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Transcript of The Holocaust
Step 1: Anti-Semitism
- Anti-semitism is defined as: prejudice or hatred of Jews.
- This attitude has existed since at least 1096; during the pogroms carried out during the Christian crusades.
- It is still an attitude that exists today; however, the Holocaust is the most extreme example of anti-semitism in world history.
What it is:
- No one is exactly sure why the hatred began; however, it certainly seems to relate to the fact that oftentimes people do not like people who are different from themselves- especially religiously.
- The anti-Semitism that occurred as early as the 11th century was religiously based; however, this changed over time.
- During the Holocaust Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party targeted people they believed were ethnically Jewish.
- Hitler put his scientists to work to determine what made someone ethnically Jewish, and in turn inferior.
- It was not uncommon to see charts that would display what made someone Jewish or Non-Jewish- simply based on appearances.
-From this hatred and prejudice the Holocaust would grow to target any group that Hitler believed was inferior; including: homosexuals, mentally handicapped, gypsies, communists, and more.
Step 2: Ghettos/Nuremberg Laws
What they are:
- Nuremberg Laws: Anti-semitic law code that began in 1933.
- Ghettos: During World War II, ghettos were set up in Nazi-occupied Europe by Nazi Germany in order to confine and segregate Jews, and sometimes Gypsies, into a unusually tight packed area within a city.
Ghettos/ Nuremberg Laws
- With Nuremberg Laws the purpose was to legalize anti-semitism in Germany and German controlled regions.
- Hitler wanted the Jewish population to lose their rights and freedoms because he believed they were inferior human beings- and he wanted the general public to share in these beliefs.
- Over time these laws became harsher; and made it nearly impossible and dangerous for Jews living in Nazi Germany.
- Ghettos: Soon after the 1939 German Invasion of Poland, the Nazis began to designate areas of larger Polish cities and towns as exclusively Jewish areas and systematically moved Polish Jews from their homes into these areas.
- The reason for creating these ghettos had a couple of purposes: 1. to create more "lebensraum" (living space) for the German people. 2. to organize groups the Nazis believed were undesirable into a small space- and make them easier to target when further actions began.
Step 3: Concentration Camps
What they are:
- Concentration camps were the facilities created to house people the Nazis considered undesirable.
- Concentration camps were originally built to house political opponents that Hitler considered threatening.
- However, as the Polish Jews were rounded up the concentration camps were turned over to the SS where the prisoners were held to work in support of the Nazi cause.
- The purpose of the concentration camps was not to
kill the prisoners; however many did die as they suffered from starvation, disease, and injury caused in dangerous working conditions.
Step 4: Death Camps/ The Final Solution
What were these:
- Death Camps: were the locales where Hitler's plan for genocide (mass, organized killing of a single group of people) was carried out.
- "The Final Solution": refers to Hitler's plan to carry out the genocide of the Jewish race, and all other people he considered undesirable.
Death Camps/ "The Final Solution"
- The death camps were created as a natural progression in Hitler’s Final Solution.
- As more prisoners were sent to the concentration camps there was simply not enough room to house so many individuals.
- Death camps were thus created to handle what Hitler considered to be "overcrowding" in the concentration camps AND to ensure that his plan for genocide was carried out.
- No one is quite sure what Hitler's TRUE purpose was in forming his idea for " The Final Solution"
- However, it is certain that the intention existed for the entire Jewish "race" to be "exterminated"- a process which started
the United States' entry into World War II (December 1941).
- In total the Holocaust resulted in the deaths of
11 million people, of which 6 million were Jewish.
- 1.1 million were killed at the
most infamous camp: Auschwitz.