Hitler Makes War on the Jews

Aryan Idealogy
adolf-hitler-1.jpg
A profile shot of Adolf Hitler.

Hitler considered Germans, or the "Aryan Race" as he called them, to be the perfect race with their common blue eyes and blonde hair. Along with his Aryan idea, he had ideas about other races too. Hitler believed that Aryans were "the creators of culture" and that anyone inferior to them should serve them (1"Adolf Hitler"). He was quite prejudice against Jews, Gypsies, and other races. By his words, they were considered to be "filthy", "dirty", "unworthy", and "inferior to others"("Adolf Hitler's Childhood"). As a way of "purifying the world", Hitler led the so-called inferior races to the door of death.
Historical Anti-Semitism
In the early 1880's and 1890's, feelings of anti-Semitism, or prejudice against Jews, spread like a brush fire throughout Europe. Because of this, many Gypsies, Jews, and other races were thought to be unworthy of life. Hitler put the thought into many European minds that the Aryan race needed more living space, and therefore needed to diminish the populations of "inferior races".
A good example of this is when Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish officer was accused of being a spy for the Germans. Some old files and then-current locations of France's armies were found in Dreyfus' cabin and he was later taken to prison on Devil's Island where he spent five-years under harsh living conditions. Still not convinced that Dreyfus was guilty, Dreyfus supporters of the Dreyfusards tried convincing the court that he was guilty and to at least give him a second trial. Eventually, Dreyfus was given another trail where he was once again found guilty, adding on another ten years to his imprisonment on Devil's Island. The Dreyfusards kept persisting though, and President Amile Loubet finally gave Dreyfus a pardon. Many years later these trials, Alfred Dreyfus was found to be framed by the French officers that denounced him, though this was not made very public so as to not give the French military a bad name. This conflict led to the migration of Jews back to their holy land of Palestine, known as Zionism (316). Many Arabs, Africans, and other races thought of Jews to be an "inferior race" and used them as a "whipping boy" to anger the French (Logue, "Alfred Dreyfus"; Riding, "Dreyfus Was Vindicated, but What of the French?").
Nuremberg Laws (1935)
The Nuremberg Laws were specifically targeted towards Jews. They deprived the group of German citizenship and forbade not only Germans and Jews from getting married, but Jews and any non-Jews(515-517).
Kristallnacht
In November of 1938, a young Jewish boy by the name of Grynszpan went to Paris to visit and uncle when he heard of his father's deportation to Poland. Displeased with his father's sudden departure, Grynszpan shot an important German diplomat while in France. It was not long before the Nazi leaders had heard of this and decided to avenge the diplomat's death by slaughtering the Jewish community. Storming into homes, synagogues, and businesses all across the country, Nazi soldiers set out and killed over one hundred Jews. This night was known as Kristallnacht or "night of broken glass" (502).

A Flood of Refugees

Jews Flee the Premise
Many Jews realized that the violence towards them was augmenting. German Jewish peoples fled from their homes and tried to acquire homes across the continent and even outside of it. They fled to areas like the United States of America, France, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia. Some Jews courageously remained in Germany and their territories were promplty taken over by Hitler (Beck 503).
Emigration Was Supported by the Führer, Though Jewish Refugees Were Limited
Nations like France, Great Britain, and the United States had begun practicing the limiting of Jewish refugees entering their country. These countries, like Germany, did not want the Jewish population either, leaving a difficult situation to those rejected at the border (503). It was presumed that these nations did not want the Jews due to the increasing aggression towards them and throughout history.

Isolating the Jews

Hitler Relocates Jews To Ghettos
Since emigration could not get rid of all the Jews, Hitler started making designated areas within cities to keep the "offending" populous for the time being. The Jews in countries Adolf Hitler exerted control over were moved to designated cities, and more specifically, herded into these ghettos. Ghettos were essentially segregated, overcrowded areas in a city, boarded off from the outside so the Jews would not be able to get out (503).
Ghetto Conditions
warsaw.gif
Persecuted peoples fleeing the ghettos.

