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The purpose of this page is for you to be able to post your research and/or questions with regard to the Holocaust portion of the videoconferencing unit. Please be sure to "save" after each posting. Also, keep in mind...only one person can be posting at a time...so...as soon as you are done log off of that page. We will use all of the information that you post in creating our web portal at the end of the conference. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. :) Ms. Caine

The Holocaust, or Ha-Shoah, refers to the massive, systematic killings of primarily Jews but also including Roma and Slavic peoples, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses and people suffering from mental/physical disabilities, during World War II and perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Roughly two out of every three European Jews are estimated to have perished because of what is now overwhelmingly considered as genocide.


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Map!


Background

Following Germany’s defeat in World War II, the imposition of the Treaty of Versailles fell heavily on the German population. National pride had been destroyed due to the humiliating ‘guilt clause’ included in the text, where Germany admitted full responsibility for the War, and the extensive reparations the country was forced to pay. Economic difficulties and decreasing quality of life forced the German population to look towards any of the rising number of political factions and parties for a solution. Amongst them, the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, along with their Anti-Semitic statutes, found popularity within the nation and rose up to become the largest party in the German Parliament (Reichstag), ultimately acquiring in 1933 dictatorial powers under the leadership of Adolf Hitler and responsible for the organization and execution of the Holocaust.

Anti-Semitism in Europe was not a sentiment merely introduced by the National Socialists. Long standing prejudice and generalized suspicion and hatred of Jews had been present since Roman and Byzantine times, though mainly for religious and not racial reasons. The Catholic Church, as early as 306 AD, promulgated a decree by which Jews and Christians were not allowed to engage in sexual intercourse. Anti-Semitism can be seen as persistent throughout two thousand years, where events such as the eviction of Jews from England in 1290 and Spain in 1492 reflected Europeans’ widespread dislike of Jews. Additionally, such prominent historical figures as Martin Luther, figure of the Protestant Revolution, and Richard Wagner, nineteenth century German composer, published anti-Semitic publications and leading to the social acceptance of anti-Semitism. The Jews’ strongly adherence to their values and traditions, and thus historically reluctant to assimilate to the nation in which they resided, were perceived by many as a minority of foreigners not equal to those of local origin. Moreover, Jews were also among the most economically successful citizens of Europe, also creating envy and jealousy towards the Jewish population.

A two thousand year old European ‘tradition’ was simply publicly and openly expressed by Hitler, who'a convincing and charismatic speeches and personality attracted those in desperate economical situations. He portrayed the Jews as being an ‘enemy of the country and its people’, and extended the concept of Aryan racial superiority. Believing that people of Nordic origin were a naturally Master Race, taking the example of European Imperialism and its practical dominance of the world as proof, he also believed that Jews were racially inferior, and did not belong in the German nation, as he considered them almost as foreign invaders. However, it is worth noting that Hitler did not propose discrimination on the basis of religion, but rather on race and heritage. The Jews, through the extensive use of propaganda, were described as a ‘vermin’ to Germany, effectively dehumanizing them in the eyes of the ‘Aryan’ population. This widespread disregard of Jewish life and hostility towards the Jewish population led to the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws, institutionalizing the explicit discrimination of Jews, and ultimately leading to the Holocaust.

- CPatino1 CPatino1

World War One has just ended. Germany, as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, is in a state of economic turmoil. Forced to pay large sums of money to it’s enemies, as well as giving up much of it’s land, Germany is desperate. Adolf Hitler, a soldier of World War One, seizes this opportunity to make his rise to power. Hitler was one of the most persuasive speakers of modern history. However, Hitler knew he needed something to take the fall for Germany. A scapegoat, of sorts. His target, for one reason or another, was the Jews. He blamed the Jews for losing World War One. He blamed the jews for Germany’s immense debt. He blamed the Jews for anything else that was wrong with his world. And several people bought all this, thanks to Hitler's charisma and persuasiveness. Not everyone did, but no one wanted to defend the Jews. When Hitler was elected Prime Minister of Germany, his plan began to take course. What would become the tragedy, known as the Holocaust, was set into motion.
-Max!

Hitler believed this was the 'ultimate solution'. This would end all of Germany's problems, and lead to the rising of the master race. He believed this master race was the Aryans, pale, blonde, blue eyed people. This classification led to two main groups; Aryans, and the minorities, including Jews, Homo sexuals, and gypsies.These were the ultimate people to rule Europe. It started with simple hate crimes. Graffitti, looting, and other crimes were common towards jews. Jews were marked as targets with a yellow star, as a form of symbolization.. This made it easy to recognize and target them. After this, small settlements were set up. These walled in villages outside towns were called ghettos. The jews were relocated to these areas. The Jews were told they were not worthy to live in normal towns, and were severely dehumanized. The Ghetto’s were often dirty, disease ridden, and low on food. However, things were about to get much worse. This was only the first polarization of the Jews and the “better” people.

