What the Nazis Believed

The Holocaust
Only after we assimilate the history of the Holocaust
can we transform the future.
– Alan Rosenberg, Professor of Philosophy, Queens College
A teaching resource created by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee.
July 2007
The Holocaust
• The State sponsored, systematic persecution and
annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany
and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945.
Jews were the primary victims – 6 million were
• From the Greek word meaning “a sacrifice by
• In Hebrew the term “shoah” is used, meaning
The Holocaust was Unique:
 Never before had a government, one that had prided itself on its own
citizens’ high level of education and culture, sought to define a religious group as
a race that must be eliminated throughout an entire continent, not just within a
single country.
 Never before had a government harnessed the immense power of
technology for such destructive ends, culminating in the horror of Auschwitz – a
death camp that, at its peak, “processed” 10,000 Jews a day.
 Never before had a government summoned their best and brightest people
to mobilize destruction and used mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen) to
systematically kill approximately 1.5 million individuals in 2 years.
 Never before had a government sought to dehumanize a group through
such a devastatingly thorough and systematic use of propaganda that included
the use of film, education, public rallies, indoctrination of the youth, radio,
newspapers, art and literature.
Jewish Life Before the War
Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an
obligation to be one. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Malka Orkin (left) and her
friend Tusia Goldberg.
Tusia, whose father later
became a member of the
Bialystok ghetto Jewish
council, survived the war.
Malka did not survive.
Lova Warszawczyk rides
his tricycle in the garden of
his home in Warsaw
shortly before the start of
World War II. He survived.
A group of Jewish children pose in
their bathing suits while
vacationing in the resort town of
Swider, near Warsaw.
The two girls on the right are Gina
and Ziuta Szczecinski. Both
perished during the war.
Jewish family celebration in
Radomsko, Poland. Almost all of this
town’s 12,000 Jews were deported to
the death camp at Treblinka.
Group portrait of the extended family of
Mottle Leichter in Janow Podlaski,
Poland. Only 3 in the picture survived.
Bystanders (85%)
Rescuers (< 0.5%)
Perpetrators (< 10%)
The Victims
It is true that not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims.
- Elie Wiesel, 1995
Political Opponents
Habitual Criminals
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Roma & Sinti (Gypsies) Poles
Soviet P.O.W.’s
American P.O.W.’s
Who was Hitler?
• Born in Austria.
• Reared Catholic.
• Aspired to be an artist.
Rejected by Vienna Academy of Arts on two occasions.
Never attended college.
• Exposed to antisemitic influences while in Vienna.
• Moved to Germany to avoid Austrian draft.
Fought for Germany in World War I.
Born in Austria
Reared Catholic
Adolf (center) with schoolmates, 1900.
St. Michael’s Catholic Church
attended by Hitler as a child.
Leonding, Austria
Aspired to be an Artist
Rejected by Vienna Academy of Arts
Never Attended College
Oedensplatz (Feldherrnhalle),
Munich, 1914
Artist: Adolf Hitler
The Rotterdam Cathedral
Munich, 1930
Artist: Adolf Hitler
Moved to Germany to avoid Austrian draft.
Fought for Germany in World War I.
Hitler served in the Bavarian contingent of the German Army.
Factors Contributing
to the Rise of the Nazis
All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win is for good men to do nothing.
- Edmund Burke, British Philosopher, 1729-1797
Treaty of Versailles
German Nationalism
Treaty of Versailles
European alliances on the eve of World War I
After World War I, the need for security on the
continent led France to support a buffer zone of new
nations between Russia and Germany, carved out of
the former Austrian Empire: Yugoslavia, Austria,
Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and
Lithuania were created.
German territory along the French border was
demilitarized out of the same concern for protection.
Europe after World War I
German territorial losses as dictated by the Treaty of Versailles.
Unemployment in Germany
September 1928
September 1929
September 1930
September 1931
September 1932
January 1933
Inflation in Germany
Jan. 1923
July 1923
Aug. 1923
Nov. 1, 1923
Nov. 15, 1923
Nov. 16, 1923
German children with stacks of inflated currency,
virtually worthless in 1923.
Worldwide Depression, 1929
Bread lines for the unemployed in the U.S.
German Nationalism
1st Reich
800 - 1806
His vast realm
encompassed what are
now France,
Switzerland, Belgium,
Netherlands, half of
present-day Italy and
Germany, and parts of
Austria and Spain.
2nd Reich
3rd Reich
Otto von Bismarck
Engineered the unification of
the numerous states of
Adolf Hitler
1933 - 1945
Hitler promised to return
Germany to its previous
glory with an empire that
would last 1000 years.
