Holocaust Literature

Topics: Nazi Germany, Schutzstaffel, The Holocaust Pages: 6 (2690 words) Published: October 25, 2010
Part One: Non Fiction
The first moral dilemma I would like to talk about is Jankiel Wiernik’s. He was the one building the gas chambers that his very friends and family were going to be murdered in. Wiernik speaks of the nightmares he has as well as acknowledges that he has indeed literally placed his loved ones in the gas chambers. “I sacrificed all those nearest and dearest to me. I myself took them to the execution site. I built their death chambers for them” (pg. 18). It is a matter of whose life is more important, mine or the ones dearest to me? Wiernik clearly choose himself, as most of us probably think we wouldn’t but selfishly we would. This is a matter of life and death; no one wants to die under those circumstances.

The second moral dilemma was in Furmanski’s “Conversation with a Dead Man.” Furmanski is talking to his friend that has been condemned to die. This friend has been uplifting the whole time he has been in the whole time he has been in the camp. He has said things such as, “They’ll never get me. They’ll have to pay dearly for my skin- I’ll know how to die” (pg.73). He is now hopeless, drained and satisfied with the thought of death. He feels bad for Furmanski, “It’s all over for me. I don’t have to suffer any more. Poor fellow, you have to go on suffering, and the result will be the same” (pg.73). At this point Furmanski is in a moral dilemma, should he convince his friend to live or at least fight for his life or just let him die as he now wishes? “I am silent, numb, faced with the most terrible dilemma of my life. I don’t know what to answer. I feel an urgent need to tell him: ‘Defend yourself, show at least something, we’ll work together!’ But as he stands in front of me, I feel that he’s already far from us, that he’s already gone and is not thinking of anything any more” (pg. 74). After reading this it make me think to myself what’s the “right” thing to do? I don’t know what I would do it’s a difficult situation to be in. I mean if you are hopeless, lonely, and drained after awhile you probably would want to just pack it in. He wasn’t the same person he once was, just a shell of himself and Furmanski could see that. That is what shocked and hurt him the most and ultimately why I think Furmanski didn’t do anything or say anything. He would have rather not seen his friend then to see him like that, it’s a traumatic experience that ultimately he couldn’t withstand.

The third dilemma was the “shame” Levi felt to be a survivor of the Holocaust. He didn’t feel as if he did anything great to be a survivor he felt quite the opposite. He trusted no one, stole from people, and didn’t play by the rules, culture. Levi didn’t experience what the majority experience in the Holocaust, death, he was the minority. “ We had not only forgotten our country and our culture, but also our family, our past, the future we had imagined for ourselves, because, like animals, we were confined to the present moment” (pg.111). Tomorrow was never promised so you had to do whatever you had to do to survive now. Levi only cared about himself, “I come first, second, and third. Then nothing, then again I; and then all the others” (pg. 113). Although, he wrote about how it was useless to commit suicide because you didn’t need to create and suffering or torture because every day was. His controversial death in 1987 was an apparent suicide and if he felt as such I might see him killing himself. “Preferably the worst survived the selfish, the violent, the insensitive, the collaborators of the ‘gray zone,’ the spies. The worst survived, that is, the fittest; the best all died” (pg.115). His dilemma was that he deserted everything he ever knew and became something he wasn’t just to survive and that is what has given him “shame.”

Part Two: Drama: Ghetto
The first symbol in “Ghetto” that I am going to talk about is the pile of clothing. The pile of clothing is symbolic of all the people who died, we don’t know who they are; they...
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