5 intro to the holocaust

Introduction to the
“Never shall I forget those flames which
consumed my faith forever. Never shall
I forget that nocturnal silence which
deprived me, for all eternity, of the
desire to live. Never shall I forget those
moments which murdered my God and
my soul and turned my dreams to dust.
Never shall I forget those things, even if
I am condemned to live as long as God
Himself. Never.”
Goal of Today
• Today we will be looking at the origins of the
• What were some of the steps that led to the murder
of millions of people?
• Terms
– Nuremberg Laws
– Kristallnacht
Holocaust time line
• 1933
– Hitler was named German Chancellor (Jan.). Dachau, first
concentration camp, established (March). Boycotts against
Jews begin (April).
• 1935
– Anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws
passed by Reichstag; Jews lose
citizenship and civil rights (Sept.).
• 1937
– Buchenwald concentration
camp opens (July
Time line continued
• 1938
– Extension of anti-Semitic laws to Austria after annexation
(March). Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass)—antiSemitic riots and destruction of Jewish institutions in
Germany and Austria (Nov. 9). 26,000 Jews sent to
concentration camps; Jewish children expelled from
schools (Nov. 9–10). Expropriation of Jewish property and
businesses (Dec.).
• 1940
– As war continues, Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads)
follow German army into conquered lands, rounding up
and massacring Jews and other “undesirables.”
Time line continued
• 1941
– Goering instructs Heydrich to carry out the “final solution to
the Jewish question” (July 31). Deportation of German Jews
begins; massacres of Jews in Odessa and Kiev (Nov.); and in
Riga and Vilna (Dec.).
• 1942
– Mass killings using Zyklon-B begin at Auschwitz-Birkenau
(Jan.). Nazi leaders attend Wannsee Conference to coordinate
the “final solution” (Jan. 20). 100,000 Jews from Warsaw
Ghetto deported to Treblinka death camp (July).
• 1943
– Warsaw Ghetto uprisings (Jan. and April); Ghetto
exterminated (May).
• Historic Reasons:
• Religious—Jews blamed for death of Jesus; stereotype of
the “wandering Jew”
• Economic—Jews accused of economic exploitation
• Modern Reasons :
• Protocols of the Elders of Zion—talks of a worldwide
Jewish conspiracy
• Political—Jews accused of spreading Marxism
• Racial—Nazi racial ideology promoted the idea that Jews
are a separate race “polluting” the German Volk
History of Anti Semitism
• Jews were scapegoats for many problems. For
example, people blamed Jews for the “Black Death”
that killed thousands in Europe during the Middle
• In the Russian Empire in the late 1800s, the
government incited attacks on Jewish neighborhoods
called pogroms. Mobs murdered Jews and looted
their homes and stores.
• Demonized Jews
• Perpetuated stereotypes
• Reinforced Nazi racial
• Encouraged viewing
Jews as “alien”
• Engendered fear and
• An exhibition entitled Der ewige Jude (The Eternal
Jew) attracted 412,300 visitors, more than 5,000 per
day, during its run at the Deutsches Museum in
Munich from November 1937 to January 1938.
• Poster: "He is guilty
for the war"
• Racism was taught in public schools as a scientific
fact, through the dissemination of anti-Semitic
literature and textbooks with racist themes. For
example, a mathematics problem from the Third
Reich stated, "The Jews are aliens in Germany--in
1933 there were 66,060,000 inhabitants in the
German Reich, of whom 499,682 were Jews. What
is the per cent of aliens?" Teachers were given a
guide that explained how to foster anti-Semitic
attitudes in their pupils. Books with anti-Semitic
themes were given to children at a young age.
Anti-Jewish propaganda book
"The Poisonous Mushroom”
Germany, c. 1938.
Illustration from the anti-Semitic
children's book, The Poisonous
Mushroom, in which a Jewish man is
depicted as a child molester attempting to
lure German children with candy
Illustration from The
Poisonous Mushroom, that depicts
religious Jews from Eastern Europe as
dirty, ugly, and dishonest
book "Trust
No Fox."
ca. 1938.
1933 Boycott Jewish Businesses
• On April 1, 1933, the Nazis
carried out the first nationwide,
planned action against the Jews:
a boycott of Jewish businesses.
• On the day of the boycott,
Storm Troopers stood
menacingly in front of Jewishowned shops. The six-pointed
"Star of David" was painted in
yellow and black across
thousands of doors and
windows. Signs were posted
saying "Don't Buy from Jews"
and "The Jews Are Our
• Three Jewish businessmen are forced to march
down a crowded Leipzig street while carrying
signs reading: "Don't buy from Jews; Shop in
German businesses!" Leipzig, Germany, 1935
The Nuremberg Laws 1935
• The first law, The Law for the Protection of German Blood and
German Honor, prohibited marriages and extra-marital intercourse
between “Jews ” (the name was now officially used in place of “nonAryans ”) and “Germans ” and also the employment of “German ”
females under forty-five in Jewish households.
