Nuremburg Laws • In 1935, Nuremburg Laws were established. This set of laws took away citizenship from the Jews of Germany and labeled them as “subhuman.” Under these laws, Jews were restricted: • Dismissed from the army • Couldn’t be a lawyer, doctor, tax advisor, etc. • Not allowed to marry an Aryan • Couldn’t display the German flag • Not permitted to hire servants under 45 yrs old • Passports were stamped with a “J” to label them • Male Jews had to change their middle name to “Israel”; Female Jews change theirs to “Sarah.” • Jewish businesses were forced to sell for LOW prices • Jewish children could not go to public school, theaters, or movie houses.
T-4 Program • Between 1933-1935, Nazis began “sterilization” programs to reduce the number of genetically “inferior” Germans. (Jew or Aryan). • A law was passed in 1933 to immediately kill those who were physically or mentally handicapped. Even those who were deaf or blind due to war wounds or sickness. • Hitler referred to them as “useless eaters.” • By the end of WWII, nearly 100,000 people were killed because of this program. • The Roma (gypsies) and Jehovah’s Witnesses were also persecuted
Concentration Camps • Hitler began building camps in 1933; the first one was Dachau • These camps were used for “enemies of the state” (those who opposed Hitler) at first to be forced to do hard labor until they died or exterminated immediately. • In these camps, some were even used for medical experiments; most were alive during the experiments and were tortured. • Other camps that were built, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen
Hitler plans to annihilate the Jews • In 1941, Hitler decides that the restriction laws on Jews were not good enough • He creates the Einsatzgruppen, his mobile killing squad who traveled, murdering the Jews. • Jews were deported to the ghettos to wait to be sent to death camps • “Evacuation to the East” was the code phrase for the “final solution” or the sending the Jews to death camps to be exterminated. • Death camps: Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec, and Maidanek
Auschwitz • The largest death camp • Jews were transported from the ghettos with their families to reduce panicking; they were packed in train cars and made to stand, sometimes for days. • Arriving at the camp, men and women were separated, then waited in long lines to see doctors to determine who was healthy and who would go directly to the gas chamber.
Auschwitz • Women who were noticeably pregnant were sent to the line for the gas chambers • If women were carrying babies: • Most young children were killed immediately because they were unable to do work • Young boys who were able to work, were made to lay bricks for the crematorium; due to malnutrition and hard labor the boys became weak and were killed when they could not work anymore, by phenol injections. • All prisoners were fed watery soups with a slice of bread containing sawdust; at times Nazis would put things like bones, ashes, sawdust in the soup itself.
Auschwitz • Disease was spreading like wildfire through the camp • When a prisoner was diagnosed with a disease, the entire cell block where that prisoner lived was sent to the gas chambers, just in case
Auschwitz • About 1.3 million people (Jews and minorities) were taken to Auschwitz • Only 190,000 of them left the camp alive (being sent to another camp alive, where they later died). • 1.1 million people died in this camp; 85% of them were Jews.
They the Allies were coming • The Third Reich new the allied forces were coming and would see what they were doing • As a final attempt to hide their wrong doing, they made camp prisoners march, called the “death march.” They evacuated the camps and several prisoners died during the march in 1945.
Liberation • In the last few months of the war, the Allies advanced towards where concentration camps were located • In April of 1945, American, Soviet, and British units were the first to liberate camps • The horrors of the Third Reich’s brutality was revealed • As they went through the camps they discovered millions of unburied, dead bodies in piles • Any survivors found, were so malnourished, overworked, disease ridden, that many of them died shortly after being saved. • The ones fortunate to live, were walking skeletons, alone, and at a loss of where to go.
Liberation • In Auschwitz alone, these things were found: • Hundreds of thousands of men’s suits • Over 800,000 women’s outfits • 14,000 pounds of human hair • Not to mention the millions of bodies found • Before Hitler committed suicide in 1945, he wrote down his final thoughts that the Jews were the cause of the war and their own extermination was their fault; he urged that they continue to annihilate the Jews.
Nuremburg Trials • Hitler and his other high leaders, Himmler (started medical experiments), and Goebbels, all committed suicide to avoid being punished by trial/court. • 1945-1946 1st set of Trials: For SS Officers and High Ranking Hitler followers; either sentenced to death or life in prison • They were charged with “crimes against humanity.” • 1946-1949 2nd set of Trials: For lower level SS Officers and SS Doctor who did medical experiments; either sentenced to death or life in prison • 15,000-20,000 of the SS/SA (Gestapo) were never penalized for their involvement. • In the early 1990s still Nazi hunters were looking for Nazis who took part in the Holocaust • 1994– a News Reporter founda former Nazi officer in hiding and he was charged in 1998 for his involvement in the Holocaust; he was sentenced to life in prison