The Holocaust

            Shoah was another term that was used in reference to the Holocaust in Hebrew. This term refers to a period between 30th January 1933 and 8th May 1945. At this time, Adolf Hitler assumed the duties of the Germany’s chancellor. The war also ended at this time. Jews across Europe were being victimized insensitively and this caused deaths of over 6,000 million Jews. Over 3,000 communities of the Jews were also destroyed (Wood 1).

            This holocaust was a clear indication that the enemy of man is man himself. For example, many things changed when Hitler took over as the chancellor. They changed from bad to worse which led to this tragedy that was called the Holocaust. Various people were targeted by this tragedy.

            Individuals who were not supporting the Nazis were persecuted. This included the disabled, the African Americans, gypsies, homosexuals and the Jehovah witnesses. Most people did not comprehend holocaust’s meaning at that time as well as how Hitler rose into power causing the deaths of so many people.

            Hitler and the Nazi party took over power in a period of 1 and a half years in Germany. In March 1933, a camp was opened for the first time. This camp was for holding all prisoners. Hitler confirmed that apart from being the Chancellor, he was also the commander in chief of the army and that he headed the Reich. This gave him authoritarian powers (Nelson 5).

Nuremburg laws were implemented by the German congress in 1935. What followed was the perception of the Jews as non-citizens. They were therefore not allowed to participate in any political event in Germany. They were also banned from marrying the German citizens as well as engaging in extramarital affairs with the German people.

The hatred that Hitler had for the Jews was seen clearly in 1933. This was when Hitler declared a day-long boycott of their businesses. There were posters across Germany telling the Germans not to purchase anything from the businesses run by the Jews. When the Nuremburg laws were passed in 1935, they banned the Jews from becoming judges, writers, civil servants and artists. The mandate of the Jewish doctors was to offer services to their Jewish patients.

By 1937, it was illegal for the Jews to obtain passport or to travel internationally. They were only allowed to do so under special conditions. They were also barred from using public transportation, going to the barber shops, owning pets, typewriters and electrical appliances.

Hitler’s hatred for the Jews can be explained by the fact that he desired to own everything. He did not allow the Jews to attend concerts, plays and movies. Their children were not allowed to attend the German schools. To make it easier to recognize them, the Jews were required to have a yellow David Star on. The Broken Glass night was known as the Kristallnacht and this served as the turning point in the war that Hitler was waging against the Jewish people.

Most businesses and synagogues that the Jews owned were burned and destroyed in Germany and Australia. This destruction was attributed to the Jews and therefore, they were asked to pay reparations worth 1million Reich Marks (Wood 2). Hitler aimed at ensuring that Germany was occupied by the Aryans only. He forced all Jews to move to places that were set aside for them known as the ghettos.

In the Soviet Union, the Germans annexed Poland while establishing about 1,000 ghettos. Jews were deported to the camps in massive numbers in 1940. At this time, the Jews were forced out of the established ghettos. The young, the old, the crippled and pregnant women were exterminated immediately.

The acts of the Germans were very inhuman. For instance, the Jews were beaten and abused in the camp, shot and even overworked to death. The camps were used like the factories where deaths occurred. In 1942, things worsened following the abolition of the camps which was aimed at killing all Jews at a go.

Zyklon B was the method that the Germans used to kill the Jews. This was done by throwing the Jews via the ceiling openings since the door was closed (Wood, 2). Towards the end of the year 1944, most Jews were dead while those remaining in the ghettos were required to go to the East. The Jews were informed that there were labor camps there.

While moving to the East, they were asked to wear warm clothes, carry household gears, food and money. The killing process entailed total destruction, dishonesty, deportation and disposal. The lorry that the Jews were put into would take almost one week before arriving at the destination.

During their journey, the Jews endured unfair treatment because they did not have water and food throughout. Loud music was played in these camps as the Jews die. The Jews whose health conditions were poor were killed instantly. In the camps, the Jews were confused by the guards who used dogs to scare them. This made them to obey everything they were told without questioning.

Their belongings were taken by the guards who directed them into the rooms where they could be shaved. According to the explanation given by the guards, the Jews were on a sterilization program whose aim was to eradicate the diseases that they may have had. The lights would be switched off for 15-20 minutes during which the Jews would be killed and their bodies were picked after one hour. After that, the Germans would collect teeth that had gold and then burn the Jews’ bodies. Some organs were also collected from their dead bodies.

