Research Paper: The holocaust

Linnea Palmer P.4


Holocaust Research Paper


            It all started in 1933 when Hitler came to power in Germany.  Adolf Hitler was a very strong minded individual that liked everything to go his way, and for what he believed in.  Germany was already a very racial country, and judged people strongly on their religious beliefs, and their political communities. The Nazis, also known as the National Socialist German Worker's Party, planned to murder the Jewish people.  They called this plot, “the final solution.”   The Holocaust was a devastating time during World War Two,that changed the lives of many people all over the world.  The name holocaust comes from the Greek word “holokauston”, meaning sacrifice from fire.  The holocaust killed many groups of people such as the Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the disabled for persecution, but mostly the Jews.    

          When Hitler first gained power, he formed an advanced police and military force to smother anyone who criticized his authority.  With this force, Hitler developed the first concentration camp, Dachau.  A concentration camp was used to work and starve prisoners to death.  Later Dachau became a huge concentration camp to exterminate Jews.  Hitler made life miserable for Jews.  On April of 1933, the Nazis initiated by boycotting all Jewish ran businesses.  The Nuremberg Laws issued in September of 1935, made it so Jews were excluded from most public life.  The law included exposing the German Jews of their citizenship, and outlawed marriages and extramarital sex between Jews and Germans.  This law was the start of all legal standards for additional anti-Jewish legislation. 

          After the Nuremberg Laws, many new laws against Jews were created.  These laws kept Jews away from parks, fired them from civil service jobs, forced Jews to register their property, and prohibited Jewish doctors from working on anyone other than Jewish patients.  The nights of November ninth and tenth, 1938, also known as the “Kristallnacht”, was horrifying for Jews.  The night was filled with violence, and pillaging and burning of synagogues.  The Nazis broke windows and raided the Jewish-owned businesses.  The Jews were physically attacked, and about 30,000 Jews were arrested and taken to concentration camps.  As SS leader Reinhard Heydrich stated during a later meeting, “7,500 businesses were destroyed, 267 synagogues burned (with 177 totally destroyed) and 91 Jews were killed.”  Heydrich also requested, “that new decrees barring Jews from any contact with Germans by excluding them from public transportation, schools, even hospitals, essentially forcing them into ghettos or out of the country.”  In that meeting, Hermann Göring stated regarding the economic damage of the night, that the Jews themselves would be billed for the damage, and that any insurance money due to them would be confiscated by the state.  

          Ghettos were specific areas in cities that the Nazis ordered the Jews to live in.  Ghettos started off more open, where you could leave during the day and come back when you had to, but than they got stricter and the Jews were trapped within boundaries of the ghetto and not allowed to leave at all.  The Nazis sent deportations from the ghettos, tricking them by saying they were being transferred to another location to do some labor.  In some of the larger ghettos, 1,000 people per day were forced on trains and sent to either a concentration camp or a death camp. The largest ghetto was in Warsaw, and had a population of around 445,000.  When the Nazis decided to kill the remaining of the Jews in the ghetto, they would “liquidate” a ghetto by loading the rest on a train.  When the Nazis tried to liquidate the Warsaw Ghetto, the Jews were not going to go down without a fight.  This event was called the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  The Jewish fighters held their own against the whole Nazi organization for twenty-eight days.

            When the Jews were transferred by train, they were either taken to a concentration camp, extermination camp, labor camp, prisoner-of-war camp, or transit camp.  Life in the camps was horrible.  The Jewish prisoners were forced into doing hard physical labor.  Besides labor, the prisoners were tortured, and deaths in the concentration camps were very common.  The prisoners slept three or more people per crowded wooden bunk, and the bunks did not have any mattresses or pillows.   The Nazi doctors would also test medical experiments on prisoners against their own will such as high altitude tests, sterilization, and castration.   While concentration camps were meant to work and starve prisoners to death, extermination camps, or death camps were built just for the purpose of killing large numbers of people quickly and efficiently.  There were six different extermination camps known as Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz, and Maidanek.  Prisoners that were forced to move to these camps were told to undress to take a shower.  Instead of it being a shower, the prisoners were coaxed into the gas chambers and were killed immediately.  At Chelmno, instead of gas chambers, the prisoners were moved into gas vans.  Auschwitz alone, being the largest concentration and extermination built, is estimated to have had 1.1 million people killed.

          In 1945, Hitler was still going with his plan, and nobody had been able to stop him yet.  Many people have tried to kill him, but they all ended up dead and unsuccessful.  The World War Two was starting to slow down a little, and the soldiers were starting to ease up and help the prisoners as much as they could.  When seeing this happen, Hitler started to realize he was becoming less and less powerful, and it would be the time for him to go.  With his plan getting close to being complete, Adolf Hitler and his new bride, Eva Braun, decided to commit suicide.  Hitler had gotten away with a lot, it is estimated that eleven million people were killed during the Holocaust, and six million of them were Jews.  It is also estimated that around one point one million children were also murdered in the Holocaust.  Hitler was successful with killing two-thirds of the Jews living in Europe. 


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