GENOCIDE AND THE HOLOCAUST

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GENOCIDE AND THE HOLOCAUST

 

  • I’M A FRIEND OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, They are held in HIGH ESTEEM FOR THEIR INGENUITY IN THE WORLD OF SCIENCE, CULTURE, JOURNALISM, BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY. I ALSO HAVE MANY JEWISH FRIENDS. I HAVE MANY CLOSE FRIENDS who are ALSO JEWISH. STUDIO AND I REALLY APPRECIATE THE TORAH IS THE BOOK OF ENOCH AND ALL THEIR RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHICAL THEORIES
  • I FEEL A DEEP PAIN WHEN I READ THE TERRIBLE EVENTS OF THE SHOAH AND THE GENOCIDE COMMITTED BY THE NAZIS UNDER HITLER BUT I LIVE IN AMERICA AND WHILE STUDYING OUR HISTORY, I WAS SADDED TO LEARN DURING MY STUDIES, THAT MILLIONS OF INDIANS ARE DEAD HAVING BEEN KILLED BY SETTLERS WHO CAME TO AMERICA FROM EUROPE.
  • THEN I WONDER WHY NOBODY HAS EVER MADE A DAY OF MEMORY FOR THE NATIVE AMERICANS, THE INDIANS OF AMERICAN FAMILIES!!??   YET THESE ANCIENT AND WISE NATIVE AMERICAN POPULATIONS WOULD HAVE DIED MANY TIMES OVER
  • 100 MILLION 400 MILLION 200 MILLION since the beginning of DISCOVERING the AMERICAS.

This is just a little window into a horrific page in the history of the world.

Genocide can be defined as:

 olocausto-giornata-della-memoria-il-lavoro-rende-liberiGenocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as:   a) Killing members of the group;  (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;  (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;   (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;  and/or (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The Holocaust , also known as Shoah, (“the catastrophe”;  from the Hebrew for “destruction”), was the mass murder or genocide of approximately six million Jews during  World War II,  a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party,  throughout the German Reich and German-occupied territories.

Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed. Over one million Jewish children were killed in the Holocaust, as were indianiapproximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men.   A network of over 40,000 facilities in Germany and German-occupied territory were used to concentrate, hold, and kill Jews and other victims.    Some scholars argue that the mass murder of the Romani and people with disabilities should be included in the definition, and some use the common noun “holocaust” to describe other Nazi mass murders, including those of Soviet prisoners of war, Polish and Soviet civilians, and homosexuals. Recent estimates, based on figures obtained since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, indicate some ten to eleven million civilians and prisoners of war were intentionally murdered by the Nazi regime.

2732012225235aThe persecution and genocide were carried out in stages. Various laws to exclude the Jews from civil society, most prominently the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, were enacted in Germany before the outbreak of World War II in Europe.  Concentration camps were established in which inmates were subjected to slave labor until they died of exhaustion or disease.   The occupiers required Jews and Romani to be confined in overcrowded ghettos before being transported by freight train to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, most were systematically killed in gas chambers.  Every arm of Germany’s bureaucracy was involved in the logistics that led to the genocides, turning the Third Reich into what one Holocaust scholar has called “a genocidal state”.

urlThe term holocaust comes from the Greek word holokauston, referring to an animal sacrifice offered to a god in which the whole animal is completely burnt.   For hundreds of years, the word “holocaust” was used in English to denote great massacres. Since the 1960s, the term has come to be used by scholars and popular writers to refer to the Nazi genocide of Jews.  The television mini-series Holocaust is credited with introducing the term into common parlance after 1978.    The biblical word Shoah, means “calamity”, became the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust as early as the 1940s, especially in Europe and Israel.   Shoah is preferred by many Jews for a number of reasons, including the theologically offensive nature of the word “holocaust”, which they take to refer to the Greek pagan custom.

The Nazis used a euphemistic phrase, the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”, and the phrase “Final Solution” has been widely used as a term for the genocide of the Jews. Nazis used the phrase Life unworthy of life in reference to their victims in an attempt to justify the killings.  “Every arm of the country’s sophisticated bureaucracy was involved in the killing process. Parish churches and the Interior Ministry supplied birth records showing who was Jewish; the Post Office delivered the deportation and denaturalization orders; the Finance Ministry confiscated Jewish property; German firms fired Jewish workers and disenfranchised Jewish stockholders.” The universities refused to admit Jews, denied degrees to those already studying, and fired Jewish academics; government transport offices arranged the trains for deportation to the camps; German pharmaceutical companies tested drugs on camp prisoners; companies bid for the contracts to build the crematoria; detailed lists of victims were drawn up using the Dehomag (IBM Germany) company’s punch card machines, producing meticulous records of the killings. As prisoners entered the death camps, they were made to surrender all personal property, which was catalogued and tagged before being sent to Germany to be reused or recycled.   The Final Solution of the Jewish question was “in the eyes of the perpetrators … Germany’s greatest achievement.” Through a concealed account,  the German national bank helped launder valuables stolen from the victims.