Eventually, It was believed that the Jews were not even good enough for the ghettos. All Jews, women and children included, were loaded on to cargo trains. They were not told where they were going. There was no sitting room, no toilets, no food, and no oxygen. The people were treated as cattle. And like cattle, they were going to the slaughterhouse.
-Max!


At first, the Jews were deprived from society after being forced into the ghettos of Germany and other countries supported by Nazi activists. Before transporting the Jews to the Concentration Camps, the Nazi ghettos were established in effort to prepare for the mass annihilation that would proceed. The Jews were also forced to wear yellow stars to indicate that they were Jewish and would be deported to the camps. Afterwards, Nazi cargo would deport the Jews in an excruciating journey that would take a period of several days. The cargos would arrive at the Concentration Camps where the mass annihilation is yet to occur.
(-Brandon_Goldman-)

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(-Brandon_Goldman-) Picture of one of the ghettos.

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(-Brandon_Goldman-) Picture of Jews being deported.

The earlier Concentration Camps were established in the early 1930’s. Camps such as Dachau were created in effort to exterminate the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and Polish. In the beginning, Nazi mobile killing squads known as Einsatzgruppen activists began massive massacres against the Jews. On December 7, 1941, the Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) order was issued to annihilate resistance by allowing military courts to swiftly sentence resisters to death. Those arrested under this order were said to have disappeared into the "night and fog" but were killed and disposed of.

After being exported to the Concentration Camps, the Jews immediately divided into two separate groups based on gender. One was for the middle age people capable of doing vigorous labor while another was for the elderly and people too young to work. Once the division was set, the Nazi’s sent those whom were incapable of working to the gas chambers and killed them. The other group was forced to perform laborious unintentional work such as digging in trenches, military commands, and even burning dead bodies of the prisoners that died.
(-Brandon_Goldman-)

The Holocaust ended with the end of World War II. With Hitler dead, the concentration camps had no leader. As a last hope, the remaining Nazis took the surviving Jews, and sent them on rigorous marches to miles away from the camps. This eliminated almost all remaining survivors. Their goal was to finish off as many as are still alive. Any bodies left were burned and disposed of. As allied troops marched into Poland and Germany, several survivors were freed and sent home. But this wasn’t the end of anti Semitism. These feelings still linger today, and the Nazi party is still alive, with the same views as before. And also, many people deny the existence or the degree of the Holocaust.

-max


Holocaust Denial
Holocaust denial
Holocaust denial

(Kevin Comas)

The International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust was a two-day conference that opened on December 11, 2006 in Tehran, Iran was held to examine whether the NAZI genocide took place. In this conference there were 67 participants from 30 countries included Holocaust skeptics who have been prosecuted in Europe for questioning whether 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis. Holocaust deniers have even stated that the number of Jews killed at Auschwitz could have been as low as 2,700, on the basis that the railroad to the camp did not have the capacity to carry 6 million people.
(Kevin Comas)

Life in a Concentration Camp
At first Nazi soldiers placed Jews in ghettos, claiming that they were being relocated to the east. Along with relocating the Jews, Hitler took away several rights from the Jews, or anyone considered inferior to the Germans. This served as the first stages of segregation and discrimination.

Eventually the Jews were brought to concentration camps, where they were tortured and forced to work up to Nazi expectations. In the end an estimated six million and other victims were exterminated.
Life in a Concentration camp was very brutal.

Prisoners were rarely fed, and starvation was also a big contribution to death. Another factor of death was the Nazi soldiers. If a prisoner did not work up to Nazi standards they would be brutally beaten or killed. There were many morbid forms of murder that the Nazi’s used to kill the prisoners. One method was cremating the prisoners in ovens, also called crematories. The Nazi’s thought of this as a quick and easy way to get rid of the prisoners that were not fit for their standards. Other ways were hanging, shooting, etc.
Survival was a key factor for most prisoners. Since food was scarce, the Jews would often trade small portions of bread (or whatever there was to eat) to stay alive. Along with food, clothing was a prized possession of the prisoners. Whatever kept them warm in the freezing winters was a valuable tool for them. Survival was a crucial thing for all prisoners.
-Nicole T.
In the concentration camps not only were the people over-worked but they also had tests run on them. When they were in the concentration camps they ran tests on them to see how the human body would react on with all the things done to them for the benefit of the German army. They would do things like see how cold the body could get before dying. They would also stick them in freezing water and ammonia. The people would die very often of sicknesses because they would get the proper care when sick. They normally just kept them working until they died or until they were killed by one of the many ways they exterminates people in the camps. The people in the camp were normally feed things that the Nazi's couldnt use. One survivor story even said how the first time he got the soup it contained a lipstick and a shoelace. They would also have inspections to see if they would be taking a "shower", and hopefully they would never have to take one. They would also put people into the ovens, some where even burned alive.
-Alexandra Fusco

