07 November 2012

Holocaust Literature

Fact and Fiction

I have read a few Holocaust Books and seen some movies. Anything that I write would be a subjective view point, it can never be objective. Anything that I write would be an output of my readings and media feeds which has coloured my opinions and whatever I write should not be taken against anyone or anything. I wouldn’t say my information or perspective is complete, but any art form that deals with this subject is bound to be soul touching.

The experiences present to you a horrible insight into the cruelty of the genocide - the selfishness and meanness targeted against a set of people due to their birth. Some books come with their own little silver lining where you see people with heart coming forward to risk their lives for the sake of others and humanity. Some fiction and stories could be derived from Survivor’s guilt where those who survived holocaust felt they have wronged against the others who could not survive, and they fed the future generations with stories of courage and misery of the non–survivors.
Sometimes I do wonder whether there can be so much cruelty in the world, how can such people see themselves in the mirror every day. Doesn’t their conscious their souls question them, the faces of all the people killed by them – do they come back to haunt them. It can’t be all truth - it is bound to be exaggerated – it is bound to be fiction. Is it truth, is it riding the wave of sympathy, is it purely marketing because it sells, is it similar to human need to listen to gory and sad stories like the thrill of a horror story. But then I don’t need holocaust to prove the evil in mankind. You open any newspaper and you will see man killing man, son killing father, brother killing brother, husband killing wife and vice versa… so how meaning less it would be to actually kill strangers. Targeting all your miseries and vengeance on a particular race, caste, religion or group.

I have learnt little in life and that is:“Each human tragedy emerges from a human mind and it ends with a human heart.”

No amount of media, news or history books can make you understand the depth of human tragedy in holocaust – the way literature can. Here are few of my reads – both fiction and biographical writings.

1. Life is Beautiful – An Italian Movie by Roberto Benigni. This movie warms your heart and at the same makes you cry. The story is so beautiful and hopeful and it leaves you with a sad smile.

2. Sophie’s Choice – A Book by William Styron. This book will always stay close to my heart as it was my first introduction to holocaust. The characters, the plot, the choice and the story were strong yet poignant. It touches upon sensitive topics of Sophie’s choice (an idiom used to refer a choice between two unbearable options) and Survivor’s guilt

3. Schindler’s List – A Movie based on book ‘Schindler's Ark’ by Thomas Keneally. This is based on true life saviour who saves over 1000 Jews from Nazi killings by making best of the loops in system

4. The Book Thief – A Book by Markus Zusak where a poor family takes a Jew in hiding and a girl’s love for books and stories

5. The Diary of Anne Frank – Auto biographical notes of a victim hiding away from the Nazi Government. This book has probably become the face of the victims of holocaust showing the simple life of a normal teenage Jewish girl and her family living underground for years before their ultimate capture and death

6. Beatrice and Virgil – A Book by Yann Martel where he compares the brutality of holocaust to that of animal killing

7. Two Lives – A book by Vikram Seth where he recreates the life of survivors and victims’ through string of letters
Meanwhile you can check out the list of holocaust books on Good Reads. The subject still continues to lure me and here are some books on my ‘To reads’ list...
· The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
· The Reader by Bernhard Schlink


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