In reality, the 3rd Reich
lasted only 12 years.
1871 - 1918
1933 - ?
Recognizing public support for his antiJewish comments, Hitler capitalized on
these anti-Jewish feelings that had
existed for centuries in the German
population and offered the Jews as a
scapegoat for the country’s current
financial woes. He would claim that
Germany had lost World War I because
of the Jews, that democracy and
communism were Jewish inventions,
and that the Jews were engaged in a
conspiracy for world domination. It was
the Jews who controlled society and
made Germans suffer.
Antisemitic political cartoon entitled
"Rothschild" by the French caricaturist,
C. Leandre, 1898.
Birth of the Nazi Party
• In 1919 Hitler joined the
fledgling “German Worker’s
German propaganda postcard showing an early
Hitler preaching to the fledgling Nazi Party.
• In 1920 he took control of the
group and changed the name to
the National Socialist German
Worker’s Party, National
Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter
Partei, NSDAP, or Nazi for short.
• It was here that Hitler
discovered two remarkable
talents: public speaking and
inspiring personal loyalty.
Assembly of the Nazi Party, 1922, Coburg, Germany
What the Nazis Believed
Anyone who interprets National Socialism as merely a political movement knows almost
nothing about it. It is more than a religion. It is the determination to create the new man.
- Adolf Hitler
•What the Nazis Believed
•Racial Science
•Nazi Platform
“Second Creation”
Theodor Seuss Geisel, April 3, 1942
Racial Science
The law of existence requires uninterrupted killing, so that the better may live. –
Adolf Hitler
Nazi physicians conducted
“bogus” medical research in an
effort to identify physical evidence
of Aryan superiority & non-Aryan
inferiority. The Nazis could not
find evidence for their theories of
biological racial differences
among human beings.
This kit contains 29 hair
samples used by doctors,
anthropologists, and
geneticists to determine racial
makeup of individuals.
Establishing racial descent by
measuring an ear at the
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for
Caliper to measure skull width.
Nazi Platform
We demand:
1. A union of Germans to form a great Germany.
2. Abolition of the Treaty of Versailles.
3. Lebensraum (living space) for Germans as well as surplus populations.
4. German blood as a requirement for citizenship. No Jew can be a citizen.
5. Non-citizens live in Germany as foreigners only, subject to the law of aliens.
6. Only citizens can vote or hold public office.
7. The state insures that every citizen live decently and earn his livelihood.
8. No further immigration of non-Germans. Any non-German who arrived after
August 2, 1914, shall leave immediately.
9. Revision of the national system of education with citizenship being taught.
10. All newspapers must be published in the German language by German
Bystanders (85%)
Rescuers (< 0.5%)
Perpetrators (< 10%)
The Perpetrators
History teaches us to beware of demagogues who wrap themselves in the flag
in an attempt to appeal to the worst aspects of nationalism.
- Alistair Nicholson
Reinhard Heydrich
Joseph Goebbels
Hermann Goering
Adolf Eichmann
Rudolf Hess
Heinrich Himmler
Crucial Divisions of Nazi Party
(Storm Troopers, Brown Shirts,
Sturmabteilungen) – 1921
SS (Protective Squad, Schutzstaffel)
• SD (Security Service,
Sicherheitsdienst) - 1931
• Gestapo (Secret State Police,
Geheime Staatspolizei) - 1933
• Death’s Head Units
(Totenkopfverbande) - 1936
• Special Action Groups
(Einsatzgruppen) - 1938
Mass roll-call of SA and SS troops.
Nuremberg, November 11, 1935
• Waffen SS (Armed SS) - 1940
Nazi Intentions Revealed
Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?
- Lillian Hellman
•Anti-Jewish Policies
•Boycott of Jewish Shops: April 1, 1933
•Nazi Book Burnings: May 10, 1933
•Nuremberg Laws: September 15, 1935
•The November Decree: November 14, 1935
Anti-Jewish Policies
How can such a monstrous crime as the Holocaust occur?
It begins when people start thinking of themselves as ‘us’ and of others as ‘them’.
- Ted Gottfried, Deniers of the Holocaust
• social death of Jews
• removal of Jewish presence/influence
from German society
Means of Accomplishment:
• verbal assaults
• physical assaults
• legal/administrative restrictions
Laws Restricting Civil Rights
The Law for the Protection of German Blood & German Honor forbade
either marriage or sexual relations between Jews and Germans.
