The Mass Murder of Six Million Jews
By May 8, 1945, the world lost around eleven million humans consisting of men, women, and children. The years of 1933 to 1945 were known as the Holocaust. If you don’t know already, the Holocaust was the mass murder of six million Jews, along with millions of others. It was lead by a blood-thirsty leader known as Adolf Hitler. Who was Adolf Hitler? What was the Holocaust? Who were the victims during the Holocaust? With the masterminds and an army behind the killing, the Holocaust became a significant, disastrous, and memorable event of history; it had key people, organizations, methods of murder, and left a mark on the world.
The Holocaust all started from one man: Adolf Hitler. He was an Austrian who was born on the twentieth of April in the year of 1889. His place of birth was Branau Am Inn, located in Austria, His father, Alas Hitler was a senior customs official who married Klara Hitler; she was from a poor peasant family. Adolf was born for education. During his years of primary school, he was a popular student, was extremely intelligent, and showed amazing leadership skills. When he got into secondary school, competition grew, and he eventually gave up on education, He decided to give up because he became less popular in school, and wasn’t the only clever one. At the age of 15, he failed his school exams. Because he failed, he had to repeat that grade level. He was distraught by this, and decided to drop out of school without a higher level of education. His father, Alas Hitler, died when Adolf was only 14. Adolf Hitler inherited his father’s money, and moved to Vienna when he was 18. Hitler was always interested in art. His career of choice was anything art related. He sent applications to art schools of his choice, but got rejected by both Vienna Academy of Arts and the School of Architecture. When he got rejected, his interest transitioned from arts to politics. The concept of Anti-Semitic and the Nationalist Christian-Socialist Party caught his attention. Anti-Semitic is prejudice and injustice against Jews as an ethnic, religious, or race group. During the time of World War 1, Hitler volunteered as a soldier to fight for the German Army. He was an impressive soldier, and was raised to the rank of corporal. Since he did his job flawlessly in the German Army, he was awarded for his bravery with a lot of recognition.
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An award he got was the Iron Cross First Class. In 1918 of October, a mustard gas attack temporarily blinded him. He was at bed rest in the hospital for quite some time. Because of this, he had severe depression while he was in the hospital. When he got out, the German Army made him a spy; his task was to spy at the German Worker’s Party. This organization was an anti-Semitic nationalist group. The meetings discussed prejudice against Jews, and Adolf Hitler agreed with it. Eventually, he gave speeches of his own at the meetings. People began joining the party just to hear his passionate speeches on anti-Semitism. He was a strong supporter of violence. He always said, strength lies not in defense, but in attack. In 1921, the group was renamed to National Socialist German Worker’s Party. For short, people called it Nazi. Hitler was the leader of the group. In 1923, there were around 56,000 members in the Nazi with several people outside of the organization supporting it, He worked on forcing other governments to support the Nazi group, but he failed. Because he harassed the government system of Bavarian, he was sentenced to prison. He only had to stay in prison for a little bit of time. During his years in prison, he wrote the Mein Kampf. This book discussed his political plans for Germany. Adolf Hitler ran for president when he came out of prison, but he got second place. Fortunately for Adolf, President Hindenburg was forced to make Hitler his chancellor from popular demand. Once Hindenburg died, Hitler came to power. He began the Holocaust with the help of thousands of other people. In 1944, someone planned an assassination attack on Hitler. It was a failed attempt, but this frightened Adolf Hitler. He committed suicide on April 30, 1945 with his girlfriend named Eva Braun. Adolf Hitler made a lot of impacts to Germany, along with other nations.
Jewish people were obviously treated unfairly during the Holocaust. According to History Corporations, Hitler believed that Aryans were superior, and that Jews were inferior; he wanted to kill all the Jews because to him, Jews were the enemies of Aryans. Laws were made to strip Jews’ rights. Some laws limited the numbers of Jews that could attend school and were even barred from some schools, prohibited the marriage of Jews and Aryans, denied Jews’ German citizenship, and banned Jews from some specific career choices. It was also illegal for Jews to own land, homes, and businesses. Eventually, they had to wear specific clothings as well, Jews were required to wear a six-pointed yellow star, known as the Star of David. This star represented them as Jews. When a Jew is caught not wearing one, they could be killed or severely punished. People attacked Jews emotionally and physically. The goal of the Nazi and its supporters were to drag the Jews out of Germany. Later, Jews were placed into Jewish ghettos. Jewish ghettos were places around Europe that Jews were allowed to live in, but it was a really strict community. It was also virtual prisons to seal Jews from the outside world, says author Michael Uschan. Germany had more than 400 ghettos.
They were often overcrowded, and deadly diseases killed thousands of people. They were also assigned specific jobs to do. Teens and adults worked slave labors, and Jews had to work to stay alive. Completing their jobs allowed them to have ration cards. These cards allowed them to receive food. They were not paid with money for doing their jobs; they were paid with food. The food amount was very limited, so many died of starvation. Illegal smuggling of food occurred since they were starving. Eventually, some many people died at a time, that it became difficult to remove the bodies from the ghettos. In the community, it was extremely depressing. To keep the mood up, people help cultural events. They had musicians and actors performing for the community. Writers also helped by writing newspapers, poems, and stories to be published in the ghettos. Jews had to live with horrible and intense prejudice because of Hitler.
