The Holocaust "I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I cannot feel it. I believe in God even when He is silent." -Written on a wall during the Holocaust

The Holocaust refers to a specific genocidal event in twentieth-century history: the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the the Primary victims-6 million were murdered; Gypsies, the handicapped, and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents, also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny."

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., USA

"Among us it should be mentioned once, quite openly, but in public we will never talk about it...I am referring to the evacuation of the Jews, to the extermination of the Jewish people..."Sure, it's in our program, elimination of the Jews, extermination-it'll be done." - Heinrich Himmler, October 1943
A group of Jewish people behind a fence inside a concentration camp
A group of men targeted by the Nazi party
"The decree was issued that the Vilna Jewish population must put on badges front and back - a yellow circle and inside it the letter J. It is daybreak. I am looking through the window and see before me the first Vilna Jews with badges. It was painful to see how people were staring at them." -Yitskhok Rudashevski
"Early in the morning I went through the village in which we live. From a distance I saw a notice on the shop wall. I quickly went up to read it. The new notice said that Jews under no circumstances travel in vehicles (the railway had long been forbidden)." - David Rubinowicz
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.
As Nazi Germany grew in size and took over more territories the number of Jews subject to persecution grew
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.

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
Systematic Persecution

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

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"

Jehovah's Witnesses endured intense persecution under the Nazi regime. The Nazi regime targeted Jehovah's Witnesses for persecution because they refused, out of religious conviction, to swear loyalty to a worldly government or to serve in its armed forces. Many were subjected to wear purple triangles to identify them as Jehovah's Witnessess.
A group of Jehovah's Witnesses during the Holocaust
On the night of 2 to 3 August 1944, around 3,000 Roma men, women and children from the ‘Gypsy family camp’ of Auschwitz-Birkenau were murdered in the gas chambers. They were among hundreds of thousands of victims of the Roma genocide, killed by the Nazis and their allies.
A group of Roma during the Holocaust
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.
A group of handicapp men located in a concentration camp .
Resistance and Rescue

Resistance: During this time their were acts of resistance including armed and unarmed. Examples of unarmed include underground newspapers, acts of sabotage, and underground couriers.

In April-May 1943, Jews in the Warsaw ghetto rose in armed revolt after rumors that the Germans would deport the remaining ghetto inhabitants to the Treblinka killing center. As German SS and police units entered the ghetto, members of the Jewish Fighting Organization (Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa; ZOB) and other Jewish groups attacked German tanks with Molotov cocktails, hand grenades, and a handful of small arms.

Resuce: Many rescue mission took place to help large or small groups of Jews escape persecution and annihilation

One example of rescue took place in LE CHAMBON-SUR-LIGNON. The residents of these villages offered shelter in private homes, in hotels, on farms, and in schools. They forged identification and ration cards for the refugees, and in some cases guided them across the border to neutral Switzerland.
Lessons of the Holocaust

The Holocaust was not only a huge travesty among the Jews, handicapped, Roma, Jehovah's Witnesses, Poles and homosexuals ,but was also a human travesty. It showed what the power of fear does to a person. It can make you stand by and watch as another humans are being persecuted and killed. Another lesson to be learned from the Holocaust is the result of indifference. People can't just think that their actions don't have consequences. They do, and we need to learn from them. When your stand up for one person it could really change the outcome of certain event. If you stand up for someone they might stand up for someone else. People need to need to be more upstanders then bystanders. You can't forget the past is another important lesson learned from the Holocaust. To prevent events from repeating themselves you have to be aware of why they happened in the first place. You can run away and forget about the past,but you have to learn and move forward from their. It is up to the citizens of the country to stand up if the government policy are unfair or predjuce towards any group of people.

"I remember the looks of horror on the faces of the American soldiers when they came in and stared around them.

I was afraid when I saw them.

I crept behind a pile of dead bodies and hid there, watching them warily.

"Rabbi Herschel Schachter was the Jewish chaplain of the division. I saw him get out of a jeep and stand there, staring at the corpses.

He has often told this story, how he thought he saw a pair of living eyes looking out from among the dead.

It made his hair stand on end, but slowly and cautiously he made his way around the pile, and then, he clearly remembers coming face-to-face with me, an eight-year-old boy, wide-eyed with terror.

In heavily-accented American Yiddish, he asked me, 'How old are you, mein kind?' There were tears in his eyes.

"'What difference does it make?' I answered, warily. 'I'm older than you, anyway.'

"He smiled through his tears and said, 'Why do you think you're older than me?'

"And I answered, 'Because you cry and laugh like a child. I haven't laughed in a long time, and I don't even cry anymore. So which one of us is older?'"

-Lau 8-years-old when Buchenwald was liberated

Works Cited

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