Individuals who survived were from different backgrounds although similar inhumane means were used during the holocaust. One of the survivors visited Treblinka with an aim of seeing how the Jews were killed. The Germans took the Jews with blows and screaming from train wagons separating relatives. Women were driven into the gas chambers and then stripped in the barrack. A Russian engine was then used to burn them.

The Germans also used prisoners to inflict the others rather than comfort them. During Holocaust, there were no brothers, sisters or mothers and therefore individuals were responsible for themselves. These remarks were also made by Kapos, the prisoners. Those who enjoyed their stay in the camps were cruel to the prisoners.

This is a clear indication that the Jews were not concerned about other people’s comfort the same way they were also treated. For instance, on realizing that she could not scream to make noise, Madame Schachter turned to an inhumane act of beating the Jews who would scream together with the boys in the train. This shows that because the Jews were not treated fairly, they were also treating others unfairly without being concerned about their welfare as well.

For instance, on realizing that his dad was weak, Rabbi felt that the best thing that he could do was to move away from him to lessen the possibility that he had for surviving. The implication of this is that the cruelty of the Nazi affected both the prisoners and the Jews because they began acting inhumanely towards each other.

Various themes are also brought out by Motif Elie in proving the inhumane acts that were there during the holocaust. For instance, Kapo clobbered Elie although he did not do anything when asked by his father to go into the bathroom. After the death of his father, he was not remorseful and he did not even lit candles as a way of honoring him. Instead, he felt relieved by the death of his father. He did not care about his father since he did not keep food for him but he only kept for himself.

Medical costs in Germany were increased by the Nuremberg as well as the sterilization laws. These laws impacted on the economic efforts and on the war budget. Hitler was annoyed to a level of making a decision of reducing useless consumers during the wartime. Hitler’s view was that if the soldiers were dying while fighting, the inferior individuals did not deserve to survive either. On 1st September 1939, Hitler went to Poland which created a larger space for the Germans to live in.

The same policies being applied in the new territories were applied by the Germans there as well. Jewish communities as well as the other communities were put through similar ordeals such as those living in Germany. Hitler forced the Reich to reduce medical expenses in areas that were not associated with the efforts of the war following the start of the Lebensraum war. Germany was forced to choose mercy killing or euthanasia by the increased medical expenses.

The euthanasia program started when a father of a son with psychological and physical disabilities contacted Hitler requesting that he give his son euthanasia. After this, euthanasia was used on children that were born with deformities.

Atkins, which is a study, shows that efforts were made to inquire about the number of kids who had deformities (34). Some genetically determined illnesses that are mentioned by the study include Idiocy or mongolism, deformities or sensory disabilities. Different methods were used in killing them on the basis of the hospital that admitted them.

Some children were gassed to death while morphine, poison was used on the others and some left to starve or without heat. The program did not include the Jewish children since the Germans did not see the essence of subjecting the Jews to euthanasia which was a merciful act. In 1943, the program changed to include even children from unwanted races.

A psychiatric hospital in Hadamar began exterminating even the Jewish children in May of 1943. Over 5,000 children were exterminated through euthanasia. Several soldiers were wounded in the battlefield and therefore it was necessary for the Germans reduce the incurred cost to cater for the military.

Some people such as Pfannmeller argue that the medical costs incurred on patients would be diverted to the soldiers. There was also a report that showed that the patients that were suffering from the incurable ailments were subjected to euthanasia. This program was later expanded to include the patients with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, encephalitis and chronic illnesses.

Plans were also underway to get rid of the lame, mentally ill and the sick. This turned into a routine that saw about 65,000 people die. When Nazi rose into power in Poland, it targeted individuals who would turn into potential leaders for execution. The plan of Hitler was to give the military immune against persecution for the death of enemy civilians (Nelson 1). The Jews were starved to death by being denied food.

In a nut shell, the Jews’ destiny during this holocaust was due to a wide range of factors. These included the fascist ideology, eugenics aspirations and the anti-Semitic traditions. These factors contributed to the hatred that existed between the Germans and the Jews. The Germans view was that they had lost their culture because of the Jews.

Works Cited

Nelson, Cary. A Holocaust Chronology. Modern American Poetry. N.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2011. <>.

Wood, Angela. Holocaust. New York, N.Y.: DK Publishing Inc., 2007. Print.

The Holocaust. 31 Mar. n2009. Web. 3 Mar. 2011. <>.

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