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The Holocaust Overview

The Holocaust Overview

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The Jewish Holocaust: An Overview

Mark Blanchfield

ENG 102 Sec. 104 Larry Nueberger 4 April 2011

Blanchfield2 A brief overview of what happened The Holocaust was brought about by Nazi Germany during World War II. It entailed the horrific slaughtering of six million Jewish people. The Nazi party enacted laws that made it a crime to be a Jew and eventually the punishment was death in which all Jews had to be killed. The Nazis rounded up all the Jews and confined them to ghettos awaiting execution. While waiting they were subject to inhumane living conditions. The Nazi persecution was brought about by theSS(Protection Squad), the SA (Storm Troopers) and the SD (Death's Head Units). In 1941 mass murders of Jews started and the Nazis started deporting Jews to labor camps or death camps.The persecution started in 1933 and the mass murdering ended with the liberation in 1945. The Nazis rise to power The Nazis had a slow start to poweraccording to Yad Vashem¶s web site. Adolf Hitler became associated with the National Socialist Party in 1919 and quickly became its leader; the group was small at that time and did not carry much political clout. In 1923 the party carried out an unsuccessful uprising in attempt to gain power. Following the uprising Hitler was imprisoned and later released. After this he regrouped the faction. In 1930 the Nazi party
Adolf Hitler¶s rise to power http://bit.ly/fTsIiT

rose to power with elections brought about by an economic crisis and other issues. They were represented

Blanchfield3 in the Reichstag (parliamentary house)by 107 delegates.Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933 after the Nazis gained control of the parliament and was given an order by the president to create a government (³Rise of the Nazis and Beginning of Persecution´). Following Hitler¶s enactment to Chancellor, he quickly started passing legislation to strip the Jews of their rights. After only five weeks of Hitler¶s coming to power, attacks had already begun toward the Jews and anyone who was thought to oppose the Reich. Within seven weeks following Hitler¶s appointment to power, theDachau concentration camp was established. Germany quickly became a police state and the Nazi party started using anti-Semitic propaganda to demonize the Jews. They portrayed the Jews as the sons of the Devil and as liars (Yad Vashem, ³Rise of the Nazis and Beginning of Persecution´, ³Antisemitism´).While Hitler was Chancellorhis power was limited by the laws of the state (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), ³Germany: Establishment of the Nazi Dictatorship.´). According to Adam Jones the German president died in mid-1934 and Hitler took over the position, which led to extreme antiSemitic legislation (³Case Study: The Jewish Holocaust, 1933-45.´) The Nuremberg Laws.On September 15, 1935 the Nuremberg Laws were implemented.There were two different laws. The first law was the Reich Citizenship Law, and it defined who citizens of the Reich wereand their rights. The second law stripped many rightsfrom Jews. They were no longer allowed to marry German citizens or employ female Germans under the age of forty-five as domestic
Chart for the Nuremberg Laws http://bit.ly/gzBO4Q

Blanchfield4 servants among other things (Gavin, ³The NurembergLaws´). Moreover, the implementation of these laws brought Jewish segregation and was just the beginning of more laws to strip rights from Jews.After the Nuremburg Laws were implemented, much debate was brought about among Nazi leaders on how to determine who is a Jew. This led to the creation of a chart for the leaders to determine who is a Jew, half Jew or an Aryan. After these laws were in effect, the Jews thought the worst was over which was true for several more years (Gavin, ³The Nuremberg Laws´). Kristallnacht Later came Kristallnachtreferred to as ³the night of broken glass´, and as stated by Gavin, was brought about by a Jewish man named Herschel Grynszpan who was living in Paris at the time.The Germans by order of the SS deported many thousands of Jews to Poland and the Grynspan family was among them. When the Jews arrived at the border the Polish would not let them enter the country (³The Night of Broken Glass´). Herschel was told of this andbecame enraged overwhat happened to his family. In addition, he was looking at being removed from France because his request for permanent residency was denied. In his fury he went to the German embassy and killed one of the officials. Hitler¶s propaganda minister used the killing to bring about a plan for a ³popular uprising´ against the Jews, in which there would be no visible ties with Hitler¶s administration. However, his plan failed and the uprising was carried out by the SA, SS and party leaders (Gavin, ³The Night of Broken Glass´)

Blanchfield5 On the night of November 9, 1938, all throughout Germany and Austria, these men broke out the windows of Jewish businesses and homes. They also burned synagogues. There were thousands of businesses and over two hundred synagogues destroyed.Close to one hundred Jewish men were killed. In addition, there were around 25,000 Jews taken to the Dachau concentration camp and many other camps that were already established (Gavin, ³The
The day after Kristallnacht http://bit.ly/14tTBJ

Night of Broken Glass´).

