This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen

Topics: Nazi concentration camps, Morality, Zyklon B Pages: 3 (917 words) Published: April 25, 2010
“It is that very hope that makes people go without a murmur to the gas chambers, keeps them from risking revolt, paralyses them into numb inactivity… hope that breaks family ties, makes mothers renounce their children, or wives sell their bodies for bread, or husbands to kill.” (122) “This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” by Tadeusz Borowski displays how survival and death have a close relationship. With an absence of morality Tedeusz becomes a key component to the executor’s effort. The overturn of values and an uncertain hope by the personal view of Tedeusz reflects on how the civilization as a whole is suffocated by Nazi control. It is essential to endure these issues in order to survive. The narrator Tedeusz slides into survival mode with a unique role in the camp, he witnesses and describes the complexity of survival and hope in the camp. He arrives at Auschwitz as a "political" prisoner when the policy on extermination changes, three weeks earlier "Aryans" stopped being sent to the gas chambers, with that he wedges himself in the middle of the hierarchy. With that, he does not live as a prisoner and does not endure the daily tasks as bad as most. He becomes one of the experienced, well-adjusted, completely institutionalized inmates. For him everything is a matter of sheer practicality, and people who refuse to cooperate with the necessary politics of camp life deserve not pity but contempt. The Canada men "carry [the babies] like chickens" (116), showing their surrender to the system of the Nazis. He is a victim collaborating in crime; immunized against the evil that surrounds him; able to find a fairly comfortable situation. His tone is one of moral indifference; he views the murdered people and the ones dying of starvation from a distance, without compassion, with scorn even.

In "Auschwitz, Our Home," one of the short stories in the collection, the narrator exclaims, "Never before in the history of mankind has hope been stronger than...
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