Study Guide

Schindler's List Hate

Hate

The Holocaust was defined by hate, pure and simple.

The Nazis came up with lots of elaborate philosophical explanations as to why they needed to do what they did. But in the end, it came down to pure, irrational Jew-hatred. In his psychotic manifesto Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that "the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew." Jews were "viruses," a "tuberculosis race" that threatened to poison the rest of the world. If you bought that argument, you'd think you were doing the world a favor by getting rid of Jews once and for all.

In the midst of an existential war against the rest of the world, a war that was financially ruining Germany, the Nazis chose to spend enormous resources killing Jews. Europe, with its long history of anti-Semitism, was very fertile ground.

And Schindler's List shows us the brunt of it all.

Questions About Hate

  1. Why do the Nazis place killing Jews as a priority over winning the war?
  2. Is there a difference between killing because "it's your job" and killing because you enjoy it? Does the film answer that question?
  3. In what ways do the Nazis display their hate that don't seem obvious at first? What subtle means do they have of dehumanizing their victims?
  4. Do the Jews ever express any hate at their captors? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Hate is ultimately what causes the Nazis to lose the war. Hate destroys the hater as much as the people they hate.

Hate gives the Nazis the harshness required to commit such awful deeds. Without it, they would never be capable of them.