Friday, June 27, 2014

Response to Europa Europa

During the Holocaust, the majority of Jews in Europe were persecuted for their religious beliefs and ethnicity by Nazi Germany. Europa Europa portrays the true story of a young, Jewish teen named Solly who was forced to abandon his identity in order to survive during the Holocaust. His human rights are violated throughout the entire movie because he is discriminated against on the basis of his ethnicity and religion; a clear violation of Articles's I and II of the Universal Declaration of Human rights.
At the beginning of the movie, he is separated from all of his family and ends up living in a Soviet orphanage. Even though Solly was persecuted for being a Jew in his past, he starts to abandon his identity as a Jew for the first time in his life in the orphanage. He denounced the existence of God in the orphanage despite his Jewish upbringing in order to fit in with Soviet Russia's atheist principles. The theme of abandoning identity for survival becomes more prevalent and extreme as the movie progresses. After Solly is captured by the Germans and used as a translator in the war, Solly's abandoning of his identity is taken to a  much higher degree. In Russia, principles of the country conflicted with Judaism, but antisemitism was still frowned upon but in Nazi Germany antisemitism was endorsed by the state and Solly was forced to actively contribute to the Nazis. After earning high honors in the military, Solly is sent to a Hitler Youth camp where his abandonment of his Jewish identity is taken to yet another degree. In the battlefields, there was not as much time to feed the Germans antisemitic propaganda as there was in the Hitler Youth camp, which makes Solly's life harder. I enjoyed the progression of his abandonment of identity because it was smooth and transitioned well throughout the entire film. I must admit I found the film's portayal of antisemitism to be unbelievable or exaggerated at times. For instance,  a Nazi general told Solly the war was about Jews; not revenge for the Treaty of Versailles, reacquiring lost territories, gaining land and resources, spreading the Aryan master race, or any other common motivation for spreading an empire. I really cannot believe there was a high ranking general that thought the war was about ridding the world of Jews even though the film was based on a true story. I definitely enjoyed the film overall though.

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