Schindler’s List and Ethics Assignment

Schindler’s List and Ethics Assignment Words: 658

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.

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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 knowledge. Thus, it can be concluded that in the beginning of the movie Schindler does not fully grasp the tragedy at hand, and consequently does nothing attempt to aid the Jews. Schindler’s realizations of the horrors of the holocaust begin in one scene near the middle of the film. During this infamous turning point of the movie, Schindler, on top of a barren hill, traces the path of a young and helpless Jewish girl who wanders through the streets of a devastated camp.

In a red trench-coat, nowhere to go, desperately searching for her two parents, the little girl finally wanders into an abandoned building where she is safe from the chaotic world outside. Her safety is only temporary, for later she will be hunted down and cold heartily murdered, forgotten to the world, destroyed by her own people, asking in wonderment, why do I deserve such punishment? In all this destruction it was hard to find hope to even cling on to, but Oscar Schindler was able to provide a small glimpse and allow the Jewish people to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Spending every dime he could collect and putting towards the safety of as many Jews as possible and then still feeling like he hadn’t done enough. Schindler might have originally helped to the Nazi cause, but was finally capable of seeing Jews as individuals and as a worthy human life. Many times was Oscar Schindler asked why did he act such way, and almost every time the same response came through, basically showing his respect for other human beings, no matter what it takes to save them.

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