Prior to 1939 Adolf Hitler, after released from prison, became leader of the national socialist party and from his book that he wrote in prison said that he would eradicate the Jewish people from the German land.
In Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, he wrote of his hatred for the Jews and how he would remove any influence from Germany.
He didn’t openly say that he would exterminate the Jews but he did say that the annihilation would be his first priority.
In 1935 the Nuremberg laws were introduced where they would strip the German-Jews of there civil rights and there citizenship.
When Hitler was introducing the law he stated that if this law was not sufficient to rid of the “Jewish problem” then he would have to create a law that would give power to the Nazi's for the “Final Solution”.
Kristallnacht or night of broken glass took place on November 9 th ’38.
This was the night that many Jews were attacked and there property vandalized all across Germany.
About 100 Jews were killed, and 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps.
7,000 shops where ransacked and 1,668 Synagogues were badly damaged or destroyed.
The Start of Horror
September 1 st 1939 Germany invades Poland leading Britain, France, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa to declare war.
In Poland measures were put in place to round up all the Jews into ghettos in the general government area.
Other allies and countries of Nazi power or influence did the same in ’40 and ‘41.
The Jews in the ghettos were put to work in labour camps runned by the Reich. thousands died in the labour camps most due to disease, starvation and exhaustion.
Camps and Ghettos
In1933 the first concentration camp, Dachau, opened. Its purpose was to first hold, torture or kill political prisoners.
By ’42 six extermination camps were established in occupied Poland.
After ’39 the camps became the main places where POW’s and Jews were killed.
An estimated 1500 camps were established in occupied countries mostly in Poland.
Camps and Ghettos
More and more camps were used to focus on large Jewish, polish, Roma (gypsies) and communist populations.
Freight trains were used to transport the prisoners and by the time they got to there destination most of the prisoners were dead.
This was not designed for systematic extermination but many prisoners died of harsh conditions or were later executed.
Upon arrival of the camp, prisoners were tattooed an ID number. They also worked 12 to 14 hour shifts before having to stand for roll calls lasting hours on end.
Camps and Ghettos
The Warsaw ghetto, the largest ghetto, held 380,000 Jews and Romas while the Lodz ghetto held 160,000.
43,000 of the residents in the Warsaw ghetto died of disease like typhoid and starvation.
On July 19 th ’42, Heinrich Himmler ordered the deportation of the Warsaw ghetto and from July 22 nd to September 12 th 300,000 people were transported to Treblinka extermination camp.
There were certain ghetto uprisings but most failed to accomplish there task due to the Nazi military, those caught in the cross fire were shot or sent east for “relocation”.
Death Squads & The Final Solution
1941, The USSR is invaded by the German army. By ’42 the Germans had control of Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Ukraine and most western states from Leningrad-Moscow-Rostov.
Those areas alone held around 4 million Jews most fled from Poland due to the invasion of ’39.
Many Baltic-controlled states collaborated with the Nazis believing that the Jews were the cause of communism and therefore were aloud to do the dirty work against the Jews in there states.
Despite orders from army high command from Hitler, Himmler didn’t trust the army therefore he assigned the task of large scale killing to the SS.
These SS teams were called “Einsatzgruppen” or task force. Under the command of Heydrich.
Einsatzgruppen A was in charge of the Baltic area, Einsatzgruppen B was in charge of Belarus, Einsatzgruppen C was in charge of north and central Ukraine and Einsatzgruppen D was in charge of Moldova, south Ukraine, the Crimea, and, during 1942, the north Caucasus.
In total all four had a combined killing of 300,000 people, mostly killed by grenades or shooting at mass killing sites outside of major towns.
The Final Solution
By the end of ’41 the task force had concluded that they had only killed 15% of the Jews in occupied USSR and the methods used were too slow.
Prior to the invasion of the soviet union there were experiments used against the Jews in the back of vans where exhaust was used but felt the method were too slow so more lethal gases would be used.
For large group killing a more fixed location should be used so Heydrich and Eichmann decided the Jews would be brought to a camp specifically designed for that purpose.
Auschwitz was chosen for this task for its isolation and transport.
The first gassings were carried out at Auschwitz in Sept or ’41 using an industrial gas form of prussic acid known as the brand name Zyklon-B
Some of the most notorious death camps were Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
These, along with many other camps around German occupied countries, where constructed for the soul purpose of killing as many Jews and Serbs as possible.
Climax and The End of The War
As the end of the war came faster then expected, the killings increased.
The kill rate rose to hundreds of thousands. At Auschwitz 20,000 people died each day.
in July of ’44 the fist camp, Majdanek, was discovered by Russian troops advancing.