Laws Restricting Personal Rights
Jews were only permitted to purchase
products between 3-5 p.m. This was one
step in the overall Nazi scheme of
eliminating Jews from economic, social
and cultural life.
Bench with inscription “Only for Jews.”
Sign on a phone booth
in Munich prohibiting
Jews from using the
public telephone.
Sign forbidding Jews in public pool.
Laws Restricting Education
Political Cartoon from Der Stürmer entitled: “Away with Him”
The long arm of the Ministry of Education pulls a Jewish teacher from his classroom.
March 1933.
Laws Restricting Occupation
With the rise of Nazism, nothing the Jews had done for their country made any difference…
- Alfred Gottschalk, Jewish Survivor
Erich Remarque,
Albert Einstein,
Nobel Prize winner.
Sigmund Freud,
Otto Klemperer,
Laws Restricting Private Property
and Business
"Aryanization" announcements in a newspaper.
Aryanization was the process of transferring Jewish businesses
to German control.
Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained
or, on occasion, “regretted,” that, unless one were detached
from the whole process from the beginning, unless one
understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all
these “little measures” that no “patriotic German” could resent
must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day
to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One
day it is over his head.
Heinrich Hildebrandt, non-Jewish German high school teacher during
the Nazi years, interviewed in 1952.
They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer
Boycott of Jewish Shops
April 1, 1933
SA soldiers stood at the entrances to Jewish shops and professional offices
discouraging non-Jewish patrons from entering.
Signs were posted warning: “Germans! Beware! Don’t Buy from Jews!”
Nazi Book Burnings
May 10, 1933
Where books are burned, in the end, people will be burned.
- Heinrich Heine (19th century German poet)
Uniformed Nazi party officials carrying
confiscated books.
Hamburg, Germany,
The public burning of "un-German"
books by members of the SA and
university students.
Nuremberg Laws
September 15, 1935
Reich Flag Law
• Official colors of the Nazi state are black, red, and white.
• The national flag is the swastika flag.
• Jews are forbidden from flying the German flag.
Reich Citizenship Law
• German citizenship is denied to Jews. They are given the status of “subjects.”
• Jews can not vote, own property, operate a business, or be paid wages as employees.
Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor
• Forbids marriage or sexual relations between Jews and Germans.
• Bans employment in Jewish homes of any German female under 45 years of age.
The November Decree
November 14, 1935
Mischlinge, 2nd Degree:
4 “German”
1 Jewish grandparent
Mischlinge, 1st Degree: * 2 Jewish grandparents
3+ Jewish grandparents
* 1st Degree Mischlinge would be considered Jews if
they met any of the following criteria:
- practiced the Jewish religion
- were married to a Jew
- or were children born after September 15,
1935 to one Jewish parent and one
German parent
Nazi Propaganda
How can such a monstrous crime as the Holocaust occur? It begins when
people start thinking of themselves as “us” and of others as “them”.
-Ted Gottfried, Deniers of the Holocaust
• The Hitler Youth
• Education in Nazi Germany
• Media
• 1936 Olympics in Berlin
The Hitler Youth
German Girl’s League,
Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM)
Hitler Youth, Hitlerjügend (HJ)
"Youth Serves the Fuëhrer.
All ten-year-olds join the
Hitler Youth."
“All girls join us.”
Education in Nazi Germany
The foundation of every state is the education of its youth. - Diogenes
“The Jewish Question is the Key to World History.”
The German National Catechism
for Young Germans in School
and on the Job:
“Which race must the National Socialist race
fight against?
The Jewish race.
The goal of the Jew is to make himself the ruler
of humanity. Wherever he comes, he destroys
works of culture. He is not a creative spirit,
rather a destructive spirit.”
Werner May, Deutscher National-Katechismus
2nd edition (Breslau: Verlag von Heinrich
Handel, 1934), pp. 22-26
Typical School Day
The teacher begins and ends the instruction
by leading the assembled students in the
The teacher raises the right arm and
declares “Heil Hitler.”
The students raise their right arms and
respond Heil Hitler.”
Raising the Swastika Flag at a school
in Berlin.
The Poisonous Mushroom
“The Poisonous Mushroom”
“How Jewish Traders Cheat”
“The Experience of Hans and
Else with a Strange Man”
“How To Tell A Jew “
“Der Stürmer“, an
antisemitic tabloid, was
posted on billboards for
all to read, under the
heading: Die Juden sind
unser Unglück (The Jews
are our Misfortune).
