Summary of the Source
The movie presents a clear narrative of events that happened at Sobibor, one of the most infamous concentration camps in Nazi Germany. As the movie starts, a train full of Polish Jews arrives at the camp. At first, they are told that they are brought to the camp with the primary goal of working at various sites. However, it did not take long before they realized it was a death camp. Jews were taken into gas chambers where they are murdered and their bodies cremated within the camp. Those who tried to escape or question activities going on within the camp were executed immediately. The narrative presented in this film is corroborated by findings made by (Giorgos et al. 19). In the study, it is demonstrated that indeed the concentration camps in Nazi Germany were specifically meant for mass murders of Jews and other minority groups considered unwanted in German territories.
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The gas chambers could only handle a given number of prisoners meant for murder at a time. As such, the officers chose those who they wanted dead each day. Some were executed using guns, especially those who were rebellious. The film also demonstrates how women were gang-raped by soldiers before being shot. To these officers, it was like handling dangerous animals that had to be eliminated from society. The officers sometimes ordered prisoners to choose their death mates. These strategies were meant to make the process as traumatizing as possible. The level of racial hatred is demonstrated in the film. The film ends when a group of 600 prisoners plan and execute an escape attempt from the camp. Although everything did not go as planned, about 300 prisoners were able to escape from the camp. The escapees have been instrumental in explaining the horror at the camp.
Evaluation of the Source
Escape from Sobibor is one of the many movies that focus on the mass murder of Jews in German concentration camps. The camp at Sobibor was a perfect example of the system that had been put in place by the Nazi regime specifically for the extermination of Jews and other minority groups within the country. People were taken to this camp in trains from various parts of the German territory with the primary goal of killing them. According to Dyck, the concentration camps were specially designed for the extermination of Jews and other prisoners of war. The Sobibor concentration camp was built by Richard Thomalla and the gas chambers were designed and constructed by Erwin Lambert (Giorgos et al. 22). It was finally commissioned in 1942 to facilitate the extermination of Jews, especially those from Poland. It had 6 gas chambers and it could accommodate over 600 inmates every single time. It is so sad that these deaths were premeditated. Franz Stangl and Franz Reichleitner, who were the commandants at the camp, were under the clear directive to ensure that bodies were burnt. The burning of bodies was meant to ease the pressure of burying the dead. It also helped in concealing the evidence about mass murders at this camp. It is estimated that about 250,000 inmates were killed at this camp alone (Dyck). It was by sheer luck that about 300 of the inmates escaped from the camp.
The use of films as a means of exposing historical injustices, as Kahn observes, is very effective (17). Films bring to life the actual events that happened, how people suffered, the inhuman way in which many were murdered, and the lucky escape made by a few. The concept of anti-Semitism is best depicted in this film. The camp commanders and soldiers were radicalized to the core. They executed Jews and other inmates without any concern. To them, it was a ritual meant to cleanse society. The film is a strong reminder to the modern society of the possible consequences of extremism and radicalization that is focused on against the community. Burden (5) argues that most of the soldiers were individuals who had gone through indoctrination and viewed Jews and other minority groups as people who deserve elimination. The film depicts the attitude.
Soldiers would execute these prisoners at the slightest provocation. It was hurting that in many cases prisoners would be forced to witness the execution of their loved ones. They knew that they would also be executed in the same way or even in worse manners. It is such stressful events that have caused these victims life-long trauma, as explained in the source Holocaust Exposure Induced Intergenerational Effects on FKBP5 Methylation by Yehuda et al. (375). Events were so traumatizing that they affected the genetics of the victims. Watching the film helps in explaining the trauma. Yehuda et al. say that a significant number of those who escaped from the concentration camps had genetic alterations caused by trauma and other events within the camp (375). The film shows how some Jews were tasked with the responsibility of creating their loved ones or conducting mass burial after their murder. A few of them survived, but events left lasting pain in their minds.
Relationship to Other Sources
The source emphasizes the information found in many other sources used in this article. In this film, the producer and director help modern society to understand events that took place in some of the major concentration camps in Nazi Germany. It reaffirms the events explained by Dyck in the source “Situating the Herero Genocide and the Holocaust among European Colonial Genocides.”
Possible Use of the Source
This film will be important in the argumentative essay. Given that it was based on accounts of some of the survivors of the Holocaust who escaped from the concentration camps, it gives a very clear picture of the pain and suffering that these people went through. The torture and the inhumane manner in which Jews handled in the concentration camps are depicted in this film. Although one may want to dismiss it as a fictitious piece of documentary, it powerfully presents the events inside the concentration camps to the global society.
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Burden, Thomas. “Rivers of Blood and Money: The Herero Genocide in German Southwest Africa.” The Student Researcher, vol. 2, no. 2, 2017, pp. 2-25.
Dyck, Kirsten. “Situating the Herero Genocide and the Holocaust among European Colonial Genocides.” Przeglad Zachodni. 2014, Web.
Giorgos, Antoniou, et al. “Collective Victimhood and Social Prejudice: A Post-Holocaust Theory of anti-Semitism.” Working Paper, vol. 10, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-36.
Kahn, Rob. “The Overlapping of Fools: Drawing the Line between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism in the Wake of the 2014 Gaza Protests.” Legal Studies Research Paper, vol. 15. no. 11, 2015, pp. 1-29.
Yehuda, Rachel, et al. “Holocaust Exposure Induced Intergenerational Effects on FKBP5 Methylation.” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 80, no. 1, 2016, pp. 370–380.