The Decline of Society: Nazi Germany vs Children of Men Prt. 4

The one of the main characters in “Children of Men” (2006) is Theo. Setting the overall plot aside; Theo sacrifices his whole world in an attempt to aide a young girl. Theo risked everything he had worked for his entire life to aide a foogie. Theo is not alone in his efforts, the revolutionary group, the Fishes, initially expressed a non-violent approach to restore order and peace; however the course of the movie will reveal the ulterior motives of the Fishes. Miriam sacrifices her literal life to a British guard in order to protect Kee, the foogie girl being aided by Theo.  It is important to remember that both Theo and Miriam were British citizens, meaning they had nothing to gain personally from aiding the foogie girl. Acts of pure human kindness can also be found within the depravity of Nazi Germany. On the part of a Nazi soldier who found children hiding in a potato cellar during the selection for the death camps, an act of kindness was committed. The soldier told the children “not to move” because “it wasn’t safe.” This soldier according to the survivor had experienced a change of heart; allowing the children to live (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum- Webber). Other acts of kindness can be credited to German, Polish, Austrian, and French citizens. It is safe to say that not all Germans agreed with Nazi beliefs, and some actually worked to counteract the actions of their government. Farmers hid fleeing Jews in their potato cellars (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum-Dawidowicz) and in shacks (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum- Peretz Etons). These farmers risked everything in aiding the fleeing Jews, if they had been discovered they would have faced the same fate as the Jews themselves.

Both in the film, and in Nazi ghettos, the targeted peoples are essentially cut off from society. Isolated in these camps, the traditional social laws, and services no longer apply. In both the film, and the Nazi camps, residents somewhat established a society with a hierarchal system. In the refugee camps, this system is represented by people living in shacks, apartment buildings, then presumable at the societal climax the two elderly people who seemed to be the importers of goods into the camp. It is an impressive feat on the part of humans to be able to recreate a type of pseudo-society. Although the film doesn’t divulge into great detail of this recreated society, it is clear that one exists. In the Nazi ghettos, people were strictly separated from the infrastructure of schools, hospitals, grocery stores, and synagogues that were located outside of the ghetto. In an attempt to somehow restore normality to their lives, ghetto residents were able to start schools, hospitals, and places of worship; all within the strict confines of the ghetto (Barkow). According to Barkow, a former resident of the Warsaw ghetto who wrote diaries during his stent there, a twenty two men team had assembled to maintain the sewer system in the ghetto, with hopes of keeping this new society healthy.  The rebuilding of society in both the ghettos and in the film is a testament to the powers of human ingenuity and determination.

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