Völkischer Beobachter,
(“People's Observer”),
daily newspaper
published by the Nazi
Party in Germany from
the 1920’s until 1945.
Free distribution of radios in honor of
Joseph Goebbel’s birthday.
Berlin, October 29, 1938.
"All Germany hears the Führer on the People's Receiver."
The Nazis, eager to encourage radio listenership, developed an inexpensive
radio receiver to make it possible for as many as possible to hear Nazi
The Eternal Jew, the
most famous Nazi
propaganda film.
Jew Pests, a film aimed
at influencing audiences
to hate Jews.
A propaganda film
designed by Nazis for
1936 Olympics in Berlin
The torch lighting ceremony.
Spectators salute Adolf Hitler during
the games.
German spectators spell out the phrase, directed at
Adolf Hitler, "Wir gehoeren Dir" [We belong to you].
Jesse Owens' medal
ceremony for the long jump.
World War II: 1939-1942
World War II Begins
Close your eyes to pity! Eighty million people (the population of Germany) must obtain
what is their right! The stronger man is right! Be harsh and remorseless!
- Adolf Hitler, August 31, 1939
• The Invasion of Poland: September 1, 1939
• The Blitzkrieg of Poland
• The Division of Poland
• The Germanization of Polish Gentiles
• The Isolation of Polish Jews
Germanization of Polish Gentiles
Two masters cannot exist side by side, and that is why all members
of the Polish intelligentsia must be killed. -Adolf Hitler
 Poles with Aryan features were allowed to remain in Poland. Some Aryanlooking children were kidnapped and taken to Germany to raised as German.
 Some Polish men were drafted into the German army, others were
deported to the Reich for slave labor.
 Monuments to Polish history and culture were destroyed.
 Valuable collections of art and science were transported out of the
country. Museums and libraries were demolished.
 Polish press and theaters were closed.
 Polish cities and streets were renamed with German names.
 Universities and secondary schools were closed. Education after the 4th
grade was forbidden as Poles would need little education as slave laborers.
 Use of the Polish language in public and private life was forbidden.
Gentile Poles assembled for
forced labor. June 1943
A German soldier stands on a
toppled Polish monument.
Krakow, Poland
Polish boys imprisoned in Auschwitz look out from behind the barbed wire fence.
Approximately 40,000 Polish children were kidnapped and imprisoned in the
camp before being transferred to Germany during "Heuaktion" (Hay Action), The
children were used as slave laborers in Germany.
Isolation of Polish Jews
1. Humiliation & Terror
2. Forced Labor
3. Expulsion
4. The Jewish Badge
Humiliation & Terror
Harassment of a
Jewish man.
German soldiers
cutting the beard
of a Jew.
A soldier tutors two Jewish men on how to give Jewish men are forced to race against
the Nazi salute correctly. one another while riding on the backs
of their fellows.
Forced Labor
Jews rounded up for forced labor
October, 1939
Jews forced to sweep the streets.
Polish Exiles, 1941 Arthur Szyk
The Jewish Badge
The Ghettos
• Definition: any section of a city or town in which members
of a minority group live or are restricted by economics or
• The first ghetto was established in Venice in 1516 when the
Church ordered that walls be built around the Jewish
• The word “ghetto” means “foundry” or “iron works.” In
Venice, the ghetto was near a foundry that produced
cannon balls.
• The establishment of ghettos was the first step in the Nazi
extermination plan for the Jews of Eastern Europe. They
served as assembly and collection points for Jews.
More than 800 ghettos were established by the Nazis in Eastern Europe.
Ghetto Life
The horror is not in the executions. It is in the life that came before the executions.
Abba Kovner, partisan fighter from the Vilna Ghetto
• Judenrat
• Arrival
• Daily Life
• Jewish Life
• Conditions
• Smuggling
• Forced Labor
• “Liquidation/Resettlement”
The Judenrat members in Krakow, Poland.
Daily Life
A brother feed his young sister in the Lodz Ghetto.
Children selling books to earn money.
Nazi officer terrorizes elderly woman with a whip.
Jewish men remove loaves of bread from a wagon at
the soup kitchen in the Kielce ghetto.
Jew chopping up furniture to use as fuel.
Girls eating in soup
kitchen, Warsaw.
Lodz Ghetto.
The ghetto orchestra, Lodz.
Jewish Life
Jewish women
baking matzos for
Passover in the
Warsaw Ghetto.
Celebrating the
Passover Seder in
the Warsaw Ghetto.
Reading the Torah.
Jewish men
praying in the
Krakow Ghetto.
