Friday, June 27, 2014

The Stories of Survivors- Nick Dillard

  • In the film Europa Europa, Agneiszka Holland depicts the desperate times of a hopeless boy growing up in the midst of Nazi Germany. Literarily, the film is superb. Although Europa Europa is not in English, I could still experience the suffering Solly went through after his human rights were repeatedly violated. Starting on Solly’s birthday, coincidentally his Bar mitzvah, Jews were first denied one of the most fundamental human rights: the freedom of religion. Juxtaposing Kristallnacht with Solly’s Bar mitzvah emphasized the struggle between his heritage and the oppressive society he existed in. After escaping Nazi Germany, Solly did not receive any sort of religious liberation. He faced more human rights violations in a soviet orphanage, separated from his family, denied of any political or religious beliefs. It was impossible for me to relate to anything Solly was going through. Growing up as a millennial in America, I have never seen or imagined what it’s like to be denied freedoms based off color, religion, political beliefs, etc. Because I have not been exposed to anything similar to what Solly went through, it was particularly eye opening to see how cruel our society can be. Watching Europa Europa made me realize that my generation lives in a bubble. Essentially, our worldly knowledge is minimal, and for the most part we don’t care about human rights violations outside our bubble. For these reasons, the film had a profound impact on me. We have all studied the holocaust at some point in school. We have heard the overwhelming number of deaths and cruel ways Jews suffered. However, few of us have truly been able to fathom what this means. Europa Europa bridged the gap from statistics to emotions. Agneiszka Holland truly connected me to Solly’s life and feelings. While watching this film, I witnessed what its like to be separated from your family, religion, and way of life. I believe it is particularly important to study human rights violations beyond generic means: 11 million deaths, concentration camps, torture. It is through the stories of survivors that give us a glimpse at what it actually means to have our human rights stripped. 

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