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Adolf Hitler and the Nazis found their only handicap in gaining total world power. In Hitler’s mid, his problem was the Jews and inferior races in Germany. Hitler was a man that would do whatever it took to accomplish his goal. So he planned a night of chaos which later became known as “Kristallnacht”. He blamed this terrifying night on the Jews and immediately they were exported to concentration and death camps. In these camps, Jews were tortured beyond belief and treated as if they were wild animals. The Nazis did everything in their power, that was inhumane to punish and kill the Jews. Because of the torture and medical experiments conducted by doctors and SS officers, concentration and death camps have gone down in history as the most inhumane and depraved places conceived by man.

In Germany, the Nazis established concentration camps almost immediately after assuming power on January 30, 1933. February of 1933, a decree removed the constitutional protection against arbitrary arrest. Immediately following these arrests, these people would be sent by train to designated concentration and death camps(concentration 1). There were three types of prisoners that were taken into these camps: “politicals”, “asocials”, and “inferior races”. The “politicals” consisted of communists, social democrats, and Jehovah’s witnesses. The “asocials” were habitual criminals, and sex offenders. And finally, the “inferior races” were made up of Jews and Gypsies(Meltzer 28). These concentration camps were designed by Hitler to hold people in “protective custody”. However, the true function of the concentration camps was to eliminate every form of active or potential opposition(Meltzer 27). These camps were stationed all over Europe. There were four main concentration camps: Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Plaszow, and Landsberg. Each of these camps approximately contained 25,000


people. Bookkeeping was done at each camp. Millions of Jews were processed through each camp and assigned a number. Then they would be tattooed on the left arm(Meltzer 117). Here SS officers ruled with military discipline. Men and women worked daily in tile factories outside of the camp. The work here was not done leisurely, but under strict command and control by the Nazi officers( Meltzer 28). Hitler later came upon the idea of death camps. He created camps where Jews would be shot, tortured, gassed, or experimented with medically. The four main death camps were Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor. Train loads of men and women would be brought to these camps. When they arrived, there was a doctor waiting for them. The people would be stripped completely naked and give up their shoes, valuables, spectacles, artificial limbs, and their hair. Then the doctor would point to the right, or he would point to the left. One way, a victim would be immediately taken to the showers and gassed with Zyklon B, and the other way, the victim would be put to work for the time being( Meltzer 127- 128). Doctors were brought to the camps to perform the most bizarre medical experiments ever. They tested on Malaria, High Altitude, Freezing the human body, and changing peoples eye color(“medical experiments”). For the freezing tests, people were put in below freezing temperatures for up to fourteen hours without any clothing. Then the doctors would watch and record their reactions. The Air force put prisoners in a rocket, and sent the rocket up as high as possible while stimulated altitudes until they were killed( Meltzer 131-132). Their final problem was disposing the bodies. At first, bodies were buried in mass graves, but this created bad odors, and left evidence of killing. Then cremation in small ovens was tried, but these ovens could not dispose of the bodies quickly enough.


So at Auschwitz bodies were burned in open pits. The record for killing at Auschwitz was 34,000 people in twenty-four hours. There was no reasoning behind this madness. The Nazis had no intentions of gaining anything from these experiments. Their only purpose for this was to destroy and annihilate the Jews in the most inhumane and unbelievable ways. Words cannot describe what happened inside the barbed wire fences of these camps.

Killing mass amounts of people was Hitler’s way of showing his power. He thought the Jews were his problem, so he decided to get rid of them. He was set off by “Kristallnacht”, “the night of the broken glass”. This was the night when Synagogues were burned down, and 7,500 shops were ransacked and destroyed by the Nazis, but yet Hitler blamed the Jews for this chaotic evening. He made them pay for the damage by sending them to concentration camps(Ellis 782). It was said that Hitler, “decided to rid Europe of a whole people by simply having them shot to death.”(Meltzer 105). Once again, there are many questions with no answers. Hitler killed millions of Jews during the Holocaust, but yet he had no apparent reasons for his absurd and unimaginable actions. He must have had a hatred inside of him that drove him to the point where he found it necessary to exterminate the Jews, but there is no point like that in any human. He was simply mentally disturbed.

Three Nazi leaders under Hitler made very important decisions. These men were, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, and Hermann Goering. They came up with a “final solution”. Their plan was to get rid of all the Jews by concentrating them in a small and confined area. These were developed, and eventually they worked very


successfully for the Nazis(Meltzer 77). Himmler was the head of the SS. He called on all modern technology equipment to be installed in concentration camps. This equipment consisted of gas chambers and crematoria. He deported full Polish Ghettos, and Jews from all over Europe and sent them to the east(Findley 246). On the other side, there were no specific revolt groups except for one at Treblinka. However, there were many uprisings at the camps. If loved ones were seen being taken to the Gas Chambers, family would do everything in their power to stop them until they were shot by other guards. On Monday, August 2, 1943, sixty Jews planned an uprising at the feared death camp, Treblinka. These men tried to disarm the guards and burn the camp down, and then travel to a Polish camp about a mile away. Out of the seven hundred that tried to escape, only about two hundred were successful(Meltzer 83). This was the only way out for many of the Jews. If they didn’t escape, they would be burned to death. A tough decision that many were forced to make. They could escape and leave loved ones behind or stay in the camps and watch their families, and later them be killed.

Six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust(Meltzer 182). Many Jews said they would rather die a Jew, than live practicing Nazism. Killed in camps, and on the streets the Jews did not stand a chance in Europe. They had to escape while they could. Families would meet together and discuss how, when, and where they were going to go. Many decided to head south, towards the Mediterranean Sea. Finally, their dream came true. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations made the land occupied by Jews from the Holocaust, the state of Israel(Friedman 120 –121). The Jews who escaped now had their own homeland.


Forgetting what we knew is inhumane. By nature, man is neither good nor evil. He has both possibilities. And the freedom to realize one or the other(Meltzer 191). Words cannot describe what a Jewish man or woman might have been subject to during

this time. Experiences at these camps that changed their lives forever will always be in the back of their minds. Nor can words describe the killings and tortures committed by the Nazis. Their actions contradict their beliefs. Their actions also go against all morals ever taught by and to man. Some Jews may forgive the Nazis for the terror and fear they put into their lives, and some may not, but no matter how hard they try to move on, they will never forget what happened to them in Europe during the Nazi Holocaust.

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