Friday, April 25, 2008

Chapter 2

There is another example of the theme of ignorance in the book. When the Jews are in the cattle cars traveling to wherever, they begin to beat Madame Schatcher, instead of listening to her cries of the pending doom ahead they just want her to shut up. And the theme of cruelty breeds cruelty appears in this chapter. When the Jews are treated less than humans they begin to believe that they are less human from the cruelty they have to endure. This cruelty is passed on to Madame Schatcher when the others want her to stop screaming.

Auschwitz-Birkenau (Konzentrationslager Auschwitz) was the largest of Nazi Germany's concentration camps. Located in German-occupied southern Poland, it took its name from the nearby town of Oświęcim (Auschwitz in German), situated about 50 kilometers west of Kraków and 286 kilometers from Warsaw. Following the German occupation of Poland in September 1939, Oświęcim was incorporated into Germany as part of the Katowice District (Regierungsbezirk Kattowitz), or unofficially East Upper Silesia (Ost-Oberschlesien), and renamed Auschwitz. The word Birkenau means 'Birch tree' of which there are many surrounding the Birkenau area of the complex.

The complex consisted of three main camps: Auschwitz I, the administrative center; Auschwitz II (Birkenau), an extermination camp or Vernichtungslager; and Auschwitz III (Monowitz), a work camp. There were also around 40 satellite camps, some of them tens of kilometers from the main camps, with prisoner populations ranging from several dozen to several thousand.

The camp commandant, Rudolf Höss, testified at the Nuremberg Trials that up to 2.5 million people had died at Auschwitz. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum revised this figure in 1990, and new calculations now place the figure at 1.1–1.6 million, about 90 percent of them Jews from almost every country in Europe. Most of the dead were killed in gas chambers using Zyklon B; other deaths were caused by systematic starvation, forced labor, lack of disease control, individual executions, and so-called medical experiments.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chapter 1

One of the many reoccuring themes in the book is Eliezer's doubt in God. In the begining of the book Eliezer is as faithful to God as is father is but as he begins to find out the horrors of the Nazi Final Solution he begins to question if God really exists. Another theme in the book is the is ignorance. The first example is when Moshe comes back to Sighet and is telling the Jews about the horrors he saw and yet the Jews are bearly phased by this and continue with thier lives.

The Final Solution to the Jewish Question refers to the German Nazis' plan to engage in systematic genocide against the European Jewish population during World War II. The term was coined by Adolf Hitler as “Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe.” The implementation of the Final Solution resulted in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust. Mass killings of about one million Jews occurred before the plans of the Final Solution were fully implemented in 1942, but it was only with the decision to eradicate the entire Jewish population that the extermination camps were built and industrialized mass slaughter of Jews began in earnest. This decision to systematically kill the Jews of Europe was made by the time of, or at the Wannsee conference, which took place in Berlin, in the Wannsee Villa on January 20, 1942. During the conference, there was a discussion held by a group of German Nazi officials to decide on the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question". The records and minutes of this meeting were found intact by the Allies at the end of the war and served as valuable evidence during the Nuremberg Trials. By spring of 1942, Operation Reinhard began the systematic extermination of the Jews, although hundreds of thousands already had been killed by death squads and in mass pogroms. In Heinrich Himmler's speech at the Posen Conference of October 6, 1943, Himmler, for the first time, clearly elucidated to all assembled leaders of the Reich, in frank and brutal terms, what the "Final Solution" referred to.

Pedia, W. I. Final Solution. Wikipedia. Retrieved April 19, 2008, from