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Research Paper
Holocaust Overview







Justin Middleton







ENG 102-104
ProIessor Neuberger
18 November 2011



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%hroughout history mankind has been murdering massive groups oI people based on
ethnicity and religious belieI. A very recent example oI this is Nazi Germany`s attempted
extermination oI the European Jewish population, also known as the Holocaust. So many people
were killed because oI the hatred oI a select Iew. Many people know about the Holocaust, but
not everyone knows how it happened. It is important to examine the details oI how this took
place, so that history does not repeat itselI and we are Iacing this problem once again.
Anti-Semitism
%o understand why this happened one must look at the background oI the Nazi Party.
%he Nazi`s had a strong desire to bring Germany back to power aIter World War I. %hey Ielt in
order to puriIy their nation they needed to eliminate the Jewish population. In a speech to the
Austrian populous Hitler himselI said, '.|%(his is not a problem you can turn a blind eye to-one
to be solved by small concession. For us, it is a problem oI whether our nation can ever recover
its health, whether the Jewish spirit can every really be
eradicated (qtd. in Statements by Hitler and Senior Nazis
Concerning Jews and Judaism). In this speech and many
others Hitler used his ability as an orator to convince the
masses oI anti-Semitism. One might expect that this
would be an extreme point oI view. However, many
Germans believed that the Jews were responsible Ior starting World War I. In a speech to the
Reichstag, Hitler stated: '.|I(I the international Jewish Iinanciers in and outside Europe should
succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the
Bolshevization oI the earth, and thus the victory oI Jewry, but the annihilation oI the Jewish race
in Europe (qtd. In Statements by Hitler and Senior Nazis Concerning Jews and Judaism). AIter
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examining the reasons why the Jewish people were hated by the Nazis so much one must look at
how they convinced the people oI their country to share their belieIs. Propaganda was a major
resource oI the Nazis when they rose to power. According to SHOAH Resource Center, '%he
Nazis were among the most sophisticated and innovative users oI propaganda in history. In
addition, '.|P(ropaganda was used to reinIorce AdolI Hitler`s hold over Germany and to secure
his dictatorship in the public eye and mind.(Propaganda, Nazi). %he techniques used by the
Nazis were so successIul that they continued their methods oI propaganda with anti-Semitism.
Furthermore, the site states, '|Hitler( combined both racism and anti-Semitism in Nazi
propaganda, telling the German people over and over how parasitic and racially inIerior the Jews
are, and how they must be removed Ior Germany to achieve its goal oI becoming a superior,
racially pure nation(Propaganda, Nazi).
Nuremberg Laws
%he German public quickly adapted to Nazi rule
and their strong views on anti-Semitism. In order to start
weeding out the Jewish population Hitler started to write
policy to encourage them to leave. According to
Holocaust Education, '%he Nuremberg Laws were
passed at Germany`s Nazi Party congress in Nuremberg
in September oI 1935. %hese laws were intended to
take away rights and privileges previous allowed to
Jews (Nuremberg Laws). Later the racism oI the Nazi party extended to more than just the
Jewish population. In addition, the website states '%he Law Ior the Protection oI German Blood
and German Honor initially was aimed only at Jews, but in November oI 1935 it was changed to
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include Romani and Negros. At this time, new classiIications were developed to describe racial
make-up (Nuremberg Laws). %he new classiIications lead to the loss oI rights Ior many
diIIerent minority groups. %hese laws were designed to make the ethnic German supreme. %he
longer the Nuremberg Laws were in eIIect the more restrictions and hardships were put on the
Jewish people and other minorities in Germany. Furthermore, the website states, '%he
Nuremberg Laws served to legitimize euthanasia oI Jews as well as other Germans who suIIered
Irom a variety oI mental or physical illnesses. Beginning in 1938, many were killed in hospitals
Ior the mentally ill. Similarly, the Nuremberg Laws made the existence oI concentration camps
seem more acceptable (Nuremberg Laws).
Kristallnacht
%hree years aIter the Nuremberg Laws were created, a signiIicant event took place. One
night oI 'broken glass in November oI 1938. Kristallnacht was instigated by a young Polish
Jew named Henry Grynszpan. According to Aish, '%he
Germans were looking Ior a way to get rid oI their Jews.
Send them anywhere, but just get them out. Many Jews
oI Polish origin had come to Germany because conditions
were so much better there than in Poland. %he Germans
saw this as a group to be easily gotten rid oI