Celebrating the
beginning of the
Sabbath in the
Lodz Ghetto.
With little food and diseases
rampant in the crowded
ghettos, the living conditions
became unbearable.
Food ration card.
Forced Labor
Jewish women press Nazi
military uniforms in the
Glubokoye Ghetto.
Making shoes.
Kovno, Lithuania.
Jewish children making boxes
in the Glubokoye Ghetto.
A workshop in the Warsaw
Jewish women moving human
excrement, Lodz, Poland.
Child in a ghetto factory,
Kovno, Lithuania.
Jews are forced into a truck which is taking
them to their execution.
Jews from the Lodz ghetto board trains
for the death camp at Chelmno.
Deportation of the elderly and sick from
the Lodz Ghetto to Chelmno.
Passengers in a train car.
Lodz, Poland
Deportations in and out of the
Lodz Ghetto.
Round-ups in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Jews from Lublin ghetto being hustled
to the trains to be sent to Sobibor
death camp.
Deportation of Children from the
Lodz Ghetto.
Attack in the West
With the invasion of each country in Western Europe, anti-Jewish policies
followed patterns seen previously in Germany between 1933-1939.
 Jews were categorized.
 Civil liberties were restricted and property confiscated.
 Jews were dismissed from universities and civil service jobs.
 Jewish businesses taken over.
 Jews were isolated and forced to wear a star.
 Jews were assembled in large cities.
 Jews were deported to camps in the east.
Marched to the forest.
Forced to dig their own grave.
Forced to undress.
Shot into a ditch.
Nazis executing a Jew at the edge of a
mass grave.
Ukraine, January 1942
Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor
December 7, 1941
Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in
infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and
deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of
Japan. As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have
directed that all measures be taken for our defense. With
confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded
determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable
triumph – so help us God.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 8, 1941
U.S.S. Maryland and
capsized U.S.S. Oklahoma.
View down “Battleship Row.”
List of countries presented at the
Wannsee Conference, with the
number of Jews who were to be
deported to their deaths. Almost half
of these countries never came under
German rule or control.
The Evolution of Death
In mid-March 1942, 75-80% of all victims of the Holocaust were still alive,
while 20-25% had perished. Merely eleven months later, in mid-February 1943, the percentages were
exactly the reverse. - Christopher R. Browning, Holocaust historian
A “hell” van.
The first carbon monoxide experiments using cars.
Zyklon-B crystals.
A child’s drawing showing a German
soldier shooting at a train of deportees.
A 1942 transport to Treblinka.
Corpses lie in an open railcar at Dachau.
“Im Wagon” (In the Railway Car)
by Ella Liebermann-Shiber
Written in Pencil
in a Sealed Railway Car
here in this carload
i am eve
with abel my son
if you see my other son
cain son of man …
tell him I
Types of Concentration Camps
● Labor Camps
● Prisoner of War Camps
● Transit Camps
● Extermination Camps
Buchenwald, Germany.
(labor camp)
Westerbork, Netherlands.
Lighting Chanukah candles.
(transit camp)
Dachau, Germany.
(labor camp)
Bergen-Belsen, Germany.
(labor camp)
Drancy, France.
Courtyard used to round up
Jews for deportation.
(transit camp)
Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia.
Production of opera Brundibar.
(ghetto/transit camp)
Ravensbruck, Germany.
(labor camp for women)
Dora-Mittelbau, Germany.
Camouflaged entrance to the
underground rocket factory.
(labor camp)
Flossenburg, Germany.
The quarry.
(labor camp)
Mauthausen, Austria.
Main entrance to the camp.
(labor camp)
Oranienburg, Germany.
Political prisoners in the
camp yard.
(POW/labor camp)
Neuengamme, Germany.
On the left is the camp brick
(labor camp)
Men on the right.
Women & children on the left.
Those “fit” for work were
registered as prisoners.
Those “unfit” for work were
They will even take away our name: and if we want to keep it, we will have to find in
ourselves the strength to do so, to manage somehow so that behind the name something
of us, of us as we were, still remains. – Primo Levi, Survival at Auschwitz
Registration: Camp Badges
Prisoner Under
Special Surveillance
Six people slept on a plank of wood, on top of us another layer. And if one of us had to turn,
all the others had to turn because it was so narrow. One cover, no pillow, no mattress.
Alice Lok, Survivor
Roll Call
Life is not important at the roll call. Numbers are important. Numbers tally.
