Friday, June 27, 2014

The Human Rights Horrors of Europa Europa

Astonishment is a feeling that people get when they see something that truly surprises them. After watching the movie Europa Europa, the feeling of astonishment overcame me, and it was definitely not for good reason. This movie focused on the monstrosities that Nazi Germany carried out as well as the tragedies that the Jewish population of Europe endured during World War II. As a viewer, I received a firsthand look at what Jews went through at the time. Sickened is one of many words that could be used to describe what I felt. The Jews were targeted, beaten, starved, killed, and made a national enemy. In the movie I saw bodies hanging along the road as Solek marched with the Nazi army, people shot because they were Jewish, mass graves when Solek was with Leni, and degrading language used towards the Jews throughout the movie. This really affected me and allowed me to see how horrid people can get when the wrong leader is in charge. I really did love this film. After viewing it, I received a greater appreciation for the life I am able to live today. 

In the movie Europa Europa, human rights were nonexistent for the Jews. Hitler was able to get inside the minds of his citizens and made them view Jews as monstrous creatures who were ruining the genetics of the German population. I really got to see this in Hitler’s youth academy. In the beginning of the movie, Jewish businesses and households were specifically targeted. There were people beaten in the streets, windows shattered by bricks, and people such as Solek’s sister killed. Solek was very lucky to have escaped to the Soviet Union. Back home, his Jewish peers were gathered and put into forced labor camps and ghettos. During Solek’s travels in the Nazi army, I saw how the Jews’ basic human rights were taken away. They lost their right to live at home, to partake in their religion, to basic necessities, to do what a human should be able to do, and, in many cases, to their own life. The Nazi army depicted Jewish people as inhuman and different. I could not believe how horrible the Nazis were. People did not care about the Jews whatsoever. A great example of this was when Leni talked about how she would love to slice any Jews’ throat. This became too much for Solek. Solek went through a very rough time. In order to save himself, he had to disguise who he truly was and join those who were destroying his race. Eventually he actually became friends with some of the Nazis which only confused him more. They were such awful people, but they were being friendly towards him. This internal conflict had a deep effect on Solek. He came to hate who he was for a while and demonstrated this by using thread to try to hide the fact that his penis was circumcised. Eventually he broke down and told Leni’s mother everything. I cannot even imagine the pain he went through. This movie truly did a great job of depicting the life of a Jew at the time.

 Thank you for your time.
Garrett Gresham

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