In Carol Matas' novel Daniel's Story, why did Daniel agree to take pictures of the gas chambers?
In Chapter II of Carol Matas' novel Daniel's Story, titled "Pictures of Auschwitz," the author's young protagonist decides to cooperate in taking and smuggling out of the concentration camp photographs that he hoped would, if they landed in the right hands, help educate the outside world about the horrors being systematically inflicted on Europe's Jews. The German effort to exterminate the world's Jewish population -- or, at least those they could get their hands on -- represented an unprecedented national effort at eradicating another ethnic group. The horrors witnessed by Daniel and the other prisoners, including the kapo who oversaw groups of prisoners, compelled them to make an effort at documenting what they witnessed. As his friend Adam tells him,
"Hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews are being transported here, all to be gassed. Already, some in the resistance have smuggled out people and a couple of photos to the outside. But we need more evidence. We must convince them (the Allies) that with a few bombs the gas chambers could be destroyed."
Toward this end, Adam convinces Daniel to take the considerable risk of photographing the gas chambers in the hopes that the photographs would find their way to the Allied decision-makers who alone possessed the means of impeding the Germans' grand design. Having successfully and surreptitiously taken the photographs, Daniel is euphoric:
"We'd pulled it off! I just prayed that they could get the photos out of the camp and into the hands of someone who could do something."
Nothing, of course, would happen until Europe's Jewish population was perilously close to being completely eliminated. Matas' novel, however, depicts both the horrors of the concentration camps and the struggles among the prisoners to not only survive but to retain some sense of humanity in the process.