One of the most important legacies of the Holocaust is an idea, a promise most often expressed with the phrase “never again.” For decades, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel urged his readers and listeners to see the Holocaust not just as a historical event but as a call to conscience for people everywhere. He linked world leaders’ failures to stop Nazi crimes in the 1930s and 1940s with the problem of indifference in the twenty-first century. With the film Schindler’s List, director Steven Spielberg also sought to appeal to the consciences of his viewers. “When the film initially came out, it made one of the most incomprehensible acts of humankind accessible,” Spielberg said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.1 “ It didn’t make it understandable, but reachable to audiences to be able explore it, to be moved in such a way to want to stand against all hatred, and know it is real and what can shockingly happen in the 20th and now the 21st centuries if we are not vigilant.”
How vigilant is society against hatred, violence, and genocide today, 25 years after the film’s release? We live in a world roiled by deep currents of hatred and dehumanization, one still plagued by mass violence and genocide. In previous lessons, students analyzed the central themes of Schindler’s List. In this lesson, students will learn about an ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, and consider what their study of Schindler’s List and the Holocaust can teach about their responsibilities in the world today.
- 1 : Anthony Breznican, “Schindler's List will return to theaters for its 25th anniversary,” Entertainment Weekly, August 29, 2018.