The Stages of Deception used as a way of Persuasion and the thought of Hope in This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen Throughout Borowski’s collection of short stories, “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” various characters have been deceived into their own executions. The thought of being led to one’s own death without even knowing is what went through the minds of many Jews during the Holocaust. These victims had no control or say in their fates and faced the judgment without any sympathy or remorse from their executers.
Although the victim’s futures were for the most part condemned, as they got closer and closer to death, few never lost hope that some miraculous intercession could drastically change their fate for the better. Their mindset is exemplified in “Auschwitz, Our Home (A Letter): “ We were never taught how to give up hope, and this is why today we perish in gas chambers” (Borowski 122). Through this, Borowski demonstrates the victim’s desperation to live even in the early stages of death through the gas chambers.
Their individual stories and situations are expressed and explained through the eyes of narrator Tadek. The author uses narrative voice to set the tone of every individual life story and experience during the days of the Holocaust. One short story that exemplified the deception that went on in the concentration camps is “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen. ” During the routine unloading process when victims are crucially commanded to take out their luggage, Tadek the main character and narrator views the arriving cattle trains and is approached by a victim who asks about his upcoming fate.
The narrator, Polish himself, responds saying that he “doesn’t understand Polish. ” He then adds, “It is the camp law: people going to their death must be deceived to the very end” (Borowski 37). Tadek obviously avoids the question because he does not want to tell the victims the truth. He feels forced to lie to them and deceive until the very end. This demonstrates the harsh and inhuman behavior of the camp prisoners that helps with unloading the transports. They obey this unspoken rule because it is the only way they themselves stay alive and earn a meal in their stomachs.
In a conversation between Tadek and his fellow mates he comments “They can’t run out of people, or we’ll starve to death in this blasted camp. All of us live on what they bring” (Borowski 31). The prisoners live and survive on the numerous victims that are brought in for execution on a daily basis. In addition, the prisoners feel that the least the victims deserve is a last hope until they face their own deaths, it is said to be “the only permissible form of charity” (37). This was a tactic in the Nazis overall strategy to achieve their genocidal goals.
The author uses narration to explain to the reader that since the victims did not meet the standards of the Nazi community, the “Final solution” was to get rid of them. Tadeusez Borowski describes in his many short stories that some victims during the Holocaust had to choose between their one lives or loved ones. In “The People Who Walked On” there’s a situation between a young woman and a camp leader. The young woman and her mother were forced to undress and the camp leader was “struck by the perfect beauty of her body” and asked her to step aside.
The man deceives her and tells her to trust him and follow him into the chambers. The woman still worried but hopeful asks “what will they do to us? ” The man, in an effort to keep her calm responds “Remember, be brave, come. I shall lead you. Just don’t look. ”(Borowski 96). The reader realizes the harsh fate of the young woman after reading the next few lines: He took her by the hand and led her on, his other hand covering her eyes. The sizzling and the stench of the burning fat and the heat gushing out of the pit terrified her. She jerked back.
The man pushed the woman into the flaming pit, and as she fell he heard her terrible, broken scream (96). If the young women would have not had her old, brittle mother by her side, she would have maybe saved her own life. Having to choice between having to save one’s self or family is the harsh reality of life during the days of the Holocaust. The brutalities in the concentrations were extreme. The only way the Nazi’s could have the victims cooperate was to lie to them until the very end, leaving some people with not even the slightest of hope.
Borowski’s voice narrates the atrocities and strict conditions that hope can make humanity summit to doing. Even though the deception strategy was used on the victims of the Holocaust, they still didn’t lose hope ever still held on to the positive sides of the picture. “In Auschwitz, Our Home ( A Letter)”, the narrator states, “ It is that very hope that makes people go without a murmur to gas chambers, keeps them from risking a revolt, paralyses them into numb inactivity. It is hope that compels man to hold on to one more day of life, because that day may be the day of liberation” (Borowski 121).
In other words, hope makes humans submit and do whatever they are told all because in the back of their mind, in a split second they believe their situation will miraculously change. Desperation after experiencing a false hope and then suddenly realizing the truth can also cause someone to do something that they could never imagine themselves doing. For example, in “The Death of Schillinger” the naked, unhopeful woman takes drastic measures and kills the sergeant. In the description she “snatched it up and fired several shots into his abdomen. 146). But whereas a man with hope and dreams in “ The Man With the Package” claims “ that even if he was being led to the oven, he would still believe that something would surely happen along the way” (150). Having hope comes with both positive and negative side but for the majority of Borowski’s novel Hope takes over the minds of many victims which lead them to their graves. Hope can affect one’s mind in different aspects, but the similarity is that hope in general in a way one describes their inners dreams and desires.
Despite all the inhumane decisions and actions made by the Nazis during the Holocaust, all because of the racial and social differences, Tadeusk Borowski still speaks through the narrator’s voice to evince a depressing tone in his novel. Borowski’s experiences give the reader the idea that the moral judgments of the prison leaders were extreme and they had no compassion for human feeling and identity. It implied that the victims were even good enough to receive the truth.
The author uses the narrative style through the narrator to inform the reader of the difficulties of the victims. The only thing the Nazi’s could offer was to deceive the condemned and give them a false sense of hope and identity, and in return those same victims were able to incorporate hope in their decisions and demonstrate it up to the very end of their lives. Word Count- 1260 Word Cited Borowski, Tadeusz. This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen. Trans. Barbara Vedder. New York: Penguin Books, 1976.