Holocaust By: Brittany Harrelson

Antisemitism is the hostility or prejudice towards Jews that has been around for a long time. Eugenics is the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristic. This was taught before mankind understood genetics. The centuries and centuries of antisemitism and the beliefs and teaching of eugenics in Germany, laid the foundation that was needed for the spark to occur.

The spark that was needed for the Holocaust to occur, was Hitler and the Nazi party rising to power. The Nazis simply implemented all of the "dry timber" into their hatred campaign against people that they saw as inferior.

Favorable weather: World War 2 allowed the Nazis to conduct the Holocaust. The war was "favorable weather" because it acted as a shield and cover over the underlying issue, which was was the killing of innocent people. The Nazis figured that people would be more concerned with the war than the Jews. Also, people were being killed in the war, so dead bodies during that time period were not as alarming as they would have been today.

USHMM DEF: "The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community"

STATE SPONSORED: the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear. EXAMPLES:

1- Kristallnacht: "Despite the outward appearance of spontaneous violence, and the local cast which the pogrom took on in various regions throughout the Reich, the central orders Heydrich relayed gave specific instructions: the "spontaneous" rioters were to take no measures endangering non-Jewish German life or property; they were not to subject foreigners (even Jewish foreigners) to violence; and they were to remove all synagogue archives prior to vandalizing synagogues and other properties of the Jewish communities, and to transfer that archival material to the Security Service" (Sicherheitsdienst, or SD). https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005201

2- Kristallnacht Photo

3- Paper Violence Paragraph 175

SYSTEMATIC PERSECUTION: It is when the persecutions are carried out in a methodical manner, not just a few isolated incidents. EXAMPLES:

1- Nazi propaganda Posters

2- Nuremberg Laws- Collection of laws that defined citizenship and excluded "others"

3- Reich Citizenship Law- fundamental distinction between "citizens" and "others", only citizens had rights, citizens were only of "German blood"

SYSTEMATIC ANNIHILATION: The Nazis would systematically collect the Jews and other people they hated, and kill them regularly.

1- concentration camps ex. Auschwitz Birkenau, Belzec, Bergen Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau.

2- Gas Chambers

3- Mass Shootings

COLLABORATING COUNTRIES: "Italy and Hungary collaborated with Germany in many ways, including the promulgation of antisemitic legislation. However, neither Italy nor Hungary deported Jews until Germany directly occupied those countries" (https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005466).

Flags of Italy and Hungary on Butterflies in rememberance

WHY WERE JEWS THE PRIMARY VICTIMS? Hitler blamed the Jews for the economic crisis that Germany was suffering through as well as their defeat in World War I, Hitler targeted the Jews as the country's main enemy. According to him, the Jewish people were directly responsible for Germany's many problems. Hitler used the Jews as a scrapegoat for all the problems.

This map shows the location of the major concentration camps in Nazi Occuipied Poland, where they were mostly located.
This map shows the number of deaths and places in Europe from 1939- 1945
The final moments before walking until the gas chamber in Aushwitz.
"If I am ever really in power, the destruction of the Jews will be my first and most important job. As soon as I have power, I shall have gallows after gallows erected, for example, in Munich on the Marienplatz-as many of them as traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged one after another, and they will stay hanging until they stink. They will stay hanging as long as hygienically possible. As soon as they are untied, then the next group will follow and that will continue until the last Jew in Munich is exterminated. Exactly the same procedure will be followed in other cities until Germany is cleansed of the last Jew!" (quoted in John Toland, Adolf Hitler. London: Book Club Associates, 1977, p.116)
SA men putting up posters against Jews in 1933.
Jews were forced to wear stars so everyone could know who they were.
"Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings." Almansor: A Tragedy (1823), p. 142
1941 a Nazi soldier torments a Jewish prisoner - note the scissors
"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never." (Night, p. 32).
The Nazi Propaganda film "the eternal Jew" was released to portray a Jews as criminals and bad people.


HANDICAPPED: Wartime, Adolf Hitler suggested, "was the best time for the elimination of the incurably ill." Many Germans did not want to be reminded of individuals who did not measure up to their concept of a "master race." The physically and mentally handicapped were viewed as "useless" to society, a threat to Aryan genetic purity, and, ultimately, unworthy of life. At the beginning of World War II, individuals who were mentally retarded, physically handicapped, or mentally ill were targeted for murder in what the Nazis called the "T-4," or "euthanasia," program.

Buses used to transport patients to Hadamar euthanasia center. The windows were painted to prevent people from seeing.

HOMOSEXUALS: The Nazis believed that male homosexuals were weak, effeminate men who could not fight for the German nation. They saw homosexuals as unlikely to produce children and increase the German birthrate. The Nazis held that inferior races produced more children than "Aryans," so anything that diminished Germany's reproductive potential was considered a racial danger.

Gay prisoners in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen with pink triangles. Germany, December 1938.

JEHOVA'S WITNESSES: Jehovah's Witnesses were subjected to intense persecution under the Nazi regime. The Nazis targeted Jehovah's Witnesses because they were unwilling to accept the authority of the state, because of their international connections, and because they were strongly opposed to both war on behalf of a temporal authority and organized government in matters of conscience.

RESISTANCE: Most Jewish armed resistance took place after 1942, as a desperate effort, after it became clear to those who resisted that the Nazis had murdered most of their families and their coreligionists. Despite great obstacles (such as lack of armaments and training, conducting operations in a hostile zone, reluctance to leave families behind, and the ever-present Nazi terror), many Jews throughout German-occupied Europe attempted armed resistance against the Germans. As individuals and in groups, Jews engaged in opposition to the Germans and their Axis partners. Jewish resistance units operated in France, Belgium, the Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, and Poland. Jews also fought in general French, Italian, Yugoslav, Greek, and Soviet resistance organizations.

Jewish partisans in Naliboki forest, near Novogrudok. Poland, 1942 or 1943. — US Holocaust Memorial Museum

RESCUE: German-occupied Denmark was the site of the most famous and complete rescue operation in Axis-controlled Europe. In late summer 1943, German occupation authorities imposed martial law on Denmark in response to increasing acts of resistance and sabotage. German Security Police officials planned to deport the Danish Jews while martial law was in place. On September 28, 1943, a German businessman warned Danish authorities of the impending operation, scheduled for the night of October 1–2, 1943. With the help of their non-Jewish neighbors and friends, virtually all the Danish Jews went into hiding. During the following days, the Danish resistance organized a rescue operation, in which Danish fishermen clandestinely ferried some 7,200 Jews (of the country's total Jewish population of 7,800) in small fishing boats, to safety in neutral Sweden.

LESSONS: I think that all people need to know that the Holocaust was avoidable. The mass murder of human people was not enviable. The key lessons about the Holocaust is that a lie can be told 8 times before it is in someone's short term memory, it takes 30 times before it becomes woven in someone's long term memory. It is important to always think for yourself because false information can become "true" if it is said to someone enough times. It is important to learn about the Holocaust so people can learn to think for themselves and to fight for others. People should be rescuers and not bystanders.

Works Cited














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