14 July 2010

Maus Tail

In Maus: A Survival's Tale, creator, Art Spiegelman writes the biography of his father, Vladek's experiences before and during World War II.
In chapter 5, Vladek and his wife Anja (along with his in-laws) are relocated from their luxurious home in Sosnowiek to a small cottage in Srodula, a ghetto for Jews. During their time in the ghetto, they work for Germans, have coupons for their ration of food, and are in constant fear as news of the Auschwitz concentration camps came to their attention. As a result of their fear and distrust of the Germans, Vladek makes bunkers, hiding places for his family. While German influence gets worse, Vladek's family is slowly disbanded... Vladek sends his child with his brother and sister in law, their baby, and another child (the sister in-law later poisons herself and the children to save them from a fate at Auschwitz) and the father and mother in laws are left behind, unable to be snuck out of the ghetto. Vladek and Anja rely on their cousins to save them (even though they had to pay in jewelery) and later leave the ghetto disguised as Poles.
Art Spiegelman creates a world where nationality is distinct, as it was during German occupation... Polish are Pigs, Jews are mice, Germans are cats, and Americans are dogs. Although this kinda reminds me of "An American Tail," I still feel the purpose of making these distinctions... it was a different world for Jews then, and they were considered the small, lowly creatures that would be exterminated by the Germans. The biography is a powerful story of survival and shows that in times of desperate need, no friend or even family will watch out for you.


  1. Good post, if very cut and dry ;-)

  2. I too understood the purpose of portraying the races as different animals. I also really liked that when they Jews disguised themselves as Poles they put pig masks on. This kind of reminded me of the movie Europa, Europa, and the great lengths the Jewish main character goes through to appear German.

  3. Dang, I haven't seen that one...

  4. indeed, the disguise was genius ;) i haven't seen Europa tho... i'll check it out. the rest of Maus is really good too... i highly recommend reading it! :)