Introduction As part of their vision for Europe, the Nazis proposed a new racial order. They proclaimed that the Germanic peoples, or Aryans, were a “master race.” (a misuse of the term Aryan, which actually refers to the Indo-European peoples who began to migrate into the Indian subcontinent around 1500 B.C.) The Nazis claimed that all non-Aryan peoples, particularly Jewish people, were inferior. This racist message would eventually lead to the Holocaust, the systematic mass slaughter of Jews and other groups judged inferior by the Nazis.
The Holocaust Begins Hitler knowingly tapped into a hatred for Jews that had deep roots in European history. Jews as scapegoats for personal failures. Germany’s defeat in World War I Targeting Jews government policy 1935 Nuremberg Laws made it illegal to marry a Jew. Other laws limited the work of Jews.
“ Night of BrokenGlass” On November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan (pictured) a Jewish youth from Germany, shot a German diplomat living in Paris to avenge his father’s deportation to Poland. November 9, 1938: In retaliation Nazi leaders in Germany launched a violent attack on the Jewish community on November 9, 1938. This attack was carried out by the SA (storm troopers) and SS, who attacked Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues. This night was called Kristallnacht.
Did you know?Kristallnacht was not just staged without planning, but served a specific purpose in Nazi policy toward the Jews. The SA was under strict orders to confiscate any firearms owned by Jews when ransacking Jewish homes and businesses. This would This picture is typical of prevent any significant the smashed windows of armed resistance to Jewish businesses on Nazi policies in the Kristallnacht. future.
A Flood of Refugees By the end of 1939, a number of German Jews had fled to other countries. At first, Hitler favored emigration as a solution to what he called “the Jewish problem.” After admitting tens of thousands of Jewish refugees, France, Britain, and the United States abruptly closed their doors to further immigration.
Isolating the Jews Hitler then ordered Jews in all countries under his control to be moved to designated cities called ghettos. After 1941, all Jews in German controlled areas had to wear a yellow Star of David patch (pictured).
The “Final Solution” Hitler’s plan called the “Final Solution” was a genocide plan to systematically kill an entire people. Hitler wanted to purify the “Aryan” race. He tried to eliminate other groups he viewed as “subhuman.” Roma (gypsies), Poles, Russians the insane the disabled the incurably ill
The Killings Begin As the Nazis moved across Europe the SS killing squads rounded up men, women, children, and even babies and shot them in pits where they were buried. Other Jews were rounded up and herded into concentration camps where they were slave labor. Inmates would work seven days a week for the SS or for German businesses. Food consisted of thin soup, scraps of bread, and potato peelings. Most inmates lost 50 lbs quickly.
The Final Stage In 1942 the Germans built huge exterminations camps equipped with gas chambers that could kill as many as 6,000 people in a day. Committees of Nazi doctors separated the strong (mostly men) from the weak (women, children, and elderly). The weak went to their deaths in the gas chambers usually that day. The victims were told to undress and head into the gas chambers under the guise they were taking showers. Cyanide gas from Zyklon B granules came through the fake showerheads.
Empty Zyklon B canisters found by theZyklon B granules on display at Allies at Auschwitz at the end of WorldAuschwitz War II
Auschwitz Death Camp,Polandthe picture on this slide, all other Auschwitz Except for pictures are by Elisabeth Yankey taken in 2001.
This wheeled table helped transport the bodies of thegassed victims to the ovens for cremation.
This mechanism rotated the table upon which thebodies of the gassed victims were transferred tothe ovens for cremation.
There was once a building standing here, but this is thearea where the Nazis themselves burned this building downto attempt to destroy evidence of the death camps.
These are burned down barracks where theNazis again tried to destroy evidence ofatrocities in the Auschwitz camp.
Jews Killed Under NaziRule* Original Jewish Jews Killed Percent Population Surviving Poland 3,300,000 2,800,000 15% Soviet Union (area 2,100,000 1,500,000 29% occupied by Germans) Hungary 404,000 200,000 49% Romania 850,000 425,000 50% Germany/Austria 270,000 210,000 22% *Estimates Source: Hannah Vogt, The Burden of Guilt
The Survivors About six million European Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Less than four million European Jews survived. Some Jews were helped by non-Jews who risked there lives, hid Jews in their homes, and helped them escape to neutral countries. One such family was the Ten Boom family of Harlem in the Netherlands. The book and film The Hiding Place tells this story.