- Salmen Gradowski, Auschwitz Survivor
Amidst a Nightmare of Crime
A fortnight after my arrival, I already had the prescribed hunger, that chronic hunger
unknown to free men, which makes one dream at night, and settles in all the limbs of one’s
body. - Primo Levi, Survival at Auschwitz
2 cups coffee or tea
(often nothing more than
dried leaves or bark,usually
birch, in hot water)
3 cups turnip and potato soup ,
a scrap of meat or Avo (yeast
extract) added
10 oz. of bread,
less than 1 oz. sausage or
cheese, and a teaspoon of
margarine and beet jam
Drawings of Ella Liebermann Shiber
Soup Distribution
“Juden bekommen zuletzt!”
(Jews are last!)
Hunger - Looking for Food
“Auf der Suche nach
(Looking for potato peels )
Hunger – Stealing Bread
“Der Dieb” (The Thief )
Slave Labor
Leaving for Work by David Olère.
Camp inmates are marched out to work past
victims of Nazi camp discipline.
Buna Factory,
Auschwitz III
Jewish women pulling cars of quarried stones,
Plaszlow, 1944.
Assembly line at
the Bavarian
Motor Works
(BMW) aircraft
engine factory,
Allach, Germany.
Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be
given to one only by other human beings. - Elie Wiesel
Prisoner throwing himself onto an
electrified fence, Mauthausen.
German term describing prisoners
who were near death due to
exhaustion, starvation or
Medical Experiments
Survivor shows scar of a
wound deliberately
infected with dirt,
bacteria and slivers of
Low pressure
resulting in death
from burst lungs.
Immersed in freezing water at Dachau. Medical experiment at Buchenwald.
Women and children awaiting the gas chambers in the “Little Wood”
adjacent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz II (Birkenau).
SS camp guards with
Zyklon-B canisters.
Gas chamber in
Crematorium I,
Auschwitz I.
The camp orchestra played to calm
fears en route to the gas chambers.
Crematorium I
The first killing center was located at Auschwitz I. It was built partially underground
and housed a primitive gas chamber along with several crematory ovens.
View of the walled entrance. April 1945.
Note the small access lids in the roof through which Zyklon-B crystals were dropped.
Metal slide for placing
bodies into oven.
Crematory as found at
Artwork by Jan
Komski, survivor.
The Value of a Life
These shoes represent one day's
collection at the peak of the gassings,
about twenty-five thousand pairs.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must
never be a time when we fail to protest.
- Elie Wiesel
• Obstacles to resistance
• Jewish Resistance
• Non-Jewish Resistance
• Resistance in the Ghettos and Camps
• Partisan Activity
Obstacles to Resistance
1. Superior armed power of the Germans.
2. German tactic of “collective responsibility.”
3. Secrecy and deception of deportations.
4. Family ties and responsibilities.
5. Absence of a non-Jewish population willing to help.
Jewish Resistance
To smuggle a loaf of bread – was to resist.
To teach in secret – was to resist.
To cry out in warning and shatter illusions – was to resist.
To rescue a Torah Scroll – was to resist.
To forge documents – was to resist.
To smuggle people across borders – was to resist.
To chronicle events and conceal the records – was to resist.
To hold out a helping hand to the needy – was to resist.
To contact those under siege and smuggle weapons – was to resist.
To fight with weapons in streets, mountains, and forests – was to resist.
To rebel in death camps – was to resist.
To rise up in ghettos, among the crumbling walls, in the most desperate revolt
– was to resist.
Taken from a wall on resistance at the Ghetto Fighters House.
Non-Jewish Resistance
First they came for the Communists,
but I was not a Communist so I did
not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists
and the Trade Unionists, but I was
neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews, but I
was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there
was no one left to speak out for me.
Hans Scholl (left), Sophie Scholl (center),
and Christoph Probst (right), leaders of
The White Rose resistance organization.
Munich, Germany, 1942.
- Pastor Martin Niemoeller
Resistance in the Ghettos
and the Camps
Sniper during Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
Oneg Shabbat archives being examined in
Warsaw, 1950.
Participants of the uprising at the Sobibór.
concentration camp.
Execution Of Jewish resistance fighters from
the Warsaw Ghetto.
Partisan Activity
Jewish partisans who fought in the vicinity of
Vilna, Poland.
A hanged Jewish partisan with a sign: "We are
partisans and have shot at German soldiers."
Poland 1941 – 1944.
A Jewish partisan plants dynamite on a
railroad track. Vilna, 1943 or 1944.
Jewish partisans in the
Lithuanian forests.
Yugoslav partisans with Jewish
parachutists from Palestine.
Yugoslavia, 1944.
