Go mbeannai Dia duit.

About Me

My photo
Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Saturday, May 9, 2009


"The Nazis victimized some people for what they did, some for what they refused to do, some for what they were, and some for the fact that they were." - John Conway

Liddy went to the mainland last night, hooking up with her brothers & heading in to town for the N.Z V Aussie league match. She came home on the last boat, by which time I was rolling with tiredness. She was both apologetic & cross. They had just missed the 11 o'clock & there is nothing more infuriating than watching the boat chugging home without you. It also meant a long cold wait on the jetty.

After a day out Lid likes to take things quiet & easy her 2nd day off. After all we had the new Jonathon Creek series to watch. It was not to be. Dearest needed batten screws & after some consideration & considerable negotiating we opted to cancel piano & go get the screws early then catch a movie Ditz was keen on seeing ~ The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. A Ditz Pick can be rather alarming & we've watched some doozies of movies thanks to Ditz but this one was a goodie.

First of, this is in no way a children's movie. It is a holocaust movie. Now I know there's been some quibbling about inaccuracies in the storyline ~ no 8/9 year old boys would have been in Auschwitz [& it would be Auschwitz because of the number of crematoriums]; the fence was far too well guarded to let anyone out let alone anyone in but these are small things & do not detract from the terrible symmetry of this movie.

One of the really nice things about this movie is the simplicity with which it deals with a complicated issue. Bruno is the 8yr old son of a death camp commandant. Germany's complicated politics do not concern him. He loves his father. His father is a good man & a hero. What's more he is portrayed in that light ~ but as Bruno learns he is capable of monstrous things.

Removed from his friends in Berlin Bruno forms an unlikely friendship with a boy on the other side of the Auschwitz wire. He learns that fear can make cowards of us all, that we all harbour a monster within ourselves & that there is redemption for past wrongs.

There is no really overt violence depicted on screen; it all occurs off camera with sound effects but this very gentleness makes the final scenes all the more harrowing.

The holocaust is difficult to depict accurately & I understand the need to be sensitive to the memories of those who actually lived out this terrible reality but sometimes fiction conveys truth far better than realism & in this case I think that is true. This is not, as some have said, the story of one Nazi family's personal tragedy. It is the story of the terrible logic of the thinking behind Nazism & the inevitable end that such thinking leads to.

This seems to be one of those films that impact audiences. There was utter silence in the theatre as the final credits rolled. Ditz, who has just finished a study on WWII merely remarked that it wasn't happening now. Well, no, not in Australia & never to that extent but...not a deep philosophical thinker my Ditz. Liddy & I, who saw where it was all heading very early on, were affected differently. Liddy slid further & further down into her seat as the last scenes rolled ~ & they must have been a legal nightmare in themselves to shoot! I was stunned philosophically. If you argue anyone is expendable then all life is expendable, even your nearest & dearest & you get this shattering result.

All in all an interesting little film but don't take the children unless you are really sure they know what the Holocaust did & was & that it discriminated on the basis of age & gender, religion & nationality.


Diane Shiffer said...

i am certain i could not handle that movie. although i do appreciate the need for it in an artistic sense,i'm not good at harrowing.

although so many of us think that something like the holocaust could not happen again, i fear that it could. every day we see the effects of a sort of "group think" on society. we all have this desperate, almost pathological need to belong. we all are capable of throwing aside what we know to be right and good in order to go along with the tide of public opinion... or i suppose more accurately in order not to be *left behind* that tide. God is our only hope.

seekingmyLord said...

I think Persuaded said it well.

Ganeida said...

Diane: I'm terrified something like the Holocaust could happen again. Every school I know has *group think*. It is the basis of the armed forces. It is necessary for any team activity from sport to choir. I see our society getting crueler every day with kids videoing fights & I think we are only one small step away from allowing such atrocity to happen again. I just hope I'm Home before it gets that bad again.

Diane Shiffer said...

me too honey. me too.

since i see i'm following you around as you make comments, it looks like we are on at the same time:) that rarely happens, so it's a treat when it does. i'm picturing you sitting at your computer desk on the other side of the world whilst here i sit at mine! ((hugs))

Ganeida said...

Yeah, I was up late ~ still paying for my too late night on Friday. I am too old to bounce well ~ which is a shock & disgustingly unfair but that's the way it is.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

I bought Schindler's List and was only able to watch it once. Too harrowing.

Ganeida said...

I love Schindler's List because even for the most altruistic motives in the midst of that horror one man acted to save so many. It is inspiring!

Libby said...

have you ever read the book THE WAVE! lol should do, goes to show just how easy it is to have another period in time like so

Constance said...

First of all dear friend, Happy Mother's day from across the world! I don't know if they have Mother's Day where you are but that doesn't matter. I told one of my children that if my kids can only honor me or show love and respect towards me one day out of the year, I have not done something right!

Dave and I saw this movie a couple of months ago and the ending just completely silenced me! I think Bruno's mother at the fence with her gut-wrenching crying and wailing made a deep impression upon me! My great-grandmother Anna Peck went through losing her youngest son ( we are not Jewish but he was mildly retarded)when he was exterminated by Hitler's policies.

As you know I LOVE history and we are currently watching "The World At War" about WW2. It's supposed to be THE definitive documentation on WW2. There is archival footage and interviews with SS, Japanese and so on. For those who believe the Holocaust never happened or was blown out of proportion I don't know how they can argue with the people who admitted doing these things!?

For those who say that it could never happen again, one need only look around at the Genocide that surrounds us in countries like Dafur, Cambodia,the Middle East and so on. Sadly Man's inhumanity to man continues in spite of our shock, horror and outrage at the images and knowledge we have gathered from what Hitler did to the Poles, the Jews, the Gypsies, the mentally disadvantaged and so on!

It's painful to see some of these images but sadly, most of today's young people through movies and video games have become desensitized to it.

Sandra said...

I used to know many survivors. Mostly they didn't talk about it much, but sometimes pieces would just slip out. I met a woman at Mount Sinai Hospital, she was dying of cancer. She was a Polish Jew and because of her impending death, she talked to me about things her children never heard. These were her second family of children She saw her two babies killed at the station at Dachau. She and her husband were separated. The amazing thing is, they both survived and found one another. They went on and had more children, but as she was dying, it was evident that what happened never left the front of her brain. It didn't seem fair to survive all of that and end up in a hospital bed dying from cancer.