The Holocaust A teaching resource created by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee. July 2007 www.bhamholocausteducation.org Only after we assimilate the history of the Holocaust can we transform the future. – Alan Rosenberg, Professor of Philosophy, Queens College
The Holocaust • The State sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims – 6 million were murdered. • From the Greek word meaning “a sacrifice by burning.” • In Hebrew the term “shoah” is used, meaning “catastrophe.”
The Holocaust was Unique: • Never before had a government, one that had prided itself on its own citizens’ high level of education and culture, sought to define a religious group as a race that must be eliminated throughout an entire continent, not just within a single country. • Never before had a government use the great power of technology for such destruction, seen in the horror of Auschwitz – a death camp that “processed” 10,000 Jews a day. • Never before had a government used their best and smartest people to start destruction and used mobile killing units to systematically kill approximately 1.5 million people in 2 years. • Never before had a government sought to dehumanize a group through such a devastatingly thorough and systematic use of propaganda that included the use of film, education, public rallies, indoctrination of the youth, radio, newspapers, art and literature.
Jewish Life Before the War Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one. - Eleanor Roosevelt A group of Jewish children pose in their bathing suits while vacationing in the resort town of Swider, near Warsaw. The two girls on the right are Gina and Ziuta Szczecinski. Both perished during the war. Malka Orkin (left) and her friend Tusia Goldberg. Tusia, whose father later became a member of the Bialystok ghetto Jewish council, survived the war. Malka did not survive. Lova Warszawczyk rides his tricycle in the garden of his home in Warsaw shortly before the start of World War II. He survived.
Jewish family celebration in Radomsko, Poland. Almost all of this town’s 12,000 Jews were deported to the death camp at Treblinka. Group portrait of the extended family of Mottle Leichter in Janow Podlaski, Poland. Only 3 in the picture survived.
Bystanders (85%) Victims Rescuers (< 0.5%) Perpetrators (< 10%)
The Victims It is true that not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims.- Elie Wiesel, 1995
Who was Hitler? • Born in Austria. • Reared Catholic. • Aspired to be an artist. Rejected by Vienna Academy of Arts on two occasions. Never attended college. • Exposed to antisemitic influences while in Vienna. • Moved to Germany to avoid Austrian draft. Fought for Germany in World War I.
Born in Austria Braunau-am-Inn
Reared Catholic Adolf (center) with schoolmates, 1900. St. Michael’s Catholic Church attended by Hitler as a child. Leonding, Austria
Moved to Germany to avoid Austrian draft. Fought for Germany in World War I. Hitler served in the Bavarian contingent of the German Army.
Factors Contributingto the Rise of the Nazis • Treaty of Versailles • Economics • German Nationalism • Antisemitism All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke, British Philosopher, 1729-1797
German children with stacks of inflated currency, virtually worthless in 1923.
Worldwide Depression, 1929 Bread lines for the unemployed in the U.S.
Antisemitism Recognizing public support for his anti-Jewish comments, Hitler capitalized on these anti-Jewish feelings that had existed for centuries in the German population and offered the Jews as a scapegoat for the country’s current financial woes. He would claim that Germany had lost World War I because of the Jews, that democracy and communism were Jewish inventions, and that the Jews were engaged in a conspiracy for world domination. It was the Jews who controlled society and made Germans suffer. Antisemitic political cartoon entitled "Rothschild" by the French caricaturist, C. Leandre, 1898.
Birth of the Nazi Party • In 1919 Hitler joined the fledgling “German Worker’s Party.” • In 1920 he took control of the group and changed the name to the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei, NSDAP, or Nazi for short. • It was here that Hitler discovered two remarkable talents: public speaking and inspiring personal loyalty. German propaganda postcard showing an early Hitler preaching to the fledgling Nazi Party. Assembly of the Nazi Party, 1922, Coburg, Germany
What the Nazis Believed Anyone who interprets National Socialism as merely a political movement knows almost nothing about it. It is more than a religion. It is the determination to create the new man. - Adolf Hitler • What the Nazis Believed • Racial Science
“Second Creation” Theodor Seuss Geisel, April 3, 1942
Racial Science The law of existence requires uninterrupted killing, so that the better may live. – Adolf Hitler Nazi physicians conducted “bogus” medical research in an effort to identify physical evidence of Aryan superiority & non-Aryan inferiority. The Nazis could not find evidence for their theories of biological racial differences among human beings. This kit contains 29 hair samples used by doctors, anthropologists, and geneticists to determine racial makeup of individuals. Establishing racial descent by measuring an ear at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology. Caliper to measure skull width.
