‘Is The World A Concentration Camp?’ has been edited by Abha Mehra
I recently saw a movie called “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”. It showcases the horror of a Nazi “extermination camp”, more commonly known as concentration camps, through the eyes of two boys- an inmate, Schmuel, and the son of a high ranking Nazi officer, Bruno. Throughout the movie, we see how the two boys are so similar, yet so different. The children meet each other on the outskirts of the camp and even though they are separated by a fence, become good friends.
One day, Bruno breaks into the concentration camp to help Schmuel find his father and they both are taken into a gas chamber and die. As they are been taken into the chamber, we see Bruno’s father running around the concentration camp trying to find him, but he is already inside the gas chamber. During the course of the movie, we see how naïve these children are, Bruno not knowing how the inmates are actually treated, believing it to be some kind of a farm, and Schmuel not realizing that his relatives that are taken away, are killed, not by a disease, but in the gas chambers.
Once the movie ended, I got to thinking. What if it had ended differently? What if Bruno’s father had found them them in time, and stopped them? Would he have taken Bruno back home to safety, and let Schmuel stay in there, or would he have felt pity for the child and seen, for the first time, that there may be something wrong with the mighty Fuhrer’s theories? Would his mother have seen the pain and confusion in an innocent child’s eyes, who was sentenced to death for simply being born a Jew? Had Bruno’s father reached in time, would Schmuel be alive too? Some people say that the movie is not very historically accurate, but it does tug at the heart strings, and quite rightly so.
Subsequently, I read a few articles on the concentration camps, and how they treat their inmates (die Juden). It was said that most of the very young or the very old, not strong enough to work, were killed the moment they reached the camps; either in a gas chamber, or by shooting them on the edge of a mass grave. To operate such camps, the Nazi’s would have needed immense manpower.
The soldiers that worked there, did they not feel pain? Did they not feel remorse? While they were shooting children, did their eyes, or perhaps their hair, remind them of their own children? Did the old men remind them of their father? Were they so caught up in the war, in their fight to prove their racial superiority that they forgot to feel?
These are all things in the past, which can perhaps be explained away (explained, not excused) by the lack of knowledge and establishment of human rights. But in this modern time, why is there still racial discrimination? Why is there still child abuse? How do we explain the existence of child trafficking, child labor, of kids who are as innocent as Schmuel? What about that small child you see begging at the signal every day?
Are these people not the same as us? Do they not feel a need to be loved? Do they not feel the need to be cared for? Yes, there is awareness, yes there are protests. But why is there no change? We have fought for animal rights so hard that half the world is now vegan. Why are we not fighting for humans too? We need to fight. Fight, and not stop till every person on this earth is not classified by color. Till every person on this earth has the right to follow whatever religion they want. Till every person on this earth, when looking at a Jew or a Christian, a Hindu or a Muslim, can say: “I see no difference”. We need to fight till every person on this earth is not only human, but also humane.