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What Was The Holocaust? Essay, Research Paper

In 6AD the Jewish

people were expelled from their homeland in the Middle??????????????? East by the Muslim

invaders.? They scattered to various

parts of the world, many settling in Europe where they were disliked due to

their religious beliefs, language, looks etc.Many were jealous of

the Jews and their prosperity and thus began to blame the Jews for everything

that went wrong in their country, leading to the hatred of the Jews. This was

called Anti-Semitism.? The Jews, in their

adopted countries began being persecuted and this continued throughout the

centuries.? One such example of

Anti-Semitism was in Russia where the Jews were forced to live in ghettos.? In most cases the ghettos were unprotected

and vulnerable to attack.? The pogroms

took advantage of this, regularly invading the ghettos, killing, robbing and

injuring hundreds of Jews without provocation.From 1933-1934 the

Nazi?s took control of Germany under Adolf Hitler who had an irrational hatred

of Jews.? They blamed the Jews their

loss of the war and accused them of trying to over-take the world.After the Nuremberg

Laws were introduced violence against the Jews increased radically and

thousands fled from Germany to other parts of Europe, but those who stayed could

not have imagined what was to come.In 1938 a Jew shot a

Nazi official dead and Hitler was absolutely furious.? He ordered his Army, the S.A, to commence a week of terror

against the Jews.? It began on 10th

November 1938 with ?The night of the Broken Glass.? 10,000 Jewish shopkeepers

had their windows smashed and contents looted while Jewish homes and Synagogues

went up in flames.? The S.A men murdered

dozens and arrested thousands on the grounds of being a Jew.The situation would

deteriorate soon after when the Jews were ordered to pay the Nazi government 1

billion Marks.? The S.A men also

continued their campaign of hate against the Jews through humiliation as they

forced innocent Jewish men, women and children to get down on their hands and

knees and scrub the streets.Even worse and even

more worrying was the fact that Heinrich Himmler ordered a massive expansion of

all Concentration camps in Buchenwald, Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Lichtenburg.In September 1939 the

German army defeated the Poles in just 2 weeks and as a result, all Jews living

in German occupied Europe were forced to register and relocate in major

cities.? More than 10,000 Jews of all

denominations arrived in Krakow daily.The Jews, after registering, were taken directly to a

ghetto where they were forced to re-house in

extremely overcrowded conditions (16 square blocks).? The men were separated from the women and children and

communication between them was forbidden.?

Meanwhile, Nazi

Eintantz murder squads followed thousands of Jews who tried to flee to Russia

and butchered them in the same fields as they buried them in. The Nazi officers

totally ruled the ghetto and there was hardly any opposition from the Jews who

seemed to accept that they were an inferior race to the Nazis.The S.A men used

extreme brutality against any Jews who stepped out of line and murder was not

uncommon in the ghetto. A conference was held

in Wannsee in January 1942 amongst the Nazis, to determine what to do with the

Jews and find a ?final solution.? The result was to attempt to exterminate the

entire Jewish population. Murder and savagery

increased after the liquidation of the ghetto in March 1943 when children and

other non-essential workers were taken away to Extermination camps while others

were taken to Forced labour camps to work for the Nazis, building new gas

chambers etc.Most of the Jews from

the Labour camps were also murdered sooner or later.? Overall, from 1941 ? 1945 6 million Jews were murdered and their

bodies incinerated. THIS WAS THE

HOLOCAUST. 2) How does Steven Spielberg represent the Holocaust

in ?Schindler?s List??Attitudes of Nazi?s: The film represents the Nazi officers and S.A men as

vicious, cruel, heartless, men who had absolutely no consideration or mercy

towards all Jews.We see evidence of

Nazi officers making fun of Jewish men in the street and trying to abuse the

Jewish men psychologically by cutting their hair, which is a valuable part of

Jewish tradition.? We also see them

forcing Jewish men, women and children onto their hands and knees in order to

scrub the streets with toothbrushes. The Nazi?s needed a

method of identifying Jews at all times, so they devised a method, which meant

that all Jews had to wear an armband containing ?The Star of David? on it.? S.A men treated the proprietors of these

armbands very badly and tried to intimidate shoppers into not using Jewish

businesses.After the war with

Poland, the Nazi?s made every Jew sign a census (for Jews only), before forcing

them out of their homes and re-housed them in a ghetto in Krakow.? This was a cold and heartless thing to do,

as the ghetto was only the size of 16 square blocks and there were usually 2 or

more Jewish families living in a single apartment. We see the Nazi?s raiding through the Jew?s former

