Hitler Makes War on the Jews, the Holocaust Begins: Racial Beliefs and Anti-Semitism

Kristallnacht November 9, 1938

The Holocaust was the outcome of “Adolf Hitler’s extreme anti-Semitism as it was manifested in the policies of the Nazi Party.” (Axelrod) Anti-Semitism is being prejudice or showing hatred toward Jews for their beliefs. Holocaust (‘olah) means burnt sacrifice. Hitler (as well as the Nazi’s) believed that Jews were bringing down the advancement of the German people. Therefore, he wanted to “exterminate” them from German and overall European life. Europeans have hated the Jews long before Hitler manly because the religious beliefs were strictly Christian and anything against it was considered “wrong”. Jews were called subhuman, which in Hitler’s eyes meant they were not good enough for the Aryan “race” (the Germans). When Hitler became the chancellor of Germany he began to boycott Jewish businesses and made restrictions on Jews attendance at schools and universities. Another restriction Hitler made was called the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. According to Hitler and the Nazi’s, the Aryan’s were a race like “supermen” and were superior to the Jews. These laws affected the Jews and their status with the Aryans. The first law stated that no marriage or “extramarital sexual [relations] between Jews and Germans,” (Axelrod) were to be tolerated. The next major law is the second law that declared that Jews would be stripped of German citizenship. After the Nuremberg Laws, the first major massacre against the German Jews was on November 9, 1938 otherwise known as by the “Night of Broken Glass” or Kristallnacht. About “1,000 synagogues were vandalized or burned down and approximately 7,500 Jewish businesses were looted.” Jews that were not killed on this night were taken to concentration camps or death camps. Because of the newly harsh actions, Jews chose to flee to get away from Germany.

A Flood of Refugee

In the 1930's Hitler began putting pressure on the Jews to emigrate out of Germany. He did this by violence and legal repression against the Jews. A historic event that relates to the intensity of the segregation of Jews was on "The night of broken glass." The Jews who were affected by this event were either killed or sent to work camps. A total of 91 Jews were actually killed, along with many who were injured. For Jews leaving the country was an ideal option but not many countries were willing to take in Jewish refugees, and out of the 32 countries that were delegates, only the Dominican Republic accepted Jewish refugees. Jewish communities established what Jews considered a natural haven. This haven was called Palestine and it was a safe place for Jewish refugees to go. When Heavy taxes were placed on emigrating and this made it increasingly difficult to emigrate. Eventually Hitler made it forbidden for Jews to leave the country and any Jews remaining in the country were put in ghettos.

Isolating the Jews

When Hitler realized he could not get the Jews to emigrate he moved them to designated cities. The cities were called ghettos, the most well known ghettos was named Warsaw. The Ghettos isolated the Jews behind barbed wire fences and stone walls. Although the Nazis expected for the Jews to starve to death or die from disease, they were able to make it through the torture. The Jews managed to stick with their traditions and still hold plays and concerts within the walls. Teachers taught lessons in secret schools, and scholars kept records so one day people would know what really happened behind the walls of a ghetto.

Hitler Seeks a New Answer

During the Holocaust all of Germany had a Jewish Question or in other words were wondering what to do with the unwanted Jews. Hitler’s answer to the Jewish Question was called his Final Solution. This “solution” was to kill all Jews and other races he considered to be sub-human
Hitler's Process: Ridding of Jews
like Slavs, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and the mentally and physically disabled.
Since 1919 Hitler believed that the Aryan race was pure and wanted to “protect” their racial purity by killing the so-called Jewish race. Around 1933, Hitler tried to force Jewish emmigration when he and his Nazis gained power. The Nazi abused the Jews as an attempt to make them leave. The Nazis took the Jews privileges and possessions in hopes that they would leave Germany. Despite the struggle to remove the Jews, most countries would not accept them so they sent them back to Germany. “Hitler was annoyed of the Jews and thought he had to reason with them one way or another so Hitler sent Shutzstaffel squads (SS) into the Soviet Union and collected as many Jews as they could get.”(Hitler’s Final Solution: Paragraph 3) Hitler brought the Jews to death camps and concentration camps and created the most famous genocide, or mass murder, known in history.

The Killings Begin

The first killings started when Hitler started Holocaust and started to target innocent people, and mainly Jews. The only reason behind this was that Hitler viewed them as the reason for Germany’s defeat in the last World War. In order to carry out his plans, he created concentration camps and sent the “sub-humans” there to be tortured and eventually killed. The most commonly known concentration camp was Auschwitz in Poland, which held the single most deaths out of all the camps. Another camp with a bad history was Ellrich, with one of the worst external kommando forces, which were Nazi work forces. Before the prisoners made it to the camps, they were divided between able adults and teenagers, and weak adults or young children. “Adults who were sick or too weak to work were taken to death camps where they were hanged, shot or gassed to death by the thousands. Their bodies, stripped of clothing, jewelry and even the gold fillings in their teeth, were either dumped and buried in mass graves or cremated in large ovens and open pits. In some cases, whole families were imprisoned together. ” (Separating the Weak from the Strong, paragraph 2) The remaining prisoners were then sent off to the concentration camps. The Jews were used by Hitler as an example as to what would happen if he were to be opposed.

The Final Stage

When Hitler decided to carry out the idea of the Final Solution, his goal was to complete this process as soon as possible, then destroy all evidence of the genocide. "When we finally stamp out the plague we shall a deed whose significance our men out there on the battle field can even imagine yet."(Greenfeld) About 6 million Jews were killed by the Holocaust, and an estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million of them was children. Poland lost the most Jewish population out of any other country. On the other hand, Denmark managed to protect 97% of its Jewish population. Although six million Jews were brutally murdered in the Holocaust, there are approximately 350,000 survivors throughout the world. The survivors were successful by fending for themselves and thinking of what it means to be a human being. Some people would kill their own family if it meant they could live for one more day or receive another piece of bread. At the end of the Holocaust, several hundred thousand surviving Jews were left home less. The settling of the Jews was an almost impossible task due to the large number of people. Some did not want to return to their old homes in fear of being murdered by the mobs in Poland, and others did not want to return since the homes had become Soviet puppet states. In search of new homes, about 137,000 Jews moved to America. “Alicia Weinsberg moved to New York in 1948 at the age of nineteen.”(Greenfeld) In addition to the United States, survivors emigrated to France, Canada, Great Britain, and Israel. “Ann Shore left Europe in October 1948 and traveled to Canada with her mother and sister, they remained there until 1954 when they obtained visas to the United States.”(Greenfeld) The top two countries refugees sought homes were the United States and Israel.

What Was Genocide?
A) Mass Murder
B) Religion
C) Starting a War
D) Revenge

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