find a hiding spot somewhere in the camp. Even though that kid's life was at risk, the other kids were in the same situation, afraid of being found by the nazis and willing to do anything in order to survive even a little bit longer. They didn't want to let that kid in because they were just scared of having a higher chance of being found even if it was morally wrong. However, I believe that a line crossed would be betraying your family and friends in order to survive. They would kill other Jews and even point them out when they hiding, and I believe that this is the worst thing you could do, and I definitely wouldn't be able to do it, however, that is right now and I was never in their situation, nor do I ever hope to be, or anybody to be in the future as well. So I don't know what I would do at the moment.

I don't know what inspired to Schindler to make these choices but I believe he probably did it out of remorse for the people. And I believe that this was portrayed through the little girl in the red. She was the start of the death that Schindler was seeing from the Nazis and it was basically the start of the transformation of his character. In the end, when we see the girl again I think that was when Spielberg was trying to tell us that he was finally starting to see the truth, and wanted to make a true change. I believe that is also why she was the only person with color, and that was because it was Schindler seeing the truth of the war, instead of the black and white of the movie. In terms of being heroic, I believe that he can be seen as heroic for saving multiple Jews from death, however, it may not have started out that way he was just trying to earn money, and all the same, he was still a nazi, and wore the badge with him throughout the war.

One question I have for Rena Finder is was Oskar Schindler the same in real life as he was in the movie?

Bolt
Posts: 11

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler

Overall, I thought that this movie was really well done. To me, the purpose of the movie was to convey that every life that was lost was important, that they all had feelings and families and people who cared about them. As a viewer, I definetely felt that throughout the entire film, and I think that is also what happened to Schindler as the story progressed. To me, the Schindler's change in the way he sees the Nazi party and what is happening around him is gradual, however I think the moment when it clicks is with the girl in the red dress. Before, he sees her running through the streets alone, and her red dress is the only thing throughout the movie that is in color. When Schindler sees her later, she is being brought to the pile of burning bodies. In that moment, there is a shift, and that is where it completely stops being about money, and Schindler begins his mission to save as many people as he can. He recognizes the girl in the red and realizes that all of these bodies burning are people. Everyone was a person, not just a Jew or a body and that their lives are important. His eyes truly open to what has been happening around him. One of the scenes that stuck with me the most, was at the end when Schindler was crying and saying that he should have been able to save more people. This scene felt extremely real and looking back on it, really highlighted the major differences between Schindler and Amon Goeth. It is obvious that they each had very different views on the world and are almost complete opposites, but they were in the same situation, and had the foundation to be exactly the same. The movie didn't point out any significant reasons why Goeth was such a horrendous person, and both him and Schindler were both in the same slots in life. They each had the potential to be each other, but Schindler was empathetic and compassionate and just a human being, while Goeth was far from any of those qualities.

When they are talking about power, I think part of Schindler is trying to convince Goeth that killing people doesn't make you powerful. Schindler is saying that it shows more to not be so threatened that you are killing left and right, but rather that using tactics other than fear show your power more.

To me, a lot is justified in this situation, and there are not many things that I believe to cross the line to save your life as a Jew in Nazi Germany. Thinking about how terrifying it must have been to wake up in that world every day, I'm not sure how far I would go to make sure my family and I were safe. I think that the people who became the Jewish police were completely justified, and the little boy even used his position to help the girl with the glasses and her mother. For me, I think the line would probably be selling out someone else so that I could be safe, however that is really easy to say right now, and I'm not sure if there even would be a line if I were actually in the situation to be completely honest.

Questions: Did you encounter anyone else who helped you during this time other than Schindler? Did the movie make Schindler look like a better person than he really was? What was it like going back to normal life after the war was over?

fucia_diascia1536
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 10

Thoughts on the actions of Oskar Schindler

When Schindler is talking to Amon, Amon talks about how he kills people to show them he has power. Schindler tells him that if he pardons people, like an emperor does, it shows the people that he has the power to kill them, but pardoning them and not killing them gives him even more power. After Schindler tells Amon this, instead of killing the Jewish people when he normally would have, Amon pardons a couple of them, and from his expression, we can tell that he enjoys seeing them in fear and knowing that he will probably kill them, but when he does not kill them, and instead lets them leave, he feels more powerful. When he pardons the boy who was trying to clean his bathtub, the boy looked very relieved that he was not killed, but after he leaves the house, Amon shoots him from the window, and he probably felt very powerful here because he made the boy think that he was going to live, just to kill him when he wasn't expecting it.

I wouldn't draw a specific line for the Jewish people during the war because they were all so afraid of if they were going to die that they weren't thinking as well as they could have. In scenes where a powerful person of the Nazi party, like Schindler, Amon, or a general was talking to a Jewish person, they were physically shaking from fear. The workers were in danger and fear of being killed at any second, that their flight or flight instinct was on pretty much all the time and they didn't have time to think of how their actions might affect someone else.

Schindler's main reason for what he did was for profit, he chose to have Jewish people work in his factory instead of Poles because he wouldn't have to pay the Jewish people, and would make more profit for himself. When the workers were going to be sent to a concentration camp, Schindler made sure that "his Jews" were going to stay with him. This is probably because he would not want to waste the time to train new workers, when he had workers that he could keep. However, at the end of the movie, when Schindler is saying goodbye to his workers, he realizes that he could have requested more workers and saved more people. He seemed to change at the end because he sees how relieved the Jewish people were when they left Auschwitz and were not going to be killed.

Question for Rena Finder: Was there any point where you thought you were going to die and accepted it, or did you always have hope that you would survive to the end of the war? Where you aware of what was happening in other concentration camps (When you were sent to Auchwitz, did you know what had been happening there)?

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