Maus Chapter 3: Prisoner of War

At the bottom of page 50, a long, rectangular panel showing Vladek as a young soldier carrying a deceased German soldier caught my attention. In this portion of the narrative, Vladek had told Artie about the first time he was in battle. He was told by his superiors to just keep shooting and to hide himself among the trenches. Vladek, in the midst of battle, ended up shooting and killing what looked to him as a moving tree but was actually a soldier on the other side of the lines. Vladek picks up the soldier and although initially he was shocked that he killed someone, in this panel, it is revealed that he tells himself “at least I did something” rather than just protecting himself. This line sets the scene for the rest of the chapter when Vladek continues to do things in order to help himself. He signs up to work to level out the hills, and although this is very rigorous, it gets him out of the camp and into better living quarters. After working, he is moved to another camp in Lublin when he thinks he has gotten released, yet again, he helps himself by claiming Orbach as his cousin and leaving the camp once again.

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