What is the common theme between Daniel's Story and First They Came For the Jews?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One shared theme between both works is how they depict the human predicament during the Holocaust.  Daniel's Story speaks to a reality of life during the Holocaust.  Daniel struggles in the face of human cruelty and what it means to be forlorn in the time period.  The need to maintain hope and dignity in the reality of the Holocaust is an essential part of Matas's story.  In the same way, "First They Came..." conveys the reality of life during the Holocaust.  The selections and deportations of specific groups of people were brutal realities of the time period.  In both works, the theme of the human predicament during the Holocaust is essential.

Along these lines, I think that another theme that both works share is the random selection of life during the Holocaust.  In both works, there is a randomness that defines consciousness.  Daniel struggles to make sense why he was chosen.  The world around him offers little in way of answers to such a predicament.  In the Niemoller poem, the same random condition of consciousness is evident.  In both works, there is a random aspect of how individuals are targeted and identified.  This theme is shared in both works, as both speak to the suffering and hurt that is intrinsic to the Holocaust.  


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