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Think. Discuss. Act. Racism

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Schindler’s List

To use the movie, “Schindler’s List” as a springboard for discussing racism.

Summary

(Download Schindler’s List overview as a PDF)

Racism is not only between black and white, or even across color lines; it has to do with race. Nazi Germany carried out explicitly racist policies on Jews there, while many Germans sat by and watched it happen. “Schindler’s List” is about a man whose heart was finally convicted to do something instead of silently sitting by. We do not have to be Nazis to be racists; all we have to do is not oppose the Nazis-that is enough to indict us.

Exercise

Watch the movie, Schindler’s List, as a group. It is rated “R,” for some explicit language and nudity, but mostly due to the violent subject matter. Permission must be obtained from parents and, since the movie is so long (over 3 hours), it must be watched by older youth. If the whole movie is not an option, I suggest showing a clip: Show the scene right after a woman asks Schindler to get her parents into the factory, when he has a discussion with the accountant.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion (Whole Movie)

  1. Do you think Amon Goeth (head of the Nazi Camp) is evil? Why or why not? What would you have done in his place?
  2. What would it have been like to be a Jew under Hitler? What do you think of the Jews who worked for the Nazis in the camps, weighing jewelry and belongings after other Jews were killed? What must it have been like for them?
  3. What would you have done if you were a German during this time? You would be safe unless you disagreed with Nazi policy-would you stand up for the Jews?
  4. Define racism. Why did Schindler, when he bribed the official to send the women to Auschwitz, want the names on his list instead of “fresh ones?”
  5. Compare the racism of Germany against Jews to the racism against all minorities that exists in our country today. Could something like that ever happen in our country?
  6. What do you think of Oskar Schindler? Is he a good person or a bad person? Why?
  7. What can we learn from this movie for our lives today?

Questions for Reflection and Discussion (Short Clip)

  1. Can “war” (or anything else) make someone, like you or me, like Goeth?
  2. What must the Jewish accountant have felt listening to Schindler talk about Goeth?
  3. Schindler asks, “what do you want ME to do about it?” How would you respond? What if you were Schindler-what would you do? What if you were the Jew?
  4. Do you blame Schindler for what is happening?
  5. Why does Schindler have a hard time condemning Goeth?
  6. Define racism.
  7. How does racism against Jews compare to racism against blacks (or other minorities) in our country?
  8. Could something like that happen again? Could it happen in our country?

Amy Allison Moreau
© 2017 CYS

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