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The Holocaust

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					The Holocaust (1933-1945):
     Voices and Images
     How did Hitler and the Nazis organize the
     systematic extermination of European Jews?
     How did individuals experience the
     Holocaust?
“Sometimes at night I lay …

…and I can’t believe what my eyes have seen.
                 I really cannot believe it.”
                                 - Helen K.
EUROPE, 1930s
Europe, 1930s

The Nazis consolidate power …
 Jan. 30, 1933 – Hitler appointed chancellor
 Feb. 1933 – Emergency Decree – all civil
   rights suspended
 Mar. 23, 1933 – Enabling Act –
   government allowed to pass any law or
   perform almost any act it wanted to, even
   if it violated the constitution
Europe, 1930s

... and the Holocaust begins:
 1933 – 1st concentration camp (Dachau)
 1935 – Nuremberg Laws – forbade marriage
    and sexual relations between Jews and
    Aryans; removed Jewish citizenship
 pogroms – brief, planned, surprise attacks
    against defenseless Jewish communities
     Nov. 9, 1938 - Kristallnacht
The cover and an illustration from an anti-Semitic German
children’s book called The Poisonous Mushroom (1938).
Christa M.
Born Saarbrücken, Germany, 1930

“It had to be around when I was five, [my nanny] had
taken me into town to go shopping. There was what I had
thought was a church across the street, and it was all in
flames. And I thought, ‘Oh, my God! The church is
burning!’ because there was a lot of commotion in the
street. And then I saw a whole bunch of Brown Shirts,
with their boots and caps and armbands—they always
wore the swastika armband. In the center there was a man
in a long black robe and a long beard. They had put a big
drum around his neck. They were pushing him and
shoving him. And he had to beat the drum, and he had to
say to the drum, ‘I’m a filthy Jew. I’m a filthy Jew.’ And
they shoved him and tried to even trip him. Every time he
staggered or fell, they kicked him again. It was just
horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible.”
Anti-Semitic graffiti on wall of a Jewish cemetery:
“The death of the Jews will end the Saarland’s distress.”
Golly D. – 16 years old in Bremen,
Germany, during Kristallnacht

“We were fast asleep. I and my family, the four of us fast
asleep when we heard pounding on the front door. Heavy
pounding. My father quickly went down the steps, opened
the door, and there were two Brown [Shirt] Nazi troopers
standing there. ‘Tell your family get dressed quickly and
come with us. Come along!’ We had no choice. We quickly
got dressed and the two troopers delivered us to a mess hall
which was in the center of town. And as we entered, we
realized that all the other Jews from the city had also been
rounded up and also been brought to this mess hall.
Nobody knew why. Nobody knew what was going to
happen. They let us sit there for hours on end, hour after
hour, until finally they separated the women from the men
and the men were taken away. We didn’t know where to...”
Map plotting concentrated areas of Nazi
     violence during Kristallnacht
Approximately 1,000 synagogues were
burned or destroyed during Kristallnacht
Burning synagogue in Siegen, Germany
during Kristallnacht
Europe, 1930s
Why did they stay?
 Did not want to leave
       Pay taxes and lose property
       Germany was home; “More German than Germans”
   Difficulty of starting all over again in another
    country
   False security
       months of peace between acts of violence
       could not believe that things would get worse
GHETTOS
Ghettos

   (n.) special place set aside for Jews in or
    near main cities
   Sept. 21, 1939 – all Jews in Nazi-occupied
    areas ordered to be moved to ghettos
   terrible conditions:
Helen K.
Warsaw, Poland

“The beginning, they organized the ghetto.
They pushed in all the people from the
small little towns. They pushed us in about
I don’t know how many square blocks and
they built walls around the Warsaw ghetto.
You were trapped! I don’t know if anybody
can feel this feeling. You know, with all the
freedom we have today, nobody can feel
this feeling of being trapped.”
Relocation to the Warsaw ghetto
(late 1940)
Warsaw ghetto wall
Bustling Pawia Street, Warsaw ghetto, in early 1941. About
37% of the Greater Warsaw population was squeezed into
4.6% of the area of the city.
Forced labor in Warsaw Ghetto
Ghetto Ration Card (Oct. 1941) - officially
entitled the holder to 300 calories daily.
A line of people wait to get a drink of water
in the overcrowded Warsaw ghetto.
Renée G.
Łosice, Poland
“People were getting sick in the ghetto because of lack
of food and lack of sanitation facilities and lack of
water. The Germans were very, very clever because
when they built the ghetto, they probably purposely
avoided a well in the ghetto. The well, the water well,
was outside of the ghetto, and in order to get water
people had to go out. Well, some people had special
passes, or there were special water carriers that would
bring in the water. At times when somebody got out
to get water and didn’t have a pass, the Germans
would just shoot them.”
Two German soldiers execute a Jewish
man in the Lódz ghetto in 1941.
EINSATZGRUPPEN
Einsatzgruppen
(Special Action Groups)

   (n.) mobile firing squads that followed the
    victorious German army through Eastern
    Europe and parts of Russia, executing Jews
    wherever they were found
Einsatzgruppe member kills a Jewish woman
and her child near Ivangorod, Ukraine, 1942
Einsatzgruppe A members shoot Jews on the
outskirts of Kovno, 1941-1942
Einsatzgruppe D executes Jews at Vinnitsa,
Ukraine, 1942
Part of a report detailing murder of Jews in the
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Belorussia, by
Einsatzgruppe A, submitted Feb. 1, 1942.
DEPORTATION
Deportation

   (n.) transportation of Jews from across
    Europe to the camps
   traveled in sealed cattle trains under
    miserable conditions
A group of men who have been rounded
up for deportation march out of town
Abraham P.
Deported from Romania to Auschwitz at age 24

