“ Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ( relevant links ) Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the U.N. General Assembly on 9 December 1948. Entry into force: 12 January 1951.
“ Never shall I forget that night, the first night in the camp, which has turned my life into one long night… Never shall I forget the little faces of the children whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky… Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust… Never shall I forget these things… Never.” - Night Elie Wiesel Oprah Interview - 1993
1933 – 9.5 million Jews in Europe (60% of world’s Jewish population)
Poland, SU, Romania, Germany, Czechoslovakia…
A first-grade class at a Jewish school. Cologne, Germany, 1929-1930. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Jewish children gathered for a sporting event in a summer camp organized by the Reich Union of Jewish Frontline Soldiers. Germany, between 1934 and 1936.
Three generations of a Jewish family pose for a group photograph. Vilna, 1938-39 — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Jewish Life in Europe before the Holocaust
Diverse, rich Jewish cultures
State sponsored religion/synagogues
Many occupations, involved in national life, highly respected, many fought in WWI
Illustration from an antisemitic children's primer. The sign reads "Jews are not wanted here." Germany, 1936. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Prejudice against/hatred of Jews
Central part of Nazi ideology
History in Europe ( pogrom s, etc)
Culminated between 1933-45 in Nazi occupied areas
During the anti-Jewish boycott, SA men carry banners which read "Germans! Defend Yourselves! Do Not Buy From Jews!" Berlin, Germany, March or April 1933. — Dokumentationsarchiv des Oesterreichischen Widerstandes
A sign outside a town in northern Bavaria warns: "City of Hersbruck. This lovely city of Hersbruck, this glorious spot of earth, was created only for Germans and not for Jews. Jews are therefore not welcome." Hersbruck, Germany, May 4, 1935. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A woman who is concealing her face sits on a park bench marked "Only for Jews." Austria, ca. March 1938. — Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library Limited
The Nuremberg Laws (1933-38)
"the Führer has decided that … demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the Party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered." - Joseph Goebbels (Nazi Propaganda Minister)
November 9-10, 1938
25,000 Jewish men arrested
7,500 businesses looted
267 synagogues burned
91 Jews killed
Instigated by Nazi officials
concentration camp - a camp in which people are detained or confined; harsh conditions, forced labor
At first - Political opponents of the Nazis
Grew to include groups they considered “racially inferior” (Jews and Roma – gypsies)
Gas chambers in use at several
Forced labor in the quarry of the Mauthausen concentration camp. Austria, date uncertain.
Wannsee Conference (Jan. 1942)
Answer to “Jewish Question” (Heydrich)
Nazi Plan to annihilate Jewish population
Mass exterminations by poison gas (11,000,000)
Members of an Einsatzkommando (mobile killing squad) before shooting a Jewish youth. The boy's murdered family lies in front of him; the men to the left are ethnic Germans aiding the squad. Slarow, Soviet Union, July 4, 1941.
Areas for control/
isolation of Jews
Overcrowded, unsanitary, inadequate food
Deportation of Jews from Hanau, near Frankfurt am Main, to the Theresienstadt ghetto. Hanau, Germany, May 30, 1942.
Children eating in the ghetto streets. Warsaw, Poland, between 1940 and 1943. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
This image originates from a film produced by the Reich Propaganda Ministry. It shows patients in an unidentified asylum. Their existence is described as "life without hope." The Nazis sought, through propaganda, to develop public sympathy for the Euthanasia Program. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Hairbrushes of victims, found soon after the liberation of Auschwitz. Poland, after January 27, 1945.
Processing at Auschwitz
Healthy sorted out
Women, children, sick, elderly gassed
A crematorium at the Majdanek extermination camp, outside Lublin. Poland, date uncertain. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Auschwitz's “Angel of Death”
Hideout, haven, and headquarters
Goal (and consensus about the goal)
Followers (committed, loyal, healthy, trained)
Knowledge (of the enemy’s resources, plans, etc.)
Help (inside and out)
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April-May 1943) Jewish homes in flames after the Nazis set residential buildings on fire in an effort to force Jews out of hiding during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Poland, April 19-May 16, 1943. - National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
Jewish partisans, survivors of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, at a family camp in Wyszkow forest. Poland, 1944. — YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York
" Resistance ...usually refers to a physical act of armed revolt. During the Holocaust, it also meant partisan activism that ranged from smuggling messages, food, and weapons to actual military engagement. But resistance also embraced willful disobedience: continuing to practice religious and cultural traditions in defiance of the rules; creating fine art, music, and poetry inside ghettos and concentration camps. For many, simply maintaining the will to remain alive in the face of abject brutality was the surest act of spiritual resistance ."
After Majdanek – Himmler (SS) ordered evacuation of all subcamps to interior of Reich
A view of the death march from Dachau passing through villages in the direction of Wolfratshausen. German civilians secretly photographed several death marches from the Dachau concentration camp as the prisoners moved slowly through the Bavarian towns of Gruenwald, Wolfratshausen, and Herbertshausen. Few civilians gave aid to the prisoners on the death marches. Germany, April 1945.
An American soldier looks at the corpses of Polish, Russian, and Hungarian Jews found in the woods near Neunburg vorm Wald. The victims were prisoners from Flossenbürg who were shot near Neunburg while on a death march. Germany, April 29, 1945. — National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
An American soldier stands among the corpses of prisoners exhumed from a mass grave in a ravine near Nammering. On April 19, 1945, a freight train with nearly 4,500 prisoners from Buchenwald pulled onto the railroad siding at Nammering. Hundreds of prisoners who had died on the train were buried in the mass grave along with the prisoners who were forced to carry the corpses to the ravine and were then shot. Germany, ca. May 6, 1945. — USHMM, courtesy of Seymour Schenkman
The bodies of Jewish women exhumed from a mass grave near Volary. The victims died at the end of a death march from Helmbrechts, a subcamp of Flossenbürg. Volary, Czechoslovakia, May 11, 1945. — USHMM, courtesy of Dr. Robert G. Waite
Soon after liberation, surviving children of the Auschwitz camp walk out of the children's barracks. Poland, after January 27, 1945. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Soon after liberation, a Soviet physician examines Auschwitz camp survivors. Poland, February 18, 1945. — Federation Nationale des Deportes et Internes Resistants et Patriots
American military personnel view corpses in the Buchenwald concentration camp. This photograph was taken after the liberation of the camp. Germany, April 18, 1945. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Gerda Weissmann “ We had to form a line and an SS man stood there with a little stick. I was holding hands with my mother and… he looked at me and said, ‘How old?’ And I said, ‘eighteen,’ and he sort of pushed me to one side and my mother to the other side… And shortly thereafter, some trucks arrived… and we were loaded onto the trucks. I heard my mother’s voice from very far off ask, ‘Where to?’ and I shouted back, ‘I don’t know’ - “One Survivor Remembers”