Schindler's List and Ethics

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Essay about Schindler’s List and Ethics In the novel/movie Schindler's List by Thomas Kenneally, the story of the Holocaust is told from a dual point of view ' that of the Jewish people who are downtrodden, rounded up and taken to camps, murdered and degraded by the Nazis, and that of the German industrialist who takes it upon himself to save a large number of Jewish people from their fate. The question raised by the book is not as much why does he do this as why does everyone else not. Some of the reasons have been given before--many of the most culpable, the Nazi bureaucrats who assisted directly in the deportation and murder of millions of people, argued that they were under orders and had no choice, and they pleaded during their trials that they had all acted under orders. The novel and the film both tell the story of a man who did not leave it to others and who saw it as a personal need to do what he could to alleviate if not change the situation. Much of the critical response to the film has centered on issues related to this central character and to why he acted as he did. There are many ways we can look at this novel/movie, from a humanitarian point of view, from an ethical point of view, from a wartime point of view, etc., but what matters here is how this single man, full of flaws, managed to save so many people just by looking at them as other human beings like himself. Yes, we all agree he used unethical and unorthodox methods, he was a heavy briber, an alcoholic, a shameless womanizer of the worst sort, that he left his wife, etc., but that most of all, he surfaced from the chaos of madness and risked everything for his Jews, and generations will remember this man for what he did. Schindler is, in the beginning of the movie, not actually aware of the full extent of the killing of Jews and the powerful anti-Semitic outlook of his comrades. His ties relating to the affairs of the Nazi party and his loyalty to his country shield him from this...
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