Focus Question • In a three sentence answer, explain what you know about the Holocaust.
Roots of the Holocaust • Anti-Semitism throughout Europe • Jews largely seen as the “other” • Different religious tradition • Different social practices • Religious animosity • Similar prejudices applied to other groups • Romany (Gypsies)
Nazi Ideology • Nazi belief based on German supremacy • Blamed “traitors” for German ills • Jewish Germans • Communists • Drew upon nascent prejudices common in Europe • Anti-Semitism • Distrust of the Romany
Nuremberg Laws • Anti-Jewish persecution began early • Boycotts of Jewish businesses urged • Jews banned from certain jobs • Nuremberg Laws of 1935 • Stripped Jews of citizenship • Forced segregation • Banned intermarriage
Kristallnacht • “The Night of Broken Glass” 11/9/38 • Police and Military ordered to attack Jews • 1,500 synagogues destroyed • 7,500 Jewish businesses destroyed • More than 200 killed
Mass Exodus from Germany • Large numbers of Jews attempted to flee • International Rescue Committee founded • Brought victims of persecution to the U.S. • Visa applications sped up by executive order • Overall impact was limited • Quotas on immigration set in 1924 • Fears of the Depression haunted the U.S. • The St. Louis
Concentration Camps • Prisons built in 1933 • Political opponents • Communists • Socialists • Trade Unionists • “Undesirables” • Homosexuals • Mentally Ill • Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses
“Final Solution” • Determined to eliminate “undesirables” • Concentration camps became “death camps” • Prisoners systematically murdered • 6 million Jews • 3 million Poles • 5 million Russians
Allied Reaction • Allied leaders knew of the camps • War Refugee Board established in 1944 • Leaders did not take steps to stop the genocide • Why?
Activity • In a short reply of five to seven sentences in your notes, describe the emotions felt by the soldiers and prisoners in the liberated camp. Describe how this scene affected your understanding of the events.
“The things I saw beggar description…The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me sick…I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations to propaganda.” General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Europe, Letter to Chief of Staff George Marshall, April 12, 1945
Summary • Explain, in a short response of one to three sentences, why it is important to study events of human genocide like the Holocaust