Why do genocides happen?
History in Progress: 1901–Present
Living and working:
2.4 Why do genocides happen?
How did the Nazis try tokill all European Jews?
When they joined the German army, some ocers might never have imagined theywould order the shooting o deenceless women and children. But rom 1941 to1945 many did; they saw it as their duty to ensure that the German nation survived.
Sowing seeds of hatred
is clear evidence o just one act o murder. The Nazis, and thosewho they got to help them, killed 6 million people, mostly Jewish men,women and children, between 1939 and 1945. In act, the Nazis wanted tokill all 11 million Jews in Europe. It is very dicult to understand the reasonor this. Germany was a modern country with an educated population.What caused some otherwise ordinary people to become killers? There were a number o ways in which the Nazi government tried toencourage
between 1933 and 1945, including:propaganda
use o laws to exclude Jews rom public lie
threat o arrest or those who disagreed with Nazi views
removing Jews rom Germany and orcing them to liveelsewhere in terrible conditions.
Hatred o Jews.
Forced removal rom yourhome or country.
Deliberate attempt tomurder an entire nationalor ethnic group o people.
Part o a town walled of rom the rest where Jewswere orced to live.
Weigh the evidence!
Look again at
. Which two do youthink give the best evidence that Nazis were tryingto make ordinary Germans hate the Jews? As youmake your decision remember to think about:the content o the source
the nature, origin and purpose o the source.
The Social Democrat Party (SPD) was banned in 1933,shortly ater the Nazis came to power. The SPD leadersfed rom Germany to Prague to escape arrest, but theykept spies in the country to send reports about whatwas going on.
Imagine you are an SPD spy in 1939. You are toldto send a report about how the Nazis are trying toencourage anti-Semitic attitudes. In your report,use the evidence you have seen to make clear whatyou think are the most important pressures.Give lots o details about these pressures.
In this lessonyou will:
xplore whathappened to Jewsunder Nazi controlu
se pictorialinormation toinvestigate a problem.
In pairs, look at source a. Why might this soldier have carried out this shooting? Try to list three possible reasons.
Anti-Semitism was taught at school, especially in history and biology
lessons. Here, two Jewish children are orced to stand by a blackboard that reads ‘The Jews are our greatest enemy! Beware o Jews.’ Jewish childrenwere eventually excluded rom German schools in 1938. German Jews were
in Polish towns romOctober 1941. Living conditions in these ghettos were hellish. Ninety-one Jews were killed and 30,000 Jews were sent to
concentration camps in November 1938 ater a Jew murdered a Germandiplomat in Paris. All German Jews had to wear a Star o David badgeater 1 September 1941. The Nazi Party
controlled the media –newspapers, radio and cinema. It produced lots o anti-Semitic propaganda like thislm,
The Eternal Jew
Why did so few people help the Jews?
In Germany, the Nazis tried to control every singleaspect o people’s lives – the books they read, themusic they listened to and who they could marry. I youdid not t in, you could become a victim o a powerulpolice state. Many people were arrested, imprisonedand even killed without a air trial, because all the judges were Nazis.