77 pages 2 hours read

Alan Gratz

Prisoner B-3087

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2013

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The Dehumanization of the Jewish People

Dehumanization is the process by which a violent power group or person equates a minority group or person with animals or other nonhuman creatures. Repetitively using animalistic and demeaning language to describe the minority group causes other people in the majority group to view them as not human. Dehumanization is a tactic used by genocidal leaders like Adolf Hitler. Hitler referred to the Jewish people as rats, a description that made many people in the German majority look down on the Jewish people.

Prisoner B-3087 explores the implications of dehumanization and demonstrates that it’s a gradual process. When the Nazi soldiers first take over Kraków, the region is quickly isolated from the rest of Poland. The soldiers build impenetrable fences that prevent the Jewish people from leaving. This region becomes a ghetto. The Jewish people are stripped of their identities and forced to live crowded together in tiny apartments. Their previous professions are taken away, and they are forced to work for the Nazi soldiers without pay. Without the autonomy to choose their work or home or to buy food, they are stripped of their human rights and treated like animals.

This process of dehumanization becomes more defined as Yanek is taken from Kraków and sent to the concentration camps.