Friday, June 27, 2014
Europa Europa Reflection: Solly's Internal Conflict
Bravo! Europa Europa gets two thumbs up for its innovative approach to develop a character through internal conflict. Yes, the film showed events of the Holocaust and the horrors that became of them, but I believe it was focused on Solly, the main character, and how his decisions shaped his character because of these events.
Dehumanized is not a strong enough word to describe the Jewish population and other discriminated groups; it would imply that they were perceived as humans in the first place, but that was not the case to the children of the Hitler Youth School and many others. To them, Jews were ape-like creatures that only tainted the human population with their grotesque genetics – at least, that’s what they were “taught.” It clearly was not factual as there were Germans that accepted Solly as a Jew (Robert and Leni’s mother) and a proclaimed professor determined Solly to be of Aryan descent through calculated measurements even though he is not. Jews were robbed of their property, herded to ghettos, and killed through gas chambers, starvation, and disease. Their right to life and expression was stripped from them as Hitler exploited society’s pre-existing stereotypes. On the other side, dehumanized does describe Solly as he made decisions to survive. He loses his identity as he is forced to choose whether or not to live a lie or die a Jew. This internal conflict leads him to deteriorate his morals and compassion, shown by his smirk when he realizes a man died in an explosion that would have exploited his true identity. Solly made some detrimental decisions that showed that he was trying to conform to the “pure race,” such as painfully tying a string around his genitals to become a German boy and run from his Jewish background. Even so, there was still a battle inside him, as shown when he slapped Leni for insulting Jews, and he eventually was proud of his Jewish upbringings and was finally happy when reunited with his lost family member and started a new life.
None of Solly’s decisions made him a bad person. Even I don’t know what I would do in his situation between life and death in which he picked both sides throughout the film. Again, Europa Europa was a great movie, and I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to watch something thought-provoking and unique.