Holocaust 7 Essay, Research Paper
Anti-Semitism has been a problem for the Jews ever since the seventeenth century. The Christians, while trying to convert the Jews to Christianity, took strong measures against the Jews. They burned the Talmud, a book of civil and religious laws, and torched other holy writings. Jews have always been considered lower class and were classed as dirty. The Holocaust of World War two emphasizes the mistreatment and brutality towards Jews more graphically than any other historical event.The Nazis began the terror by passing a series of laws that massively discriminated against the Jewish race. Jews were forced from jobs, barred them from certain professions, excluded them from attending universities, and were segregated from the rest of society. In addition, they had to have their passports stamped with a “J”, were forced to wear a yellow “Star of David” as a form of identification, and were forced to carry special identification cards. Jews weren’t even allowed to use certain forms of transportation. The Jews were banned from trains, weren’t allowed to own bicycles, and were forbidden to own or operate automobiles. Jews were also banned from a number of public buildings and events. Being excluded from drama theatres, movie cinemas, and public sports were among some of the other methods of discrimination and oppression used by the Nazis. As the Nazis took over eastern Europe, the Jews were forced to live in the most rundown, dirtiest part of the city, the “ghettos”. Joseph Soski described what happened as the Nazis invaded Krohow, Poland (Strahinich, 1996) ” Daily, they posted all over town, new decrees and orders in Polish and German. In the beginning those were for the whole population without exception. People had to turn in all weapons , radios, cameras etc. “The ghettos were guarded extremely well. Nazis, carrying guns and other weapons, guarded the ghettos with extreme caution, making sure no Jews could escape. The ghettos were cut off from the rest of the cities by walls, barbed wire, and tall fences. Living conditions were brutal. The Nazis allowed Jews to have very little food, medicine, or fuel to keep warm. Sanitation was poor. Most of the ghettos were lice infested, and deadly diseases were common. The ghettos were so crowded that a group of fifteen Jews lived in a space adequate for two people. Because there was no medicine and the living spaces were very small, disease spread quickly. In no time the streets of the ghettos were littered with corpses. One out of one hundred jews died each month! Kristallnacht or “night of broken glass” was remembered by most jews as a night of demolition and destruction. A lot of property owned by jews were destroyed. Synagogues were burned to the ground, stores were lotted and destroyed, and cemetery chapels were torn down. The Nazis ruined Jewish hospitals, schools and entertainment buildings. The Nazi police were involved with the destruction. These police broke into Jewish homes, stealing belongings and smashing what they didn’t steal. The cruelist actions these police performed was throwing Jews out of moving trains and busses. When the gruesome night ended ninety-six Jews were dead and thirty thousand were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Thousands of Jews committed suicide rather than being sent to the horrible death camps. On June 22, 1941, the Nazis set up four killing units in the eastern parts of Europe, known as Einsatzgruppen. A total of about three thousand volunteers, whose purpose was to kill Jews and Communist officials, were attached to these units. Wherever they went, the Einsatzgruppen used the same basic procedure. They chose supposedly secret gravestite out of town. With the help of local collaborators, they collected the Jews. They then forced the Jews to turn over all their valuables and made them take off their clothes. Mishell described an “action”, as these assaults on the Jews were called: (Strahinich,1996) One hundred at a time, people were selected and told that they were going to wash up. They were told to undress and were promised new clothes after the bath. But when they reached the trenches the guards fell upon them, beating and chasing them until they fell over each other and were immediately shot. The cries from the children and mothers were deafening, but the murderers calmly proceeded with their work.In early 1942, the Nazis added gas vans to the Einsatzgruppen arsenals. They forced victims into the vans and hosed them with carbon monoxide. The victims died of suffocation. In all the mobile killing units killed about 1.4 million Jews (amazing)!! A number of concentration camps were built in Europe where jews were incarcerated and brutally killed. In 1941, Hitler decided to carry out his “Final Solution”, the murder of all European Jews. Concentration camps provided one way to carry out Hitler’s plan- by working Jewish inmates to death. The Nazis called this method “extermination by labor.” The Nazis wanted a quicker “solution.” The Einsatzgruppen was one answer. These mobile killing units had certain shortcomings however. The massacres were too bloody, and too public. Also the gas vans broke down in bad weather. So the Nazis found another solution, one that was fast, neat, and secret. The set up numerous “killing centers” in eastern Europe. The Nazis built these killing centers in remote areas in order to hide what they were doing. To keep their secret and fool victims, the Nazis lied. The Nazis didn’t want their prisoners to put up a fight. After all, resistance would make the job a lot harder for the guards.
The Nazis did not spare the children.(www.holocaust.history/children.org) Two million children died of cold, thirst, heat, fire, abuse, crushing, piercing, disease, gunshot and gassing. At the final count, almost nine out of ten Jewish children alive before the war were dead after the Holocaust. The Jews from western Europe often traveled in passenger coaches to the camps. But the (Rossel, 1989) Nazis packed their Polish victims into freight cars and cattle cars. Vicious guards screamed at the passengers, hit them with rifles and shot many. Victims received no food or water. In the closed cars many died from heat and lack of air. The guards shot any passengers that tried to escape. When the transports arrived at the death camps, the passengers quickly realized what was going on. (Lewin, 1983) “The smell told us all, the horrible smell of burning human flesh. They were shouting orders. “Get undressed! Line up here.” They were shaving off peoples hair…. The whole situation was so totally unreal, we were laughing and crying at the same time.” Why didn’t the Jews defend themselves? There were several reasons why the Jews seldom fought back against the Nazis. One of the reasons were fear of reprisals. They feared that the Nazis would take terrible revenge if the Jews would revolt. When a revolt did break out, the Nazis did not bother to look for those who caused it to punish them. Instead, they simply killed other jews by the thousands. Thus, many of those who wished they could revolt did not, hoping to save others from dying needlessly. Another reason was the belief that the anarchy would soon end. Others did not revolt because they were sure that the war would not last forever. So most of them kept working hoping that they would be useful to the Nazis and not be transported or killed. The need for food was also a reason why the Jews seldom fought back. Many of them had no homes. They slept in the streets and begged for food. Some even lost the will to survive, suddenly giving up and dying of hunger, cold, disease or a broken heart. Those who did not die had only one thought: to find food. Hence, people had to spend every waking moment in the search for food, there was no time to revolt. The last reason why jews seldom fought back was fear of the Jewish police. They were the only Jews allowed to carry weapons, and they were more interested in having power over other Jews than fighting the Nazis. Fear of them kept many Jews from fighting.The Holocaust brought death to millions of innocent Jewish men, women, and children. During the destruction, two thirds of Europe’s Jews had died, Almost 5, 370, 000 died in concentration camps and almost 6 million Jews died in total. Those who experienced the massive destruction of the Holocaust say might be able to forgive but will never forget.