How The Holocaust Affected It’s Jewish VictimsIntroductionThere is no question in my mind that the mass killings of the Jews during World War II affected the lives of these people and the people who loved and knew them greatly. I wholeheartedly disagree with the people who claim it never happened, whether they are against the Holocaust ?theory? or are just plain prejudice towards Jews. There were murders by the millions, and the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were affected by it, both directly and indirectly, as were their family members and friends who may have been thousands of miles away. Even today, people in the world are still affected by the extermination of millions of lives in Eastern Europe.
In the same respect (if you call it respect), there are still many people, even entire institutions, who seek to discredit the veracity of the Holocaust, going as far to claim that none of the horrific events ever occurred. I will prove that the Holocaust affected many lives, both in living and in death, and that it did indeed happen, through relating factual and opinionated accounts of victims and witnesses, and explaining why what happened to the Jewish population of the Holocaust happened. The Holocaust has been called a ?Tragic legacy?. It has also been called a hoax. Despite what the deniers of the holocaust may think, it did indeed happen. It affected the lives of too many people, millions, if not the billions who knew of it, were related to those who were, in fact, statistics of the Holocaust.
Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and other minorities of Germany and neighboring countries were executed by the millions. I am at first very hesitant about completing a report on the holocaust and those who seek to deny it ever happened. It did happen, it affected millions upon millions of people around our planet, and it continues to be a reigning issue. I felt that, like the author of Denying the Holocaust: The growing assault on truth and memory, I should not feed into the publicity of these holocaust deniers. Those who claim it did not and manage to get away with it are very good at manipulating and deceiving the general public. They create propaganda that almost had me fooled several times, claiming that We are not holocaust deniers.
We proudly proclaim that to date there is no evidence that millions of people were killed in homicidal gas chambers. That is good news all round. Why would anyone find this offensive? We are celebrating the living who were thought dead. How can this be an offense – unless it offends those who have their snout in the trough. . .
. 1. It is too important to me, this subject of killing the memory of those that were killed. It is too important to family members of mine who were killed because they were simply Jews in Poland, shot dead in their own town, forced to dig their own graves in the rudimentary years of the Holocaust. This is what happened. This is the truth, and no book, no public speaker, no institution will convince me otherwise.
Hitler Comes into Power- The Greatest Factor of the Jewish ExterminationThe isolated phenomena2 known as the Holocaust actually began in 1933, when the Nazis came into power in Germany. Most people, however, think of it as a period of time between 1941 and 1945. During this time, over 11 million people perished. Six million Jews, which was ninety percent of the Jewish- German population and two-thirds of the total European Jewish population at the time, along with five million other individuals died in death or labor camps such as Bergen-Belsen, Treblinka, Aushwitz, Belzec and Majdanek. The other five million people were Gypsies, Slavs, Poles, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics and handicaps, just to name a few. As you can see, it was not, as some people think, only Jews who were pointlessly murdered.
Their stories live on in the world today, such as that of Jeannine Burk- ?I really lost a great part of my childhood- simply because we were Jews. ? This was a period of dismay for Germany, and Germany was ?looking for a savior? 3. This savior came in the form of a small little man with black hair and a radical, and, unfortunately, charismatic personality, the leader of the (future) Nazis, Adolf Hitler, an Anti-Semitic, murderous person who believed that for world perfection, the Jews must be destroyed. Hitler believed the German race superior to all others, especially the Jews, and stated it very clearly in his famous book, ?Mein Kampf?.
He compared them to ?maggots in a rotting body? and even went as far to state ?We must be ruthless?terror is the most effective political instrument? it is my duty to make use of every means of training the German people to cruelty? A violently active, dominating, intrepid brutal youth- that is what I am after. ? 4 He was, indeed, after the Jews; his goal was to destroy the Jews in every way possible- economically, physically, mentally, socially, and globally. He nearly succeeded in his goal, which is a horrible thought. The Night of Broken GlassThe Holocaust was a constant battle but there were a few historical days such as Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). During the night of November ninth and into the morning of the tenth during 1931, almost all of the synagogues and Jewish institutions were destroyed in Germany.
