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Life of a prisoner in the Soviet Gulag and Nazi Death Camp Systems - Essay Example

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Client’s Name Class Date Life of a Prisoner in the Soviet Gulag and Nazi Death Camp Systems Prison life, in any country and under any historical framework, is miserable and oppressive in ways that are known to fundamentally change individuals who endure the hardships involved…
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Life of a prisoner in the Soviet Gulag and Nazi Death Camp Systems
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Download file to see previous pages Just as engaging is the book by Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Deisovich, which portrays a fictionalized account of his personal experiences. Through explorations about these two accounts and expanded upon through other sources, a comparison of the experiences in Auschwitz and the Gulag can be made. One of the notable things about Solzhenitsyn’s work is that there is little that truly occurs in the book. The novel tells the details of a day, slowly and methodically, so that the mundane nature of life in a prison is revealed. Although there is some discussion of punishment and the cruelty of living in the Gulag, it is the monotony and the long day that has the most impact. Through the oppressive atmosphere and the indignity of being given no trust through constant searches and counting of the inmates, there is a sense of being held in place, that feeling permeating the whole work in a way that portrays a realistic feeling of being in prison. In contrast, the life that Levi Primo describes is filled with hardships that are terrible and not mundane. Each new indignity pushes him toward the next lowered level in which he must re-establish some sense of humanity into his life. The strongest concept that creates the biggest differences in the experiences that are described is that in the Gulag, while life is harsh, there does seem to be some hope that the next day will come, and that finally the protagonist will be released from his imprisonment. In Auschwitz, on the other hand, there is the pervading sense that there will be only death at the end of the journey. Hope is a much more precious commodity as the descriptions of the daily life is defined by the knowledge that genocide had been the original agenda of the Nazi party. The low level of human conditions emphasized the lack of respect for basic human existence that was provided in this terrible place. In the Gulag, while demoralizing events were a daily part of life, the intention seemed to contain and maintain the prisoners, rather than to encourage death to take them. According to German records about the numbers of deaths in Auschwitz, 1,750,000 people died in the camp (Linn 71). The camp had a finite life, its beginning and end within the time frame of World War II. Its purpose was to facilitate the genocide of those the Nazi regime had determined were unfit as representative of the human species, and were defined as expendable and ideologically unnecessary. The horror of this concept and the number of people lost to this belief system makes it one of the worst events in human history. Where the events at Auschwitz were terrible, the camp only existed in a few short years where the atrocities had a finite beginning and end. The Gulag system, on the other hand, lasted for thirty years in which slow systems of horror and oppression wore down the people from the threat of being detained within its grasp, or the actuality of being detained. The Gulag represented fear for those who were not in its walls, promoting the oppression of Communism and holding sway over the expression of belief and opinion within the nation of the Soviet Union (Applebaum). Cleanliness, health, and food were all some of the more important themes from both writers. Health was not easily kept in either environment, the health of Levi being so poor in the end that he was left behind, which more than likely saved his life from the harsh journey of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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