homes in order to steal any possessions that may have been left behind by the

Jews.? This is yet another example of

the inconsideration and mercilessness of the S.A officers.When the liquidation of the Jews occurred in 1943 the Jews were forced

to leave the ghetto and move into Concentration Camps.? In the film we see how Jews, as soon as they

arrived, were ordered to strip naked while a doctor took a very quick look at

them to determine whether or not they were essential workers.? In the trains the women were pinching their

cheeks to make it look as though they were red and healthy.The unlucky Jews who

were not classified as being essential workers were herded into very large gas

chambers where the Nazi?s would commit mass murder by poisoning every Jew in

the chamber.? They bodies which were

removed by fellow Jews who were considered to be lucky due to their post before

being burned to get rid of all of the evidence.Overall we see the

Nazi?s as a heartless, vicious crowd of thugs.Jewish Ghettos: Following the signing of the census in 1943, all Jews were forced to

move into a tiny ghetto, which was only the size of 16 square blocks.As if this wasn?t bad

enough, the Jews were then segregated following the arrival of Amon Goeth to Plasow.?

Essential workers were housed away from their families, as were the

remainder of the men and in many cases, mothers and children were separated and

forbidden to see each other.While the Jews were

?coped up? in the ghetto, the Nazi?s tried to find a ?Final Solution? of how to

deal with the Jewish problem; the Jews.In ?Schindler?s List?

we see incidents of police brutality as S.A men, unprovoked, attack and murder

innocent Jews in the ghetto and we also see how the Jews totally feared the

Nazi?s and never ?stepped out of line.?The ghetto was very

crowded due to its over-population and as a result of this the whole place was

very dirty.? In fact, if an epidemic had

started it would have spread very quickly and could have wiped out the entire

ghetto in a matter of days.Purpose of Concentration Camps: Most of the Concentration Camps were built especially,

whenever the Nazis were debating at Wannsee, to over-work, murder and imprison

the Jews.? In the film,

Spielberg concentrates mostly on the Concentration Camp at Plasow and it?s

goings on inside.? Plasow was a forced

labour camp, which meant that Jews were not necessarily exterminated

immediately, instead they done manual labour. The proceeds of this labour and

hard work went towards the Nazi government.The Jews, however,

whom were classified as non-essential workers were stripped????? naked and put back on the trains which

then headed straight to Auschwitz, or another extermination camp.? They arrived off the trains unsure of what

to expect and soon they were handed towels and soap and told to enter the

?shower room.?The ?shower room? was

a D-Coy and it was actually a massive gas chamber and?? as soon as the door shut behind them the Jews were condemned.Inside the camps the

Nazi?s forced the Jews to build bigger extermination chambers – in most which

cases, which would be responsible for the deaths of it?s constructors.Overall, the

Concentration Camps were designed for the torture and downfall of Jewish

religion and society and between the forced labour and extermination camps;

they caused several million Jewish lives to be cut short.Conditions in Camps:? Camps were

even more crowded and brutal than the ghetto. We see several cases of murder

without provocation by the Nazi?s, especially Amon Goeth. ?He sits perched up in his big house, which

overlooks the camp and after coolly piecing together his rifle, picks a target

and shoots him/her.This shows how

difficult and frightening it must have been for the???????? Jews and gives us an insight into the cruelty, which went

on inside the camps. ????????????? Crowdedness was the

main problem which, most worried the Nazi?s, and I am sure that if the Jews had

of held an uprising then they would have overcame the Nazis due to their

superior numbers.But the Nazi?s realised

this and thus were quick to quench the hopes of the Jews by installing fear in

them by killing and beating up innocent Jews.In the extermination

camps the problem of over-crowdedness was overcame by simply killing hundreds

and thousands of Jews who were not totally satisfied with the housing

situation.In my opinion the

Jews were in a way, lucky that an epidemic didn?t break out, as it would have

prematurely wiped out the ghetto.Treatment of Jewish Children:? Whenever

Amon Goeth segregated the ghetto the children were forced to part with either

one or both parents.? Spielberg must

have felt strongly about the torture, which the children were subjected to, as

we witness several cases of Nazi brutality against the Jewish children.One Jewish girl was

