After Germany humiliation in the First World War, they blamed European Jews for their defeat, and accused them for lack of progress and their activities in promotion of communism in Europe. The NAZI came to power after a group of World War I veterans formed a right wing party, called the National Socialist German Workers Party. Adolf Hitler took the leadership in 1922, and Germany was turned to a dictatorial state from then. He believed that Jews wanted to rule the world, and the only solution was to eliminate all of them from the face of the earth. The NAZI’s were pure racists who believed that their race, Aryans, was superior to any other race in the world. Their survival was, however, ‘compromised’ by the existence of the inferior races, which included Jews, disabled people, and the Gypsies. He offered what is widely known as the final German solution to the Jews: death.
The operation to eliminate the undesired elements in Germany led to millions of deaths across Europe and Africa, and was a chief cause of the World War II. These murders are what came to be known as holocaust. It happened between 1933 and all the way up to 1945, and left million of German Jews, and representatives of other 21 countries, which Germany took dead. The deaths were horrible, and included lethal and painful injections, shootings, arson, and acid burns among other inhuman actions. The cleansing was also extended to disabled people across Germany, Poland, and later was extended to the countries, which Germany conquered.
The facts and evidences of the horrible killings can be found in museums. To the modern generation the events of the period can only seem to be a scene from a Hollywood movie, but it is not so for Viktor Frankl. He is a living witness, who miraculously escaped the wrath of the blood thirsty Germans, and narrates his story in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. He narrates his own personal experience from one of the concentration camps that had been designed by the NAZI during the holocaust. From what people read about the holocaust, Viktor starts with stating that he was not out to narrate the reprisals done by the Germans, and insists that he only wants to present a reader with a diary of the life at the death camps. Owing to the fact that so much has been said and published, readers would expect Victor to expound more of what the world does not know. After all, readers expect the story of his diary to bear some certain feelings before they even read the entire contents.
However, this creates curiosity to an interesting and original story. Few escaped the camps alive, and Victor presented a firsthand story to his ordeals in the camps. He is quite aware of his importance in telling the moving story, and to an extent assumes that majority do not believe that holocaust actually took place. This, to an extent, is a misconception because many people, who were alive by that time, have actually been able to convince generations that holocaust actually took place. He also misses a point when he declares that his story would not make place for the horrible killings in future. The fist notion, which comes to many minds when holocaust is mentioned, is a picture of piles of bodies being buried in a shallow mass grave with German soldiers on guard. Leaving at least a short story of one of the horrible things he saw with his own eyes kills the story but again readers are left to wonder what else can a real witness tell?
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Frankl vividly describes three stages, which a prisoner at the concentration camps, experienced. His views can be regarded to be resourceful because they give readers a glimpse of the actual feelings of the prisoners waiting for death. The first psychological reaction was shock. Basically today’s people would expect anybody with prior knowledge of the NAZI activities to be shocked upon entering the camp. Shock should not surprise any reader because almost everybody would be bewildered for two things: the first is the actual arrest by the German authorities, and the second one is being imprisoned at the camp. His account only confirms any doubts that the concentration camps somehow might have been exaggerated. The second stage after the prisoner had gotten used to the environment of the prison camp was state of denial. The atrocities one had to witness with his/her own eyes were beyond imagination. This description gives an insight of how difficult life was in the camps. It would be expected that one had to watch people being shot, burnt alive, and fed to the dogs. With all this, there was nothing you could do apart from wait for your death day.
It is a sad thing to witness such inhuman things, and at this stage, readers are likely to be sympathetic with Frankl. He endured a lot, and still made to stay alive. This also exposes him as a candid man who had a strong will to live. The saddest stage is when the prisoner miraculously made out of the camp alive. One would expect a great sigh of relief, however, Frankl describes it to be a bitter experience. Perhaps after witnessing thousands of people being put to death, the value of living depreciated within their minds of the prisoners. Freedom to them means nothing because their minds have already been jailed. Food at the camps was not a basic need, and freedom comes with simple things, like eating. Frankl describes that the body was the first element to break from the stages. Freedom came with a lot of eating and sleeping. At this stage, he makes readers stop and think of the freedom today’s people take for granted. Simple things, like eating or sleeping, seem to be so important to him that makes readers believe that inside the camps there was no time or space for eating or sleeping. The mind, according to Frankl, only relaxes after the body has become acclimatized, but there is a danger of mental health problems, once a lot of pressure is suddenly released from the mind.
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The story also describes some interesting characters, like the prisoner of Auschwitz, who didn’t fear to be put to death. History records Auschwitz as one of the most horrific camps but having a person who dares such a place reveals that despite the death assure by the Germans, some prisoners still had the guts to challenge them. This, however, conflicts with Frankl’s view of the camps. Initially, he introduces shocked prisoners to the readers, and his story lacks consistency. It is ironical that he recalls such a daring prisoner who coincidentally lived in one of the most feared prisons. This element exposes some exaggeration in an effort to make his narration gruesome, if else, readers don’t expect a prisoner to be mentally healthy and still smile at his death.
The narration by Frank adds some insight of the real life at the NAZI’S camp. It lacks exaggeration, and from a person who really saw it, it throws away some of the pro-NAZI writers and sympathizers who believed that the stories were conspiracies. The story is narrated by a real survivor of the holocaust. From what majority of historians and archeologists depict the Nazi operations, it is unimaginable that someone had a chance to survive and share his experience with humanity. The story is captivating, and his focus on daily life behind the merciless gallows is rather original. It does not alter the brutality enforced by the NAZIs but instead adds to rebuke their evil deeds. The conditions of life, according to Frankl, are beyond imagination. Describing them, he makes the readers hate the regime even more. The eventual German’s defeat reveals that evil also has its days numbered.
The readings are resourceful. The present day life is composed of the events of yesterday and it is important that people know the past to help them live today and focus on the future. Hitler’s regime achieved very little, and this should act as a reference point to future extremists, who may think that they can own the world by eliminating their adversaries. Again the story gives a lot of determination to rebuild a shattered and hopeless lie to a successful life than can be used to create a story and a lesson for people to read and ponder. Considering the value of additional knowledge, the narration confirms most publications with fine details of life in the concentration camps. Many of the survivors are dead by now, or are too old to tell a story, and Frankl does a favor of sharing his experiences about the life at the camps.
In conclusion, the book’s main objectives of detailing the actual life in Germany under Hitler are well illustrated. It would be correct to say that whereas many sources about the German atrocities are gathered from tattered sources, Frankl’s story is a composition of personal experience at the brim of death. One might argue that he overreacts and creates exaggerated character to bring out the position and feeling of the prisoners, but most of the parts of the story are touching, and this makes people appreciate peace, freedom, and health.
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