19 October 2009

The Mice in the Holocaust

The comic was actually quite interesting and made me remember what I had been taught in history class about the holocaust. It was awful, the things that people did to hide and survive. At the beginning of the comic, Vladek calls his son Artie and asks him to come and help him fix something on his roof. Artie tells his father that he will be over the following weekend to help fix the roof. Artie finally shows up to help and finds out that his father had done the job already. When Artie goes inside to talk to his father’s new wife, Mala he finds out that Mala had found a story that Artie had written about his mother when she died. After Artie is finished looking at the story, his father walks in and tells Artie that the story made him sad and that he really missed his sweet wife, Anja.

Later, Vladek and Artie begin walking to the bank when Artie asked his father “what happened to you and Anja after the big selection at the stadium?” His father’s response was: “Well, for a time it was everything quiet. Then in 1943 came an order: All Jews what are left in Sosnowiec must go to live in an old village nearby called srodula.” Srodula was a holding camp for the Jews that were going to eventually go to Auschwitz. Artie and his father began talking about what happened and how his father had to make hide-a-ways for his family so that the guards wouldn’t find them and haul them away. Vladek talked of how they had no food and how the Germans would take the small children and those who were crying they would throw them against the wall to make them stop crying. The conditions were horrible.

Even though Vladek and his wife Anja paid off the guard to get their nephew, parents and each other out, only Vladek, his wife and his nephew were saved. Anja’s parents were taken and immediately put into the gas chambers. As time went on, Vladek and Anja were saved because they were taken to a bunker by Vladek’s cousin and decided that they would rather starve then go out and give themselves to the guards or get shot. They waited for a long time and decided that it was safe to leave. Those who had waited with them went their separate ways and survived the holocaust. Anja killed herself years later and Vladek remarried. Vladek gave all of his savings to Artie because he was worried that he was going to die of a heart attack. The story ends with Artie and his father leaving the bank and going home.

This story really touched me. I really like that the Jews were represented as mice. It made the story seem a little lighter, then so serious but it was still very depressing. The art work was well done, but the thing that stood out to me the most was how the words were put together. It made Vladek seem quite illiterate, but also proved the point that he had grown up living in the ghetto and had no time to properly learn how to speak and read. It made the situation seem more real and trying.

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