Schindler’s List is a disturbing movie. It shows violence, nudity and vulgar speech.
But these elements are all necessary to show the realism, brutality and the extent of emotions that the Jews felt during the time that they were being executed by the Germans. Almost fifty years after the holocaust, it is still horrifying to view the pointless massacre of Jewish people during this period of history in the name of extreme German nationalism. It is unthinkable how a nation can be so cruel to another race of people! Yet, it actually happened in history! The reason why Germans killed Jews is baffling and even incomprehensible for a very civilized society. I sympathized, even shed a tear or two, with the sufferings of the Jews in the movie. On the other hand, I felt angry and bitterness for the senseless violence employed by the Germans.Since the movie was shot in black and white, it appeared as if the viewers were seeing the actual events—it seemed like actual history being played out before their very eyes. Even though the film was black and white, the only other color in the film was red, worn by a little girl that Oscar Schindler saw.
It heightened the drama, the realization and eventually the resolution that occurred in Schindler. Also, on the part of the viewers, it heightened the sinister feeling of the acts of brutality. These feelings were evoked because the movie was filmed in black and white instead of full color. Perhaps the most powerful scene in the movie is the one in which Amon Göth, a Nazi officer, began his killing spree of Jewish people who were trapped in the ghetto while Schindler was watching. The appearance of the little girl in red disturbed Schindler. In turn, the viewers are also being led to be disturbed by the brutality shown by Göth. This scene disturbed Schindler and led him to a resolution to help the Jews escape such tragic ends.
It became the catalyst that changed his perspective.I felt like I could punch Amon Göth to his face or shoot him with a gun for his racist views and unquestioning loyalty to the party who declared that Jews must die because they are a “virus”. His brutality did not spare men, women and children. Such merciless creature could only be called a monster in the flesh. He cared more for the administrative difficulties of killing the Jews instead of the disturbing fact that he is killing innocent people. Moreover, he accepted bribes and favors and spared several of these Jews. Makes you wonder if he ever had any semblance of a moral code of conduct and if he ever had a conscience.
On the other hand, I loved the way that Oskar Schindler’s attitude changed. From being a capitalist concerned only with gaining wealth, money and prestige from the virtually cost-less labor of the Jews, he became an ardent supporter, committed protector of the Jews and preserver of lives. He even used his personal wealth and property in order to buy the freedom of the Jews and save their lives. The change was dramatic and very fundamental. Although he was a member of the Nazi Party, who conceptualized and implemented the organized killing of the Jews, he did not agree with such brutal practices but instead dedicated his life and property to protect the lives of the Jews. There is still room for love and mercy in the hearts of humans even in the face of brutality and violence.Oskar Schindler started out as a businessman purely interested in the cost savings of the free labor of the Jews.
Yet, when he noticed that one of his servants was bringing in Jews who can be considered as “essential” to the labor camp in order for their lives to be spared, he did not stop him. Eventually, he used his business as a smokescreen in order to hide his true intentions—to save the lives of the Jewish workers under his care. He argued as a businessman would protect his assets and in several cases, resorted to outright bribery. In a very interesting turn of events, one of the trains that contain his workers accidentally went to Auschwitz, the site of the extermination camps. He even went there personally to rescue these workers, most of them were women and there were also children. He had to bribe the Nazi officer Hoess with diamonds in order to do this. Thankfully, because of the kindness of Schindler, more than 1000 Jews were spared from the concentration camps.
The Holocaust was caused by extreme German nationalism that spurned other nationalities as inferior and “virus.” The government, instead of ensuring that everybody was treated equally under the law, it enabled the Nazi Party to establish themselves over other peoples in Germany as the superior race. The corollary principle to this would be that they were entitled to purge their nation from “viruses”. In the United States, there are key democratic values that undermine the occurrence of such a gruesome genocide and massacre. For one, most of the citizens are aware of their rights and privileges and that regardless of color, religion, or any other barriers and divisions, they are equal under the law. Secondly, government institutions and even the media and other sectors of the society promote the respect of individual rights. As such, it will be difficult for this kind of barbaric occurrence to happen in our country.
Although, there are many people who came from various places all over the world, there is still respect of rights. Yes, there are instances in which misunderstanding erupt, yet, there are ways to legally resolve such misunderstandings. The organized manner in which Jews were killed can no longer be implemented today given the broad awareness of people about the holocaust and the horrors it caused. People are now empowered to demand their rights and to organize themselves to oppose actions against themselves.