Communication Principles in ?Schindler?s List?
There are too many people who claim that the Holocaust never happened, that the stories we hear are the clever fabrications of the media. Speilberg created for us a fabulous movie to dispute this theory. Too many of us remember all too well the effect it had on those close to us. Too many of us had family members who barely escaped the atrocities that were to occur.
Too many of us lost family members to the dreams of a genius and a madman. This movie is the story of a few who lived through the Holocaust, and the man who listened to his heart instead of the money in his pocket and the propaganda floating around him.
The story starts out with the humiliation of the Jews, continuing on until they are eventually carted off to various labor camps. We meet Schindler, a man who is well-off, who uses Jews for cheap labor, until they are taken from them. Being a decent businessman, he then decided to go into the ?labor camp? business. Eventually, he was forced to buy off as many Jews as he could, for labor purposes, eventually seeing this as a chance to save the lives of as many Jews as possible. He then set up this production company, waiting out the end of the war.
The end of this movie was the most riveting point, as he points to the broach on his lapel. ?This…is gold. With this, I could have bought one more Jew… I could have saved one more.? He was concerned not with what he had done, but with what could have been done. He cared for those people, with a love uncharacteristic of someone with his lineage and social status. He spent everything he had, and yet was crushed by what he hadn?t done.
We see in here many facets of communication that can be seen once you peel back the image of heavy grief and pain that overlay this movie. The first thing that comes to mind is the simple group dynamic that develops. The people survive by keeping in groups. There are also evident the levels of cultural diversity, ethical questions, and problems of perception.
The first of these levels of communication I wish to touch on is the ?group dynamic,? a reaction that probably saved more Jews in this horrible situation than any other. When the Auschwies came, they began to almost instinctively knit themselves into groups, for protection, and for community. The need for a feeling of community is an almost instinctual one, for without the group, how can we communicate. One can easily argue that God has created us with a need for community. However, looking statistically at the picture here, we can see that one has a much better chance of surviving if one has support from a group.
Another level of communication which should be looked at is the area of cultural diversity in the movie. Obviously, there is a definite gap between the German and Jewish people, differences in language, religion, beliefs, and goals. We have a group of people who have been led to believe in their own superiority over all other races against a group who has known constant hardship, perpetual subjugation, and cultural exile. Communication boundaries are obviously going to develop in this situation, as people are going to be unwilling to look outside of their own world view if they feel that they are superior to all others.
Another question would be in the area of ethics, and how it effected communication. Although Schindler eventually went selfless, and went at his objective specifically to save the Jews, he was an opportunist as well. Before he made this decision, he used the Jews specifically for slave labor, to make money at the expense of someone else?s effort. During this time, although he offered a safe workplace, where people weren?t getting killed for simple mistakes, and where the people lived well in comparison to their brethren, there was a severe lack of consideration for the people on his part initially, which could have created many area of mistrust.
The final point which will be looked at here is the problems that seemed to surround communication through perception. How did people perceive Shindler?s actions, and was this his intent. Obviously, the Germans allowed it, and thus were taken in by his ruse, or chose to accept it due to his position. However, the Jews saw it differently. After the war, he was proclaimed a righteous man — an honor not often placed on anyone. Obviously, the people saw his actions as charitable and selfish.