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I watched The Boy in the Striped Pajamas the other night. I had never read the book, but knew it dealt with the Holocaust. I’m going to talk about the end of the story so if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie and don’t want to know what happens, you don’t want to read the rest of this blog post.

While you don’t see young Jewish boy being beaten by Nazi soldier, just the knowledge that it was going to happen was unsettling. The pride in which some characters demean and degrade Jewish people was stomach turning. People really thought that, felt that, and said it.

It’s strange, I wrote a book set during the Holocaust, A Dog of War and read quite a bit about it while doing research for the book.  I’ve seen documentaries about the Holocaust and the Second World War since I was a kid. One of the best being The World at War series. If you haven’t seen it, you must. Despite knowing as much as I do about the Holocaust, I was really disturbed by the end of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It wasn’t that the young German boy was killed at the end of the movie that was so bothersome. It was that it happened at all to all of them. Jews, homosexuals, the handicapped, Gypsies, political prisoners, and millions of others were systematically slaughtered and for reason no one will ever know. I actually went and talked to my aunt for a while because I was so bothered.

I’ve known about what happened during the Holocaust for so long and yet it still never ceases to disturb me. I’ll never get used to it, I’ll never understand it, and it will never stop upsetting me.

And there will never be a reason that will ever justify what happened. How does anyone even think something like that up? Think about it, is somebody sitting there eating breakfast one day and the idea pops into their head about gas chambers and how efficiently they can kill people. Or is a person taking a walk in the idea pops up, we’ll exterminate this religious group, this ethnic group.

A Dog of War was a painful book to write, just as The World at War, Schindler’s List, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Pianist, and other stories and movies dealing with the Holocaust are painful to watch or read. But they should be watched and they should be read. People have to know what happened.

There are kids in school today that have never even heard of the Holocaust. It’s unbelievable to even comprehend that they don’t know what happened. It should be learned about, it has to be remembered and while we will never know why it happened we are all obligated to make sure that it never does again.