Punishment in the Holocaust
The Holocaust was an event in history that people would like to pretend never happened however in reality it will never be forgotten. Hitler came into power in 1933 and wanted to create the “master race”, meaning the Aryan race (Ushmm, 2013). The Jews, along with other groups such as the gypsies, were not included in this superior race. He thought of them as inferior and knew he had to expel them from the world. The word “Holocaust” means a “burnt sacrifice offered solely to God” (Niewyk, 2011). Once the Holocaust was over around 6 million Jews had been persecuted by the
Nazis (Ushmm, 2013). Hitler had established the New Order and wanted it to apply to all of the people in Europe. Some people were in shock and others tried to adjust to the changes, however some people did accept Nazism (Lyons, 2010). The fear of communism and desire for order in their country motivated them to feel this way. Germans were the chosen people in the new order, including Scandinavians, the Dutch, Luxembourgers, German speaking Swiss, Flemish Belgians and the English. Hitler considered all these places to be a part of a Greater German Empire, except the English.
Hitler was willing to let them keep their independence if they had a positive attitude (Lyons, 2010). Hitler wanted all of these countries in the Greater Reich. The Jews were not included in this and from the start Hitler did not approve of them. Hitler had planned to expel the Jews from Germany and other territories under his rule from the time he came into power. The Jews were the damned and from the start of Hitler’s rule they never stood a chance. At first Hitler’s goal was to make their life miserable to get them to leave Germany. Some of them left but a majority of them stayed.
Some didn’t have the money to leave and others did not want to leave because Germany was their homeland and thought that this may be temporary. Other groups, such as the gypsies also faced terrible treatment, but no group faced the kind of treatment and punishment that the Jews did (Lyons, 2010). In 1935, Nazi thugs attacked Jewish shops and beat them in the streets. These continued attacks on them created the Nuremberg laws (“The holocaust: an introductory’). These laws took away the German citizenship of the Jews and also didn’t allow sexual relations or marriage between Jews and Germans.
The situation became worse in 1938 when a Jew assassinated an official of the German embassy in Paris. After this attack the Nazis killed 100 Jews and arrested 30,000 others (Lyons, 2010). Their synagogues and shops were burned and destroyed. So much glass was broken in the city this event became known as Kristallnacht meaning “Night of Crystal Glass”. Following Kristallnacht, Jews were forced to pay heavy reparations; Nazis captured Jewish businesses and required businesses to dismiss Jewish employees.
These chains of events led to more and more Jews to leave the country in 1938 and 939 (Lyons, 2010). Hitler decided that the final solution to the Jewish question was extermination. The Jews were considered to be the lice of civilized humanity and needed to be eliminated completely (Lyons, 2010). Hitler wanted to take over the island of Madagascar to make it the permanent Jewish homeland. However, the Germans 2010). By 1941, people that were identified as a Jew in any place considered German territory had to wear a yellow star on their clothing (“The holocaust”).
This made them targets to Nazis along with people in society, everyone knew whether someone was a Jew or not. The Nazis created the first Jewish ghetto in October 1939 in the Polish city called Lodz. Others were soon created afterwards. These ghettos were holding transit places for the Jews; they were sent to these ghettos, detained there and then eventually sent to the concentration camps. The Germans set up a council called Judenrat in each ghetto. The members of the council had to administer the ghettos and send Jews to the death camps (Lyons, 2010).
When men and women got to the ghettos they were separated from each other along with their kids. The boys went with the fathers and the girls went with their mothers. They were subjected to terrible conditions. Thousands of people became “human guinea” pigs in medical experiments. These experiments included the effects of freezing human beings, subjecting them to intense air pressure, and sterilizing women (Lyons, 2010). Some were infected on purpose with diseases such as typhus and exposed to mustard gas. The Nazis purposely made the living conditions unbearable.
The largest ghetto was Warsaw. Around 400,000 people were confined to an area of about 2. 5 miles making it nearly impossible to move. (“Jewish life during the Holocaust”). 19 foot walls onfined the people in to keep them separate from the rest of society. Guards paroled the area constantly, making sure no Jews were trying to escape. If one was caught they were killed. Different diseases broke out and spread extremely fast due to the fact that everyone was living on top of each other. No medical care was given to those who needed it so they suffered until they died.
Others died from starvation due to the lack of food they got. Some people killed themselves because they could not handle the physical or emotional pain any longer (“Jewish life during the Holocaust”). Concentration and death camps were the two different types of camps created as a place for the Jews to be sent to (“Jewish life during the Holocaust”). Concentration camps were for prisoners to do forced labor where they had striped uniforms, armbands or labels to identify what type of prisoner they were. Different colors represented different groups.
Death camps were created for mass murder and immediate death. At death camps people originally were shot or killed in gas vans. The people would be locked into the van and when the driver pressed the accelerator carbon monoxide gas was released, killing them. Even though concentration camps seemed better than death camps, people there still faced terrible, cruel, and horrific punishments (“Jewish life during the Holocaust”). It in a way was worse than death camps because at least there you were immediately killed. People suffered and endured harsh treatments in concentration camps.
Prisoners there eventually died from starvation, disease or horrific treatment from the Nazis. Some were even sent to death camps, where there they would be killed (“Jewish life during the Holocaust”). The earliest concentration camp established was Dachau located in Germany in 1933 nd the earliest death camp established was Auschwitz in 1940 located in Poland (Rosenberg). Auschwitz was both a death camp and a concentration camp. The fate of the people and what camp they would be in was decided upon arrival. By December 1941, six death camps were using gas to kill the Jews.
