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Fiction-Real-Holocaust


Table of Contents

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Introduction.................................................................................................................................. 4 War Crimes .................................................................................................................................. 4 Perspective ................................................................................................................................... 5 Jews.............................................................................................................................................. 6 Concentration Camps................................................................................................................... 7 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................... 8 Bibliography ................................................................................................................................ 9


Outline I. II. Introduction German a. War Crimes b. Perspective III. Jews a. Lifestyle b. Concentration Camps IV. Conclusion

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Joon Yoon Ms. Murphy Period 7 4/26/13 Fiction and Reality

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The Holocaust is a sensitive subject yet an exceedingly appealing one to write about. The matters concerning this time period and the acts that were happening here make it a fascinating time period to write about. It is also extremely easy to fabricate a person or some details for the sake of a story. This is mainly because so many people were hoarded into the camps and we know a lot about them, enough to the point where we can explore a characters journey through this era. However, because it is fiction, inaccuracies can pop up. A little mistaken detail here or a misinterpretation there. I would like to explore and compare these mistakes and explain why they may come up. Also, we must be careful not to adopt a mindset that makes us think what we are reading is just fiction. This is historical fiction. It is based on a real event. Imre Kertsz, himself a survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, speaks of the danger of the encroaching stylization of the Holocaust, in which the word Holocaust is already a stylization (Richardson) One major point in these differences is the war crimes Germans committed. These are where the differences will be most prominent, mostly because of the limitations we have in violence and graphic images. Nazis in concentration camps would perform a number of inhumane acts toward the Jews living there. Experimentation and mass killings were horrifyingly common. Gas chambers were disguised as shower rooms to kill, many were worked, frozen or starved to death and many were killed when experimented on (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Concentration Camps:In-Depth). I do not think I have
student 6/10/13 10:24 PM Deleted: stylisation student 6/10/13 10:14 PM Comment: A bit redundant, probably want to change it. student 6/10/13 10:16 PM Comment: Oxymoron?

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to go into the specific details of what happened, nor would it be appropriate to go in-depth within this essay. Though this is exactly what stops the fictional Holocaust to be inaccurate in this area. They have a limitation into what detail they can show the war crimes of the Germans, due to todays censorship regulations. Because of this, the fiction can become inaccurate or leave the audience with questions. Lang says it is here, in the transgression of limits as both possible and imaginable, that the conception of limits as moral comes fully into view (qtd. in Richardson). You can describe it with pinpoint detail, as described by Micheli, but there is still a gap there. In regards to testimonies, there is also the fact that many of us were not there. We cannot draw a good connection because many of us never experienced the full horror of the crimes committed. While morally, this is a good thing, it leads to more seeming inaccuracies due to misunderstanding (Richardson). I also find that we cannot really relate to the mental trauma they went through, as, again, we do not experience these acts ourselves. We can sympathize, but we do not really know what they went through. Night by Elie Wiesel tells of the death of a boys innocence and the trauma from the horrors he experienced. While it is an eloquently composed story, you cannot truly feel what he did. A combination of both factors does not allow us to have a true grasp of the horrors of the crimes within the Holocaust. There are also the Germans themselves and their perspective in the war. Germans, particularly Hitler are sometimes portrayed as the stereotypical evil dictating nation. They arent viewed as humans, just embodiments of evil. This isnt accurate at all. The Germans were humans just like us but they were also forced to listen to their leader. They were just following someone who they thought could restore Germany to its former glory after World War 1. Some Germans could have been pleasant. Finally, the destruction and catastrophic loss of life during World War I led to what can best be described as a cultural despair in many former combatant nations. Disillusionment with international and national politics and
student 6/10/13 10:24 PM Deleted: is

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a sense of distrust in political leaders and government officials permeated the consciousness of a public which had witnessed the ravages of a devastating four-year conflict. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, World War 1: Aftermath) A story from a German perspective is also uncommon, which makes Parallel Journey a very unique piece of Holocaust fiction, as it tells the story, as the name would imply, from parallel perspectives; one from a Jew and the other from a German (Ayer, Waterford and Heck). One also must consider Hitlers perspective here too. He wasnt a dictator with penchant for mindless cruelty. What he did, he thought he was genuinely helping the country and trying to restore Germany. His actions and methods were questionable but his motives were very understandable. He was a brave soldier for Germany, and it was a cause he could totally commit to (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler and World War 1) He was also very much obsessed with perfection, but when you think about it, many of us are. We want to look the best or we want to get a 100 on our test. As much as his actions were, Hitler himself wasnt evil, per say. His service in the army in 1919 appears to have shaped his commitment to an anti-Semitism based on social Darwinist race-theory and the establishment of a unifying nationalism founded on the need to combat the external and internal power of the Jews. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler and World War 1) Germans are usually portrayed this way because some stories want a clear-cut antagonist instead of the grey and grey morality that existed. Granted, Hitler was a very dark grey but grey nonetheless. Jews are also one of the major factors of the Holocaust. They were the main targets of persecution from the Germans mainly because they were myriad in Germany. They were isolated, discriminated and rounded up to go to camps. The Nazis viewed Jews as racial enemies and subjected them to arbitrary arrest, internment and murder (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Classifying System in Nazi Concentration Camps). They


were sent to separate schools and enclosed in the ghettos of the city (United States

