Inquiry Into the Holocaust Main question: How Could jews be treated so harshly without public exposure by the german people?

"Common sense could not understand that it was possible to exterminate tens of hundred of thousands of Jews." -Yitzhak Zuckerman

Even though the American people didn't find out about the Holocaust and what Nazi Germany had done till after it was too late, there were German citizens who disagreed with the actions of Hitler and his army. They stood up against them but were promptly brought to their end. Was fear the one component that kept Germans from speaking out? Or was the political propaganda promoting the necessarity of the Holocaust what stopped the people from having a morale point of view on the situation?

To begin, the Holocaust caused over 6 million deaths which could still be considered an estimated minimum. The Nazi's main target were people of Jewish faith in an attempt to purify the race. The horrors people experienced during these times is almost incomprehensible and it left the unknowing American people in awe at the severity of the event.

To paraphrase David Meyers in his review of a historical analysis of the possible foreshadowing of the Holocaust in a book, "Why the Germans? Why the Jews?" He displays that "purifying" the human race through the exterminations of millions was used to give a rational explanation to the Germans about the Nazi's "Anti-Semitism".

Jews were placed in Ghettos with Quarantine signs to persuade citizens that the forced migration of Jews to these ghettos was for both of their safety. At some points German propaganda doubled back on itself and there were many publications where it said that the Nazis were planning to get rid of "the Jews".

As it said in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, "The appealing message of national unity and a utopian future resonated with millions of Germans.... press controls prevented Germans from reading statements by Allied and Soviet leaders condemning German crimes." To some extent, they were hiding the truth but also displaying their plans openly. As an article from states, "The reports, in newspapers and magazines all over the country were phases in a public process of "desensitisation" which worked all too well, culminating in the killing of 6m Jews. He concludes by indicating that the only thing many Germans may not have known about was the use of industrial-scale gas chambers because, unusually, no media reports were allowed of this "final solution". However, by the end of the war camps were all over the country and many Germans worked in them."

This is a photograph of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his brother in law Hons van Dohnayi, two Germans who gave their lives to try to sabotage the Nazis, save Jews, and stop the Holocaust. Ultimately they were killed when their suspicious behavior was noticed by the National Socialists, who they were working for, but they are one example of people who tried to expose the Nazis and stop the terror of Germany.

Shockingly, there were a very large amount of Christians who had converted from Judaism that were killed in concentration camps because they were classified as Jewish. Jealousy was maybe the most important aspect that pushed Hitler over the edge towards starting the mass killing of the 6 million some people.

To conclude, on some level, German citizens knew all about the Holocaust of the Jews. They knew about the concentration camps and the forced labor and all the horrors that people in the camps faced. But, Nazi propaganda "desensitized" the German people in an attempt that worked very, very well. They didn't consider the Holocaust to be a negative event, but almost a necessity so the race could be purified. However there were some people that tried to stop it, they never succeeded because of the sheer power of Nazi Germany intimidated many and brainwashed them into believing that this was for the good of the people and their safety.


Ezard, John. "Germans Knew of Then Holocaust Horror About Death Camps." N.p., 16 Feb. 2001. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Deceiving the Public." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

Meyers, David. "Holocaust in Germany, Few Resisted." N.p., 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

Sifton, Elisabeth. No Ordinary Men: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans Von Dohnanyi, Resisters Against Hitler in Church and State. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Nazi Propaganda." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

HTRC. "Auschwitz: The Camp of Death." Holocaust Teacher Resource Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

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