This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen Essay

This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen Essay

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The sullen narrative This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen poignantly recounts the events of a typical day in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. The author, Tadeusz Borowski, was Polish Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz, the series of death camps responsible for the deaths of the largest number of European Jews. Recounted from a first-person point of view, the novel unfolds at dawn as the unnamed narrator eats breakfast with a friend and fellow prisoner, Henri. Henri is a member of Canada, the labor group responsible for unloading the Jewish transports as they arrive into the camps. They are interrupted by a call for Canada to report to the loading ramps. Upon the arrival of the transport, the narrator joins Henri in directing the prisoners to either life, in the labor camps, or to death, in the gas chambers. In reality the path is neither one of life or death, rather it is routing prisoners to inevitable death or immediate death. Regardless of how many times he is asked, the narrator refuses to disclose to the transport prisoners what is happening to them or where they are being taken. This is camp law, but the narrator also believes it to be charitable to “deceive (them) until the very end”(pg. 115). Throughout the day the narrator encounters a myriad of people, but one is described in great detail: a young woman, depicted as being unscathed by the abomination that is the transport. She is tidy and composed, unlike those around her. Calmly, she inquires as to where she is being taken, like many before her, but to no avail. When the narrator refuses to answer, she stoically boards a truck bound for the gas chambers. By the end of both the day and of the novel, the camp has processed approximately fifteen thousand p...

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...urvivors crawling towards me, clawing at my soul. The guilt of the world had been literally placed on my shoulders as I closed the book and reflected on the morbid events I had just read. As the sun set that night, I found no joy in its vastness and splendor, for I was still blinded by the sins of those before me. The sound of my tears crashing to the icy floor sang me to sleep. Just kidding. But seriously, here’s the rest. Upon reading of the narrators’ brief excerpt of his experience, I was overcome with empathy for both the victims and persecutors. The everlasting effect of the holocaust is not only among those who lost families÷, friends,
/6m÷illions of their very race, but also with the prisoner workers who were-and have been-relentlessly tormented by (the guilt of their actions) (their guilt). This (novel, story, event, etc..) will not soon be forgotten.

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