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HIST 1001-B April 2,2013.docx

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HIST 1001
Hal Goldman

Hist 1001B – April 2, 2013 The Holocaust Shoah (Hebrew “the calamity”) Blood Libel Anti-Semitism Pogrom Kristallnacht (November 1938, “night of broken glass”) Nuremberg Laws (1935) Einsatzgruppen (Mobile killing units) Wannsee Conference (January 20, 1942) Concentration Camp v. Death Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April 1943) Yad Vashem • Modern industrial state and anti-semitism = killing on horrific scale • Kristallnacht -> organized by Nazis against Jews in Germany • As a result, half of all of Germany’s 500,000 Jews left Germany by 1939 • Of the 250,000 remaining, almost all were murdered • In 1939, most overran Poland in the East • In Poland, 3 million Jews lived in mostly poor rural communities • Hitler’s plan of leaving living space for Germans meant Jews were forced into ghettos with terrible living conditions • Jews were identified, labelled by use of the Jewish star • Concentrated in Ghettos, each step severed the Jews from the population, limited possibility of fighting back • Could not fight the well equip and strong army • Even as late as 1941, did not decide to murder the Jews yet • June 1941, invasion of Russia, Germans were confronted with new Jews in the Soviet land • A new Germany policy came into effect, 4 mobile killing units, known as Einsatzgruppen, 3,000 men, travelled country side murdered Jews and Communist officials • Jews rounded up with help of local non German people • Forced to strip, stand by edge of strip and get mowed down by Machine guns • Old men, etc, all were killed and then buried • Not all would die immediately • Units were not made of fanatical crazed Nazis • Mobile killing units were not fanatical crazed Nazis, were made of lawyers, etc. “ordinary men” • ¾ of the commanders held phDs or equivalents, most were in 30s and in a little over a year, they killed over a million people • Problem with this method: took a long time, Germans wanted to kill over 9 million Jews in this way, alcoholism and mental illness became popular • Participation was voluntary • No German, seeking to avoid work in extermination process was ever punished for seeking to avoid it • Alternatives were needed • In 1942, Wannsee Conference, all German officials met up, the answer that they came up with as an alternative to mobile killing units was camps and gas • 1939-1941, euthanasia program • These people were killed on the theory that their lives were not worth anything • Nazi political ideology: brought over to supervise extermination of Jews • In 1941, experiment with German Gas trucks • Still inefficient and wasted gas • The answer was huge gas chambers, killing with cyanide gas • Common misconception to confuse concentration camps and death camps, facilities set up for the purpose of mass killings (only 6 existed, all in Poland) -> Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most famous • Typically Jews arrived from several days train ride from all over Europe, already suffering from living in Ghettos, weakened, brutalized and demoralized, many died before they got into death camps, not even enough space to sit down • No selections for slave labour, these camps existed solely to kill Jews • All but a tiny number needed to help the camp died within the hour • Were told they needed to “shower”  dead from 20 min to an hour • Remember that the Holocaust was not just about extermination, was also robbery, theft of all of the property of its victims • When the bodies began to rise up from the ground, Germans turned to mass burnings • Auschwitz-Birkenau, was different, was a labour facility and a killing center • In Auschwitz, women, old women and children were killed on site • Germans lied to the Jews, telling them they were sent to the labour camp or resettled to the east • Jews believed them and hoped for the best • Stories of Jewish survivors of these mass shootings, people surviving and running to the next town • By isolating Jews physically and ideologically, the Germans prevented the Jews from cooperating with people on the outside • A Jew strong enough could not expect help from Christian Europeans • Turned Jews in for rewards • Germans sought to break the spirit of the Jews, made sure to have mass exterminations around the same time as a Jewish Holiday • Many who were tormenters were experts about Jewish History • Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, cut off from the outside world rose up against the Germans in April 1943, held off the German Army for 3 weeks with homemade rifles and Molotov cocktails • Germans would break down the buildings they were hiding in and gas the sewers they ran to until the last resistors were dead • The polish resistance stood by refusing to help as the Jews came to rise up • One of the largest uprising in all of occupied Europe • In Oct. 1943, blew up parts of Auschwitz • In Belorussia, 3 Brothers created a Jewish community in a forest and killed many Germans around • Movie “Defianc
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