In total, 191 synagogues and 171 Jewish homes were burned. The name came from the sights of the towns with all of the smashed windows lying in bits and pieces all over the streets. So many businesses were destroyed, which affected all Jewish shop owners greatly, destroying their only source of income. Devastation of the temples created yet another insurmountable disaster for the Jewish faith and community.
Faith gives people hope, and this literal destruction of the Jewish religion was a disaster. Conditions EnduredIt is without question that the Jewish families of the Holocaust were gravely affected. The endured starvation, both in the ghettos and the camps, and fought for survival every day. In one camp, a young girl in a concentration camp felt that she had betrayed her family by finishing off the honey they had to spread on their bread- ?What will they spread on their bread now? ? Another story depicts a father who abandons his young daughter because he had to fend for himself: ?I, her father, did not protect her, I deserted her because I feared my own life.
? Both of these situations were products of pure brainwashing, thanks to the Nazis. It is in the human psyche to blame oneself when faced with a devastating situation, and these cases show that the victims felt it was their fault that their families were on the verge of perishing. It is a level of reality beyond anything. 5This was just one of the many procedures the Nazis dished out to affect the Jewish population, both directly, as seen above, and indirectly, through affecting the German people into hating the Jews. Print and PropagandaOne of the most publicized methods of the Holocaust was, in fact, the least obvious method.
It was Nazi propaganda, in which Hitler succeeded in making the German society dummies. Race science was one of these ways. Hitler stated that the Aryans, the fabled native peoples of Germany who had originally migrated from Indo- Asian land, claiming that the ?state must set race in the center of all life?. In that, he meant that the Germans were superior to all others, and it soon became the building block for Nazism. The lead propaganda minister, Joseph Geobells, was part of this aspiration, and sought to prove it through physical attributes. He proposed racial tests, examining areas of the body such as the eyes, nose, and heads.
For example, large noses were a common attribute among Jews, and if you were to have a large nose, you would be in trouble. This made the German people think that the Jews were, in fact, very inferior, and therefore, they felt the Jews weren’t even human, so it ?became okay to slaughter the Jews?. 6 Other propaganda that affected the Jewish relations towards Germany includes the electronic propaganda, coming in the visual form. Films such as ?Triumph of the Will? were created to convince people to join the Nazis by making it seem like the Nazis were the winning team, that Hitler was a just and supreme leader.
This proved to be very effective on German society, showing off how ?great? Nazism really was through the technologically advanced German society. A man named Leni Riefenstahl, who actually won the National Film Prize for 1934- 1935, created ?Triumph of the Wills?. He was aiming for a propaganda vision, which he successfully completed. The film, which targeted the German youth, the proposed ?Hitler Jugen? or Hitler’s youth, was meant to bring on as many young people to begin training.
In turn, this film affected the Jewish population because it brought about the dawn of Hitler’s Third Reich. Print propaganda was one of the most successful methods of Nazi propaganda to establish a stand against Jews. All people were, in one way or another, affected by the propaganda of posters, cartoons, pictures in magazines and in newspapers 7. Many of the posters proclaimed that Jews were inferior, and that Germans were part of the aforementioned Aryan race.
For instance, German newspaper owner, Julius Streicher, used a page in his paper to attack Jewish society by illustrating a naked woman about to be attacked by a snake marked with the Jewish faith symbol, the Star of David. This proved to be extremely potent for Jewish society because a naked woman brought interest to a feature. Other propaganda didn’t directly attack the Jews, but rather, compared the actions of the Nazi party to others. For example, a German poster bashed F. D.
R. by questioning ?Since he won’t accept Jews, why should we??. However, this was just one more example of the propagandizing that went on in German society. Ghetto LifeGhettos were undoubtedly the most effective method of breaking the Jewish population. Those who were actually strong enough to survive the horrifying conditions the ghettos provided were shipped to concentration camps and death camps. The first ghetto was Piotrkow, which was first populated on September 5, 1939.
The soldiers that patrolled Piotrkow were brainwashed anti- semetics, robbing and killing Jews at their disposal. To them, killing was like a sport. 8 The Jews were discriminated against in every ghetto, forced to bear identification of their faith with some emblem, such as in the Warsaw ghetto, where Jews must wear a white ribbon with a blue star of David on it. If a Jew were to be caught without this badge, they would be executed on the spot. The idea of the ghettos was born in the psychopathic mind of Reinhard Heydrich. In 1931, he was expelled from the German navy, later becoming a member of Hitler’s guard team, Schutzstaffel, a.
k. a. SS. In turn, Heydrich created the Sicherheitsdienst, also called the SD.