“Not one social group, not one religious community, not one scholarly institution or professional association in Germany and throughout Europe declared its solidarity with the Jews.”olocausto  There were some Christian churches who declared that converted Jews should be regarded as part of the flock, but even then only up to a point.   The Holocaust was distinctive because anti-sematic policies were able to unfold without the interference of countervailing forces of the kind normally found in advanced societies, such as industry, small businesses, churches, and other vested interests and   groups. In other genocides, pragmatic considerations such as control of territory and resources were central to the genocide policy.   Some argue that the basic motivation was purely ideological, rooted in an illusionary world of Nazi imagination, where an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world was opposed to a parallel Aryan quest. No genocide to date had been based so completely on myths, on hallucinations, on abstract, non-pragmatic ideology—which was then executed by very rational, pragmatic means.

The killings were systematically conducted in virtually all areas of German-occupied territory in what are now 35 separate European countries.   It was at its most severe in Central and Eastern Europe, which had more than seven million Jews in 1939. About five million Jews were killed there, including three million in occupied Poland and over one million in the Soviet Union. Hundreds of thousands also died in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Yugoslavia and Greece. It became clear that the Nazis intended to carry their “final solution of the Jewish question” to Britain and all neutral states in Europe, such as Ireland, Switzerland, Turkey, Sweden, Portugal, and Spain.   The use of camps equipped with gas chambers for the purpose of systematic mass extermination of peoples was a unique feature of the Holocaust and unprecedented in history. Never before had there existed places with the express purpose of killing people en masse. These were established at Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Jasenovac, Majdanek, Maly Trostenets, Sobibor and Treblinka. A distinctive feature of Nazi genocide was the extensive use of human subjects in “medical” experiments. “German physicians were highly Nazified, compared to other professionals, in terms of party membership.”   Some carried out experiments at Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Ravensbruck, Sachsenhausen and Natzweiler concentration camps.   The most notorious being Dr.  Josef Mengele, who worked in Auschwitz.  His experiments included placing subjects in pressure chambers, testing drugs on them, freezing them, attempting to change eye color by injecting chemicals into children’s eyes, and various amputations and other surgeries.  The full extent of his work will never be known because a truckload his records were destroyed.  Subjects who survived Mengele’s experiments were almost always killed and dissected shortly afterwards.    He worked extensively with Romani children. He would bring them sweets and toys, and personally took them to the gas chamber.

37723403vict_20000829_00119.jpgShoah did not result solely from anti-Semitism, but was a product of the “cumulative radicalization” in which “numerous smaller currents” fed into the “broad current” that led to genocide. After the First World War, the pre-war mood of optimism gave way to disillusionment as German bureaucrats found social problems to be more insoluble than previously thought, which in turn led them to place increasing emphasis on saving the biologically “fit” while the biologically “unfit” were to be written off.

The Nazis intensified their campaign of violence against the opposition. With the co-operation of local authorities, they set up concentration camps for extrajudicial imprisonment of their opponents. One of the first, at Dachau, opened on 9 March 1933. Initially the camp contained primarily communists and Social Democrats. The initial purpose of the camps was to serve as a deterrent by terrorizing those Germans who did not conform to the Volksgemeinschaft. Those sent to the camps included the “educable”, whose wills could be broken into becoming “National Comrades”, and the “biologically depraved”, who were to be sterilized, were to be held permanently, and over time were increasingly subject to extermination through labor, i.e., being worked to death.

In 1935, Hitler introduced the Nuremberg Laws, which prohibited “Aryans” from having sexual relations or marriages with Jews, although this was later extended to include “Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring” (the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor),  tripped German Jews of their citizenship and deprived them of all civil rights.  At the same time the Nazis used propaganda to promulgate the concept of race defilement to justify the need for a restrictive law. Hitler described the “Blood Law” in particular “the attempt at a legal regulation of a problem, which in the event of further failure would then have through law to be transferred to the final solution of the National Socialist Party”. Hitler said that if the “Jewish problem” cannot be solved by these laws, it “must then be handed over by law to the National-Socialist Party for a final solution”.   The “final solution”, became the standard Nazi euphemism for the extermination of the Jews.   Though the vast majority of the Jews affected and killed during Holocaust were of Ashkenazi descent, Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews suffered greatly as well.

