The Holocaust By: Adrian Smith

Doris Bergen's House Burning Analogy

  • Antisemitism - hostility to or prejudice against Jews. Antisemitism brought about the discrimination against the Jews, installing the idea into German citizens heads that they are inferior to Germans.
  • Eugenics - a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population. The foundation of eugenics pressed the idea on German society in the 1930s and 40s that the "Aryan" race (Hitler's "master race") trumped over any race who did not meet the qualifications of this race. Additionally, the government justified this way of thinking which persuaded Jewish hate.
  • The Spark - Hitler and the Nazis were considered to be the "spark" of the Holocaust because they forced proganda by "shoving down their (German citizens) throats" ideology that refuted Jewish life. "Kristallnacht," for example, was a Jewish hate event that was enacted in order to instill fear into Jewish minds, which also allowed German citizens to recognize how inferior Jews were to Germans.
  • Favorable Weather - World War II, itself, allowed Nazis to act "behind the scenes" in order to conduct the Holocaust. WWII distracted Allied forces from the Holocaust and allowed Hitler to murder over six million "inferior races."
House Burning

Key Umderstandings

USHMM - The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

  • State Sponsored - the way a state advertises an event or occurrence. Some pieces of evidence of state sponsored activity through Germany during this time period consists of "Kristallnacht," when Hitler established the foundation of the "Aryan" race (eugenics), and the establishment of ghettos in Nazi Germany.
  • Systematic Persecution - the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group. Some pieces of evidence of mistreatment to European Jews were placement into ghettos, the gassing of Jews, and the ransacking of Jewish homes.
  • Systematic Annihilation - the act of process of annihilation in a fixed, constructed way. Evidence of this would be mass graves, gas chamber, and camps designed to kill Jews.
Collaborator - The Blue Police

Primary Victims

We know Jews were the primary victims because of the number of Jews annihilated through the whole process. The Nazis targeted the Jews due to personal issues with Hitler against them.

This map does not necessarily show exactly HOW the Jews were primarily targeted during the Holocaust. However, it shows WHERE the Jews and other groups were stationed. They were kept in a variety of Transit, Concentration, and Extermination camps.
This map shows the number of casualties and where those casualties occurred during the Holocaust.
"Hate is more lasting than dislike." -Adolf Hitler
People, who died from starvation stacked onto each other.
“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shall not be a bystander.” -Yehuda Bauer
Bodies being buried in mass graves
“My number is 174517; we have been baptized, we will carry the tattoo on our left arm until we die.” - Primo Levi
Jews being transferred to the camps
Beards were trimmed
Several children and adults behind barbed wire

Non-Jewish Victims

  • Homosexuals - It made homosexual acts between males a crime, and, in early revisions, the provision also criminalized bestiality as well as forms of prostitution and underage sexual abuse. All in all, around 140,000 men were convicted under the law.
  • Handicapped - In October 1939, Hitler himself initiated a decree which empowered physicians to grant a "mercy death" to "patients considered incurable according to the best available human judgment of their state of health." This was known was the "Euthanasia Program," which was enacted in order to achieve dominant eugenics.
  • Jehovah's Witnesses - Jehovah's Witnesses suffered religious persecution in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945 after refusing to perform military service, join Nazi organizations or give allegiance to the Hitler regime. An estimated 10,000 Witnesses—half of the number of members in Germany during that period—were imprisoned, including 2000 who were sent to Nazi concentration camps. An estimated 1200 died in custody, including 250 who were executed. They were the first Christian denomination banned by the Nazi government and the most extensively and intensively persecuted.
Translated version of Paragraph 175
Jehovah's Witnesses persecuted

Rescue & Resistance

  • Resistance - April 19, 1943 marked the beginning of an armed revolt by a courageous and determined group of Warsaw ghetto dwellers. The Jewish Fighter Organization (ZOB) led the insurgency and battled for a month, using weapons smuggled into the ghetto. The Nazis responded by bringing in tanks and machine guns, burning blocks of buildings, destroying the ghetto, and ultimately killing many of the last 60,000 Jewish ghetto residents. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the first large uprising by an urban population in German-occupied territory.
Warsaw Uprising
  • Rescue - Miep Gies assisted Otto Frank's family and friends (8 people) in the famous Secret Annex. One of those people included the most famous young diarist of the Holocaust time period, Anne Frank.
Young Miep Gies

Lessons of this History

  1. All people should know that Jews suffered horrendously just because of their appearance as well as personal feuds between them and Hitler. Not only is that absurd, but it is meaningless and unfair. TheJews did not deserve the treatment they received...
  2. One lesson to take away from this history would be NOT to judge an individual or group of people by their appearance. In other words, think back to kindergarten and follow those rules. No one deserves to be singled out. Everyone is beautiful in their own, specific way. Discrimination is mere ignorance.
  3. It is important to learn about this history because it is a basic understanding of discrimination. It is like an applified version of the 1800s slavery period. An extraordinary amount of people were annihilated in the most cruel, inhuman ways imaginable. Each and every life a meaning to this day: be proud of who you are, regardless of shape and size, because, evidently, it could be a lot worse.

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