Nearly six million Jews were killed and murdered in what
historians have called "The Holocaust." The word
'holocaust' is a conflagration, a great raging fire that
consumes in it's path all that lives. In the years between
1933 and 1945, the Jews of Europe were marked for total
annihilation. Moreover, anti-Semitism was given legal
sanction. It was directed by Adolf Hitler and managed by
Heinne Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann. There
were many other great crimes and murders, such as the
killing of the Armenians by the Turks, but the Holocaust
stood out as the "only sysmatic and organized effort by a
modern government to destroy a whole race of people." The
Germans under Adolf Hitler believed that the Jews were the
cause of all the German troubles and were a threat to the
German and Christian values.
Dating back to the first century A.D. the Jews and
Christians were always at war. The Jews were considered the
murderers of Christ and were therefor denounced from
society, rejected by the Conservatives and were not allowed
to live in rural areas. As a result, the Jews began living
in the cities and supported the liberals. This made the
Germans see the Jews as the symbol of all they feared.
Following the defeat of the Germans in WW1, the Treaty Of
Versailles and the UN resolutions against Germany raised
many militaristic voices and formed extreme nationalism.
Hitler took advantage of the situation and rose to power in
1933 on a promise to destroy the Treaty Of Versailles that
stripped Germany off land. Hitler organized the Gestapo as
the only executive branch and secret terror organization of
the Nazi police system. In 1935, he made the Nuremberg Laws
that forbid Germans to marry Jews or commerce with them.
Hitler thought that the Jews were a nationless parasite and
were directly related to the Treaty Of Versailles. When
Hitler began his move to conquer Europe, he promised that
no person of Jewish background would survive.
Before the start of the second world war, the Jews of
Germany were excluded from public life, forbidden to have
sexual relations with non-Jews, boycotted, beaten but
allowed to emigrate. When the war was officially declared,
emigration ended and 'the final solution to the Jewish
problem' came. When Germany took over Poland, the Polish
and German Jews were forced into overcrowded Ghettos and
employed as slave labour. The Jewish property was seized.
Disease and starvation filled the Ghettos. Finally, the
Jews were taken to concentration camps in Poland and
Germany were they were murdered and killed in poisonous gas
chambers in Auschwitz and many other camps. Despite the
harsh treatment of the Jews, little Germans opposed this.
When the news reached the allies, they all refused and put
down any rescue plans to aid the Jews. American Jews were
warned against seeking any action for the benefit of the
European Jews although Zionists managed to save small
groups of young Jews and brought them to Palestine. The
Vatican condemed racism in general but did hardly anything
to stop the German actions.
The victories of the Germans in the early years of the war
brought most of the majority of the European Jews under the
control of the Nazi's. The Baltics, Ukrainee's and white
Russians gladly joined the Nazi's. France and Italy sent
100,000 Jews to Germany but refused to send any of it's
Jews. Holland and Belgium were Anti-Nazi's and refused to
co-operate with Germany. Denmark protected it's Jews from
Germany and Norway sent it's Jews to Switzerland for
Unaware that they will be gassed, the Jews kept quiet until
the last moment. When their fate was clear, the first
Jewish uprising came in April 1943 in Warsaw Ghetto, when
more than 60,000 pitifully armed Jews decided to resist.
The battle took 28 days before the heavily equipped German
forces put down this violent uprising. Individual Jews also
resisted by joining partisan groups. Jewish resistance,
however, was mainly spiritual.'The Jews prayed, wrote,
observed festivals and also refrained.'
The war in Europe ended on May 8th, 1945. The following
years tended to heal a few wounds, but the damage caused to
the Jews of Europe could not be fully repaired.'A great
deal of the Jewish culture and learning perished. Deep
mental scars plagued the survivors and their children.'' An
aspect of human cruelty was exposed more brutal than the
civilized world could admit.' In Israel, the Holocaust day
is celebrated on Nisan 27, the date that marked the Warsaw
Ghetto uprising of 1943.
Although the Germans had lost the war, they won their war
on the Jews of Europe.
1.) Rossel, Seymor. The Holocaust, Toronto:Canada. 1981
2.) Britanica Publishing Company. Britanica Vol.6,
3.) Americana Publishing Company. Americana Vol.14
Washington:America. 1988 edition.
Seymor Rossel. The Holocaust, Toronto:Canada. 1981 edition.
Britanica Publishing Company. Britanica Vol.6,
Americana Publishing Company. Americana Vol.14,