The Final Stages of War
• Allied Invasion at Normandy: June 6, 1944
• The Allies Close In
• Death Marches
• Liberation
• Yalta (Crimea) Conference: February 4-11, 1945
• Hitler’s Last Days
• The Fall of Berlin: May 2, 1945
• Surrender in the West: May 8, 1945
• Allied Occupation and Denazification
Allied Invasion at Normandy
D-Day: June 6, 1944
The Allies Close In
The war against the Jews
continued as the Allies
closed in on the crumbling
Nazi empire. Extermination
of the Jews was so efficient
that by the time the Soviet
army re-crossed the Polish
border in 1944 and D-Day
occurred on June 6, most of
the approximately 6 million
Jews who died in the
Holocaust were already
Death Marches
As the Allied armies closed in
on the Nazi concentration
camps, every effort was made
to conceal the crimes that
had been committed.
Camps were dismantled or
abandoned. In the dead of
winter, prisoners were taken
by train and/or foot toward
the heartland of Germany
with hopes of preserving the
slave labor force for the Reich.
Thousands froze to death or
“Death March” by Ella Liebermann Shiber
German civilians, under direction of U.S. medical officers, walk past a group of 30 Jewish
women starved to death by SS troops in a 300 mile march across Czechoslovakia.
We are free, but how will we live our lives without our families. - Anton Mason, Survivor
Survivors eagerly pull down
the Nazi eagle over entrance
to the Mauthausen.
Survivors in Allach, a
sub-camp of Dachau,
greet arriving U.S. troops.
Survivors of Auschwitz, wearing adult-size
prisoner jackets.
Jewish survivors at Ebensee gathered
outside on the day after liberation.
Survivor sitting outside a barrack,
Bergen-Belsen, April 1945.
Young survivors at Buchenwald,
April 1945.
Survivors, too weak to eat solid food,
suck on sugar cubes to give them
The sick are evacuated to an
American field hospital.
Survivors in Dachau distribute bread to
their comrades after liberation.
American medical personnel at work
in a typhus ward in a hospital for
Witness to the Atrocities
General Dwight D. Eisenhower and other
members of the Army view the bodies of
executed prisoners.
Ohrdruf, April 12, 1945.
German civilians under U.S. military
escort are forced to see a wagon
loaded with corpses in Buchenwald.
Yalta (Crimea) Conference
February 4 - 11, 1945
Roosevelt & Churchill
“How are we feeling
– a 1945 British cartoon
shows Churchill,
Roosevelt and Stalin as
doctors, working together
to heal the world.
The "Big Three": Winston Churchill,
D. Roosevelt , Joseph Stalin
Hitler’s Last Days
One of the last pictures taken of Hitler in
his bunker before he committed suicide.
On the left is Col. Gen. Ferdinand
Schoerner who was appointed
commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht in
Hitler’s will.
In the garden outside his bunker, Hitler
decorates Hitler Youth who have been
newly recruited as soldiers.
After the ceremony, he returns to his
underground refuge.
The Fall of Berlin
May 2, 1945
Soviet soldiers
celebrate the fall of
Berlin by hoisting the
Red Flag over the
ruined Reichstag.
As his last significant official
act, Hitler appointed Grand
Admiral Karl Doenitz to
succeed him as führer.
The Reichstag lies in
ruins as did most of
Surrender in the West
May 8, 1945
With this signature the German people and the German Armed Forces are, for better or worse,
delivered into the hands of the victors … In this hour I can only express the hope that the victor will
treat them with generosity.
- General Alfred Jodl (during the signing of the unconditional surrender), Reims, France.
Move to last days??????????
General Alfred Jodl, Chief of the Operations
Staff in the German High Command, signs the
document of unconditional German surrender
on May 7. Left is Admiral Von Friedeburg of the
German Navy. Right is Major Wilhelm Oxenius
of the German General Staff.
German Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel
signs a surrender document at Soviet
headquarters in Berlin, May 9, 1945. The
Soviets had insisted that a second
ceremonial signing take place in Sovietoccupied Berlin.
