’s List Essay, Research Paper
Ana M. Duarte
Ceaseless Spirit and Hope
In the movie Schindler’s list directed by Steven Spielberg, we are shown the story of a brave man who risks his life to save thousands of Jews during WWII. Oskar Schindler is a German businessman who moves to Nazi-occupied Poland during WWII to open a factory that will employ Jews at starvation wages. By the end of the war, he has risked his life and spent his fortune to save thousands of Jews. Oskar Schindler is a model of the hope and never-ending spirit that overcame the Holocaust and that still remains, and the constant reminder that one person can make a difference.
Schindler’s List is a magnificent film that clearly represents the time of the Holocaust. Beginning with the reason the film is in black and white, the viewer is given more of the effect of the era. The symbolism behind the film being in black and white is so that it gives strength and effect to the historic situations, giving the viewer a powerful sense of history and of the era that so much changes it. In this film it is shown how arrogant and indifferent many people are during the Holocaust. The majority of the people during WWII give the cold shoulder to reality and choose to go on with their lives unaffected by what is going on around them. Though these feelings are prevalent throughout the Holocaust, the Jews never loose their spirit nor their hope to live.
The most powerful symbolism of the Jews’ endless spirit and hope is represented by a little girl in a red coat. Oskar Schindler from the top of a cliff sees this young child walking through the streets, barely missing flying bullets. His is deeply moved at the sight of this innocent child walking among the massacres. This young girl’s red coat symbolizes the flame of the Jews’ spirit, how even among the gruesome conditions remains. She also represents the innocence of the children during the Holocaust, and how ultimately it is robbed from them as well. At the precise moment that Oskar Schindler notices the young girl, he begins to realize the true intensity of the situation and begins his transition.
In the beginning Oskar Schindler moves to Poland in order to open a business that will bring him wealth. He begins to socialize with the Nazi party and even becomes intimate friends with them. He is an extremely sociable person and is concerned with socializing with the most powerful people around for his own benefit and welfare. Schindler wants to make sure that he has all the right connections to make his rise to wealth an easier task. He is most interested in self-satisfaction, whether it is sleeping with the next beautiful woman or wearing the best tailored shirt in town. In being so self-absorbed and materialistic, he also ignores the reality of the Jews in Poland, and in fact takes advantage of the situation to employ Jews in his factory at starvation wages.
As times grow worse, the Jews begin to see Oskar Schindler’s factory as a haven for them, giving them some sense of freedom and hope. At first Schindler denies that fact that his factory is a haven, but soon begins to realize the tremendous help he is giving to the Jewish people. He sees the misery and anguish that they suffer, and the type of beasts that his fellow Nazi friends really are. He is touched by the humbleness and suffering of the people and is overwhelmed with compassion. He now realizes how important he is to the Jewish people, and how in his hands he has the ability to save their lives. Schindler then begins to buy off hundreds of Jews from the Nazi’s, with the excuse that they are strictly for employment in his factory, this is how the famous “Schindler’s List” began.
In the final scene of the movie, the viewers is shown actual survivors laying stones along Oskar Schindler’s tomb. This act symbolizes how Schindler began with saving one person and eventually leading to thousands. Although Schindler at the end feels he did not do enough and wishes he could have done more, the stones are a representation of all the people he saved. A trail of stones that is never-ending and will remain as a reminder of the thousands of lives saved because of Oskar Schindler.
This film contained many disturbing images that provoke sadness and anger. The most powerful one being, the scene in where families are being torn apart. It is difficult enough having to go through a situation like the Holocaust, but even more if you are separated from your loved ones and then having to deal with it alone. It is an unimaginable pain that families suffer in being separated and not knowing what each member is destined to. Having to live with the anguish of not knowing whether your loved ones are still alive or not, is enough to kill a person emotionally.
Schindler’s List is a remarkable piece of work. It clearly portrays the truth behind the Holocaust and the reality of it. A reality that should never be forgotten, and should be a learning experience for the world. This ties in with the semester’s theme of tolerance, by showing how the world can ignore a tragedy of this type. It educates us in the sense that we must understand and realize that this can happen once again, therefore we must be prepared.