Bystanders (85%) Victims Rescuers (< 0.5%) Perpetrators (< 10%)
The Perpetrators History teaches us to beware of demagogues who wrap themselves in the flag in an attempt to appeal to the worst aspects of nationalism. - Alistair Nicholson Reinhard Heydrich Joseph Goebbels Hermann Goering Adolf Eichmann Rudolf Hess Heinrich Himmler
Nazi Intentions Revealed Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice? - Lillian Hellman • Anti-Jewish Policies • Boycott of Jewish Shops: April 1, 1933 • Nazi Book Burnings: May 10, 1933 • Nuremberg Laws: September 15, 1935 • The November Decree: November 14, 1935
Anti-Jewish Policies How can such a monstrous crime as the Holocaust occur? It begins when people start thinking of themselves as ‘us’ and of others as ‘them’. - Ted Gottfried, Deniers of the Holocaust Goals: • social death of Jews • removal of Jewish presence/influence from German society Means of Accomplishment: • verbal assaults • physical assaults • legal/administrative restrictions
Laws Restricting Civil Rights The Law for the Protection of German Blood & German Honor forbade either marriage or sexual relations between Jews and Germans.
Laws Restricting Personal Rights Sign on a phone booth in Munich prohibiting Jews from using the public telephone. Jews were only permitted to purchase products between 3-5 p.m. This was one step in the overall Nazi scheme of eliminating Jews from economic, social and cultural life. Bench with inscription “Only for Jews.” Sign forbidding Jews in public pool.
Laws Restricting Education Political Cartoon from Der Stürmer entitled: “Away with Him” The long arm of the Ministry of Education pulls a Jewish teacher from his classroom. March 1933.
Laws Restricting Occupation With the rise of Nazism, nothing the Jews had done for their country made any difference… - Alfred Gottschalk, Jewish Survivor Erich Remarque, author. Sigmund Freud, psychoanalyst, Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize winner. Otto Klemperer, conductor.
Laws Restricting Private Property and Business "Aryanization" announcements in a newspaper.
Boycott of Jewish ShopsApril 1, 1933 SA soldiers stood at the entrances to Jewish shops and professional offices discouraging non-Jewish patrons from entering. Signs were posted warning: “Germans! Beware! Don’t Buy from Jews!”
Nazi Book Burnings May 10, 1933 Where books are burned, in the end, people will be burned. - Heinrich Heine (19th century German poet) Uniformed Nazi party officials carrying confiscated books. Hamburg, Germany, The public burning of "un-German" books by members of the SA and university students.
Nuremberg LawsSeptember 15, 1935 • Reich Flag Law • Official colors of the Nazi state are black, red, and white. • The national flag is the swastika flag. • Jews are forbidden from flying the German flag. • Reich Citizenship Law • German citizenship is denied to Jews. They are given the status of “subjects.” • Jews can not vote, own property, operate a business, or be paid wages as employees. • Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor • Forbids marriage or sexual relations between Jews and Germans. • Bans employment in Jewish homes of any German female under 45 years of age.
The November DecreeNovember 14, 1935 * 1st Degree Mischlingewould be considered Jews if they met any of the following criteria: - practiced the Jewish religion - were married to a Jew - or were children born after September 15, 1935 to one Jewish parent and one German parent
Nazi Propaganda How can such a monstrous crime as the Holocaust occur? It begins when people start thinking of themselves as “us” and of others as “them”. -Ted Gottfried, Deniers of the Holocaust • Education in Nazi Germany • Books
Typical School Day The teacher begins and ends the instruction by leading the assembled students in the greeting: The teacher raises the right arm and declares “Heil Hitler.” The students raise their right arms and respond Heil Hitler.” Raising the Swastika Flag at a school in Berlin.
The Poisonous Mushroom “The Poisonous Mushroom” “The Experience of Hans and Else with a Strange Man” “How Jewish Traders Cheat” “How To Tell A Jew “
Gentile Poles assembled for forced labor. June 1943 A German soldier stands on a toppled Polish monument. Krakow, Poland
Polish boys imprisoned in Auschwitz look out from behind the barbed wire fence. Approximately 40,000 Polish children were kidnapped and imprisoned in the camp before being transferred to Germany during "Heuaktion" (Hay Action), The children were used as slave laborers in Germany.
Isolation of Polish Jews 1. Humiliation & Terror 2. Forced Labor 3. Expulsion 4. The Jewish Badge
Humiliation & Terror German soldiers cutting the beard of a Jew. Harassment of a Jewish man. A soldier tutors two Jewish men on how to give the Nazi salute correctly. Jewish men are forced to race against one another while riding on the backs of their fellows.
Forced Labor Jews rounded up for forced labor October, 1939 Jews forced to sweep the streets.
Expulsion Polish Exiles, 1941 Arthur Szyk
More than 800 ghettos were established by the Nazis in Eastern Europe.