What is the significance of how Jewish people are viewed at the end of Schindler's List.

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

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The ending to Spielberg's film naturally embodies Schindler's own evolution and his sense of maturation as a character in terms of how Jewish people are viewed.  As opposed to the start of the film, when Schindler viewed Jewish people as means to an end, Schindler, and in effect the viewer, understands how to see Jewish people as ends in of themselves.  At the outset of the film, Schindler viewed Jewish people as resources to help his business.  The workers, who were Jewish, were employed for their cost saving measures in terms of compensation.  The investors were Jewish people who were struggling in the face of the Nazi move to the Ghetto.  Stern was the accountant whose innovation enabled Schindler to derive riches from his factory.  Through this manipulation, Schindler was able to see Jewish people in an objectified form, viewing them as a means to accrue more wealth.

The ending of the film is one in which Schindler recognizes both the wrongs being perpetrated upon the Jewish population as a result of the Holocaust and his own complicity in this process.  Schindler's breaking down emotionally in front of the workers with his poignant statement of "I could have done more" is a reflection of how Schindler comes to view the Jewish population. The ending of the stones being placed on the real grave of Schindler is another reflection of how he sees the Jewish population and how they come to be viewed in light of the Holocaust.  Schindler recognizes that all human life is worthy of saving, worthy of preservation.  It is here where Schindler comes to view the Jewish people as he keeps his eye to the maintenance of the social order.  Schindler's views of the Jewish population are aligned with our own view, recognizing his goodness in his attempt to give voice to those who have been denied it throughout the Holocaust.

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