The SD oversaw the loyalty and behavior of the Nazis. Soon enough, Heydrich created the ?short-term solution to a long-term problem? ghettos with the help of the SD. In the ghettos, families and individuals were assigned ration cards that allowed 2-3 slices of bread and a bowl of watery soup per person for ten cents per month. About 150,000 were exempt due to extreme poverty.
People would say everything revolves around bread and death. These meager portions of food led to starvation and sicknesses, such as typhus, tuberculosis, which came hand in hand with death, since there were no cures, and no medical facilities in the ghettos. This helped the Nazis prove what they had all along wanted to: They were protecting the German population from the deadly, disease ridden Jews. They are shut off in the ghettos for your protection, they would say. Of course they were shut off, because, in the first place, there was no way out of the ghetto, and second, there was no food, no medicine to keep them healthy and fit.
All of this worked to the Nazi advantage. The informed Germans that Jews were an infection, and that is why disease ransacked the ghettos. In October of 1941, a typhus epidemic, which is a type of body lice, broke out in the Warsaw ghetto. This was another piece of candy for the Nazis, creating a slogan that stuck- The Jews-Lice-Typhus. And the sad part is, it was true.
There was no sanitation to prevent it, and this was just one of the many epidemics the Nazis used as proof of Jews as a disease and carriers of disease. Another unfortunate effect of the ghettos was that they were located extremely conveniently. Being located near railways helped in destroying the Jews- to be shipped out to the concentration and death camps. Some of these areas to board the trains were barbed in, some were walled, some were guarded. All of them isolated the Jews from society.
A final devastating effect on the Jews in the ghettos was what it did to the internal population socially, rather than physically. Some of the Jews were put in different ranks, some as spies, some as thieves. Some of the spies were to report on family members and friends, betraying them, and even leading to their own demises. Why they did it was obvious.
Either they were told they themselves would be killed, or their family or friends would be killed. And they actually trusted the word of a Nazi. ?Art from the Ashes?Although much of the Holocaust had an increasingly negative effect on its victims, it also caused inspiration through the strength survivors gained from it. One of the most famous Holocaust writers was Elie Weisel. He was born in Sighet, Transylvania, in 1928.
Weisel’s younger sister and mother were sent immediately to the gas chambers from the train they had entered. Elie, his father, and 2 older sisters were sent to a concentration camp to work. His most famous book, simply entitled, Night (1958) was his autobiography, mainly about his experiences in the camp. Another book of his, inspired by the Holocaust, Un di velt holt geshvign (And the World Remained Silent), written in Yiddish in 1956, was never actually published in English. This was his earlier, longer biography. Weisel won the Nobel Peace prize in 1986.
His goals were to create a society where the victims of the Holocaust imposed no blame on themselves, which they were brainwashed into thinking by the Nazis. Other inspired victims were not as lucky as Weisel. Poems, drawings, and stories were found among the ashes, so to speak, of the victims who did not make it. For My Child is a dramatic poem written for a child that was poisoned by Germans. The child’s mother wrote it, a woman named Freydke Sutzkever, wife of Holocaust poet Abraham Sutzkever.
There were also many artists that emerged from the horrific times. Karel Fleischman, painter and artist, was born in Klatovy, Czechoslovakia in 1897. In Prague, he studied medicine, later becoming a dermatology specialist. Then, on April 18, 1942, he was deported to Terezin, a Holocaust camp.
His work was preserved, and he was deported to Aushwitz, the most famous Holocaust camp, a combined concentration camp and death camp, where he met his fate, on October 23, 1944. Some of his works include View of Terezin, Furniture, and Registration for Transport. Laws and Politics664 laws actually excluded the Jews from German society, increasing the amount of hatred towards the Jewish population through the anti- Semitism, as well as creating yet another insurmountable obstacle for the Jews. On April 1st, 1933, Jewish businesses were boycotted.