The Final Stages of War
• Allied Invasion at Normandy: June 6, 1944
• The Allies Close In
• Death Marches
• Liberation
• Yalta (Crimea) Conference: February 4-11, 1945
• Hitler’s Last Days
• The Fall of Berlin: May 2, 1945
• Surrender in the West: May 8, 1945
• Allied Occupation and Denazification
Allied Occupation
& Denazification
The Aftermath
•Jewish Losses
•Displaced Persons (DP’s)
•The Nuremberg Trials
Nov. 20, 1945 – Oct. 1, 1946
Soviet Union
Bohemia & Moravia
Jewish Losses
TOTAL : 5,596,029 *
* These are minimum losses as reported by
Yehuda Bauer and Robert Rozett, "Estimated
Jewish Losses in the Holocaust," in Encyclopedia of
the Holocaust (New York: Macmillan, 1990),
The estimated number of Jewish fatalities
during the Holocaust is usually given
between 5.1 and 6 million victims.
Despite the availability of numerous
scholarly works and archival sources on
the subject, Holocaust related figures may
never be definitely known.
Displaced Persons (DP’s)
Portraits of children in Germany holding name
cards, in search of their families. Their
photographs were published in newspapers.
Jewish refugees in Shanghai look
for names of relatives and friends
who may have survived the war.
A child lights a Hannukah menorah
during a celebration in a DP camp.
Wedding ceremony at a DP camp.
Nuremberg Trials
Nov. 20, 1945 – Oct. 1, 1946
Palace of Justice in Nuremberg.
Front: Hermann Goering, Rudolf
Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and
Wilhelm Keitel.
The defendants at Nuremberg.
Julius Streicher,
Front: Rudolf Hess, Joachim von
Editor-in-Chief of
Der Ribbentrop Back: Karl Doenitz, Erich
Raeder and Balder von Schirach.
Bystanders (85%)
Rescuers (< 0.5%)
Perpetrators (< 10%)
Prisoners were
forced to wear
these carriers on
their backs to haul
stones from the
Carrying granite boulders on wooden
“backpacks” up the “stairs of death.”
Mauthausen, Austria.
Mauthausen Wiener Graben Quarry
Letter of complaint from Mrs. Eleonore Gusenbauer
of Ried (the village above Mauthausen),
September 1941.
Inmates of the Mauthausen concentration camp are constantly being
shot at the Vienna Ditch work site. Those who are badly struck still live
for some time and lie next to the dead for hours and in some cases for
half a day.
My property is situated on an elevation close to the Vienna Ditch and
therefore one often becomes the unwilling witness of such misdeeds.
I am sickly in any case and such sights make such demands on my
nerves, that I will not be able to bear it much longer.
I request that it be arranged that such inhuman deeds will cease or
else be conducted out of sight.
Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstand., or Gordon J. Horwitz, In the Shadow of Death –
Living Outside the Gates of Mauthausen, p. 35.
Bystanders (85%)
Rescuers (< 0.5%)
Perpetrators (< 10%)
It was a reign which, nearly half a century later, still challenges our understanding. Evil
was rewarded and good acts were punished. Bullies were aggrandized and the meek
trampled. In this mad world, most people lost their bearings. Fear disoriented them,
and self-protection blinded them. A few, however, did not lose their way. A few took their
direction from their own moral compass. - Dr. Eva Fogelman, social psychologist
• What
Motivated Rescuers?
•Methods of Rescue
•Governments that Rescued
What Motivated Rescuers?
 Some sympathized with the Jews.
 Some were actually antisemitic, but could not sanction murder or genocide.
 Some were bound to those they saved by ties of friendship and personal
loyalty, while some went out of their way to help total strangers.
 Some were motivated by their political beliefs or religious values.
 Some felt ethically that life must be preserved in the face of death.
 For some there was no choice, what they did was natural and instinctive.
Many rescuers felt they were simply acting out of elemental human decency.
They later insisted that they were not heroes, that they never thought of
themselves as doing anything special or extraordinary.
Methods of Rescue
 Hiding a Jew in one’s house or on one’s
 Supplying forged ID’s or ration cards.
 Finding employment.
 Smuggling people from one place to another.
 Providing food or clothing.
Governments that Rescued
United States
Danish fishermen ferry Jews to
safety in neutral Sweden during the
German occupation of Denmark.
Photo by Becky Seitel, “Darkness Into Life” Exhibit
Nine of Birmingham’s Holocaust Survivors:
Ilse Nathan, Max Herzel, Ruth Siegler, Jack Bass, Henry Aizenman, Aisic Hirsch,
Martin Aaron, Riva Hirsch, Max Steinmetz
The Children
“A Loss of Infinite Possibility”
“Listen, listen well to the tale
Of what they have seen
What they have gone through.
For you are the new spring
In the forrest of the world.”
Promise of a New Spring
by Gerda Weissmann Klein, Survivor
Chaim Hersh Kirschenbaum.
Both he and his mother perished
in Auschwitz.