When the Nazi party took over Germany, they instituted rules and laws that affected Jews and other minorities differently than the primarily Caucasian majority. They caused extreme hardships for everyone during this time. These institutions, along with the inherent beliefs of the Nazi party, are what lead to what we now know as the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a period of time when the Nazi party had taken over Germany. They believed that certain people were dangerous and needed to be eliminated. These people that were so dangerous were innocent people, including Gypsies, Poles, Russians, and most Jews. In Sandra S. Williams’ study, The Impact of the Holocaust on Survivors and Their Children, it states information about life before, during and after the Holocaust.
Before the Nazi party had taken control, Germany and it’s citizens never saw themselves as divided. “In Germany, nearly two-thirds of the 500,000 Jews were engaged in trade and commerce, one quarter worked in the industry, and about one-eighth were in public service and the professions--mainly law and medicine” .Adolf Hitler was a major influence of the Holocaust. He rose to power when he was appointed the chancellor, being the head of the German government, in January 1933. Due to the economic depression that went down beforehand, when the Nazi party came into play, all of Germany thought to have found a savior.
Hitler led Germany with his powerful inspiring speeches, speaking towards a country desperate for change, and promising a new fulfilling life to the people of Germany. In Hitler's’ Rise and Fall Timeline, OpenLearn, it goes into detail about all things Hitler did to help Germany politically. Hitler had volunteered his services to help his country. He attended meetings to get people out of poverty. He became a well-known and highly respected leader. Hitler was a good leader until he began to abuse power. Due to the Nazi party’s discriminating beliefs, Hitler divided the majority of the country into forced organizations. Terror began to spread throughout the country. Trade Unions were abolished and employees were forced to resign and join the Nazi party.
Citizens lost their freedom. Their privacy was no longer private, having officials listen in on phone calls, read mail, and even search houses without a warrant, The Nazi party set up a system to keep political opponents out of the Nazi state, mainly imprisoning Communists and Socialists. However, as World War II began, the system expanded fast. The system quickly becomes more violent. They imprisoned anyone who resisted the domination and sent them to concentration camps for hard labor and was even murdered. They captured everyone they thought to be racially inferior or politically unacceptable. “Within three years the number of prisoners quadrupled, from about 25,000 before the war to about 100,000 in March 1942”. When the Nazis captured the Jews, they put them into concentration camps where the Jews went through hardships, such as hard labor, starvation, and brutal deaths. Auschwitz was the largest concentration camp. It was actually three camps built into one.
All three different camps holding a different purpose for Auschwitz. According to the video, Auschwitz, from History.com Staff, the concentration camps were so awful and inhuman. There were bodies piled up in stacks. Many of the captive citizens became very ill with Typhus and Malnutrition. One was a prison camp, another was an extermination camp, and the last one was a slave-labor camp. The Nazis had a very unusual way of getting rid of the prisoners. One way was gas chambers, where they would gather them into a room and fill it with a poisonous gas killing them all. Another more cruel way of murdering the prisoners was using them as target practice in an open field. These people already unhealthy, starving and exhausted-would be sent out into an open field, while the guards shot them down.
According to Britannica Encyclopedia, “Between 1.1 and 1.5 million people died at Auschwitz; 90 percent of them were Jews. Also among the dead were some 19,000 Roma who were held at the camp until the Nazis gassed them on July 31, 1944—the only other victim group gassed in family units alongside the Jews. The Poles constituted the second largest victim group at Auschwitz, where some 83,000 were killed or died.” Not only was the Nazi party using cruel and inhumane ways to torture and kill their captive citizens they conducted inhumane experiments such as those done by a famous scientist by the name of Josef Mengele, known for his fascination of twins, but he was also interested in the using them for medical research.
He joined the Nazi party, getting his medical degree. Here he studied the prisoners for medical purposes. However, with the thousands of people coming into Auschwitz at a time, Josef set out to find twins throughout the camp to experiment with. Now that he was testing prisoners no one cared about being humane. No one saw him as using humans. In BBC News it tells many different stories of which twins had gone through due to experiments that were done by Josef himself. Twins were taken right out of their hometown and taken to camps to be studied. One set of twins who were identical but had different colored eyes were very special to Josef.
However, when almost all tested twins died, either as a result to the expirementations or were murdered due to the process, but he would not get into trouble with the law. World War II began September 1939. While the Americans, debating on whether to stay neutral during the war, eventually got sucked in when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States declaring war on Japan, lead to Germany starting the war with the United States. Thus leading to the United States joining the Allies’ to fight against the Axis powers. Although the United States did not join the war to rescue the captured citizens, but instead to protect democracy. In the end, the Allies did rescue tens of thousands of the captured minorities. The United States, along with the other Allies defeated Nazi Germany along with the other Axis powers, ending the Holocaust.
Afterward, the prisoners were freed, Hitler committed suicide to avoid capture, and the Nazi party was gone. Even after the Holocaust ended the memories, camps, artifacts, and people are still here today. Millions of minorities and officials died during this time period but millions survived. The ones that had gone through the camps and the hiding still have the scars and memories of what they had to go through long ago. We have museums that you can go to today to visit and look at artifacts that had happened during the time. Anne Frank is now known today as a well-known Jewish teenager that hid in the attic of a store with her family to avoid capture of the Nazi party.
“Otto, Anne’s father, began making plans to hide himself and his entire family until the War was over. On 6 July 1942, a month before Anne’s 13th birthday, the family went into hiding in a part of Otto’s office building. Within a few months, four other people joined them. Four of Otto’s staff knew about the hiding place and helped them survive.” She is famous for keeping her own diary during her time in hiding. We know the challenges they faced and the way they lived throughout hiding. Her diary tells about personal experiences along with serious events that had happened. Anne writes until her capture at age 15 when she was taken to a camp along with her family.
She had died in the camp within a day of her sister Margot's death. In Anne Frank, Biography, it says “The Secret Annex: Diary Letters from June 14, 1942, to August 1, 1944, was a selection of passages from Anne Frank’s diary published on June 25, 1947, by Anne Frank’s father, Otto. 'If she had been here, Anne would have been so proud,' he said. For all its passages of despair, Frank's diary is essentially a story of faith, hope, and love in the face of hate.” Anne Frank tells stories in such detail and imagination to get the real story. It tells from family holidays to horrid tragedies that had happened to her that will still today bring us to tears.
The whole world learned from the mistakes that happened during the Holocaust. We have laws that prevent human testing, we allow people to choose and practice their own religion. The United States getting involved to stop the Nazi party from further domination was the right move for the whole world. This showed us what the right thing was in a very horrid situation. What we learned from the Holocaust was to never let something like this happen again. Throughout history,l we always tell people to remember what happens and to not let some history repeat. During 9/11 we say “never forget” we learned the phrase, “Remember the Alamo!”
We do not want to go through another Holocaust ever again. Rockie Blunt, an infantryman, US army tells us that the prisoners told the soldiers to promise to never let the world forget what happens here. Rockie states “Having seen a concentration camp it had a bigger effect on my life than anything else I’ve ever seen or fought or done.” in the Auschwitz video on History.com. The fact that Rockie had seen so much already being in the army, but nothing has even compared to what he saw in concentration camps.
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