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Cheyenne Pompei

Professor Wertz-Orbaugh
14 January 2016
Previous Holocaust Education
Although my middle school and high school career, I was exposed to the sensitive topic
of the Holocaust. In every history class that I was in talked about more of the holocaust in the
World War II aspect while my English classes focused more on the literature, films, and plays
that evolved during and after the event. I would say that I have had plenty of exposure to the
Holocaust and the subject matter, both of the history of it and the experience of what someone in
the holocaust went through.
The Holocaust was the event that took place during World War II and was commissioned
by the German Nazis. The Nazis would force the Jews, homosexuals, and mentally or physically
disabled people to camps that were called concentration camps after they separated them into
small communities known as the ghettos. In these concentration camps, all of the people that
were living there were stripped of their humanity and were treated very poorly. Depending on
which camp people were sent to, that determined how harshly they were treated. Some camps
made the Jews and the homosexuals work until they could not work any longer or they were
immediately killed with various methods. Almost all of the disabled people that were sent to the
camps were almost immediately executed.
With everything that had ever happened in those camps, the people there were able to
somehow still hold onto hope. With that, beautiful and emotional literature was created and
published. Some of the literature that aided my education and learning about the Holocaust

included The Diary of a Young Girl, which told the story of Anne Frank. Also, I have read Maus
by Art Spiegelman, Night by Elie Wiesel, and Yellow Star by Jennifer Rozines Roy. Each book
helped me gain a better understanding of what it would have been like to be in one of the
concentration camps at the time.
The most influential piece that educated me about the Holocaust was the movie The Boy
in the Striped Pajamas. That film provided with one of the best ways to take the viewpoint of
someone who did not quite understand what was happening because the main character was just
a little boy who wanted a friend and the boy did not even belong in the camp. It showed how
little the Nazis cared about the people in the concentration camps and it also showed that they
were not all heartless because they did care that they let a child be killed who was not a part of
the camp. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas made me think that it was not only limited to the
adults and the people who actually did commit a crime, but it also included innocent children and
the elderly. Another movie that influenced this was The Devil’s Arithmetic.
Other influences that I have had includes the Holocaust Museum, multiple plays that
were about living in the ghettos and leading up to leaving for the camp, and also poems that were
written by the survivors of the Holocaust. It aided me in my education by getting different
perspectives about the subject matter. It also gave a realistic view of how it affected the survivors
and the people around them after those events.
The Holocaust was one of the most tragic events to happen in history and I was well
versed in the topic. With millions of Jews killed and millions of non-Jewish people who were
also slaughtered, it became one of the largest mass genocides. German Nazis during World War
II stripped away the Jews, homosexuals, and disabled people’s humanity. If the Nazis did not
throw them in a gas chamber, which was their most iconic methods, then they were put to work,

beaten, and starved. After all these awful things, the Allies were able to save as many people
from the camps as they could.