‘Schindler's List’ as Historical Representation of the Holocaust

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During the year 1933, the Nazis came into power led by Adolf Hitler without using any force. Hitler convinced the Nazis to help him get rid of all the Jews. He forced all or most of the Jews onto crowded train cars and hauled them off to either any of the various ghettos, any of the various concentration camps, or any of the various labor camps. The ghettos were not much better to be living in then labor or concentration camps were. The ghettos were overcrowded and not sanitary at all. The only difference was that the Jews could walk around the ghettos without the fear of being killed at any time. At the concentration camps men with their sons and women with their daughters were both separated from each other. At the labor camps men, women, and their children were all separated from each other. Both the labor and concentration camps were horrible places to be. During the Holocaust about 11 million Jews died. Out of the Jews who survived, some of them felt as though they were guilty for having survived instead of another Jewish person. A filmmaker should have to be able to do his or her absolute best at trying to depict a story as it actually happened because any movie could become controversial if not depicted correctly. A filmmaker also has a set timeframe, so he or she might move around or get rid of a few events during that historical period to meet within the set timeframe while still trying to keep the important information in.

The movie I used as a historical representation of the Holocaust was ‘Schindler's List’. As, it is about a guy named Oskar Schindler. Schindler wants to have Jewish people working in his factory as he thinks he could make more money this way. It doesn’t end up being entirely about money as the days go on. The workers in Schindler's factory are allowed outside the ghetto, and Stern falsifies documents to ensure that as many people as possible are deemed ‘essential’ by the Nazi bureaucracy, which saves them from being transported to concentration camps, or even being killed. Schindler prevails upon Göth to let him keep ‘his’ workers so that he can move them to a factory in his old home of Zwittau-Brinnlitz, in Moravia — away from the ‘final solution’ now fully underway in occupied Poland. Once the Schindler women arrive in Zwittau-Brinnlitz, Schindler institutes firm controls on the Nazi guards assigned to the factory; summary executions are forbidden, abuse of the workers is as well and the Nazi guards are not allowed on the factory floor. The Schindler Jews, having slept outside the factory gates through the night, are awakened by sunlight the next morning. A Soviet dragoon arrives and announces to the Jews that they have been liberated by the Red Army. ‘Schindler’s List’ tells a larger view of the war instead of a single personal story as it tells the story of almost all of the Schindler Jews and how he saved them.

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There are tons of historically correct things depicted in the movie ‘Schindler's List’. For example, James Weeds, a descendant of one of the Schindler Jews stated, “It is true that Schindler actually saw the liquidation of the Kraków Ghetto”. Seeing this type of thing happen in real life and be only a few miles away from it had to be especially hard for Hitler. It also must have been traumatizing to see all those people die and the SS officers not giving any second thoughts about what they were doing. Another historically accurate thing in ‘Schindler’s List’ that James Weeds mentioned was that “the girl in the red coat was real”. This girl in the red coat represented the innocence of the Jews being slaughtered. She also represented Schindler's change from being all for the Nazi party to being against the Nazi party because of all the horrible things they are doing. James Weeds stated that it is also true that the “roads were paved with Jewish Tombstones”. In one scene of the movie, you see a car driving through the ghetto/concentration camp, but in one particular frame during that scene you see the road the car is driving upon. One might be able to notice that the road isn't paved with cobblestone or rock, it is paved with the headstones of the Jewish people who were killed. It is also historically accurate that “Goth was a complete bastard in real life”. Goth got very drunk all the time and was okay with just shooting random people he didn’t care about. He also beat his servant, Helen, for no reason other than letting his drunken anger out. Just as there are historically correct things depicted in this movie there are also historically incorrect things depicted in this movie as well. For example, Koprivčić, a descendant of one of the Schindler Jews stated, “there was no Schindler’s list”, per-say. This fact became known pretty early on in the discovery of the list. The only “problem is that Schindler was in prison at the time”. During the time that Schindler was in prison, the Red Army was drawing nearer and Hitler was ordering all Jews weather essential or not to go to the death camps. During this point in time, “Stern didn’t work for Schindler”. One of Schindler’s many workers helped him consist of the lists while he was in prison. These choices do affect the story in many ways. For example, in the movie, having Schindler present during the making of the list, helped show how he had compassion for the Jewish people. Even though, it is documented in history that he wasn’t present during the making of the list.

Spielberg’s artistic choices do not do a disservice to the truth as he tried his best to have the scenes in the movie be as close to historical accuracy as he could. Before he started filming, he went to Poland to interview Holocaust survivors and get their perspectives on what happened. He also went to visit the real-life locations that he planned to portray in the movie. Spielberg filmed the parts of the movie that were set in Kraków and Auschwitz in those exact concentration camps. The truth in storytelling is very important because it gives us a glimpse of what it might have been like to be there during that period of time in history. It also can shine a light on experiences that some people might not be aware of. If there isn’t any truth in the storytelling then we wouldn’t be able to have a glimpse of what it might have been like to be there or be able to shine a light on experiences.

In summary, the importance of the role Schindler played in helping to save as many Jewish people as he could during the Holocaust shouldn’t be overlooked. The movie ‘Schindler’s List’ gives as close to historically accurate information on what Schindler did as it could. Spielberg did his absolute best to stay as close to what was historically documented about Oskar Schindler. Overall, ‘Schindler’s List’ is a great movie to understand the atrocities that happened during the Holocaust.

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‘Schindler’s List’ as Historical Representation of the Holocaust. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/schindlers-list-as-historical-representation-of-the-holocaust/
“‘Schindler’s List’ as Historical Representation of the Holocaust.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/schindlers-list-as-historical-representation-of-the-holocaust/
‘Schindler’s List’ as Historical Representation of the Holocaust. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/schindlers-list-as-historical-representation-of-the-holocaust/> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
‘Schindler’s List’ as Historical Representation of the Holocaust [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/schindlers-list-as-historical-representation-of-the-holocaust/
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