In 1938 the Nazis implemented many new laws to strip Jews of every right. Some of the laws invalidated all Jewish passports and required all Jews to add a name that would identify them as Jews. Nazi leaders pushed for the ³Aryanization´ of all businesses forcing all Jewish business owners to sell to non-Jewish Germans. Nazi storm troopers conducted deportations of all Polish Jews back to their homeland. Poland was unprepared for the large number of refugees and forced the deported Jews to stay in abandon buildings in the border town of Zbaszyn (YadVashem, ³1938´, ³Zbaszyn´). The Rounding up of Jews. Following this the Germans invaded Poland in 1939 and quickly conquered it. There were close to two million Jews living in Poland at that time. Many hademigrated from Germany and they fell into the hands of the Nazis once again. At this time the Nazis no longer tried to appease the rest of the world with their actions. The SS squad joinedother military units and wreaked havoc on the Jews and the Poles. The Jews were required to wear ³the badge of shame´ which was the Star of David

Blanchfield6 on an armband or a lapel to identifythem (YadVashem, ³Conquest of Poland and Attacks on Jews´). By the fall of 1939 the Nazis had conquered most of Europe and established ghettos in Eastern Europe. There were close to one-thousand built,encompassing small sections of a city. Many were surrounded by brick walls. They imprisoned most of the European Jews in these ghettos while they wereawaitingdeportation to extermination or labor camps (Yad Vashem, ³Expansion of German Conquest and Policy towards Jews´). The living conditions of these ghettos were inhumane. There was widespread starvation and sickness throughout brought about by food rations.In addition, the ghettos were extremely overcrowded. For example, the Warsaw Ghetto located in Poland, was the largest and had a peak population of 450,000 in a
The Warsaw ghetto http://bit.ly/dUs411

1.3 square mile area(USHMM, ³Ghettos´). Over 80,000 Jews died in Warsaw (Yad Vashem, ³Warsaw´). Many Jews did not stay in the ghettos for long; they were deported to ether death or concentration camps (USHMM, ³Ghettos´).There were twenty-five major concentration camps and over a thousand other camps which were designed to force slave labor on its occupants(Vogelsang and Larsen, ³The Concentration Camps, 1933-45´). The living conditions at these camps were brutal. The men were crammed into bunks. In addition, the individuals worked on average twelve hours a day and were malnourished (Vogelsang and Larsen, ³The Concentration Camps, 1933-45´). Because of

Blanchfield7 the conditions, these camps claimed the lives of somewhere between 795,889 and 955,215men(USHMM, ³Concentration Camp System: In Depth´). ³The Final Solution to the Jewish Question´ As stated by Yad Vashem¶s website, around the beginning of ³Final Solution of the Jewish Question´ (the Nazis plan to kill all the Jews),the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941. The first mass killings of Jews and communists were carried out by Einsatzgruppen units. The Einsatzgruppen consisted of four mobile killing squads- A, B, C, D (Yad Vashem, ³The Beginning of The Final Solution´). The first of these despicable mass murders was conducted by squad C in September of 1941 at Babi-Yar which is located near Kiev, Ukraine. The squad spent two days killing 33,771 Jews.Up to this point woman and children were killed in the crossfire, but they were now targets
A mass grave http://bit.ly/hfkhkc

of extermination (Yad Vashem, ³The Beginning of The Final Solution´).

They continued these killings until late 1941 when the Germans realized they were not winning the war with the Soviets. As a result, the killings stopped so the Jews could work making roads, military equipment and other things to help the war continue. Early in the following year, the killings resumed(Yad Vashem, The Beginning of The Final Solution´).

Blanchfield8 TheWannsee Conference. After a short time, the Wannsee conference was held with theNazi elites in January of 1942. The purpose of the conference was to determine how to kill the Jews in a more effective and impersonal manner. The mass shootings were having adverse psychological effects on the Nazi troops. The Nazis had already been
The house where the conference took place http://bit.ly/gr038T

experimenting with new and more effective

ways to kill people. The leaders concurred the most effective way to fast and impersonal killing was to use gas chambers(The Holocaust History Project). Following the conference they built death campsto carry out the gassing. Now that the Nazis had the answer to their problem, they quickly started to transport all Jews to these death camps for mass extermination (Vogelsang and Larsen, ³Extermination Camps´). The Extermination methods of the Germans Many execution methods were trieduntil 1942 when they held the Wannsee Conference. The first were mass shootings in which the Nazis had the Jews dig massive holes. The executioners made the victims line up at the edge of the pit and they were murdered by a firing squad. After everyone dropped it to the pit, the slaughterers had the next group line up for assignation and this continued for some time (Yad Vashem, ³The Beginning of The Final Solution´). The mass shootings of woman and children had a major psychological impact on the Nazis, so they looked for a new way to kill. The second method was theuse of box

Blanchfield9 trucks. The trucks were sealed and fitted with a pipe that directed all of the trucks exhaust into the back were the victims were crowded. This was effective in not having the victims being watched while being killed (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, ³Gassing Operations´). The gassing trucks proved to be too slow for large scale extermination and a more efficient way was developed. The Germans started to use chambers were they would pump in ether carbon monoxide or Zyklon-B gas into a large room filled with many men, woman and children. This proved to be the most effective way of mass execution (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, ³Gassing Operations´). Death camps.These were built and used to the fullest extent after the ³Final Solution´ was decided upon. There were six death camps including Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibor, Majdanek, Belzec and Auschwitz. Most of the camps used carbon monoxide except Auschwitz and Majdanek which used Zyklon-B gas (Vogelsang and Larsen,

