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This Way for the Gas, Ladies & Gentlemen

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sparksoflove
Words 744
Pages 3
The sole factor that separated Tadeusz Borowski from the gas chambers when he was at Auschwitz—beyond the fact that he wasn’t Jewish—was his cooperation with the S.S. soldiers. He assisted the Nazis in eliminating thousands of Jewish men, women, and children. “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” ultimately uses the narrator to convey Borowski’s message of what really happened during the Holocaust. This also explains why the story is in first person: it reflects the author’s own experiences. Borowski’s writing is quite crude: harsh yet realistic. Readers cannot judge Borowski negatively; he was as much of a victim as the people coming off the transports.
Throughout “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen,” Borowski portrays the internal struggle that each prisoner faces: aid the S.S. soldiers in unloading transports and sending Jewish people to their deaths, or die themselves? Neither do the prisoners have weapons nor the rations to sustain themselves. “They can’t run out of people, or we’ll starve to death in this blasted camp. All of us live on what they bring,” Henri states to the narrator (Charters 152). Keeping themselves alive is of great importance. How can they even think of revolting?
The language used by the narrator is also enough to prove that in no way did Borowski condone any of the things he was forced to do: “It is the camp law: people going to their death must be deceived to the very end. This is the only permissible form of charity” (156). The narrator realizes that, either way, the prisoners coming off the transports were doomed, so keeping them in the dark would allow them to follow directions calmly and have less anxiety. The narrator and ultimately Borowski himself were both at one point in that same stage of concern. The SS soldiers act in a nonchalant fashion when barking orders and sending people to their death, but the...

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