Five were located in southwestern Poland called Auschwitz. Eventually this camp included 3 camps and 45 sub-camps. Auschwitz camp was responsible for murdering 1. 1 million people, mainly Jews. There were three different locations of Auschwitz, known as Auschwitz (the main one), Auschwitz 2(Birkenau) and Auschwitz 3 (Buna-Monowitz). Auschwitz 1 is where Block 11 and Black Wall located. Block 11 was a place where the prisoners were severely tortured and the Black Wall was where they were executed (Rosenberg). This camp was mainly for housing prisoners and subjecting them to medical experiments.
Nazi doctors would pick people upon arrival to perform experiments on. They usually picked dwarfs, twins and anyone that looked unique. One type of experiment done was injecting substances into women’s uteruses and exposing them to X-rays to make them sterile. Another one was experimenting on identical twins trying to find a way to clone people. This type of experiment was performed because Hitler was interested in creating the “master race” so if he found a way to clone it would be easier to accomplish his goal. Auschwitz 2 was created in 1942 right outside of the original Auschwitz.
It was larger than the main one, housing the most prisoners. This is where the selections and most killings took place. Auschwitz 3 was used mainly to house the forced-laborers (Rosenberg). Jews, along with gypsies and homosexuals were put in filthy, small, cattle cars on trains to be ent to Auschwitz. It was extremely overcrowded and uncomfortable, many people died in the trains before they even reached the camps. The train would stop at Auschwitz 2, forcing the people to get off and stand on what was known as the ramp (Rosenberg). They were split up into 2 different lines.
The left line was for people who looked unfit, unhealthy, the elderly, children or women and the right line was for those who looked strong and were young men. The left line meant you were going to be executed immediately by the gas chambers and the right line meant you were going to become a prisoner at the camp (Rosenberg). The prisoners who were allowed to live usually died later on from starvation, torture, forced labor and exposure. The people who were sent to the left line had no idea what that really meant, the Nazis kept this a secret from them.
They were told they would be sent to work but first needed showers to disinfect them. Originally carbon monoxide gas was what was used to kill them (gas vans) however; Commandant Rudolf Hoss replaced it with Zyklon-B crystals. This lethal gas could kill 24,000 humans in a day. Jews were taken into buildings that looked like bathhouses and were told to get undressed for a hower. Once the shower was turned on the Zyklon-B crystals were released from the showerhead, walls vents, ceiling and windows killing Jews in minutes (Lyons, 2010). Once they realized what was happening they went into a complete panic.
They climbed over each other, trying to find an area to breathe, scratched at any opening trying to get out until their fingers bled. The Germans selected certain Jewish prisoners that showed to be of useful strength to be members of Sonderkommando. These members were responsible for sending the Jews to the gas chambers, ollecting their bodies once dead and then burning them in crematoriums (Lyons, 2010). The people that were spared immediate death to become workers were subjected to terrible living conditions that were punishment in itself. Many died from starvation, intense work labor and disease (Ushmm, 2013).
There would be three usually was a bowl of soup and bread. These terrible conditions were done intentionally to starve and work the prisoners to death. The Germans tried to keep the camps and extermination a secret from the world. However, by 1941 the news began to flood through Germany, Allied countries along ith neutral countries. At first people were doubtful and in disbelief but by 1942 they knew that this was really happening. In 1944, the Allies started to take over the camps and the liberated the first one in Poland (Hitlerschildren). Soon, more camps were liberated with Auschwitz being liberated in 1945.
The German forces surrendered on May 7, 1945. There were around 50,000-100,000 survivors living in Europe after the end of the Holocaust. The Jews were treated this way for no reason other than them being Jewish. Hitler wanted them completely expelled from the orld because he did not see them as a part of the Aryan race. He thought of them being inferior and himself and the race he wanted was superior. They did nothing wrong, they were not criminals; they did not deserve to be punished or subjected to the terrible kinds of treatment. Hitler simply did not want Jews to be a part of society.
He also blamed the Jews for Germans loss of WWI, along with problems that Germany was facing such as unemployment, poverty and starvation (“Jewish life during the Holocaust”). He wanted to torture, punish, and make them suffer in the most horrific and appalling ways possible. They were mentally, physically and emotionally punished. He used manipulation and deception in his tactics. The Jews were lied to about nearly everything. They were deported from the ghettos to camps easily because the Nazis told them they were being moved to someplace else where life would be better for them.
Once they got to Auschwitz camp and were separated into the left and right lines, having no idea what those lines really meant. The Nazis purposely did not tell them because they knew they would try and fght back. Hitler knew he had to keep this a secret in order for the mass murders to be successful. They were told they were going to work but needed to be “disinfected” first. Having them believe they were going to take a shower, when really they were walking into their deaths. The ones that the Nazis kept alive and sent to concentration camps were kept alive to work. Not for themselves to make money but for Germany.
They were sent to factories, coalmines and farms (“Daily life). This was free labor and free workers, therefore Germany was benefiting by them. These ideas of punishment and treatment are still seen in the present. The Holocaust was a genocide and there have been many since and still are in present day. The Rwandan genocide took place in 1994 in East Africa between the Tutsis and Hutus (“Genocide in Rwanda”). Over a span of 100 days around 800,000 people were killed. The Hutus brutally killed and slaughtered the Tutsis, murdering them with any kind of weapon they could find or make.
They had to flee from their homes and seek refuge, trying to hide and escape their death. There also is an ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan where over 300,000 people have died (“Sudan backgrounder”). After the attack on Pearl Harbor any person living on the west coast that was of Japanese heritage was place in nternment camps (“Japanese-American internment” ) They did nothing wrong and were not a part of the attack on Pearl Harbor but since they had Japanese in them people in the USA were paranoid and wanted them gone.