Holocaust-Elie Wiesel

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They Did Not Die Alone
In the 1940s, Nazi Germany expressed a deep hatred towards Jews, therefore leading to the death of over six million men, women, and children, creating what we now know as the Holocaust. In order to truly understand what happened under the Nazi regime, one must understand that there were dark, evil forces at work; and that through one man in particular, Adolf Hitler, these forces destroyed nearly two-thirds of the Jews on the planet. During the Holocaust, millions of lives were lost and millions more were affected in ways that we will never fully grasp. By watching the Oprah Special featuring the harrowing experience of Elie Wiesel, my perspective of the Holocaust was affected in more ways than by watching the movie The Boy in The Striped Pajamas because it showed evidence of struggle, heartbreak, and the pain that Jews went through living in concentration camps.

Although The Boy in the Striped Pajamas depicted the cruelty of the Holocaust through the eyes of young Bruno, the Oprah special showed the strife through the eyes of a man that had been through it himself. Elie Wiesel begins by recapping what is was like to be taken captive at the hands of Nazis at the age of fifteen. Viewers are able to see how he fought through the strife of living in multiple concentration camps. He lived there for most of his adolescence; he breathed the air, walked through the endless stretches of grass, slept in the crowded, filthy cabins, yet remarkably, he survived. Also, by watching the interview as Oprah accompanies Elie Wiesel back to Auschwitz, one can get a better idea of daily life in the camps. Elie recalls memories of his life, and as he speaks of the harsh Nazi treatment, the crowded bedchambers, the way he lost all the happiness he once had, Oprah began to weep, realizing what this man had gone through. Next, Elie begins to speak of the immense hunger Jews dealt with living in concentration camps. He tells Oprah of the pangs of hunger that loomed over him night and day, and how people were reduced to skin and bones. As pictures appeared on the screen, the evidence was frightening. In a small cabin, men lie in their beds, their ribs showing through their skin, their faces pale, their eyes gaunt, looking almost dead. As the interview progresses, Elie leads Oprah to the gates of Auschwitz, the concrete walkway that led Jews to their doom. It is there that Elie recalls his first glimpse of the camp, and recounts memories of his family. He looks off into space, remembering his little sister in her red coat holding his mother’s hand. He remembers them being led away by the Nazis along with other woman, while he and his father were taken elsewhere. Being young and naïve, at the mere age of fifteen, Elie did not realize until his later years, that really, his mother and sister were being led to their death. As he stands holding hands with Oprah, I was able to see the memories swirling through his head, the immense pain hiding in his eyes. Unlike innocent Bruno who had no idea what Jews went through, Elie was able to recall memories to allow viewers to better grasp the reality of the Holocaust.

As well as recalling his memories of the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel was able to show Oprah pieces of evidence depicting Jews’ struggles in the concentration camps. He begins by leading her to the gates of Auschwitz where he remembers getting off the crowded train and catching his first glimpse of the massive, concrete units that housed millions of Jews. As one looks at the large, looming buildings, the endless acres of grass, and the massive gates, they are able to see the fear and anguish Jews first experienced when they arrived. Soon after, Elie takes Oprah to the housing units, in other words, where prisoners slept. As they enter the small cabins that housed countless Jews, the struggle of a Jew’s daily life surfaced. It can be seen from the bland walls, the rotting, wooden floors, and the small, frail beds, the...
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