This Way For Gas Poem Analysis

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Because of the secrecy surrounding the Nazi German concentration camps, the world knew very little of the tragic events happening in Germany until after the war, and since then, literature recounting personal experiences in the concentration camps has been crucial to our understanding of the cruelty that took place. Starvation, beatings, medical experimentation, and death were prevalent throughout the concentration camps for Jews, Gypsies, mentally and physically disabled persons, and prisoners of war in order to “cleanse” the German population and create a superior race without disease or deformities. In order to survive these casualties, prisoners clung to life in any way possible, even if it meant another should die. In “This Way for Gas,…show more content…
Once he begins unloading the trains, his humanity wakes up within him and he is fully aware that people, not just thoughts or ideas, are dying at the hands of the Nazis. He begins to feel the physical effects, partially because of the conditions outside, but his empathy makes him feel what the Jews feel, and he is sickened because he knows their fate while they do not. The speaker asks Henri, his companion, if they were bad people for participating in the slaughtering of the Jews, and hating them because he must help them die, and Henri states “Ah, on the contrary, it is natural, predictable, calculated. The ramp exhausts you, you rebel—and the easiest way to relieve your hate is to turn against someone weaker. Why, I'd even call it healthy. It's simple logic, compris?” (Boroski #). People under stress will do anything to survive, and Henri is completely right about the speaker’s reaction being normal. He is tired, hungry, thirsty, and feeling faint, which violates his basic needs and makes him anxious. Because he is imprisoned, he is inferior to the Nazis, and he knows he will never overcome them alone. He is angry because he cannot go back to his barrack, and he blames the Jews because if they were not there, he would not be there unloading them. He is indifferent in the beginning, and once he begins this emotional crisis, he can…show more content…
The speaker’s hardships are caused by his “reality check” the day he volunteers, but Boroski’s goal in this story is to make the readers aware of the events that occurred during the Holocaust by giving readers a tiny glimpse into imprisoned life. There were over 40,000 Nazi concentration camps running from 1933-1945. There are 40,000 environments where millions labored, starved, and died (Nazi Camps). Approximately 6,000 Jews were killed a day in the Birkenau killing center in Auschwitz (Nazi Camps). While the author nor the speaker were Jewish, “This Way for Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” allows readers to experience a bystander effect, so to speak. The speaker is powerless against the Nazi SS soldiers, and often during a crisis, if a person is surrounded by others, they wait for someone else to take charge and handle the situation. The speaker knows he will die if he challenges the Nazis, so he helplessly looks on in the hopes that someone else will end this madness. The author shares this story in order to stop the bystander effect, and empower people to prevent this if it happens again. There have been many genocides in history, and humanity (the people, but also the concept) will not survive unless we prevent another from happening. Mindless drones volunteer to avoid
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