Maus: a graphic novel on the Holocaust

By student contributor Gael Page

In my opinion, the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman gives you a powerful perspective on what the Jews had to face in the Holocaust. The book is about two Jewish Poles named Vladek and Anja Spiegelman who were in Poland during WWII and had to face the Holocaust. I learned more about how Jews were treated during The Holocaust and what Nazi Germany was like.

In the Holocaust, Vladek and Anja had to face all types of people in Nazi Germany; Nazis, Jews, POWs, Germans, Russians and a whole lot more. The people they had to face the most were other Jews, friends and Nazis. Some of the people they met were not the same as they used to be. The war affected their personality and perspective on others (Mostly their perspective on Jews and Nazis). During the Holocaust, Vladek and Anja had the hardship of having to live in Nazi Germany with the Nazis having the authority to kill any Jew, at any time, for fun. They also had give up all they had to the Nazis, and had the chance of being sent to camp and being killed. The Nazis had the perspective of Jews being the reason they are in war and they should be killed at anytime. The nice people who Vladek and Anja met were mostly people they knew in Poland before the war and have a good relationship with each other. In the camps, other people who were nice to Vladek were people whom he taught  English or German, and they rewarded him food that others in the camps can only dream about. Their perspective that they are not low-class Jews and that they deserve to sent free (Which I agree with).

The effects of Nazi Germany and Poland were huge and very harsh on Jewish people. The effects of Nazi Germany on Vladek and Anja took a big toll on their lives. It’s no surprise that Vladek was not same as he used to be.The Nazis scarred Vladek and Anja physically and mentally. They were harshly treated and beaten and the worst of all is when they had watch others face the same pain of what they felt and be this harshly treated. Their friends from local areas are what helped them get through Nazi Germany. German or not, they still helped the Spiegelman’s get through the events of the Holocaust. After the war, Vladek and Anja were affected by a massive amount of guilt and depression and were scarred for life.

The reason why Maus is good book is the perspective of what it was like to be a Jew in The Holocaust, World War II and Nazi Germany. The perspective it gives you is from a real Holocaust survivor and that survivor was the author’s actual father. The whole book is a biography but in a graphic novel. Since the events in the book were words from an actual survivor, it’s an actual perspective of what he had to face in the Holocaust. The author puts the events in a detailed way that gives a point of view of a survivor and the point of view of the author. The point of view of the author is just amazing. The most amazing thing of his point of view is his dialogue and his artwork. I love the concept of Jews being Mice and Germans and Nazis being cats. Also in his illustrations, the facial expressions are out of this world. Its really gives you the same feeling as in the book. Same with the dialogue. One thing I really like about his writing is using bad words. For me, I think using bad words really gets your point across. If the character in the book is really angry, then he would use (expletives) but if he uses words like dang it or crap then his point of him being angry won’t be expressed as well. Since there’s a lot of conflict and anger, then using bad words in the dialogue is important. The artwork and dialogue are what gives you the perspective which is the most important thing in the book Maus. The perspective is very important because the point of this book is to give you a perspective of what the Holocaust, Nazi Germany and WWII was like.

The book is one I highly recommend if you want a perspective of what the Holocaust and Nazi Germany were like. The book was so powerful, I’m reading it again and I’m the type of guy who doesn’t read books that much and never reads books a second time. This is my first time I’ve read a book twice. But my point is, that it’s amazing and you won’t regret reading this well-written graphic novel.