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The Holocaust Essay, Research Paper


Many people from different countries where held as prisoners in concentration and death camps. The main victims of these camps were the Jews. They were discriminated because of their religion and there way of life. The number one reason why concentration and death camps ever existed was because of hate. The three main obstacles the Jews had to face in the holocaust were starvation, famine, and torture.

The word holocaust meant an offering to God that was entirely consumed by fire.(Rogasky 6) Once World War II was over the definition changed to any large area or great number of people destroyed by fire.(Rogasky 6) The holocaust was a movement. In this movement the Jewish community was to be sent to concentration camps which from the Nazi?s definition was a prison camp where dangerous people were sent.(Rogasky 7) Once the concentration camps where full the Jews were deported to death camps, who basic purpose was to kill Jews.(Rogasky 7) Every thing that was going on during the holocaust was under the supervision of the ss or protection squad.(Rogasky 8)

Poland was chosen as the location for the extermination camps because of her isolation form the rest of Europe, and primarily because she contained the largest number of Jews.(Rogasky 8) the Nazi definition of a Jew was anyone with three or more Jewish grandparents, if he belonged to the Jewish community as of September 1, 1939 or had entered it since that date, or was married to a Jew.(Rogasky 6)

Nazi policy toward the Jews was based on the racist philosophy expressed by Adolf Hitler in his infamous book, Mein Kampf.(Hayes 30) According to Hitler the Aryan race of which the Germans were the natural leaders represented the superior race, biologically predestined to rule the world.(Hayes 30)the Jews according to this were an inferior race with no culture of their own.(Hayes 30) Jews were forbidden to be doctors, lawyers, sell to Christians, teachers, could get no care from Christian nurses, and had to were a special article of clothing or a badge.(Rogasky 7)

Reinhard Heydrich was the chief of the Reich Security Main Office.(Hayes 30) On September 20, 1939, he issued a directive called ?The Jewish Question in Occupied Territory.? (Hayes 31) It ordered the movement of all Jews in Poland, as well as those in other areas under German control.(Hayes 31) To special places set aside for them in the main cities of the General Government called Ghettos.

There were five main Ghettos created by the Germans.( Rogasky 8) The worst and most talked about was the Warsaw Ghetto. On September 5, 1942, the Nazis ordered all Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto to report ?for registration purposes,? bringing with them food for two days.(Katz 20) Once inhabited by more than 500,000, the ghetto now held a little more than 115,000.(Katz 20) They collected in a seven-square-block area that was roped off and surrounded by armed guard. (Katz 20)

There were over 500,000 Jews in Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933.(Katz 30) By 1939 over 300,000 had left for other countries in 1911 164,000 remained.(Katz 20) Society today wonders why the Jews stayed. They paid a heavy security tax if they left and had to sign all their property over to the government. They were allowed to take very little with them. In addition they had to give up what they spent their lives working for.(Katz 21) They had to start over again with almost empty pockets. Once deported the Jews where put on trains. Each train car could hold eight horses or forty soldiers. About 120-130 men, women, and children where in each one.(kuper 15) The doors were sealed shut, there was no room to sit or lie down. There was no food, water, or heat. This lasted for several days in the coldest time of the year. The only light that came through was from a small opening covered with bars or barbed wire. (Kuper 15) Many froze to death before arrival. Babies were killed on the spot because they could not work.

On arrival the car doors were torn ajar. Shouts were fired. S.S. men with whips and one half of wild Alsatian dogs swarmed all over the place.(Lipstadt 10) They were herded to the end of the plate form, where they formed two columns.(Lipstadt 10) Men on one side, women and children on the other side. Then and there the first section was made. Later they were taken to the showers and forced to undress in the cold.(Lipstadt 10) All hair was cut off including pubic, arm pits, and face. Then they were forced to take a cold shower in a limited amount of time.(Lipstadt 11) Afterwards they were disinfected with a foul-smelling blue liquid and given clothes form the dead. Whether they fit or not that was the only clothing given to them. Once dressed they were given a number.

Barracks were called blocks. It was meant for 500 people but held 2,000.(Meltzer 30) Four or five people slept on each bunk, head to foot. The mattress was filthy straw on bare wooden planks. One or two buckets served as toilets.(Meltzer 30) The Nazis allowed no food in the ghetto for three days. Eventually they announced that all who reported voluntarily for ?resettlement? would be given bread. (Meltzer 30)

Starvation was the deliberate Nazi policy. The amount of food the ghetto was allowed could change week to week, sometimes from day to day. At its very best it was no more than 1,000 calories a day.(Melter 30) There were long periods when not even that much food was made available. Normally the Jews only got 350 calories a day.(Melter 30)

Typhus is a disease directly connected with over crowding and filth. It is extremely contagious and 16,000 people died of it in Warsaw alone.(Shenitz 59)

The work was back breaking and physically destructive. If that were not enough, some kapos forced the Jews to work at a run or beat them mercilessly.(Rogasky 29) As many as one half a work group dies on any given day. Others near collapse, would be helped to the entrance of the camp by their fellow inmates. Than snap upright and march to go through a roll call.(Shenitz 10)

On a roll call the Jews was awakened at 4:00 a.m. or earlier. Rushed out into the field, lined up and roll call began. Numbers had to match the records. If one person was missing, it could last up to 24 hours. Those that died during the night were dragged out to the field to be counted as well. People who moved, dropped, had low numbers, or even wore a hat backwards were shot on the spot.(Lipstadt 33)

If the prisoner didn?t starve, then he would die of disease. If he didn?t die of disease, then he would be deliberately murdered by a camp personnel, given a severe beating, forced to participate in a cruel game, however, if that did not finish him, then work beyond strength would kill him. Nevertheless, if none of these destroyed him, then the regular selection for the gas chamber would be the end of him.

Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.(Kuper 11) The war was over and 60% of Jews in Poland were already exterminated. All the prisons were freed and their gates opened. Europe swarmed with millions of people set free from labor camps, jails and concentration camps, joined by the mutilation of workers who were departed to Germany for forced labor. Approximately 300,000 Jews were left a live out of 3.5 million.(Rogasky 24)

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