³Extermination Camps´). There were three Auschwitz camps in close proximity. Auschwitz-Birkenau also known
Inside the main gas chamber at Auschwitz http://bit.ly/eMv9Xl

as Auschwitz II was the largest gassing facility of all. Prisoners arrived in cattle cars to the camp. There was a selection process were the SS would take a small number of people and send them to forced labor and the rest were quickly moved into the gas chambers. The Nazis made the gas chambers to resemble showers to trick the victims into entering. After the victims were gassed they were moved into a crematorium and

Blanchfield10 burned.(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, ³Auschwitz´).At times the crematories could not handle the amount of people and they were thrown into piles and burned in the open (Vogelsang and Larsen, ³Extermination Camps´). Auschwitz II in its most efficient time was killing around 6,000 people a day. It claimed the
One of the crematoriums at Auschwitz http://bit.ly/e4Bkbd

lives of around 1,085,000 people from October 1941 to November 1944, when the SS dismantled the gas chambers (USHMM, ³Auschwitz´). The total number of people killed between all six of the death camps was over 3,000,000 (Vogelsang and Larsen, ³Extermination Camps´). The liberation of the camps When the Holocaust was coming to an end because the Nazis were losing the war, the SS started to force the prisoners on³Death Marches´ from the camps in Poland toward the interior portion of Germany. Thousands of men died on these marches because of starvation, exhaustion or execution (USHMM, ³Death Marches´). Around 200,000 to 250,000 prisoners died on these marches (Yad Vashem, ³The Final Stages of the War and the Aftermath´). In 1945, U.S., Soviet and British forces swept across Europe and liberated the camps and ghettos. When they came across these ³Death Marches´ they were disbanded. When the forces entered the camps they
Piles of corpses after camp liberation http://bit.ly/i0guQi

Blanchfield11 found massive amounts of dead bodies and human remains. In addition, they found starving and diseased prisoners (USHMM, ³Liberation of Nazi Camps´). After liberation.The Jews returning to Germany were not welcomed back home after the liberation. They were met with hostility and anti-Semitic gangs quickly formed. These gangs murdered close to 1,500 Jews within the first month (Yad Vashem, ³The Final Stages of the War and the Aftermath´). Some Jews headed toward Poland after encountering such hostility in an effort to live peacefully. ³The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee´ provided support for the displaced Jews by providing food, medical care and other necessities (Yad Vashem, ³The Final Stages of the War and the Aftermath´). Other Jews left toward Palestine. Around 70,000 arrived in Palestine, but over 50,000 were arrested and were again put into camps due to a British mandate limiting immigrants. The Joint Distribution Committee helped the Jews with their connection to Palestine (Yad Vashem, ³The Final Stages of the War and the Aftermath´). ³On November 27, 1947, the United Nations resolved to terminate the British Mandate for Palestine and to divide the country into two states: one Jewish and one Arab.´ On the next day a war began and the Jews gained their independence (Yad Vashem, ³The Final Stages of the War and the Aftermath´). The
The Israel flag http://bit.ly/gdc8V3

State of Israel was formed in May 1948 and the Jewish people finely had a place to establish

Blanchfield12 their home (USHMM, ³The Aftermath of the Holocaust´). The Jews who once had to wear the Star of David for shame now display it on their flag with pride.

Blanchfield13 Works Cited Gavin, Philip. The History Place.N.p., 4 July 1996. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. ---.³The Night of Broken Glass.´ ---.³The Nuremberg Laws.´ The Holocaust History Project.³ The Wannsee Conference´.N.p., 1998. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. Jones, Adam. ³Case Study: The Jewish Holocaust, 1933-45.´ Gendercide Watch .N.p., 1999. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. ---. ³The Aftermath of the Holocaust.´ ---. ³Auschwitz.´ ---. ³Concentration Camp System: In Depth.´ ---. ³Gassing Operations.´ ---. ³Germany: Establishment of the Nazi Dictatorship.´ ---. ³Ghettos.´ ---. ³Liberation of Nazi Camps.´ Vogelsang, Peter, and Brian B. Larsen.The Danish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.N.p., 2002. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. ---. ³The Concentration Camps, 1933-45.´ ---. ³Extermination Camps.´

Blanchfield14 Yad Vashem- The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority.International Institute for Holocaust Research, 2011.Web. 26 Feb. 2011. ---. ³1938.´ ---. ³Antisemitism.´ ---. The Beginning of The Final Solution.´ ---. ³Conquest of Poland and Attacks on Jews.´ ---. ³Death Marches.´ ---. ³Expansion of German Conquest and Policy Towards Jews.´ ---. ³The Final Stages of the War and the Aftermath.´ ---. ³Rise of the Nazis and Beginning of Persecution.´ ---. ³Warsaw.´

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