Surviving Hitler: a Comparison of Night and the Pianist in the Portrayal of the Holocaust

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The Holocaust is the name applied to the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of the Jews of Europe and North Africa along with other groups during World War II by Nazi Germany and collaborators. "Early elements of the Holocaust include the Kristallnacht pogrom of the 8th and 9th November 1938 and the T-4 Euthanasia Program", progressing to the later use of killing squads and extermination camps in a massive and centrally organized effort to exterminate every possible member of the populations targeted by the Nazis. The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question". The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million, so much so that the phrase "six million" is now almost universally interpreted as referring to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, though estimates by historians using, among other sources, records from the Nazi regime itself, range from five million to seven million (Duiker et al. 431-436). Both Elie Weisel's novel Night and Roman Polanski's film The Pianist play decisive roles in the portrayal of this horrid and brutal instance in world history. Wiesel makes a distinction between the Holocaust victims' control over their fate and their -control over their actions. He believes man does have control over his moral choices, even when faced with the extreme circumstances of the Holocaust. Although he empathizes with the Jews who behave brutally, killing each other over crusts of bread in their fight to survive, he does not condone their behavior. At the same time, one senses that Eliezer, and Wiesel, feel there are definite limits to the victims' control over their fate. It would be disrespectful to those who died for Elie—or Wiesel himself—to claim any credit for surviving. For this reason, Night chronicles and emphasizes the set of lucky circumstances that led to the survival of one among many. The memoir is filled with bizarre...
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