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The Holocaust

The Holocaust

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The Holocaust

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Presentation Transcript

  1. The Holocaust Goals: To understand the events of the Holocaust To understand the dangers of autocracies and horrors of genocide

  2. Roots of the Holocaust • It was the Nazi attempt to kill all Jews under their control • Anti-Semitism – hatred and discrimination towards Jews • Many in Germany blamed the Jews for the struggling economy, politics, and social troubles • As soon as Hitler came into power, he urged Germans to boycott Jewish businesses and barred Jews from holding jobs in several industries

  3. Anti-Semitism Becomes Law • The Nuremburg Laws denied German citizenship to Jews, banned marriage between Jews and non-Jews, and segregated Jews from every level of society • Hitler also hinted at “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question” • Nov 9, 1938 – Kristallnacht (night of the broken glass) – Nazi officials order attacks on Jews in Germany, which destroyed more than 1500 synagogues and 7500 Jewish businesses • The night killed over 200 Jews and injured 600

  4. Fleeing Nazi Germany • Between 1933-1937, about 130,000 Jews fled Germany and Nazi-contolled Austria (including Albert Einstein) • Many countries didn’t want Jewish refugees, especially with a worldwide depression and job shortages already

  5. Nazis Build Concentration Camps • “The Final Solution” was genocide, the systematic extermination of a people • Hitler opened the first concentration camp in 1933 (the year he became chancellor) • The earliest camps were Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald • Initially, the camps were designed to transform Jews into “productive members of German society” and imprisoned political adversaries, authors, ministers, etc. • Other groups targeted were “undesirable” – homosexuals, Gypsies, drunks, physically disabled, and those with mental illness • Numbers were tattooed on all prisoners and guards often abused the prisoners with no restraints • Doctors were also known to conduct medical experiments on prisoners

  6. Millions Murdered in Death Camps • Jews in occupied Europe were forced to live in cramped ghettos • In January 1942, Nazi leaders decided to move toward Hitler’s “Final Solution” with a plan to extermination over 11,000,000 Jews • Many camps were designated as Death Camps (the largest was Auschwitz in Southern Poland) • Prisoners were forced into chambers where Carbon Monoxide or insecticides were pumped in

  7. Millions Murdered in Death Camps • In other camps, Nazi guards shot hundreds of thousands of prisoners • In fully functioning death camps, human fat was turned into soap; hair woven into wigs, slippers, and mattress; jewelry, cash, and gold fillings were taken from the victims • Once stripped of all valuables, the bodies were burned • By 1945, 6 million European Jews had been murdered (and nearly 5 million others executed)

  8. Early Response of Allies was Weak • US and other nations wouldn’t relax immigration policies even though they knew about the discrimination in Europe • Factors of the US’s failure to help: Anti-Semitism, apathy, preoccupation with the Depression, and a tendency to underestimate Hitler’s genocidal plans

  9. American Government Takes Action • By 1943, the allies acknowledged that Jews were being killed in Polish death camps • By 1944, FDR established the War Refugee Board, which worked with the Red Cross to save European Jews from these camps • Stalin and the Soviet Union showed no concern • Most military units were too busy fighting across Europe to liberate these camps

  10. Allied Soldiers Liberate the Camps • American soldiers were witness to the piles of dead bodies, the warehouses full of human hair and jewelry, the ashes in the crematoriums, the half-dead emaciated survivors • Soldiers hardened by years of war were still unprepared for the horrors they saw at these camps

  11. Richard Winters upon discovering a concentration camp • “The memory of starved, dazed men, who dropped their eyes and heads when we looked at them through the chain-link fence, in the same manner that a beaten, mistreated dog would cringe, leaves feelings that cannot be described and will never be forgotten. The impact of seeing those people behind that fence left me saying, only to myself, ‘Now I know why I’m here.’”

  12. Beginning of the State of Israel • The revelation of the Holocaust also increased demand and support for an independent Jewish homeland • The US became the strongest ally of the new Jewish State, Israel (formerly Palestine)