“…two gendarmes [police] knocked at the door. It was a
Wednesday morning. They said, ‘Get up! You be ready in
fifteen minutes and go to the school. You can only take
so much with you.’ Everybody—sick, kids, it didn’t
matter old, young—everybody had to be there within a
specific time. And the gendarmes, they went over our
luggage to see what we have. Not too many luggages
were there because they didn’t let you. So we just tied it
up in sheets, whatever you could do. They kept us there
all day long, not knowing what is going to happen, what
they are going to do. And everybody was just sitting
there, with their own thoughts. Hardly anybody was
talking to one another.”
A Jewish family that has been rounded-up for
deportation waits outside the assembly center
Abraham P.
Deported from Romania to Auschwitz at age 24

“All of a sudden, with a loudspeaker they said, ‘Get
yourself ready and go over to the railroad station.’ They
handed us buckets and they threw us into those boxcars—
eighty of us in a boxcar. They didn’t even write your
name or who you are or what you are or something like
that. They just threw you into the boxcar. And those
people who couldn’t get into the boxcars, the younger
ones had to help them. And they couldn’t help them.
The gendarmes used to kick them so he should be able to
move. So you finally got about seventy or eighty of us in
a boxcar, and the minute you got [in] there, they locked
us up.”
Jews from the Warsaw ghetto board a
deportation train
Jewish deportees are transferred from a closed
passenger train to a train of open cars
Helen K.
19 years old when deported to Majdanek

“My brother died in my arms. My younger
brother … [long silence] and my husband’s
two sisters. There was not enough oxygen
for all those people. They kept us in the
wagons for days. They wanted us to die in
the wagons.”
CONCENTRATION CAMPS
Concentration Camps
   (n.) a prison camp where the Nazis sent people
    they thought were dangerous
   scattered throughout Nazi-controlled Europe;
    6,000+ camps in Poland alone
   inmates used as labor
   Auschwitz = largest camp (Auschwitz I)
Arrival of a transport of men, women and
children to one of the Jasenovac camps
Walter B.
Arrival at Auschwitz from Germany

“We got out of the freight cars in no time.
I would say, in a few minutes they had
separated one thousand people—women
on one side, men on the other side. And
it’s well known, you know. The one side
meant death, the other side maybe going to
Hitler camp. But we didn’t know. We
really did not know.”
Newly arrived prisoners lined up for
registration at Buchenwald
A Jewish prisoner is forced to remove his
ring upon his arrival in Jasenovac
Joseph K.
Deported from Gorlice, Poland

“They shaved us all hair and this is an
extremely painful experience, when men
used rusty razor blades and nick you, and
then they use Lysol on the cut. That’s an
excruciating pain. It just burns and some
people didn’t even survive from that.”
Washing and shaving newly arrived prisoners
in Buchenwald
Identification numbers tattooed on every
camp prisoner’s arm upon arrival
Forced labor – prisoners from Buchenwald
building the Weimar-Buchenwald railroad line
Forced labor – female prisoners digging
trenches at the Ravensbrueck camp
Women’s bunks in Auschwitz
Women line up for their extremely small
daily ration of thin soup
Herbert J.
Age 23, American POW, Mauthausen

“The main thing in the camps was the
definite intent to dehumanize all the people
that were there, to make them feel that
they were of no value. This was a definite
effort on their part, to take away any
semblance of humanness and respect and
whatever you might call dignity, to take all
that away.”
FINAL SOLUTION
Final Solution

   (n.) Nazi plan to murder all the Jews of
    Europe (1942)
   Why? Other methods of eliminating Jews
    were not efficient/practical enough for the
    Nazis (deaths in ghettos, Einsatzgruppen
    executions, emigration to Madagascar)
   concentration camps already existed 
    death camps set up
DEATH CAMPS
Death Camps

   (n.) a camp whose basic purpose was to kill
    Jews
   gas chambers, crematoria
   6 death camps, all in Poland
   Auschwitz = largest camp (Auschwitz
    II/Birkenau)
Concentration and Death Camps
A gas chamber
Crematoria ovens at Buchenwald
American soldiers view a pile of human remains
outside the crematorium in Buchenwald
Camp deaths
Using stretchers and carts, survivors of Ebensee
remove bodies to the crematorium for burning
LIBERATION
Liberation

   (n.) freedom of prisoners from the camps
    by Allied armies
   spring 1945 – along with victory in WWII
   Before liberation, Nazis liquidated (emptied)
    the camps and sent prisoners on death
    marches in a final attempt to fulfill the Final
    Solution
A death march from Dachau
Arnold C.
Age 11, January 1945

“I got very tired of walking. I just wanted
to go to sleep. I couldn’t continue. So I
began to fall back. And as I was almost to
the end of the thousands of people who
were marching, I saw the Germans were
shooting people who were falling down…”
German civilians help evacuate survivors
from the Schwandorf death train
Corpses lie in one of the open railcars of
the Dachau death train
Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz-
Birkenau on January 27, 1945
Renée G.
Age 12, Soviet troops enter the area where she and
her family were hiding

“The biggest thrill was when we started
hearing shooting and we knew that the
Russians are approaching. One day, we saw
planes coming overhead and we were
rejoiced. We knew we could get killed
again, because many of the barns were
burning all around us. But as long as we
were being killed by the Russians, it wasn’t
so bad.”
Dachau inmates are ecstatic upon their
liberation by American soldiers in April 1945.
Colonel Edmund M.
Participated in US army’s liberation of Mauthausen


“The thing that impressed I think all of us
immediately was the horrible physical
condition of most of the inmates whom we
saw … Most of them were in very, very bad
shape. Some of them actually looked
almost like living skeletons.”
The Survivors
Remember…

For the dead and
  the living, we
must bear witness

				
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