Concentration camps were the most effective ways of mass-murder. A concentration camp is a building where the killing of the prisoners occurred. At the start, the plan was to get rid of the entire population of Jews. They began shooting Jews, but they found that this method was too slow and difficult. So, they organized a plan of building concentration camps. The first prototype of a death camp was invented on December 8, 1941. Some Jews were ushered into the back of a van where they would breath in bottled carbon monoxide, which was the poison gas, and killed them. Later on, Jews were tricked into going in the van by being told that they were heading to a bathhouse to get new clothes. Time passed by and several concentration camps were built throughout the lands. Camps at Belzec, Sobibor, and Majdanek began operating, and gas chambers were being built within them as well. Auschwitz is one of the most known death camps. It was first built as a prison work camp, and it had railways that connected with other parts of Europe. Because of its convenience, a second camp was built about two miles away from it. This second building, called Auschwitz 2, was the main killing center for Jews. A third camp for it was mainly for slave labor. Between the years of 1942 and 1945, these camps started to end. Death camps after death camps were being closed from the Nazi rule being defeated in the war.
The Holocaust affected more than just Germany’s people. People who supported the Nazi impacted people all around Germany. They did so by invading the countries nearest to it including Poland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Norway. During the Holocaust, eleven million people were killed. Six million were Jews, three million were Polish Christians, one million Russians soldiers, and one million who were opponents of the Nazi. The enemies of the Nazi were Christian religious leaders, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witness, beggars, Germans with physical disabilities or mental disorders, and people classified as antisocial like homosexuals. Eventually, the news of the Holocaust spreaded throughout the entire world. Knowing this prejudice was occurring, put the world in anger and fear. Leaders from other countries intended to stop the invasions of other lands, end the Nazi Party, and protect the targeted people. By doing so, several countries went into war. The war that began is known as World War Two. There were to teams with sets of countries. One side, known as the Axis Powers, had Germany, Italy, and Japan. The opposite side in the war were the Allies. The Allies had Britain, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States of America. After six years of combat, the Allies won. The Holocaust ended from the Allied invading Germany. At this point, Adolf knew that he has lost the battle, and committed suicide before the Allies could capture him. Since there were hundreds of people who helped Adolf and his plan of the Holocaust, the Allies punished the ones they found guilty of being on Adolf’s side. The Holocaust is still a significant occurrence all over the world.
During the Holocaust, there were several key figures that contributed to the event. Some key figures in the Holocaust were Tuvia Bielski, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hoess, and the most known: Anne Frank. Sean Sheehan’s information states, Anne Frank was born in Germany on June 12, 1929, but before the age of five, she moved with her family to the Netherlands to escape persecution in Nazy Germany. As a young kid, she learned how to speak Dutch. Her childhood was a decent and cheerful one until May 1940. On this date, the Germans invaded the Netherlands, and the Frank family was under the Nazi government again. The Frank family had a hiding place in an empty building which they moved into on July 6 of 1942. However, the Franks were not alone. They tried to survive in the hiding space along with the Van Daan family. That family had four Dutch members. For Anne’s thirteenth birthday, her father gifted her a diary. In that diary, she wrote about what happened with her life, her family’s life, and what she thinks is happening in the outside world around her. The diary was kept throughout her entire hiding period. The family survived two years in the hiding place before getting betrayed and arrested on August 4, 1944, says Michael V. Uschan. When they were arrested, they moved to a transit camp at Westerbork four days later; they were put on the last train that was heading outside of the borders of Netherlands. Their assigned location was Auschwitz, and they arrived there on September 3, 1944. The Frank family was split up into different concentration camps, and could no longer communicate with one another. Anne was moved to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp located in Germany. Unfortunately, her father was the only one who survived in the death camps. Anne’s sister, Margot, died of typhus sometime in February of 1945, and Ann died a few days after. How do we know so much about Anne Frank and her family? Well, the diary is still in existence today. Her diary was founded by one of the Van Daans, and it survived throughout the years of war. At a later time, the diary was published. It can now be read anywhere. There are even plays about what she wrote. Also, the building in which they hid in can be visited in Amsterdam. It is known as the Anne Frank House, and it has clear information on the Holocaust and of the Frank family. Anne Frank’s story is a memorable one with a tragic ending.
Overall, the Holocaust is a tragic event in history that is still remembered and reminiscent throughout the world. This disastrous event began with a mastermind, was supported by people, had mischievous weapons, and impacted several nations everywhere. Can you imagine what the world would be like if something this chaotic happened again? If you don’t know your history, you are doomed to repeat it. The Holocaust is something we definitely do not need in our lives again.
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Sheehan, Sean. The Holocaust. Minnesota: Arcturus Publishing, 2008.
The Holocaust. December 1, 2015.
Uschan, Michael V. The Holocaust. Michigan: Thompson Gale, 2005.