The Holocaust remains, and will continue to remain as one of the most horrific things that has happened to a group of people.
The absolute inhumanity of the Holocaust puzzles people even today. Contemporary people wonder just how it happened, how could a people be systematically killed, tortured, murdered. The answer will probably never be found, but future generations can avoid something like the Holocaust by studying it, and never forgetting
The Nazi’s did not start out with “The Final Solution”, which did not come till later. The first step on the path to that solution was the Nazi decree defining a non-Aryan as “anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents.
One parent or grandparent classifies the descendant as non-Aryan…especially if one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith.
“. The distinction of who was “Aryan” and who were not was very important to Hitler. This distinction allowed the Jews and others to be discriminated against. At this time the German people probably have no idea what these laws will lead to.
Next came the exclusion of the Jew from the arts by the Reich Chamber of Culture, every time a right was stripped away from a Jew it was easier to view them as not human. In September of 1933 the Nazis prohibit Jews from owning land, the rights of the Jewish people were being taken away at a frightening pace. In 1934 more was done to the Jewish race. Jews are banned from the German Labor Front, not allowed national health insurance, and prohibited from getting legal qualifications.
The following year Nazis ban Jews from serving in the military, force Jewish performers/artists to join Jewish Cultural Unions, and the Jew Codes (Nuremberg Race Laws) were established. These Jew Codes prohibited many things, not only was it against the law for an Aryan to marry a Jew, it was against the law to have sexual relations between Aryans and Jews also. Jews were also no longer considered to be citizens of Germany, they were now subjects. In 1938 things continued to get worse with the order for Jews to register wealth and property, Jewish owned businesses were to register, Jews were prohibited from trading and providing a variety of specified commercial services, the Nazis ordered Jews over age 15 to apply for identity cards from the police, Jewish doctors were prohibited by law from practicing medicine, and Jewish passports to be stamped with a large red “J.
“. The world community noted this obvious anti-Semitism, but nothing was done. Another slap in the face was Kristallnacht or the “The Night of the Broken Glass”. This was an organized Nazi raid upon Synagogues, Jewish homes, and even Jews themselves.
Many synagogues were burned to the ground, and fire departments did nothing, or they made sure the fires did not spread to nearby non-Jewish homes. Any insurance claims that were made, the state of Germany confiscated, and the Jews were ordered to actually pay one billion marks for that night. The continuing slide to the final solution continued in 1939 when Jews had to hand over all gold and silver items, they lost rights as tenants and are relocated into Jewish houses, denied the right to hold government jobs, are forbidden to be outdoors after 8 p.m.
in winter and 9 p.m. in summer. Himmler in this year also issues instructions to the SS in Poland regarding treatment of Jews, stating they are to be gathered into ghettos near railroads for the future “final goal.
“. Jews are forbidden to own wireless (radio) sets, a forced labor decree issued for Polish Jews aged 14 to 60, and yellow stars are required to be worn by Polish Jews over age 10. In 1940 Jewish Ghetto’s are being utilized more and more by the Nazi’s and many Jews are forced to live in them. The concentration camp is also being used more and more, new ones are being put up, and old ones are being expanded.
In 1942 the final solution begins, at Auschwitz in Bunker I Zyklon-B was used in the mass killings. Zyklon-B originally was just an insecticide and disinfectant; only through experimentation did the Nazi’s learn about its lethality to humans. Jews were told they were to get “a shower” and were herded into sealed rooms. Special holes in the ceiling allowed Germans to drop the Zyklon-B tablets in, it was a very painful death.
The Wannsee Conference also occurred in this year, it was a discussion about how to kill the Jewish race on a larger scale, to coordinate the extermination of the Jewish Race. The SS begins to cash in the possessions of the murdered Jews at Auschwitz. Clothes, watches, pens, anything confiscated from the Jews is confiscated, and distributed wherever the Nazi’s see fit. Many mass murders of begin to take place in Germany and its conquered territory.
One example is in the Ukraine, women are stripped, taken to a ravine and shot. Atrocities like that really show how inhuman man can be. By 1943 over 1 millions Jews have been killed, and its only the beginning. One interesting note of resistance that took place was in the Warsaw Ghetto.
1200 Jews armed with pistols, grenades, and Molotov cocktails, fought the SS squads that had been sent to liquate the ghetto. Though they were unsuccessful, the resistance group took out 300 German soldiers, and wounded 1000. In 1944 one atrocity that took place was the raid on children’s home at Izieu. 44 Children were arrested, and only 1 eventfully survived.
These kids had been sent to France to escape the death that was the Nazi menace, but they could not get away from it. A record was set this year too, Auschwitz records its highest-ever daily number of persons gassed and burned at just over 9000. Six pits are used to burn bodies, because the ovens were all full. Later in the year though, as the Russians advanced upon the camps, the Jews were forced to go on “Death Marches”, these forced marches were made so the advancing Russians would not catch the Germans.
Most of the inmates on these marches either dropped dead from exertion or were shot by the SS when they failed to keep up with the column. As World War II came to a close, many Nazi officials tried to hide the evidence of the death camps, but they were unsuccessful, the horrors that had taken place there were revealed to the world.
In the end around 6 million Jews died as a result as the Holocaust. “Holocaust” is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.
“. The people that died in it did not have to. Only through the participation of the German and other people did it occur. Today we say that something like the Holocaust could never happen again, but it can.
If groups of people are dehumanized like the Jewish race was in these times, another Holocaust could easily happen. Its important to look at the early laws that were passed in Germany, how easy it was to start the machinery that allowed 6 million people to die. It’s the duty of every citizen, of every country to make sure that it does not happen again. Future generations need to keep the events that happened during World War 2 and before it, or they are doomed to repeat them.