Reflection: “The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas”

July 19th, 2013

I think feature films can add a lot to the understanding of the Holocaust. For my final project I will actually cover this topic and will be analyzing three films other films about the Holocaust, “Schindlers List,” “The Pianist,” and “Life is Good.” “The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas” is an interesting addition to this discussion.  Done in the right way, a film about the Holocaust can make a connection for the viewer. Instead of it being words on a page or black and white photos, a movie can create a realistic image of the Holocaust if done in the right manner. I would say that a film like “The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas” was a good representation. This film obviously had a very emotional ending and succeeded in humanizing the victims. One issue that I see with some Holocaust films is the same issue raised in Young’s lecture. Some Holocaust movies need to be careful not to just boil down Jewish identity only to that of being victims, or having the Holocaust being boiled down to just the number 6 million. Obviously, like we have learned in this class, the Holocaust was so much more than just that.

Virtual Visit to Memorials

July 17th, 2013

To answer the second part of the question first, I do think that certain memorials that we have studied so far can be more effective/ touching/ appropriate than others. Obviously, every memorial that we have looked at, is respectful and quite effective but personally I feel that a few in particular were the most effective and touching.

To me the best memorial came from Young’s lecture. Seeing how the Jews memorialize the Holocaust on Yam HaShoah in Israel was by far the most effective, touching, and appropriate memorial in my opinion. By having everyone stop and stand still, they themselves become living statues. This way of memorializing the Holocaust shows how far Jewish people have come since the Holocaust. Israel and Israeli’s themselves are the Holocaust memorial for the entire world.

I thought it was interesting when Young said that he worried that some memorials of the Holocaust might make a few people boil down Jewish identity solely to that of the Holocaust. I agree with this point to some degree. While every memorial whether It is a counter monument, a monument from Young’s lecture, the Topf &Sohne exhibition, even Auschwitz today all memorialize the Holocaust while trying to elicit a different emotion from people, they still bring the focus back to the historical event itself. This is another reason why I feel the Israeli tradition of Yam HaShoah is the best but also the most unique memorial. This memorial changes every year, it grows as the nation of Israel and the people of Israel continue to draw strength from their past rather than simply just remembering it. Screen-Shot-2013-04-09-at-11.18.52-AM

Reflection: Death Fugue

July 5th, 2013


        In regards to the Androno quote where he argues that since culture gave birth to Auschwitz, to create any art based on that same culture is effectively denying what really happened in Auschwitz. He argues that poetry sort of be-little’s Auschwitz in a sense. The Holocaust is not just another atrocity, but it is an event that makes us questions the very point to the society, which gave birth to such an atrocity. While I agree in some regards to the point that Androno makes I think Celans poem “Death Fugue” is a good counterpoint. The fact that someone like Celan (who spent 18 months in a forced labor camp and whose parents died in a concentration camp) was able to come out of the holocaust and turned his experience into a piece of art shows the strength of the human spirit. This poem shows that we were able to win. The fact you can write poetry about such an atrocity gives society hope. Androno is belittling the strength of the Human spirit, while Celan and “Death Fugue” show its true resiliency.  This is one reason why I feel this poem is so significant to German literature.

Survivor Interview

July 2nd, 2013

            For this project I found the survivor interview of Max R. Garcia. He was born to working class conditions in 1924 in Amsterdam, Holland. He describes the fact that even though his family was Jewish, religion did not play a major role in their lives. They did not go to synagogue regularly. As a child in Amsterdam, Garcia describes that anti-Semitism was present. He describes life under Nazi occupation very vividly. Max Garcia was I think it is interesting that Garcia did not feel threatened by the Nazi’s until 2 years after the occupation of Holland began. In 1942 when the Jews had to be registered and he had to wear a yellow star as an 18 year old, he understood what was happening.  He was eventually taken to Auschwitz. He description of his time in the camp is nothing short of breathtaking. 

