History 2145A/B Lecture Notes - Primo Levi, Jewish Question, Heinrich Himmler

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19 Apr 2012
Understanding the outrageous fact:
How did such small phenomena like the Jewish question and anti-Semitism become the catalyst
for Nazism, WWII and the Establishment of death factories in Europe?
- Hannah Arendt, the origins of totalitarianism
Jewish Question = Idea that Jewish presence is a problem
Tragedy of an Optimist
- Primo Levi; survivor of Auschwitz
Is this a man? The Musselman or “living dead”
Key themes
- The Final Solution: Wannsee Conference, 1942
- The camps
- The many victims of the final solution
- Collapse of Hitler’s Europe
- The catastrophe in numbers
- Rescue and survival
- Explaining the outrageous fact: history and anti-semitism
The final desired solution
Heidrich and Himmler hold conference in Wannsee Hitler doesn’t organize it
- Removed from operation (logistics)
- “it is the fuehrer’s wish that…”
- 1942
- Look at financially what the final solution will cost them, etc.
Science and technology in the final solution
- Angel of death dr. Josef Mengele
The Beginning of the end
- November 1944: Himmler orders end of gassings
- January 1945: soviet troops liberate Auschwitz
- April 1945: allies liberate Buchenwald (first in Germany)
- Rescue networks set up for survivors money, food; children sent to convents/monasteries
- Issuing baptismal certificates (before liberation) hiding Jewish children with catholic families
- Jews responsible for death of Jesus ancient roots of anti-Judaism.
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