Every Jewish survivor of the Holocaust usually has an amazing story to tell. Courage, discretion, and cunning were rarely enough. Every survivor’s history has elements of unexpected acts of kindness and favorable circumstances. Two such survival stories are in the films The Pianist and Europa Europa. The Pianist is a film about how Wladysaw Szpilman survived the German deportations of Jews to the extermination camps and how he lived in hiding outside the ghetto, in a predominantly German area. Europa Europa is a film about how Solomon Perel escaped the Holocaust by disguising himself as a non-Jew and as an Aryan German. All along this time period, he had to keep his Jewish heritage hidden and blend with the community he was in. These two films have many similar and contrasting elements and both are based on memoirs of the actual survivors. The Pianist and Europa Europa are both successful Holocaust films that both take on a serious approach, but Europa Europa has dramatized episodes of Perel’s journey. The Pianist, however, is more of a film that combines popular appeal with historical accuracy that makes it even more successful to some extent than films, like Schindler’s List.All in all these two films, The Pianist and Europa Europa are powerful films that shock the audience as well as unravel the events of these two survival stories very successfully. They have contrasting approaches in how they make the horrific events of the Holocaust and the amazing journeys Perel and Szpilman went through known to the viewers. Despite losing their families and seeing many disturbing images, they held on. Solomon Perel and Wladysaw Szpilman were both great men that had truly amazing stories of their experiences during the Holocaust and it is astonishing how they maintained their determination and willingness to keep living to see a brighter day and brighter future.
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