Thursday, October 1, 2015

Schindler's List Today

Hello, lovely readers!

I'm in a bit of a reflective mood today, so I'm going to write a bit about Schindler's List (the book, movie, and real life Oskar Schindler) and how it relates to the present day world.

To begin, I have to first promote the novel Schindler's Ark written by Thomas Keneally.

I cannot even begin to say how important it is to read a work like this one. These stories really put everything into perspective, and in that essence they can be life changing. Thus, I always encourage people to read the book before watching the movie. In this case, however, Oskar Schindler was a real man whose bravery saved over a thousand lives. Reading any account of this man's heroics should be a requirement. If you are not a big reader (and even if you are), than I would highly recommend watching the movie depiction of the book. 

In my opinion, Schindler's List is the most tragically beautiful film ever made for the cinema. The acting is phenomenal. The sets are incredibly realistic due to the fact that some of them are, in fact, the actual locations where major atrocities took place. But most importantly, the story is one of intense moral value. Just to get a feel for what we are dealing with here, watch this clip from the movie:

Now for a bit of historical context before I talk about Schindler's modern relevance. Oskar Schindler was a Nazi; there is nothing unclear about that. What he not, however, was a monster. Schindler took it upon himself to save many Jewish people by running a factory in which they were to work. Schindler often paid officials and used bribes to bring workers to his factories. At these factories, the Jewish workers were treated ethically. Schindler essentially prevented over a thousand Jews from meeting their ends at two camps, Plaszow and later Auschwitz.
Oskar Schindler
Schindler's Factory
Schindler's List
At this point you might be thinking, "where is she going with this?". That is a very relevant question, and now I'm going to tell you the answer. I'm writing about Schindler today because I feel that his story is one that we need to keep telling, especially in times like these.

We have a humanitarian crisis on our hands. In Europe, thousands of people are fleeing their war-torn nations in search of a better life. These people are particularly coming from areas of the Middle East such as Syria and Afghanistan; they are actually dying to escape these countries. Sadly, this doesn't exclude children. 

Map showing migrant destinations
What is beautiful in this catastrophe is that countries like Germany, Sweden, and areas in the United Kingdom are welcoming the refugees in with welcome arms. By the end of 2015, Germany is expected to take in nearly 800,000 refugees. That alone shows how much times have changed since the 1940's. However, there is something saddening worth mentioning. This is where Oskar Schindler's story comes in.

I have seen a lot of articles and comments expressing distaste and even hate for the culture that is being brought in by the refugees. People are saying that they disapprove of the influx of Islam coming in, and they are concerned that Germany is going to fall under Sharia Law eventually. What worries me is not so much the disapproval, but instead the vehement hatred I am starting to see surface.

I understand that it is quite a culture shock for some people to deal with, but if you look at Schindler it was more than just a shock for him. Schindler was a member of a party that resented an entire race of people, and you know what he did? He went against everything his party stood for; he did what was morally correct. Schindler very well could have been killed for what he was doing, but he did it anyway. You know why he did that? He did it because it was the right thing to do. 

Now stop and think. Today, the right thing to do is to put aside your own personal beliefs regarding the culture of the refugees, and have an open mind. You should never hate anyone solely based on their cultural and religious background; that is where we can get into real trouble. 

Take Schindler's story and apply it to this modern day example. One of my favorite lines in the movie Schindler's List, is when Stern hands Schindler a ring that has engraved on it, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." So do your part. Help the refugees in any way that you can. Try to keep and open mind, and remember, genocide stems from ignorance and sometimes completely unjustified hatred.

Just part of the legacy of the 'Schindlerjuden'
Sorry for the long and probably overdone post. I just believe that it is critical that we all continue to learn from the past in order to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Hope you all are having a great week!

xx Jessie

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