(Kristallnacht). In addition, the website states, '%wo oI
these Polish Jews had a son named Henry Grynszpan who was living in Paris.%his seventeen-
year-old boy got a gun, walked to the German embassy in Paris, and shot the Iirst man he saw-an
embassy oIIicial named Ernst Von Rath (Kristallnacht). From this turn oI events the Germans
were outraged and Ielt the need to show the Jewish population in Germany what happens when a
Synagogue burnlng durlng
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Jew lashes out against German authorities. Kristallnacht is the turning point oI trying to get the
Jews out oI Germany to using violence to destroy them. %he amount oI destruction was
devastating. %his devastating event was designed to look spontaneous. Although, orders were
Irom the top were to not harm any non-Jewish people or property. According to USHMM,
'Despite the outward appearance oI spontaneous violence, and the local cast which the pogrom
took on in various regions throughout the Reich, the central orders Heydrich relayed gave
speciIic instructions: the 'spontaneous rioters were to take no measures endangering non-
Jewish German liIe or property (Kristallnacht). %he aItermath oI Kristallnacht leIt many Jews
dead and even more property destroyed. In addition, the website states '%he rioters destroyed
267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland.SA and Hitler Youth
members across the country shattered the shop windows oI an estimated 7,500 Jewish-owned
commercial establishments, and looted their wares (Kristallnacht). Furthermore, the site states,
'Although murder did not Iigure in the central directives, Kristallnacht claimed the lives oI at
least 91 Jews between 9 and 10 November (Kristallnacht).
Jewish Ghettos
When the Jews started to get rounded up the Nazis
were put into Ghettos where the conditions were
intolerable. %here were many ghettos, but the most
prominent oI these was Warsaw. According to AISH,
'Warsaw was a city in which the 335,000 Jews
represented about one third oI the population. More Jews
were herded into Warsaw, so the Jewish population role
to about 450,000. %hese Jews were thrown into the slum
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area oI town, 2.3 oI the city area, and walled oII (%he Ghettos). %his was the Nazis way oI
dealing with their Jewry problem. %hese ghettos were also holding areas. %hey stayed in the
ghettos until they Nazis were ready to ship them oII to concentration camps. Many people died
Irom the conditions. Furthermore, the website states, '%here was no sanitation. Pestilence
would sweep through. LiIe in the ghetto was intolerable.Over 75,000 people died oI disease
and starvation (%he Ghettos). %he Jewish people had no idea what to expect. %he ghettos were
also run by councils oI their own people; however, they were under Nazi orders. Furthermore,
the website states '%he Jews oI the ghetto had no idea what the Germans had in mind. At Iirst,
they thought the Nazis were trying to starve them to death or kill them oII with plagues. %he
ghettos were run by Jewish councils who were responsible Ior carrying out Nazi orders (%he
Ghettos). What is truly remarkable is that the Jews still risked their lives to continue Jewish
practices. In addition, the website says, 'It must be noted that in spite oI the unbelievable ghetto
conditions, Jewish liIe to the extent that it could went on. %he %orah studies, circumcision,
Shabbos and holiday observance all still went on, in spite oI the Iact that getting caught could
mean death (%he Ghettos). %his is just an example oI one ghetto. %here were many others like
this.
Wannsee ConIerence
%he Wannsee ConIerence, otherwise known as %he Final Solution was a meeting held
by top German oIIicials to determine what to do with the Jews. According to USHMM, '%he
'Final Solution was the code name Ior the systematic, deliberate, physical annihilation oI the
European Jews (Wannsee ConIerence and %he 'Final Solution). Many things were discussed
at the meeting. In addition, the website states, 'Heydrich announced that 'during the course oI
the Final Solution, the Jews will be deployed under appropriate supervision at a suitable Iorm oI
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labor deployment in the East.%he participants discussed
a number oI other issues raised by the policy (Wannsee
ConIerence and %he 'Final Solution). Although it may
have appeared that there was much to discuss the
oIIicials were well aware oI what was being decided.
According to Prorev, '|It is not( surprising that the
Wannsee ConIerence last only an hour (Minutes oI the Wannsee ConIerence). It was very short
and they were ready to make a decision about what to do with the Jews. According to USHMM,
'Despite the euphemisms which appeared in the protocol oI the meeting, the aim oI the Wannsee
ConIerence was clear to its participants: to Iurther the coordination oI a policy aimed at the
physical annihilation oI the European Jews (Wannsee ConIerence and the 'Final Solution).



