Why were Jews the primary victims of the Holocaust?
The estimated amount of Jews killed during the Holocaust was 6 million. The Nazi party saw the Jewish people as an inferior race and enemies of the state.
Above is a map of locations of extermination and concentration built to eliminate the Jewish population. http://www.kosherdelight.com/PolandJewishHistory.shtml
As Nazi Germany grew in size and took over more territories the number of Jews subject to persecution grew http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/map.cfm?map_id=2886
How were the Nazis able to do it?
Dry Timber: Both antisemitism and eugenics were present in Europe. It was the foundation for the start of the Holocaust and powered future actions of the government and the people. Social Darwinism played a part because when the eugenics program was presented, citizens saw it as an easy way to purify German blood. It would strengthen the race and weed out the "weak" Jews.
Antisemitism: hostility toward, or prejudice against Jews
Eugenics: the eugenics program was used by the Nazi party as a method to fix/eliminate the Jews. It was seen as a way to purify Germany's blood and many laws/acts were passed to enforce it. "Good heredity."
Spark: The Nazi party/Hitler was the spark that was needed for the Holocaust to occur by taking the underlying hatred of Jews and putting it into action. They were able to gain a large amount of power through fear and force. They spread false information about the Jewish population which turned people against the them. Hitler was viewed as a powerful and authoritative figure that would strengthen the country along with its people.
Favorable Weather: The Nazis were able to conduct the Holocaust under the cover of World War II. People all over the world were more concerned about events happening in the war and helping to support the war effort. Many knew what was happening but chose to ignore it. Even with the cover of the war, the Nazis used code words to hide the operations taking place.
The Holocaust was State Sponsored
State Sponsored: The German government had a large influence on the Holocaust. Conditions and events were put into motion by the government directed at the Jewish people.
Ghettos: Ghettos are one example of how the The Holocaust was state sponsored. Ghettos were built and funded by the state and used government officials to monitor them. Even though ghettos were built to house Jews but not to kill, they placed them in harsh and brutal conditions. They starved them to death and made it nearly impossible to survive. The German authorities also established numerous forced-labor camps, both in the so-called Greater German Reich and in German-occupied territory, for non-Jews whose labor the Germans sought to exploit.
Kristallnacht: On November 9, 1938, violence against Jews broke out across Reich. It was caused by German's anger over the assassination of a German official in Paris at the hands of a Jewish teenager. 250 synagogues were burned, over 7,000 Jewish businesses were trashed and looted, dozens of Jewish people were killed, and Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes were looted while police and fire brigades stood by.
The aftermath of The Night of Broken Glass. This is when German officials destroyed Jewish owned shops and homes. http://www.theholocaustexplained.org/ks3/life-in-nazi-occupied-europe/impact-on-jewish-communities/kristallnacht-night-of-the-broken-glass/
Concentration/Extermination Camps: Between 1941 and 1944, Nazi German authorities deported millions of Jews from Germany, from occupied territories, and from the countries of many of its Axis allies to ghettos and to killing centers, often called extermination camps, where they were murdered in specially developed gassing facilities. German SS and police units, supported by units of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS, murdered more than a million Jewish men, women, and children, and hundreds of thousands of others.
A group of women and men arriving at Auschwitz concentration camp spring of 1945 http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/the-holocaust/pictures/holocaust-concentration-camps/arriving-at-auschwitz
Systematic Persecution: mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group.
1) Wearing the Star of David: The Jews of Europe were legally obligated to wear badges. It was so that anyone could identify who was Jewish.
2) Signs in Jewish owned Stores: SA men would put signs in store windows indicating if the store was owned by a Jew.
3) Boycott of Jewish store: At one point there was a proposed boycott of all Jewish-owned stores. It was supposed to drive business away and hurt the community.
Systematic Annihilation: the organized killing of a group
1) Ghettos: meant to house Jews and their family and separate them from the general population. The conditions and diesease killed thousand of Jewish inhabitants.
2)Extermination Camps: They were meant to kill as many Jews as possible. Many government officials came and visited the camps and oversaw processes.
3) Gas Vans: Gas vans were hermetically sealed trucks with engine exhaust diverted to the interior compartment. It was originally used on mentally ill patience, but would later be a means to kill Jewish people quickly.
Wannsee Protcol: was a high profile meeting between German officials to debt the "Final Solution"