The ghettos were sealed off with barbed wire and stone walls. There was a short supply of food and the areas were not properly sanitized, therefore resulting in the spreading of many diseases. And within these conditions, some Jews found comfort. This is explained by a renowned writer who recounts his experiences in the ghettos, Elie Wiesel.
"Little by little life returned to 'normal.' The barbed wire that encircled us like a wall did not fill us with real fear. In fact, we felt this was not a bad thing; we were entirely among ourselves. . .We would no longer have to look at all those hostile faces, edure those hate-filled stares. No more fear. No more anguish. We would live among Jews, among brothers. . ." (Wiesel 29-30).
Also, some Jews even formed resistance organizations (Beck 503).

Hitler Seeks a New Answer

The Führer's Final Solution
Hitler's "Final Solution" was designed to rid Germany of all "subhumans". That is, all non-Aryans were subject to elimination by the Nazis. This group included homosexuals, gypsies, the disabled, and Jews ("U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History").
Genocide
The purpose of these mass killings of selected groups was to exterminate anyone that was somehow considered "inferior" (Beck 503).

The Killings Begin

Genocide in Eastern Europe
Hitler enacted his answer to the "Jewish question" through the SS--his pre-eminent security force. The SS identified Jews to be killed in Eastern Europe ("Holocaust" 296a).
Hitler Categorizes the Jews
Upon arrival at concentration camps--laborious prisons--Jews were greeted with horrible conditions that were meant to speed along the death process. Jews were subject to inspection and divided into weak and strong categories. "Strong" Jews were typically young, brawny, and healthy men and women and allowed to remain prisoners. "Weak" Jews, whose "destiny" was to be eliminated first, were the ill, weak, and small children. Many elderly victims were also gassed and killed (Beck 504-505). In this fashion, Jewish families were torn apart at the seams, but many kept a strong faith, even in light of the Nazi's disapproval.
Utilizing the Jews
In labor camps, such as Auschwitz and Belzec, Jews were forced to work in brutal conditions for the Germans. The Jews did whatever was demanded of them, even being used as medical experiments ("Holocaust" 296b).

The Final Stage

Death Camps Become Destiny
Jewish peoples were taken to death camps, such as the previously mentioned Auschwitz. Auschwitz was located in Poland, in proximity to Katowice. The camps included gas chambers, which killed many people and was seen as the quickest, most efficient way for Hitler to get rid of the Jews (Beck 504).
Map.gif
Map of death camps in Europe.

After-Effects of the Holocaust
Six million total people of Jewish faith perished. In just Poland alone, 2,800,000 Jews died, while the original population had been well over ten million Jews (13,300,000). This being said, less than four million Jews lived to share the story of their experiences. Some citizens would hide Jews in their homes as a means to keep them safe during and after the war (505).

References


“Adolf Hitler.” Gale Biography in Context. N.p., 1998. Web. 3 May 2011.
“Adolf Hitler.” www.thefamouspeople.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2011.
“Adolf Hitler’s Childhood.” Library.thinkquest.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2011.
“The After Math of the Holocaust.” United States Holocaust Museum. N.p., 6 Jan. 2011. Web. 5 May 2011.
“Anti-Semetic Incidents.” Anti Defamation League. N.p., 2001. Web. 5 May 2011.
Baughman, Judith S. “Adolf Hitler.” Gale Biography in Context. N.p., 16 Dec. 1998. Web. 3 May 2011.
Beck, Roger B, et al. Modern World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston: McDougal Littell, 2007. Print. 315-316, 433, 479-480, 502-503, 505,
Benson, Sonia, et al. “Holocaust.” Gale Student Resources in Context. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2011.
Duffy, Mihael. “Treaty of Versailles: Articles 231-247 and Annexes.” FirstWorldWar.com. N.p., 22 Aug. 2009. Web. 3 May 2011.
Fleeing the Warsaw Gate. N.d. Holocaustresearchproject.org. Web. 10 May 2011.
“The Ghettos of the Holocaust.” Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team. N.p.,n.d. Web. 6 May 2011.
Logue, William H. “Dreyfus, Alfred (1859-1935).” Gale Student Resources in Context. Encyclopedia of World Biography, n.d. Web. 8 May 2011. McNeese, Tim. World War II 1939-1945. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2010. Print. 114
Miller, Frieda. “Emigration and Loss.” Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 May 2011.