Laws to exclude Jews from holding civil service, university, and state positions were put into effect less than a week later. So many of the laws put into effect to ban Jews from society resulted in the loss of jobs, and created many homeless families, with nowhere to turn (since the majority of German society and elsewhere, such as Poland, had turned against them). The final nail in the coffin for Jewish society was the establishment of the Gestapo, or the Nazi secret police, on April 26th, 1933. Within the next 3 months, Jews were officially denied German citizenship. On September 15, 1935, Anti-Jewish laws were put into effect, also called the Nuremberg laws.
All of these laws that were put into effect, the political actions of Hitler and the anti-Semitic population created a harsh environment for the Jews to endure. The Effects Weren’t Just Felt in EuropeOne of the most universal effects of the Holocaust was the impact it had on the relatives of those who were murdered. Although many Jews were killed in ghettos, camps, and elsewhere, many escaped the tragedies that swallowed so many others by running away, hiding, or leaving the country before any real damage could be done. One example is of a Jewish woman’s parents who left Poland before the killings began: About my mother.
. . . She was a very warm happy person. She was always singing. She would sing around the house as she was doing her household chores.
Then one day, someone came who had been living in Kolomyya (her home town) and had escaped the Nazi terror. He told of what happened, how the soldiers came into the town, rounded everyone up from their houses, marched them out to the edge of town, made them dig trenches and then shot them all dead. She stopped singing after that and never even smiled again. She became depressed and embittered and never a day went by that she did not curse Hitler.
It was early on before they had started using gas chambers. It was afterward decided that shooting individual groups took too long and then started what was called the Solution – the railroad cars to the gas chambers. Home Sweet Where?The towns that the Jews inhabited before they were shipped off to camps and ghettos were essentially destroyed after they were sent away. Whether they were burnt down by the bombs and bullets of warfare during World War II or by the actions of Nazi soldiers, as an act of hatred, not much was there for the liberated Jews to return to. One man accounts for the loss in a letter to his friend whose family grew up in a little town called Kolomyya, Poland:I returned from Kolomyya. The town looks great.
It was really a thrill. Unfortunately not much remains. There were 50 synagogues there in 1938; today they are restoring 1 that was used as a gym by the Russians. It’s pretty primitive but you have to give it to the 150 Jews still living there that have prayed in secret all these years and are donating their lives to this pursuit. Your relatives’ houses on Legionow St. are gone.
It was a main street of the town where the Jews lived (it was a Polish name and was renamed for a leader of the Ukrainian Cossacks-a little ironic). What I suppose was the most important thing that I learned was that Kolomyya was 50% Jewish and that the Jews formed an integral part of the city – there was a Jewish mayor by 1870 and many Jews were represented in the City council until the second World War. Therefore the Jews had the right to own land, build temples and receive an education. One man, the town historian, who showed me the wall of the first Temple built in Kolomyya in 1650??Liberation did not necessarily mean going back to the good old life for Jews. Although Liberation of the camps occurred on June 6, 1944, not all of the victims were saved that day, or any days after. Dachau was one of the first liberated camps.
Ally soldiers said that they ?could smell the camp from at least five miles away?. It was horrifying for an American soldier to walk into a room and find the living lying in the same beds as the dead, which occurred at Nordhausen camp. Thousands of those who were rescued died within the first week of Liberation because their bodies were too weak to take in the rich food they were given. Only 200,000 lives were saved from the camps.
Other Jews weren’t as lucky. When word of an attack on the camps was heard- Russia was coming from the east, the U. S. A. and England from the west- the Nazis had 2 options with how to use the prisoners: they could force to victims to battle against the allies or they could ?eliminate the witnesses?.
Both were tried as the allies moved in quicker. Eventually the Jews were forced to march into German territory, many being killed along the way. After complete Liberation, after so many deaths, after loved ones were buried properly, the Jews were allowed to return home. As you can imagine, however survivors still had painful reminders of what they had seen and experienced first hand just a short time ago. Many survivors wouldn’t call it surviving, which will be discussed later. They were tattooed with their numbers, had seen friends and family shot down in their tracks.