caught smoking and as a punishment was trailed along the ground by her hair by

an S.A man before being kicked and beaten.Amon Goeth we see

then, shooting and killing an innocent Jewish boy who was unable to scrub the

lime scale from his bath.The Jewish children

obviously did not harbour any ill feelings against the Nazi?s, as they would

not have understood what was going on at the time and I think that Spielberg

used this fact to his advantage in order to emphasise the cruelty of the

?Master-race.?Jewish children had

their heads shaved hastily to avoid getting head-lice and we are given an

indication of how scared the Jewish children were when we see them hiding in

the mass toilets which the Jews used.Oscar Schindler

obviously cared about the children as we see him protecting his young workers

when officers mistake them for non-essential workers.The children,

although innocent were not excused from being put to death as we witnessed them

being taken away in 3 lorry loads as they happily waved to their distraught

parents who feared the worst for their loved ones. Attitudes

of Jews:? From my point of view the Jews were an extremely

harshly treated race, but despite this were unable to prevent this treatment

due to their total fear of their German counterparts.? Throughout the entire

3-hour film we only see one or two instances of the Jews showing any resistance

against the Nazis, and this gives us the impression that the Jews accepted that

they were an inferior race and were totally petrified of the S.A men.One such instance

came whenever the Nazi officers ordered the liquidation of the ghetto but not

all Jews abided faithfully to these instructions.? Many of the Jews had sensed this order had been coming and thus

had prepared hiding places in their apartments, eg. Beneath the floorboards

etc.Jews never

communicated with Nazi officers or S.A men for fear of being shot or beaten and

this sums up the situation between the races.We see an example of

how the Nazi men worked early in the film when the officers isolate a solitary

Jew and surround him and intimidate him.?

They proceeded to humiliate him and cut off his hair, which was an

important part of Jewish tradition.Mr Spielberg also

shows how the Nazis forced the Jews of all ages to get on to their knees and

scrub the streets with toothbrushes.Overall we get the

impression from the film that the Jews were very scared, docile towards the S.A

men and came to accept that they were an inferior race.?Selection of

Jews for Work or Extermination: ?After Amon Goeth segregated the ghetto he

decided that he would classify the Jews into two separate classes: Essential

workers and Non- Essential workers. Those Jews who were

?lucky enough? to be classified as being Essential workers were not exterminated,

but instead were sent to forced labour camps.?

The others, who were seen as being non-essential workers, were sent

directly to the gas chamber for extermination.The process by which

the Jews were classified was quite ludicrous.?

A German doctor sat perched on a chair while the Jews lined up in single

file, one behind each other.? The doctor

took one very brief look at the Jew and from that, decided if he/she was an

essential or non-essential worker.In ?Schindler?s List?

we see how, on the train, the Jewish women pinched their cheeks to try and

burst some blood vessels, in order to make their cheeks red and thus look

healthy.The Nazis did not

like very educated Jews and put most teachers and talented musicians straight

into the gas chamber as soon as they heard their professions.Unfortunately, most

of the Jews who were said to be non-essential workers were women and children,

resulting in their extermination.Transport

of Jews to Death Camps:? The Nazis herded the hundreds of thousands of non-essential

workers on to massive freight trains and cattle wagons.? These trains and wagons had previously been

used to carry livestock or cargo across the country and there must have been a

terrible stench in the compartments.The

trains were also segregated and Spielberg shows us, in the film, how sometimes

between 30 and 40 Jews could be packed into one small compartment.The

Jews found it very difficult to breathe in the compartments as the vast numbers

quickly used up all of the available oxygen. It was hard and extremely

agitating for the Jews in the hot, humid weather and we see how the fought to

get their heads out the small window. These

trains drove directly into the Concentration Camps where the majority of the

Jews would go on to face their fate. Some journeys lasted up to 6 days and in

the film we see how the Jews on board, speculated and debated over what would

happen to them when they reached their destination.Extermination:? Hundreds

and thousands of Jews were murdered even before they reached the Concentration

Camps as we seen in the ghetto, due to S.A brutality.? Spielberg shows several incidents where Amon Goeth or other Nazi

officers shooting random Jews for personal pleasure or satisfaction.Gas

chambers had previously only been able to hold around 200 Jews but the Nazi?s

forced the Jewish captives to erect new larger, more efficient chambers in 1938

and soon most chambers could hold up to 2,000 Jews at once.The

Jews were told to strip naked in order to part-take in a mass shower.? Sometimes they were handed soap and towels

to avoid any arousing suspicion.As

soon as the Jews were all in the chamber, the large door was slammed shut

behind them and, through an opening in the roof; a piece of crystallised

prussic acid was dropped in.? The

acid poisoned everyone and within 15 minutes the entire chamber was dead.? Jewish prisoners dragged out the corpses,