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Holocaust Memorial Museum, German Jews During the Holocaust). The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum states by 1939, only about 16 percent of Jewish breadwinners had steady employment of any kind and many limitations such as curfews, reduced rations, prohibition from parts of the city and being forced to give up possessions to help the war effort further added to their hard lives. (German Jews during the Holocaust) The police also were transformed by Hitler into a tool for repression toward the Jews (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, German Police in the Nazi State) This is honestly one of the more accurate representations of Holocaust in fiction as most authors do research and can capture this part with a real accuracy, as shown by this review (Frank, Beyond Courage). Like the war crimes, the mistakes come in the brutality of these persecutions. It isnt entirely possible to encompass the full extent of how they were persecuted because of censoring and limits on what we can show. The Diary of a Young Girl also delves into some of the worries and possibilities that might have plagued people during these times. There are many entries dealing with her worries, big or small, what may happen if they get captured and many other appropriate concerns for this time (Frank, Diary of a Young Girl). There is also the matter of the accuracy of the portrayal of the concentration camps in the Holocaust. They were horrible places to live, with terrible accommodations and something similar to a caste system implemented within them (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Classification System within Nazi Concentration Camps). It seems the perspective of the Jewish is portrayed accurately a lot in fiction, as it is here. It is worth noting that this is probably because no one really wants to write from a German perspective so when it does happen it is a refreshing change of pace, such as in The Boy with the Striped Pajamas (Boyne). Also, a German probably does not want to talk about the darker aspects of their countrys past. Now concentration camps are portrayed fairly accurately, but some aspects

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are omitted, one of the most common is the ranking system. Jews were identified by one sign, while others identified other prisoners of varying nationalities. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Classifying System in Nazi Concentration Camps) They also omit the cruelty of these camps to an extent, but this is probably because of the above censoring and link issue. Concentration Camps were a place of extreme detention and it can be portrayed well, but may not be portrayed to its full extent. In addition to serving as detention centers for persons deemed to be of danger to the Reich, the concentration camp system served two other key purposes of the Nazi regime. First, corresponding to a close relationship between the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps and the business and administrative offices of the SS, the camps were to be the source of inexpensive forced labor for SS-owned or operated businesses. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Concentration Camps: In-Depth) The Holocaust is an incredibly interesting yet sensitive writing subject. You have to be careful to capture the horror of this era, while still staying within your limits. This dark era opens up a lot of imaginative possibilities but at the same time you do not want to alienate your reader. Inaccuracies pop up because of this and it is not a problem easily remedied. They are still enjoyable and it is probably better that most of these details were omitted but these inaccuracies may bother a devoted historian. I have mentioned many times that not being able to connect properly and censoring limits have created inaccuracies I think it is also contributing to the Holocaust becoming more a style of writing rather than an event of historical fiction. We have to recall that this was a real event and that thousands were killed in this time.

Bibliography

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United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Classification system in Nazi Concentration Camps. Holocaust Encyclopedia, http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005378, March 9 2013 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, German Jews during the Holocaust 1939-1945 Holocaust Encyclopedia, http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005357, March 9 2013 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, German Police in the Nazi State Holocaust Encyclopedia, http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005464, March 13 2013 Richardson, Anna, The Ethical Limits of Holocaust Literary Representation, Borders and Boundaries, eSharp, March 13 2013, http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_41171_en.pdf United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler and World War 19131919 Holocaust Encyclopedia, http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007431, March 13 2013 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Concentration Camp System: In Depth Holocaust Encyclopedia, http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007387, March 13 2013 Ellen, Frank. "Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust." School Library Journal (2013): n. pag. Ebscohost. Web. 2 Apr. 2013. <http://web.ebscohost.com/src/detail?sid=bc098e98-9ddf-415e-9767234e6f31969d%40sessionmgr13&vid=1&hid=11&bdata=JnNpdGU9c3JjLW xpdmU%3d#db=ulh&AN=85881723>. Robin, Michelu. "The Storyteller." People (2013): n. pag. Ebscohost. Web. 2 Apr. 2013. <http://web.ebscohost.com/src/detail?sid=56d7a2b2-f8c0-4526-ab34a2b1378c9c11%40sessionmgr110&vid=1&hid=121&bdata=JnNpdGU9c3JjL WxpdmU%3d#db=mih&AN=85834507>. Wiesel, Elie, and Marion Wiesel. Night. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a Division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Boyne, John. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. New York: David Fickling, 2006. Frank, Anne. Diary of a Young Girl. New York: Doubleday, 1967. Ayer, Eleanor H., Helen Waterford, and Alfons Heck. Parallel Journeys. New York:Atheneum for Young Readers, 1995. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, World War 1: Aftermath Holocaust Encyclopedia, http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007429