Selektion
When the Jews were brought into the concentration camps a selection process was used
to determine who would was Iit to work and who was not. UnIortunately those were not Iit to
work were exterminated. According to %he Holocaust explained,
Once the Jews were unloaded and separated into male and Iemale lines, they were then
subjected to a selection process. SS doctors carried out this selection. Usually, those
aged over 14 years oI age and deemed 'Iit to work were sent to one side oI the
unloading ramp; the rest were sent to the other side. %he elderly and women with
children were sent directly to the line oI prisoners who were condemned to death in the
gas chambers. (Selection at the Concentration Camps)

Pouse of Lhe Wannsee Conference
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%his was a quick and eIIicient way Ior
the Nazis to carry out the mass murder oI
the Jewish people. %hose who were
chosen Ior manual labor had to endure
many hardships. Furthermore, the
website states, '%hose Jews selected Ior
work were sent to a separate building Ior
registration. Prisoners would be
registered, beIore undressing, placing
their clothes on a hook, together with
shoes. %hey would then be tattooed with a registration number, shaved oI all body hair,
disinIected and Iorced through showers that were either extremely cold or painIully hot
(Selection at the Concentration Camps). %he labor Iorced upon the Jews was just as unpleasant
as death itselI.
Death Camps and Extermination Methods
When one thinks oI the Holocaust, one oI the Iirst
things that may come to mind is gas chambers in
concentration camps. However there were many
diIIerent methods used by the Nazis to exterminate the
Jews. One oI the Iirst methods used was at close range.
According to PBS, 'In 1941, SS General Erich von dem
Bach-Zelewski told his superior Heinrich Himmler that
the Nazis had been murdering Jews, including women
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and children, at close range and in cold blood all summer (%he Killing Evolution). %he close
range method used a Iiring squad. Furthermore, the article states, 'Bach-Zelewski was worried
about this method`s traumatizing eIIects on his men. Himmler recorded on his diary the
General`s concerns: 'And he said to me, ReichsIuhrer, these men are Iinished Ior the rest oI their
lives (%he Killing Evolution). New methods were adopted to keep the troops Irom suIIering
trauma. In addition, the article states, Carbon monoxide, Hell Vans, Zyklon B, and Iinally
massive gas chambers and crematoria were other extermination methods (%he Killing
Evolution).
%he death camps themselves were vast in number. According to Eyewitness History,
'Hitler established the Iirst concentration camp soon aIter he came to power in 1933. %he
system grew to include about 100 camps (Inside a Nazi Death Camp 1944). According to
M%SU, '%he names oI %reblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzek, and
Majdanek are indelibly stamped on history (%he Camps). Amongst these camps the most
notorious is Auschwitz. Furthermore, the article goes on to say 'More than any oI the killing
centers in the Nazi system, Auschwitz exempliIies the rationalization oI murder. It was the most
eIIicient camp established by the Nazi regime Ior carrying out the 'Final Solution (%he
Camps). %here were between 5 and 6 million Jews murdered during the holocaust. Auschwitz
was by Iar responsible Ior the majority oI these deaths. Furthermore, the article says 'Jews
comprised the largest number oI victims; at least one-third oI the estimated 5 to 6 million Jews
killed by the Nazis during World War II died there. For this reason, Auschwitz has come to
symbolize Holocaust more vividly than any other symbol (%he Camps). %his is the imagery
that comes to one`s mind when the Holocaust comes up. %his unIortunate event in history
however, will be remedied by the allied Iorces in 1945.
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Liberation
In 1945, the allied Iorces advanced on the German Iront and started liberating these death
camps. UnIortunately, the Nazis knew that they were losing the war so they started killing
people Iaster and moving people out oI the camps that were not in their territory. According to
the BBC, '|On January 27
th
1945( the Red Army has
liberated the Nazis` biggest concentration camp at
Auschwitz in south-western Poland (1945: Auschwitz
death camp liberated). %hat is the most well-known
liberation. However, other camps were liberated starting
in 1944. According to USHMM, 'Soviet Iorces were the
Iirst to approach a major Nazi camp, reaching Majdanek
near Lublin, Poland in July 1944. Surprised by the rapid Soviet advance, the Germans attempted
to hide the evidence oI mass murder by demolishing the camp (Liberation oI Nazi Camps). No
one really knew the extent oI what was going on behind German borders. %he article goes on to
say, 'Liberators conIronted unspeakable conditions in the Nazi camps, where piles oI corpses lay
unburied. Only aIter the liberation oI these camps was the Iull scope oI Nazi horrors exposed to
the world (Liberation oI Nazi Camps). Liberation ceased the murders however, many more
continue to perish.