In every ghetto, in every deportation train, in every labor camp, even in the death camps, the will to resist was strong, and took many forms.   Fighting with the few weapons that would be found, individual acts of defiance and protest, the courage of obtaining food and water under the threat of death, the superiority of refusing to allow the Germans their final wish to gloat over panic and despair.   Even passivity was a form of resistance. To die with dignity was a form of resistance. To resist the demoralizing, brutalizing force of evil, to refuse to be reduced to the level of animals, to live through the torment, to outlive the tormentors, these too were acts of resistance. Merely to give a witness of these events in testimony was, in the end, a contribution to victory. Simply to survive was a victory of the human spirit.

The most well-known example of Jewish armed resistance was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of January 1943, when thousands of poorly armed Jewish fighters held the SS at bay for url-1four weeks before being crushed by overwhelmingly superior forces. According to Jewish accounts, several hundred Germans were killed, while the Germans claimed to have lost 17 dead and 93 wounded. 13,000 Jews were killed, 57,885 were deported and gassed according to German figures. This uprising was followed by the revolt in the Treblinka extermination camp in May 1943, when about 200 inmates escaped from the camp. They overpowered and killed a number of German guards and set the camp buildings ablaze, but 900 inmates were also killed, and out of the 600 who successfully escaped, only 40 survived the war.   The historical conditioning of the Jewish communities of Europe to accept persecution and avert disaster through compromise and negotiation was the most important factor in the failure to resist until the very end. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising took place only when the Jewish population had been reduced from 500,000 to 100,000, and it was obvious that no further compromise was possible.  The number of victims depends on which definition of “the Holocaust” is used.  The term is commonly defined as the mass murder of more than five million European Jews.   “The term Holocaust is sometimes used in two other ways: to mean all German killing policies during the war, or to mean all oppression of Jews by the Nazi regime.”     In addition to those who died in the extermination camps, at least half a million Jews died in other camps, including the major concentration camps in Germany. These were not extermination camps, but had large numbers of Jewish prisoners at various times, particularly in the last year of the war as the Nazis withdrew from Poland. About a million people died in these camps, and although the proportion of Jews is not known with certainty, it was estimated to be at least 50 percent.

As the significant majority of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were speakers of Yiddish, the Holocaust had a profound and permanent effect on the fate of the Yiddish language and culture.  On the eve of World War II, there were 11 to 13 million Yiddish speakers in the world.   The Holocaust led to a dramatic, sudden decline in the use of Yiddish, as the extensive Jewish communities, both secular and religious, that used it in their day-to-day life were largely destroyed. Around five million (85%) of the victims of the Holocaust were speakers of Yiddish. Of the remaining non-Yiddish population, the Ladino speaking populations of Greece and the Balkans were also destroyed, which contributed to the extinction of this Judaeo-Spanish language.

olocausto 003The number of black people in Germany when the Nazis came to power is variously estimated at 5,000–25,000. It is not clear whether these figures included Asians. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., “The fate of black people from 1933 to 1945 in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied territories ranged from isolation to persecution, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality, and murder. However, there was no systematic program for their elimination as there was for Jews and other groups.”   Between 1939 and 1941, 80,000 to 100,000 mentally ill adults in institutions were killed; 5,000 children in institutions; and 1,000 Jews in institutions.  Overall it has been estimated that over 200,000 individuals with mental disorders of all kinds were put to death, although their mass murder has received relatively little historical attention. Along with the physically disabled, people suffering from dwarfism were persecuted as well. Many were put on display in cages and experimented on by the Nazis.    Between 5,000 and 15,000 homosexuals of German nationality are estimated to have been sent to concentration camps.  Homosexuality was declared contrary to “wholesome popular sentiment,” and homosexuals were consequently regarded as “defilers of German blood.” The Gestapo raided gay bars, tracked individuals using the address books of those they arrested, used the subscription lists of gay magazines to find others, and encouraged people to report suspected homosexual behavior and to scrutinize the behavior of their neighbors. Tens of thousands were convicted between 1933 and 1944 and sent to camps for “rehabilitation”, where they were identified by yellow armbands and later pink triangles worn on the left side of the jacket and the right trouser leg, which singled them out for sexual abuse.    Hundreds were castrated by court order.   They were humiliated, tortured, used in hormone experiments conducted by SS doctors, and killed.   Many victims kept their stories to themselves because homosexuality remained criminalized in postwar Germany. Around two percent of German homosexuals were persecuted by Nazis.

Kathy Kiefer

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