As out of the boxcars and forced into

As the train doors slammed open, the dogs started barking, and the frozen air hit our faces. It had begun. Dragged out of the boxcars and forced into a line, it was that moment that began to determine their fate, life or death. In the books Maus I and Maus II by Art Spiegelman and the movie Schindler’s List  directed by Steven Spielberg, the common themes of survival, sacrifice, hatred and guilt have continuously shown through each story when comparing the two. Survival: the state of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of a difficult circumstance. This was an everyday theme throughout Vladek’s stories in the graphic novel Maus.  “She was taken with everybody else who was going to be deported to four apartment houses that were emptied to make a sort of prison….

They put thousands of people there … it was so crowded that some of them actually suffocated … no food … no toilets. It was terrible” (Spiegelman, Maus I, 94). This was just one of the many descriptions of the terrible conditions Jewish people had to face while they were incarcerated within the camps.

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Vladek not only fought in the constant battle, but he won through these extremely harsh conditions and slave labor. He wanted to survive, he wanted to fight for the fact that maybe one day he could finally be with Anja again. Not only did Vladek fight for the fact that maybe one day he could finally be with Anja again but he continued an everyday battle and in which it became a very strong theme of sacrifice. “I starved a little to pay to bring Anja over.” “So… I saved a second time a fortune, and gave over bribes to bring Anja close to me” (Spiegelman, Maus II, 64). These specific quotes from the book Maus, are a great example of just the start of how hard Vladek worked and how much he had sacrificed just to see Anja and make sure she was okay. He would do everything in his power whether if it was taking a beating, searching for constant jobs even when he had no idea how to do the job and paying his way in food that he needed for himself just to keep Anja alive.

“They come into our house and tell us we don’t live there anymore. It now belongs to a certain SS Officer.””Please, I only know what they tell me, and what they tell me changes from day to day.””Aren’t you supposed to be able to help? I mean, what if I just took this thing off, what are they going to do about it?””They will shoot you.”These characters in this moment are circling around an important issue, what the Nazis are doing doesn’t make any sense. That’s how hate works. The Jewish people are trying to find some logic in it all and there is no logic.

They just want the Jewish people dead. This began the questioning of what religion had to to with a person’s worth. This leads to the idea of what hatred is and how it was used. Hatred is the reason for the Holocaust because it caused nice people to develop a reason to physically abuse and kill Jewish people.

The Holocaust shows us just how strong and powerful hate can be and how it can change people dramatically. After the feeling of hatred dissipates, the people that did horrible things just based on a feeling start to feel guilt. “The list is an absolute good. The list is life. All around its margins lies the gulf.” (Spielberg). Says Stern after finalizing a list of Jewish people who will be transferred to Schindler’s new camp. The Jewish men and women on this list have been chosen and purchased by Oscar Schindler so they won’t be sent to Camp Auschwitz.

A major part of the film, it shown that Schindler needs to protect the Jewish people. Although it does seem like he may not even care if they are Jewish or not, as long as they are going to make him money. Even though the movie documents Schindler’s revise in views, it’s not clear throughout the film that he will try to save as many Jewish people as he can, until he had made this list. Meanwhile in completion of this list Stern is eye opened that Schindler is slowly but surely running out of money. It is now noticeable Schindler has taken a task upon himself to save as many Jews as he can, regardless of what it will cost him. When Stern says the quote above, he is recognizing the changing of many Jewish lives and his new trust in Schindler. In sum, these common themes between the books Maus I and Maus II and the film Schindler’s List I feel thoroughly explain important points throughout each of these stories. They impacted people’s lives opening their eyes to the tragic events of the holocaust in a medium that all people could understand.

This film and the other books give the average person insight into the horror and tragedy of the holocaust. The lessons taught and the information within these pieces of work will be remembered and reflected on by the rest of the world. Work citedShmoop Editorial Team.

“Maus: A Survivor’s Tale Power Quotes Page 3.” Shmoop, Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008,, Art. Maus I: a survivor’s tale / my father bleeds history.

Pantheon Books, 1997Spiegelman, Art. Maus II: a survivor’s tale: and here my troubles began. Paw Prints, 2010Spielberg, Steven, director. Schindler’s List. 15 Dec.

1993. “Schindler’s List.” Schindler’s List – Wikiquote,


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