            There are many differences between the story of Max Garcia and Agate Nesaule. The main differencing being that their stories took place in different locations. Agate under soviet rule in Germany and Max under Nazi rule in Auschwitz, Poland. Also age is a major difference between the two. Max Garcia was much older than Agate Nesaule which gave him a very different perspective. While their perspectives were very different, I thought it was very interesting that both, Garcia and Nesuale mention a sense of non-feeling. At times they both cannot fully comprehend the horror that went on around them. Another similarity that is interesting to note is how their stories remained such an important part of their lives. Max mentions how he looks at his tattoo from Auschwitz every single day to remember what he has been through.


the interview of Max R. Garcia can be found here:



Reflection: “Neighbors”

June 28th, 2013

Neighbors by Jan Gross is a fascinating and captivating book describing a horrific episode of the Holocaust. The massacre of Jedwabne, Poland. According to Gross in 1941 the non-Jewish residents of this small town conspired and murdered the Jewish population.  One of the main points that Gross makes in the book is that this murder was not formulated directly by the Nazi’s as many in Poland had believed. This massacre was perpetrated by Poles against Poles. When this book was released, a wave of controversy in Poland fell on Gross. Obviously the Holocaust devastated Poland, and Gross seemed to put at least a portion of the blame on the Polish people themselves. People have attacked this work for other reasons, such as claiming that Gross has used improper figures, methodology, and historiography.  While the exact truth may never be known, I feel that works like Neighbors are invaluable to the historical community.  Discovering new perspectives on and countering established narratives is how we as a society truly learn about the past.

Jan Gross

Jan Gross

Reflection: Online Exhibition

June 26th, 2013

For this reflection I looked at “Life After the Holocaust”. I chose this section because I find it very interesting to learn about how people try and move on after such experiences. I also have always been interested in oral histories such as this. The first thing that I found quite interesting was that some 80,000 survivors migrated to the United States between 1945 and 1950.  The online exhibition collected oral histories from many survivors who told their stories. Some of those oral histories I listened to were those of Thomas Buergenthal, Blanka Rothchild and Regina Gelb. These survivors, all children during the Holocaust, have incredible stories. All of the stories that I listened too showed the great success that these survivors were able to achieve after the Holocaust. Sharing their stories and having them preserved as a piece of oral history is invaluable to future generations. By looking in depth at the Holocaust, future generations can learn about  the conditions that led to the Holocaust, and therefore understand ways to prevent another catastrophe. Also by listening to these incredible stories future generations can learn ways to preserve after such destruction. All of these survivors went on to live happy and full lives, something that must have been made much harder by their experiences in the Holocaust.

Reflection: “A Film Unfinished”

June 25th, 2013

“A Film Unfinished” is a very well made and tremendously interesting film about the Holocaust. I thought that this film was quite powerful. Seeing the real images of people suffering in the horrible conditions of the Warsaw Ghetto was quite sad.  Focusing on a work of propaganda was an interesting choice and this showed the true power and importance these films had at the time.  The fact that the Nazis were purposefully trying to create a false reality of the Ghetto adds even more to the true horror of the Holocaust.  I also thought that having the survivors be interviewed about the footage added another level of realness to the film.  Seeing the sadness that is still with them after all these years was very saddening. One line in particular really stuck with me, one of the survivors has to cover her eyes when she is shown images of the dead in the Ghetto. She says that she is no longer immune to seeing images such as these and that she is actually happy that she can cry. I thought this was incredibly powerful, and made me think that I will never truly be able to understand the amount of horror that these people witnessed.

Pictorial Representation of the Holocaust

June 24th, 2013


The image that I chose to use for the pictorial representation of the Holocaust is a picture of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. This camp is one of the most notable symbols of the Holocaust because during the camps operation it was responsible for the death of over 1 million people. The image in particular that I chose is of the camp in modern day.  Having the picture be in modern day was a conscious choice shows that the horrors that once took place at this location are now over. Society has moved past such an awful moment in history. Yet the building still stands as a symbol of what was and as a reminder to what can happen under the worst circumstances.

History of Middle Eastern Warfare Paper: The British Campaign in the Sudan 1883-1898

June 24th, 2013

“So ‘ere’s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy”: The British Campaign in the Sudan 1883-1898

History 299 Final Power Point Presentation

December 9th, 2012

Click here to view– Final Presentation Power Point