which were then incinerated.In

?Schindler?s List? we don?t actually see the Jews being gassed but we do see a

?close shave? where a gas chamber was filled with Jews who expected the worst,

but to their surprise the showers turned on and produced water for them to


do, however, see the incineration of the corpses in large hollows and there is

more evidence of the burning of the bodies when grey/black ash is produced from

the large chimneys in the Camps. 3) Do the other sources support the

interpretation? Attitudes of Nazis: The Nazis, on the whole, were portrayed as a very

cold, heartless race that absolutely despised all Jews and took their

anti-Semitism to the extremes.We

see how the Nazi officers and S.A men took pleasure in torturing, abusing and

murdering innocent Jews.? They seemed to

enjoy installing fear in the hearts of every Jew and did not mind showing it.An

example of the hatred and callousness of the Nazis was supported by Source 4 in which Adolf Hitler

himself is quoted as saying, ?Out of the ghetto and into the ghetto with them.?


the following source (Source 5)

Rudolf Hoss states, ?The Jews are the sworn enemies of the German and must be

eradicated.? Every Jew we can lay our

hands on is to be destroyed now, during the war, without exception.?Whenever

the Jews are labelled ?Cargo? in Source

8 we see just how the Nazis regard the Jew?s lives as being worthless.? I get the impression that this view is

shared by the Nazis in ?Schindler?s List? and thus is the interpretation is

supported by the sources.Jewish Ghettos:? In

?Schindler?s List? we see how the Jews were forced into the ghetto after

registering their names and being forcefully segregated.? We also see how there were two or three

families sharing single apartments and how Nazi officers regularly raided the

apartments.? The Nazis ruled supreme in

the ghetto and we see it as being a dirty, overcrowded area, inhabited by very

frightened Jews.? The source supports

this answer fully as it emphasises the scared, timid Jews.In

the final paragraph, Source 32

E.J Passant tells of the procedure taken following the capture of a Jewish

region.? This does support the

interpretation as it tells how firstly the Jews were ordered to register and

then subjected to hearing and comprehending with the Nuremberg laws.? Next came enforced concentration and lastly

came the deportation of the Jews into the Concentration Camps of Poland or

Germany where, he says, ?Death through overwork, starvation, or the gas oven

awaited them.? Conditions in Camps:? Camps, like

the ghetto, were extremely crowded and again, the Jews constantly lived in fear

of being killed.? Spielberg shows us

several instances where Nazis ruthlessly kill innocent, unarmed Jews.? We see how the Jews are forced to work for

the Nazis in the camps by building new gas chambers, etc.? Source

6 supports this theory of the camps being chaotic, over-crowded and brutal.? It is a painting by a former inmate, which

shows women running along naked in a camp, being selected for extermination.Source 15 also supports the interpretation: ?Men hardened by

battle were sickened by sights, sands and stenches and by cruelties so enormous

as to be incomprehensible to the normal human mind.? Inmates testified to blows, beatings and kicking?s as a part of

daily life??Another

source to back up my interpretation is Source

16, which states that some prisoners ?resorted to cannibalism? and were

?living in abominable squalor.?? Purpose of Concentration Camps:? As we find

out in the film, there were two different types of camps; Forced Labour Camps

and Extermination Camps. ?Schindler?s List? concentrates mainly on Plasow,

which was a forced labour camp where Jews were made to work in factories,

etc.? One example of an extermination

camp was Auswitch where thousands of Jews were gassed but it was not unusual

for killings to happen regularly in forced labour camps.Once

again the Source 17 supports

the interpretation in that it tells of the torture and murder of thousands of

Jews in concentration camps.? Source 17 also tells us that

Auswitch was very successful in // the final solution as it could hold 2000

Jews in one gas chamber at any one time.The

map (Source 2) gives us a

clear view of all of the sites of the Nazi Concentration Camps in Germany,

Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland of both denominations.Treatment of Jewish Children:? Spielberg

shows us the brutality and ruthlessness of the Nazis when he shows the children

being separated from their parents inside the camps and also by emphasising the

terror of the Jewish children, who went to extreme measures to avoid the SS

men, eg. Hiding in the communal toilets.?

