Today we watched Schindler’s List directed by Steven Spielberg. Schindler’s List is about is about Oskar Schindler, a Nazi businessman, uses the Judenrat (Jewish Council) to make pots and pans. Schindler “list” consisted of names of Jews that worked in the factory. “Workers in Schindler's factory are allowed outside the ghetto, and Stern falsifies documents to ensure that as many people as possible are deemed "essential" by the Nazi bureaucracy, which saves them from being transported to concentration camps, or even being killed” (IMDb). Schindler saved approximately 1,110 Jews from being transported to concentration camps.
I had previously watched this movie years back when I took a Holocaust class my senior year of high school. I knew what to expect with the movie, but the other girls did not. We all sat in silence watching the movie through the projector. No one spoke any words through out the movie. I’m not sure if it was just the emotions through the movie that silenced everyone, but for me I just had no words to describe what we watched.
The movie re-sparked my interest for the Holocaust. In 2006 I traveled through out Europe. In my travels, I went to Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria. Going to Mauthausen is one of the most emotional experiences I have ever experienced. The tour walked my peers and I through the beginning of the camp as if we were Jews. They yelled at us in German with an English translator. They told us to separate by sex, line up, and stand straight. They yelled at you if you were not standing straight or spoke. We stood in silence for a few minutes and just looked around as crowds of other people were shuffled in a similar manner as us. They then began to lead us into the area where Jews would have to leave their clothing and other belongings, before given stripped suits. Next we were brought into a remake of what the bunkers were and were told to lay down two or three in a bed. The beds were smaller then single beds and could not fit one person comfortably, better yet three. They brought us through the whole camp in a strict format, creating a more emotional experience then just walking through. I am very grateful for getting the experience at Mauthausen.
While watching Schindler’s List, a scene of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, made me reflect on my experience at Mauthausen. The women and men were separated and ordered to move around quickly and efficiently. They did not understand what was being said, but they new that arriving at Auschwitz was not a good thing. The women were taken into a room where they had to give up their clothing and have their hair cut off. Then they were pushed into the showers, where they showed great fear as they huddled together. A sense of relief was granted when they felt water pour down on them.
Seeing this intense scene and being able to relate it too my experience made me excited for our visit to Auschwitz in Poland. I want my peers to gain an experience like I had. I want Auschwitz to have a greater impact on me. Auschwitz is considered the worst concentration camp. More then one million people lost their lives at Auschwitz. The camp was liberated in January 1945 leaving only about 7,000 people surviving.
After the morning class and a movie all about the Nazi parties and the Holocaust I felt drained from the emotional overload. No one really felt like doing much besides packing. Packing 8 kg (about 17 lbs) for ten days into a backpack is a very stressful task. I found myself packing and unpacking several times. The weather differences between Italy and Poland made packing much harder. The forecast reads for high 50’s low 60’s degrees with rain showers in Italy, but in Poland the forecast calls for snow and freezing temperatures. I never realized how difficult it was going to travel to all of these places without freezing! All of us girls stressed about our clothing and the weight limit which ended in all of us sitting in Katie and Carolyn’s room with out bags and clothes spread out all over laughing at ourselves. Its funny how quickly you realize the things you know you need to live with comfortably over the more luxury items. It made me realize how the Jews, Poles, and everyone else who was taken so quickly from their homes must have felt. Many of them got to take nothing to very little with them. I was only leaving for a little over a week and was having anxiety over packing, how could they just pack their lives away in one suitcase in a matter of minutes. My mind continuously returns back to the thought of how quickly the Germans exterminated so many and no one stopped them. Thinking about it makes me more egger to get to Poland and see the monuments.
Around eight thirty at night Ashley’s friend contacted her and asked about a bombing. As we all were still sitting around packing we jumped up in shock of the news. Katie quickly Goggled about the bomb. I was felt a pit in my throat because I worried that something bad was going to happen. I had seen the protestors and read about the banks closing in Cyprus, which is very close to Greece, and began to find myself getting very nervous. Luckily, we quickly found out that it was a makeshift bomb and that no one was hurt. The bomb was placed at a shipman’s house, which is located near the Acropolis. An anonymous caller called the police and told them the location of the bomb and the time it would go off. The area was cleared and no one was hurt. None of us felt anything, or heard the bomb go off. After hearing about the bomb, even though no one was hurt, made Italy and Poland seem a lot more exciting!
Watch the video of the bomb.
"Schindler's List." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013.