First hand accounts of the Holocaust:
Gina Gotfryd
Gotfryd describes arriving at Auschwitz.
“We were soon moved to another large room where other male prisoners shaved our hair — heads, underarms, and pubic hair. We were then pushed into a huge shower room. After the showers, where no soap or towels were given, some kind of raggedy dresses were thrown at us. There was no underwear, but some old shoes or clogs. The dresses were of the strangest shapes or forms. Tall women got very short dresses, short women had dresses down to their ankles, and even though we knew that we had entered the gates of hell, we looked at each other and laughed.”
Aranka Siegal
Siegal describes her final day at Bergen-Belsen.
“Iboya (her sister) and I, through some unexplainable miracle, and several close calls, lived long enough, if barely, to greet the British army, our liberators, on 15 April 1945. I had developed a case of dysentery, from which so many had already died and continued to die even after liberation. But Iboya dragged me out of the barrack, ran after a medic, and cried, ‘My sister is dying. You must help her.’ She held on to his arm and wouldn’t let go until he had me put on a stretcher and marked my forehead with a red cross, an indication for the ambulance that I could be saved by immediate attention.
As soon as he turned his back, Iboya used some spit to dampen the cross. She pressed her forehead against mine, copying the cross onto her own forehead, and lay down beside me. The last thing I heard before I lost consciousness, after having lost my family, my home, and my childhood through a torturous year of Hitler’s insane depravity, were Iboya’s words — ‘They can’t separate us now!’”
(-Brandon_Goldman-)

Clara, a survivor of the holocaust went through many rough times before, during and after the Holocaust. In her home country, before the hatred for jews she was fine and a very happy young girl. The rough times started to come when the started to separate the jews and the rest of the society. They were not alloewed to go to school unitl a private jewish school was opened for a short period of time, and that became shut down because they said there as no need to jewish people to be smart. They were told that three days later that they would be going to a place that would help the Germans win the war. They knew nothing about the place they were going. They were being sent to the ghetto. She spoke of how their new home was a brick factory were they slept and because there were not enough bathrooms the men had to use latrines. Latriens were ditches were you had to go to the bathroom in frount of everyone. This was her first horrific experience. Since her boyfriend refused to go in the latrine they hung him to a tree by his hands, and ironically her father had to do this. He hung there and eventually passed out which forced him to cooperate and do what they said. Then when they moved to the concentration camp he quickly died do to the horrible condition that the hanging had left him. She had stayed with her mother thoughout the whole Holocaust, and they survived everything they went though as a team, abling them to survive. Out of the 39 family members she had on her and her mother survived. She later found out that her brother was shot in front of her father. On Clara's birthday all of the people in the camp were forced to be in a line for a selection and on this day her mother gave her a birthday gift. Her mother refained from eating for 3 days and made her a birthday cake from the three peices of bread they gave her each day. One day when they were working in trenches Clara's mother was working kind of slow do to the horrible conditions that she was in and a boy started to beat her with a baseball bat, Clara went up to him and told him to stop, didn't he have a mother, he said yes but she is German. The next day to everyone's surprise he came back with a carrot and a half a cigerette for Clara. He told her that the carrot will give he needed vitamins and the cigarette would make her less hungry. This gave Clara hope, that not all German's were bad, they were trained to be bad but in their hearts there could be a good person. When she got out of the camps life still wasnt easy for her, she had to wait years before her and her husband could dome to America and still faced some unfair laws, but none that were as bad as before. Clara finally came to America and became a school teacher. Clara and her mother stayed together the rest of their lives until her mother died at the age of 101 in 1999.
(Alexandra Fusco)

Alan, an American soldier liberator, told us his first hand account on walking upon a concentration camp for the first time. He said that when he had gone to war he knew nothing about the concentration camps, and was told nothing about thm either. When he was told that there was a place that they were holding Jews a couple miles down th road he was confused. As they walked cloaser to the concentration camp a very strong horrifc stnech filled the air and as they got closer it became worse and worse. When they finally got their they had to hope fences and fight off a couple guards to see people, as he descibed, that looked like aliens they were so skinny. They had broomsticks as arms, some were crawling, crying and saying prayers. They started to back away from them, like they were afraid of a man in uniform unitl he was able to remeber how to say, "I am Jewish to," in hebrew. The people were so happy that they started to come up to himand hug him, but they smelt so bad that he wanted to pull away, One elderly man started to kiss his feet which made him feel very uncomfortable. He said that walking into these camps were so horrible and the things he saw he will never forget, like the piles of bodies everywhere, watching people die and people dying before his eyes. He said that combat was horrible watching people die right in frount of you but the concentration camps was much much worse, it was a sight and smell that he couldn't even bare to see.
(Alexandra Fusco)

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This cartoon shows how some people are in denial or believe that the Holocaust was not as bad as they make it seem, meanwhile it was much worse.
(Alexandra Fusco)


References
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005143
http://www.remember.org/History.root.classical.html
http://www.ntrmin.org/Luther%20and%20the%20Jews%20(Web).htm#b8
http://www.h-net.org/~german/gtext/kaiserreich/hitler2.html
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Wagner.html
http://www.cjh.org/education/essays.php?action=show&id=8
http://www.mtsu.edu/~baustin/nurmlaw2.html

- CPatino1 CPatino1