During World War 2 many lives were changed through destruction, and pain. Those who survived were strong, but that did not make them winners. Surviving requires more than simply being alive. The sacrifices, and offenses placed upon those who survived took something away from them, and although they survived, winning the game of life for now they must live with haunting memories for the rest of their life. In Spiegelman's Maus, those who survived, such as Vladek were not necessarily because he lost his family, possessions, and some sanity. In war nobody is a complete winner, and there are only losers. Vladek, a survivor is constantly haunted by events in his past life. Survivors cen be subjected to all types of mental stress, such as guilt, flashbacks and depression. It is not easy to survive a war, and often what determines who survives is random. Vladek was fortunate enough to survive, and have an audience for whom to tell his story. .
Surviving does not come without consequences. Physically, Vladek suffered through sickness, and starvation. "I got too sick even to eat I got very hot fever, and I couldn't sleep. Typhus!" However the psychological effects were much worse. Through World War II the Nazi's practiced extreme prejudice towards the Jewish. Victims of the war often were exposed to such extreme racism and hate that it rubbed off on them; such as in the case of Vladek. Though ironic, Vladek exhibited racism towards an African American; "A hitch-hiker? And-oy-it's a colored guy, a shvarster I just can't believe it! There's a shvartser sitting in here!" This display of bigamy shocks not only the reader, but his son Art as well. After what Vladek has gone through being discriminated against he talks of African Americans just as the Nazi's talked of him, and other Jews. He has been brainwashed to believe that racism is ok, one thing the Nazi's would be proud of.