Ever since I was young I had an interest in the survivors of the Holocaust. I read novel after novel about their courage, their fight for life. From Behind the Bedroom Wall to Torn Thread and Number the Stars, I read them all. But nothing made the Holocaust as real to me as watching Schindler’s List. I never understood just how awful they were treated, how gruesome and atrocious it really was.
I felt horror stricken as I watched the Jews line up and get shot. They fall like bowling pins, backwards into the hole that they had previously dug. They were treated like rats, like less than people. They were ridiculed by the Germans and laughed at. The soldiers cut the one Jewish man’s hair for their entertainment. It made me angry to see people throwing mud at them as they were herded out of the city like animals. They were lied to and cheated of their luggage, of their valuables, and of their lives. They had everything taken from them, their businesses, their families, and later their lives.
I could almost feel the pain of the Jewish mothers who had their children ripped out of their hands and their husbands pulled away from them. They cried and they hurt, but they kept going on. They were hopeful despite their living nightmare.
I wanted to throw something at the screen, to make the Nazis stop shooting, to make the children run faster, to yell at them to hide. But I know that’s not going to do any good, I felt helpless, powerless to help them. The children were so desperate to get away; they hid under boards and even in the outhouse. I can not even imagine being that afraid. When the one armed man was shot, I saw the blood soaked snow and shuddered.
I don’t know how many times I have whined and complained when things didn’t go my way. I have thought that my life was so bad, but it can’t even compare with the lives of those Jews. I think it was a very good thing that Steven Spielberg made this movie, so that people like you and me can see and understand how horrible life was for the Jews.