• The second law, The Reich Citizenship Law, stripped Jews of their
German citizenship and introduced a new distinction between “Reich
citizens ” and “nationals.”
• The Nuremberg Laws by their general nature formalized the unofficial
and particular measures taken against Jews up to 1935. The Nazi
leaders made a point of stressing the consistency of this legislation
with the Party program which demanded that Jews should be deprived
of their rights as citizens.
What the Law Did
• The Nuremberg Laws did not define a “Jew” as
someone with particular religious beliefs.
• Many Germans who had not practiced Judaism for
years found themselves caught in the middle of Nazi
• The Nuremberg
Laws were
intended to bring
about a clear
separation of
This book is designed to show what a normal German child looks like on
the left. The pictures on the right show what Jewish children look like
• Like everyone in
Germany, Jews were
required to carry identity
cards, but the government
added special identifying
marks to theirs: a red "J"
stamped on them and new
middle names for all
those Jews who did not
possess recognizably
"Jewish" first names -"Israel" for males, "Sara"
for females. Such cards
allowed the police to
identify Jews easily.
• 1939 flyer from the Hotel Reichshof in Hamburg, Germany. The red
tag instructs Jewish guests of the hotel that they are not permitted in
the hotel restaurant, bar, or in the reception rooms. The hotel
management required Jewish guests to take their meals in their rooms.
Following the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, Jews were systematically
excluded from public places in Germany.
• Throughout the 1930s, German Jewish businessmen were
pressured to close their enterprises or sell them to
"Aryans" at a fraction of their true value. By April 1938,
the number of Jewish-owned businesses had declined from
about 100,000 in January 1933 to 39,552. Retail stores
were especially hard hit -- only some 9,000 shops of an
estimated 55,000 were still in Jewish hands in July 1938.
• In the months prior to Kristallnacht, the Nazis stepped up
their efforts to drive Jews from the German economy and
strip them of their assets.
– 1938 was a fateful year
– Hard-core Nazis were
confronting average people’s
“complacency”; they worried
that Jewish values had penetrated
the bourgeoisie and that people’s
enthusiasm for Nazi values were
– The fact that Jews were criticized
and ostracized was not enough;
they were still there and
paralyzing the mind of the avg.
German – anti-Semitic policy
thus had to be radicalized
• On November 9, 1938, the
Nazis unleashed a wave of
violence against
Germany's Jews. In the
space of a few hours,
thousands of synagogues
and Jewish businesses and
homes were damaged or
destroyed. This event came
to be called Kristallnacht
("Night of Broken Glass")
for the shattered store
windowpanes that carpeted
German streets.
• Reason for the violence: November 7th assassination of a
German diplomat in Paris, Ernst vom Rath, by Herschel
Grynszpan, a Jewish teenager whose parents, along with
17,000 other Polish Jews, had been recently expelled from
the Reich. Though portrayed as spontaneous outbursts of
popular outrage, the violent retaliation was calculated and
carried out by the SA, SS, and local Nazi party
Who Was Blamed?
• Stormtroopers killed at least 91 Jews and injured
many others. For the first time, Jews were arrested
on a massive scale and transported to Nazi
concentration camps. About 30,000 Jews were
arrested for the “crime” of being Jewish and sent to
Buchenwald, Dachau, and Sachsenhausen, where
hundreds died within weeks of arrival. Release came
only after the prisoners arranged to leave Germany
and agree to transfer their property to "Aryans."
• German officials calculated that 7,500 enterprises were
damaged or destroyed in the rampages. The Nazis forced
the Jews to pay the costs of the violence and banned them
from gainful economic activity. Insurance monies to cover
the damages were confiscated, Jewish store and home
owners had to repair their buildings at their own cost, and
an "atonement" fee of 1 billion Reichsmarks (about $400
million) was imposed on the Jewish community.
• Curfews were places on Jews, limiting the hours of the day
they could leave their homes.
Sterilization Laws
• 1933 Sterilization Law: Law for the Prevention of
Hereditarily Diseased Descendants
• Allowed involuntary sterilization of anyone
suffering from disease thought to be genetically
– Feeble-mindedness, manic-depression, schizophrenia,
malformation, deafness, blindness, epilepsy, alcoholism
Up to 400,000 (more than 1% of population) sterilized
• September 1939
• Physicians to grant “mercy death” to patients judged
“incurably sick by medical examination”
• All state institutions required to report on all patients
who had been ill more than 5 years and who were
unable to work
• Filled out questionnaires giving name, race,
nationality, marital status
• Decision regarding who is euthanized was based on
these questionnaires
• Euthanasia became part of normal hospital routine