Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Fictionalization of History

Over the last few weeks we have been subjected to a lot of films about the holocaust. Most of them were fictionalized stories. I suppose they are easier to consume. They show the emotion directly. You know exactly what you are supposed to feel. I am sure it makes it all more palatable that way.
I don’t know what is correct and what is not. I am not a historian. But now and then I detect a weird distortion of the facts, which illustrates how much we are deceived.
Most remarkable was a story of Jewish persecution the other day, which I found too melodramatic to follow. Towards the end I stumbled upon it again.
Auschwitz was about to be liberated, and one of the women gave birth to a child at that very moment. An older woman (her mother?) was assisting her. Lots of wailing and crying and drama. The door of the barracks was pushed open, and two or three Russian soldiers entered. The midwife was holding up her bloody hands in joy and relief.
And guess what? They were clad in well fitting surgical gloves!
Wow! Amazing! Among all the filth, and the hunger, and the cold, and death, and decay, this woman had been able to get hold of a pair of perfectly whole surgical gloves to avoid infection!
Is that the image we want future generations to retain about the holocaust?
Congratulations, America! In the end we will believe that your Paramount picture of history is the correct one.

No comments: