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Category Archives: Animated Film

Is Toy Story 3 a Holocaust allegory? The topic has been discussed on movie websites, newspapers and blogs at the time the Disney-Pixar 3D animated film was issued, in 2010. The theory was first proposed by Jordan Hoffman on Ugo.com:

The cattle car comes for the toys in the form of a horrible garbage bag – but they don’t go straight to extermination.  They find themselves alive and at Sunnyside where they are put “to work.”  (Consider this, then, Dachau instead of Treblinka.)

Once there, they meet the toy version of Sonderkommando, toys who live the stay fed and well-sheltered (like Ken in his dream house) while leading other toys to a certain death.  Newcomers are bashed and abused in the “Caterpillar Room” by non-age appropriate children until they resemble Muselmann and are eventually thrown into the trash chute.

The trash chute leads to a systematic sorting of metal (e.g. any last valuables) until, eventually, the fiery crematoria.

Director Lee Unkrich told the New York Post that the allegory was not the filmmakers’ intention. He said a Holocaust survivor came up to him after the screening and asked if this was intended: “I was surprised, but I could see his point”.

Apart from the allegorical implications of the plot, discussed in many blogs and websites, it could be argued that on a visual level Toy Story 3 contains many elements reminiscent of the “Holocaust movie” canon, as these stills reveal.

1. Deportation into crowded cattle trains

2. The reassuring “camp” sign – Arbeit macht Frei

3. Tracking shot along the rail line – a “Holocaust movie” topos

4. Garbage incinerators as “crematoria”