In the book ladies and Gentlemen to the Gas chamber, is an account of what the author witnessed as well as experienced during the Second World War. It was a period when the Germans controlled the world through their propaganda which made possible the extermination of the mankind. Kinds of defense mechanisms that deadened human responses to horror are brought into view in this context. It is with strong nostalgia that the narrator gives this account. Historically, the Nazi ruled the world for so long but this was perpetuated by their propaganda that worked through control mechanisms. Human responses to horror have always been based on the foundation of morality, justice and ethics.
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However, during the Second World War the control mechanisms that were applied by the Nazi brought about the deadening of the human response to horror. The Nazi brought about the deaths of many Jews. It was within their desire to keep German or the Aryan as the only people in the world. They were seen as the only people that deserved to survive and reign in the world. The Nazi embarked on their propaganda to eliminate the Jews who had threatened their existence. According to Nazi, the only threat to their survival was the Jews.
A quick and effective measure was required in order to bring about the extermination every Jew. This was seen as a remedy to the Germans which would lead to their control of the whole world. It is therefore within the core of this book that the narrator brings out the issues that led to the deadening of the human response to horror. It was within the capacity of Borowski to save the lives of the Jews who were to be killed and burned in the gas chamber, but this was an almost unachievable goal. However much the prisoners longed to save the Jews, they could not manage owing to the fact that they were face to face with death. It was either that they kept alive their responses to horror or they die. The former was preferred to the latter and as a result, though they had good morals , they necessitated the killing of the Jews.
It is horrible the way men can commit inhuman acts forcing their victims to engage in what they never liked. Otherwise, this called for their death as the only way to survive was to help the Nazi carry out their cruelty against the Jews. By illustration, there is the incident of the Toleczka who pleaded with the narrator giving him the responsibility of going to his mother to tell her that Toleczka died in the gas chamber (Borowski and Vedder 129). According to Toleczka whose life was at the point of being terminated, after the war, concentration chambers, people killing others and inhuman acts would be over. He points out that he would die that this freedom may be attained.
Although the narrator sympathizes with the situation, he cannot save him and he tells him that he should not cry about his mother as all of them had mothers (Borowski and Vedder 129). Another incident that occurred was when the narrator was points to Moise who was previously a book keeper. Moise is presented as to be upset with his family pictures. He had just sent his own father to the oven. Though the father had kissed him asking for food and even asking what would befall them eventually, Moise could not help as the Kommandfuhrer yelled at him to get back to work.
Despite his recognition of the right thing to do, Moise had to let his own father die. Millions of Jews died as a result of being killed in the ovens, the acts of killing were so inhuman that one could not imagine of doing them to a fellow human being. The accounts of those in Auschwits are given with many confessing that they had aided the death of schoolmates, acquaintances from home town and friends (Borowski and Vedder 128). During the German occupation, the college and secondary education was forbidden to Poles who made a great percentage of the Jews (Borowski and Vedder 13).
In essence, it was within the prisons that the brutal killings of Jews took place. The narrator was himself a victim and a criminal. He chose not to reveal his identity as a Poland in order to avoid being killed. It was within this period of him being imprisoned that he worked hard to aid the brutal killings of Jews in gas chambers whereby many were suffocated and killed. In May and June, 1944, about four hundred thousand Jews from Hungary were gassed and burned (Borowski and Vedder 16). Throughout the book, the systematic slaughtering of Jewish prisoners was exposed they were being slaughtered by the other prisoners who were used to aid Nazi German to kill them. As they did it, they benefited from the only materials, food and clothes that they got from the Jews who were brought by the cattle cars for slaughter.
Along with this, Jews were forced to crawl with their naked bodies after a hot bath (Borowski and Vedder 118). In line with this, while in prison, there was one who could differentiate the Jews from Aryans and he would recognize the Jews and select them for the gas chamber (Borowski and Vedder 147). These prisoners, who helped in the cruel killing of the Jews, were applauded for their work and evaded death due to this as it is evident when the one who made selection of the Jews destined for gas chamber is pleased by the hard work of the narrator (Borowski and Vedder 136). At the same time, Andrei from France and a prisoner for that reason was also given to teach two Greek Jews how to march.
Owing to the fact that they could not make it, he whips them and breaks two whips on their heads. This was inhuman and only circumstances could allow for it. Remarkably, Jews used to sing songs in the gas chamber which were soul-stirring. Nonetheless, they were not understood for those who listened. The prisoners had to work hard in order to get a bowl of soup; they had no other means of surviving. Sometimes, the prisoners would go without soup as it was given to those who had none (Borowski and Vedder 71).
Significantly, inhuman acts described the lives of the inmates who had no otherwise than to engage in what they individually condemned. In addition, the prisoners like narrator, were so happy when another transport carrying Jews arrived. They longed for such an opportunity since it was meant as the only way for them to survive. Even when asked by a certain attractive Jewish girl of what would happen they cannot explain as they knew and had witnessed the brutal killing.
From the given information, the defensive behaviors in the story possessed by the charcters were that they would help kill in order to survive. They would also collaborate for survival at the point of being competitive in their effort to unload Jews. They also became so brutal to them in order to evade being killed (Borowski and Vedder 84). This made them get involved the brutality as well as harshly handing the Jews. In reality, this was not within their will, but the level of inhumanity made them adapt such defense behaviors.
They started enjoying unloading infant corpses and the Jews from the cattle cars. They were rewarded by a bowl of soup, clothes and the effects they got from the Jews they unloaded. Prisoners worked hard for more soup as that was the only way for survival. Although they were criminals, indisputably, one can call them good people. This is for the reason that from the information given, they killed because of pressure that was upon them. They were forced by situation to do contrary to the dictates of humanity. In the story, the narrator reveals he was slapped by Rottenfurer when he did not remove the hat while addressing the officer. The reason behind what the narrator and the others do to the Jews is made possible by the fear and the situation they were in.
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