These memories never changed. Having lived in the shadow of death everyday was a traumatizing experience, one that no one would ever want to experience. A common proverb from camps asked, ?Do you know how one says ?never’ in camp slang? Morgan fr?h- Tomorrow morning. ? Not only did the Jews have to return with horrible memories, but they also had to face up to the new ones that had yet to be created. There was still a strong hatred towards Jews in eastern Europe (and forget Germany).
Many who could not make it socially in their hometowns went to Displaced Persons Camps, which provided homes for prisoners of the camps. In 1947, there were 250,000 Jews in D. P. C. ‘s.
Israel was established as a homeland for Jews in 1948, only to create more problems in the future. UnderstandingAs you can obviously see, the Holocaust had one of the greatest impacts on Jews in recorded history. They were tormented, beaten, killed, rescued, inspired, destroyed, chained, and crippled for so long, too long, yet they persevered. They survived under the harshest conditions, the most horrific situations that the world had ever seen at the time. 6 million Jewish lives were cut short because of the Holocaust and their lives have been celebrated; their stories remembered.
Only recently have the stories of survivors like a group known as The Hidden Children, children who were hidden by non-Jews during World War II, been told and recorded. The International Conference for Hidden Children was held in New York City during May of 1991. Sixteen hundred survivors and rescuers were there. The Israeli government has greatly helped to preserve the memory of the people who lost their lives in the Holocaust. There is a Remembrance Law that pertains to Martyrs and Heroes who are high-minded Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews.
These people have had plaques engraved with their names placed at Yad Vashem, the museum in Jerusalem that memorializes European Jews who died in the Holocaust and the Christians who tried to save them. Also, the Anti-Defamation League sends monthly stipends to needy and elderly rescuers to make their lives easier. Even though it has been over forty years since the last areas were liberated, the Jewish people still have not recovered from the serious losses that they suffered. The message of the Holocaust is that people can be thrown to the darkest Hells and to the very pit of absolute despair but, if they are strong, they will long endure, just as the Jewish people have. This was a tragic and terrifying point in our history and hopefully, we will never be plagued by it again. The lives lost cannot be reclaimed.
It is true that many survived, but six million did not. Would you call it survival, or would you just claim to have not been killed? Many of those who lived to tell the tale would say that they weren’t killed. They are not valiant in their survival, one may claim. Heroes and heroines belong to a romantic legend, not Holocaust reality 9.
The thoughts and reflections of Holocaust victims in present day are dwindling. As time passes away, so do these ?survivors?. Their memories of true cold and hunger, of true pain and loss present a new reality from their previously brainwashed lives. The German Nazis told Jews that it was their own fault for their persecution and sufferings. Some believed this right up until the end of the war.
In the end, those who were truly to blame were the Nazis, who were justly persecuted at the famous Nuremberg Trials in Nuremberg, Germany on November 20, 1945. Here, 22 Nazi leaders were brought to trial for ten and one half months. 19 of them were found guilty for crimes against the victims of the Holocaust (namely the Jews)- 7 were imprisoned, and 12 were executed. The other 3 committed suicide before the trials ended. A comment made at these trials sums up this entire work in two sentences: ?The mere punishment of the defendants, or even thousands of others equally guilty, can never redress the terrible injuries which the Nazis visited on these unfortunate peoples. For them, it is far more important that these terrible events be established by clear and public proof, so that no one can ever doubt that they were fact, and not fable.
? 10Chapter Notes1. Adelaide Institute Introduction http://www. adelaide. org2. Lawrence L.
Langer, Preempting The Holocaust (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 11 3. Ann Byers, The Holocaust Camps (Springfield: Enslow Publishers, 1998), p. 8 4. Nora Levin, The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry 1933- 1945 (New York: Thomas Y.
Crowell, 1968), p. 465. Lawrence L. Langer, Preempting The Holocaust (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), p.
116. An Illustrated History of the Holocaust- Race Science http://www. fatherryan. org/holocaust/proprace.
htm 7. An Illustrated History of the Holocaust- Printed Propaganda http://www. fatherryan. org/holocaust/proprint. htm8. Linda Altman, The Holocaust Ghettos ( Springfield: Enslow Publishers, 1998), p.
169. Lawrence L. Langer, Preempting The Holocaust (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 12210.
David A. Adler, We Remember The Holocaust (New York: Henry Holt ; Co., 1989), p.97History Reports