The List is Life: Oskar Schindler Essay

1261 Words 6 Pages
“Whoever saves a single life, it is as if he had saved the whole world” (Rodkinson)
These words, as spelled out in the Babylonian Talmud, signify a people’s tradition; a people with a history of persecution. Undeniably, the persecution experienced by the Jewish people has helped to shape the perception of humanity and the approach to racism, bigotry, and intolerance.
Movies about the Holocaust can teach us about intolerance and the psychology of man which both fueled the atrocities that occurred during World War II. What was the force of such carnage? How and why were the chosen categorized? And how did these people survive? One such movie is Schindler’s List, which tells the story of a man who went into the war a womanizer, boozer, and
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Originally a novel (Schindler’s Ark), the 1993 film version artistically depicts a genocidal attempt to destroy a race of people; use of headstones to pave a road into the Plaszow concentration camp (signifying an ultimate fate) and categorizing the educated and children as non-essential to the war’s effort; and a global political ignorance to the atrocities through symbolism (the sparse use of color). This film also represents a belief that even faced with the duality of fear and fragility, traditional beliefs cannot be exterminated.
Divided from family and uncertain of the future, traditions continued. Through the veneration of traditions such as the Sabbath, matrimony, reading of the Talmud, and kissing of the Mezuzah, the Jewish people in the end transcended circumstance and went from victim to victors. Furthermore, the viewer can see historical parallels to the biblical exodus, a coming of the messiah, and at the movie’s closing, Zionism.
Neeson plays the lead character, an ethnically born German with secular beliefs, who enters the war an opportunist with intentions of becoming rich. A lover of women, wine, and life, Neeson portrays a chance-taker, black-marketeer, and philanderer who begins his journey as a war-profiteer front-man. Initially, indifferent to the plight of the Jewish people, Schindler has an epiphany during the Krakow liquidation and

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