War & Remembrance | Teen Ink

War & Remembrance MAG

By Anonymous

   Dedicated to Eva Adler, teacher and friend.

I am watching the mini-series "War and Remembrance," which covers an American family and the events surrounding them during World War II. I remember my Social Studies teacher warning me that some concentration camp scenes in an upcoming episode would be "explicit." I am annoyed at her for thinking I cannot handle it. There have already been two mass extermination scenes in the first part; I had survived those. I could survive anything. What I am unprepared for is the agony of seeing two of the main characters being transported to Auschwitz. I watch with dread as the woman and her uncle stand before the Nazi general. He waves her to the right, and him to the left. I begin to feel sick. I follow him as he walks to the "showers." My mouth is dry as I watch this gentle old man undress. The room is crowded with very young children and sick or elderly people. Horrified, I stare as they are herded into a small room. They are screaming. I shut off the TV.

I decided to write about the American dramatization of the Holocaust as I had seen it on "War and Remembrance." I would tell why I was so horrified by the show and its depiction of the mass exterminations of Jews. But when I began to write I found myself at a loss for words; my essay was long-winded and pointless. I had almost given up when I realized what I was really trying to articulate and why.

The Holocaust is a dreadful subject; that may be why it sells so well in the United States. Even I cannot deny the certain maudlin attraction held in something so unbelievably terrible. The original scenario was sold long ago and Hollywood is still collecting royalties. Even the word "atrocity" is synonymous with "Hitler," "Auschwitz," and "Nazi." People long ago missed the point. Somewhere between the Nissan ad and the popcorn, someone forgot to put in the disclaimer:

"This is not about anti-Semitism. The subject of this movie is racial discrimination. It is about the hatred and insanity of man-not just one man, but the race as a whole. Ignore the bright yellow stars and the swastikas: they are props to prove a point. This movie should not affect Jews more than Christians, Moslems or Buddhists. Germans should not be any more ashamed of the Nazis than anyone else. This terrible nightmare is the equal responsibility of all and should not be commercialized or continually rehashed. The Aoriginal'must remain as a steady reminder of just what we are capable of." n

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