We see several separate incidents of police brutality towards children

including, beatings, kicking?s shootings and shaving their heads.Source 24 is an example, which supports the film.? It describes discrimination against

children: ?Children of a tender age were invariably exterminated since by

reason of their youth they were unable to work?? In other words, children were

seen as non-essential workers and as a result, were taken away to be gassed,

just as depicted in ?Schindler?s List? where we see 3 lorry loads of children

being taken away to be murdered.Attitudes of Jews:? Spielberg

portrays the Jews as an extremely scared, docile race in ?Schindler?s List? and

we get the impression that they, scornfully, respect the Nazis and SS

Officers.? It is clear that the Jews had

accepted that they were an inferior race and were too frightened to anything

about it.Source 23 was a plea, which does support my interpretation, to

the outside world, by a Jew who is incensed, as people outside Nazi-invaded

countries will not come to their rescue.In

Source 29 we witness the fear

in one mans mind as he crawled to Goeth begging for mercy and hugging his legs

and ankles.? The writer calls it ?the

Ultimate Submission.?Selection of Jews for Work or

Extermination:? In ?Schindler?s List? we see how Nazi

doctors take one brief look at the Jews and proclaim whether he/she is an

essential or a non-essential worker.?

This of course is ridiculous but it saved time and was efficient.? We hear Amon Goeth talk about how he hates

Jewish musicians and educated Jews and instead preferred hardened labourers.In

Source 10 a statement reads:

? Jews capable of work will join labour gangs.?

Doubtless, a large part will fall away through natural selection; the

remainder will be dealt with appropriately.?Source 26 also supports the interpretation, ?Selection took

place at a railway road as soon as the victims got off the trains? There were

heart-rending scenes as wives were torn from husbands and children from

parents.Transport of Jews to Extermination

Camps:? The Jews were carried on freight and cattle trains and they were

packed into small carriages where oxygen, water and food were scarce.? Oscar Schindler, in the film, is seen to be

hosing the Jews in the trains to prevent them dying of thirst or heat

exhaustion.? Of course, he was accused

of being too friendly to the Jews and as a result was thrown in jail.We

watched a documentary from the Holocaust Educational Trust, which supports the

film. It showed actual footage of Jewish deportation, which seemed identical to

the film?s portrayal of the version of events.?

Extermination of Jews:? There are

several sources which support the fact that the gas chambers were totally

brutal and deceiving, as the Jews thought that they were getting a shower but instead

were being led into a gas chamber.? Rudolf

Hess describes how the Jews were murdered and what usually happened in Source 9.? Hess tells of how he liquidated 80,000 Jews

in six months but then changed his methods.?

He built larger chambers, which could hold 2,000 Jews and stopped using

carbon monoxide, preferring to use crystallised prussic acid.? He knew the people were dead when they

stopped screaming.Source 14 explains that sometimes the Nazis handed the Jews

soap and towels before locking them in the gas chamber.? Then in Source

18, William Shirer says that Jews were packed into the chambers ?like

sardines? and that through heavy portholes the SS Men could watch what happened

when realisation struck the Jews and they stampeded towards the door.Overall,

I have come to the conclusion that, after studying the sources, it is evident

that the sources definitely support the interpretations of the 9 points.4) Is ?Schindler?s List? an accurate

interpretation of the Holocaust? After

analysing, in depth, the film and the sources I have come to the conclusion

that ?Schindler?s List? is an excellently researched and documented film which

is very accurate in it?s interpretations of the actual goings on during the


say that photographs never lie and we are shown two photos in the booklet,

which we received.? The first (Source 3) shows a solitary Jew

who has been singled out by several S.A men who are crowded around him.? They appear to be intimidating the man and

one of the officers is armed with a pair of scissors and seems to be ready to

cut off the Jew?s hair.? This is just

one of many examples which supports the view that the film is an accurate

portrayal of the Holocaust.The

other photograph is found in Source 7

and is a lot more serious and morbid than the previous one.? It shows an oven used to burn the bodies of

the Jewish corpses in order to save space and get rid of all the evidence.? In ?Schindler?s List? we do not actually see

an oven but we are lead to believe that they exist through the inclusion of the

three large chimneys, which each expelled grey ash ? the Jewish remains.The

painting, which was drawn by a former Concentration Camp inmate in Source 6 shows naked Jewish

women being herded into what is probably a gas chamber and them, being

supervised strictly by Nazi officers.?

Although the artist probably does harbour ill feelings towards the

Nazis, I am quite sure that the painting is quite reliable and is similar to

the actual events of the Camps.The

two separate maps, which show all of the sites of Camps and the numbers of Jews

murdered in each country, are very helpful and as they are extracts from

official books we can take them as being reliable. Overall,

I do think that Steven Spielberg has done a very good job in accurately

portraying the Holocaust as we can see when we compare eyewitness accounts to

the film itself.? Not only did I find

this film very entertaining but also very educational and for this reason I

think that Mr. Spielberg deserves a lot of credit.ANALYZED BY CIARAN MAGUIRE 12C ? ? ?

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