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Post-Liberation
%here is most deIinitely an end to murder with the takedown oI the Nazi regime.
However, many people still died aIter the death camps were liberated. According to HMD %rust,
'Few comIorting stories emerged Irom the Nazi dark
ages. One oI the most important things we can learn
Irom the survivors oI Nazi persecution and mass murder
is that Ior people who emerge Irom war and genocide
suIIering and grieI do not end instantly with the
declaration oI peace(LiIe AIter the Holocaust). When
one thinks oI liberation it is such a joyous occasion.
What they Iail to see is that there is so much hurt and
destruction it is nearly impossible to recover Irom what they have experienced. %he article goes
on to tell us, '|%he Jews( were alive, but had lost everything. %housands died oI malnutrition
and disease even aIter Allied troops arrived (LiIe AIter the Holocaust). %hose who did survive
aIter liberation made attempts to return home only to Iind their homes were not there. %here was
no place to go and nobody would have them.
%he Holocaust is a scar in the history oI mankind. One cannot change the events that
took place during the Nazis reign over the majority oI Europe. %his is a learning experience.
From beginning to end the hatred oI the Jewish people increased, and it was not taken seriously
by anyone. %aking Iacts Irom a catastrophe such as the Holocaust can help prevent Iurther
incidents in the Iuture.


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Works Cited
"1945: Auschwitz Death Camp Liberated." BBC - Homepage. 27 Jan. 1945. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.
http://bbc.co.uk~.
The Camps. Frank.mtsu.edu. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. Irank.mtsu.edu/~baustin/holocamp.html~.
Ellis, Rabbi Eliyahu, and Rabbi Shmuel Silinsky. "Kristallnacht." The Jewish Website - Aish.com. 31
Dec. 1969. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2011.
Ellis, Rabbi Eliyahu, and Rabbi Shmuel Silinsky. "%he Ghettos." The Jewish Website - Aish.com. 31
Dec. 1969. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2011.
Hitler, AdolI. Speech. NSDAP Meeting. Salzburg. 7 Aug. 1920. Statements by Hitler and Senior
Na:is Concerning Jews and Judaism. Dr SD Stein, 04 Mar. 2000. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.
Hitler, AdolI. "Speech to the Reichstag." Speech. 30 Jan. 1939. Statents by Hitler and Senior Na:is
Concerning Jews and Judaism. Dr. SD Stein, 04 Mar. 2000. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.
"Inside a Nazi Death Camp, 1944." EyeWitness to History - History through the Eyes of Those Who
Lived It. 2004. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. http://eyewitnesstohistory.com~.
"%he Killing Evolution." PBS. Public Broadcasting Service. Community %elevision oI Southern
CaliIornia, 2004-2005. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.
"Kristallnacht: A Nationwide Pogrom, November 9-10, 1938." United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 6 Jan. 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.
"Liberation oI Nazi Camps." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 6 Jan. 2011. Web. 31 Oct.
2011.
"LiIe aIter the Holocaust." Home - HMD Trust. Aug. 2011. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.
"Minutes oI the Wannsee ConIerence." ProRev. U.S. Government %ranslation, 20 Jan. 1942. Web.
Oct.-Nov. 2011.
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"Nazi Propaganda." ad Jashem - World Center for Holocaust Research, Education, Documentation
and Commemoration. %he International School Ior Holocaust Studies. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2011.
"Nuremberg Laws." Holocaust Documentation and Education Center. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.
"Selection at Concentration Camps." The Holocaust Explained - Homework & Online Education
Tool for Students. London Jewish Cultural Center, 2011. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2011.
"Wannsee ConIerence and the "Final Solution"" United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 6 Jan.
2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.
The. Web.