Presentation on theme: "The Holocaust 1933-1945. Why Germany? If there were no Adolf Hitler, would there have been a Holocaust? World War I – Treaty of Versailles – demands $33."— Presentation transcript:
Why Germany? If there were no Adolf Hitler, would there have been a Holocaust? World War I – Treaty of Versailles – demands $33 Billion from Germany to repair the damage to the European nations Establishment of Weimar Republic – 1 st Democratic government Germany every had Unstable, weak government Attempted coup by Socialists failed; blamed on Jews Anti-Semitism is strong in most countries of Europe, especially the East (Poland, Germany, Russia, Prussia, etc.) The U.S. Stock Market crash helps cause the Great Depression worldwide The German economy, already strained by the treaty, suffers greatly due to the Depression and eventually fails
Rise of Nazi Party National Socialist German Workers’ Party NSDAP
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei The German Workers’ Party is changed by Adolf Hitler in 1920 Hitler becomes synonymous with the NSDAP and has full control of the party. He may now lead it in whatever direction he sees fit. His speeches often lasted two hours, yet still drew hundred and thousands of listeners By 1922, the NSDAP has over 6,000 members. The Nazis also form a paramilitary organization known as the SA, Sturmabteilung – Storm Troopers The Nazi party is rampant with those who do not trust the Weimar Republic and the lacking leadership which failed to bring Germany out of the growing slump. The image of the SA kept hecklers at bay and gave the Nazis an image of strength which Hitler valued.
Hitler’s Three Basic Laws Promotion of the ‘struggle’ “Social Darwinism” Plans for the master ‘Aryan’ race
Hitler as Reichschancellor, January 1933 Adolf Hitler runs for President of the Weimar Republic Received 13,000,000 votes vs. Hindenburg but loses Hindenburg invites Hitler into the Reichstag to become Reichschancellor in 1933 – He and his advisors hoped that Hitler could restore social order and yet be controlled by being a part of German government, as opposed to an extremist element outside of it February 27, 1933 – The Reichstag building burns Reichschancellor Hitler assumes emergency powers and blames the clear attack on the German state on the KDP (German Communist Party) Civil liberties will be suspended on February 28
1933: A Bad Year for Civil Liberties, A Bad Year to be a German Jew April 7 – Restoration of Civil Service – Jews cannot work for the government June 30-July 2 – Night of Long Knives – purge of those who oppose Hitler within the Nazi party July 14 – prohibition of political parties – Nazis are sole party August 2 – Hindenburg dies- Hitler assumes full control The armed forces must swear an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer (leader) October 17 – prohibit Jews from journalists October 21 - Germany quits League of Nations The Concordat: Pope Pius XI, leader of the Roman Catholic Church, signed a Concordat with Hitler in July, 1933 that guaranteed the legal status and protection of the German Catholic Church and its organizations. In spite of this agreement, however, the Nazis imprisoned Catholic religious leaders and harassed parochial schools. In return, the Pope agreed to not condemn the actions of the Nazis, publicly. *VERY REASSURING TO OTHER NATIONS*
Dachau: First Concentration Camp Established March 22, 1933 By 1945, the Nazis will have built over 1000 camps.
May 31– Jews cannot serve in military September 15 - Nuremberg Laws – denied citizenship, outlawed intermarriage, defines Jews. Also defines official flag of Germany: black swastika in a white circle on a red field Yearly rally marks the first display of the product of Germany’s illegal rearmament. November 15 – German Churches begin to collaborate with Nazis by supplying records to the government 1935: Things get worse Origins of the Swastika: Dates to ancient times in many Eastern cultures. Sanskrit svastika - "su" meaning "good," "asti" meaning "to be," and "ka" as a suffix. Appeared in art from 5 th and 6 th century Byzantine era as well as North, South and Central America In India it is a symbol of the Hindus and Buddhists 1910: Guido vonList (German nationalist) suggested the Hakenkreuz as a universal symbol for antisemitic organizations. The Nazi Party adopts it in 1920. Today it is illegal to display in Germany
1938: It seemed it couldn’t get much worse… Assassination attempt by Herschel Grynszpan November 9-10 – Kristallnacht – “Night of Broken Glass” The SA were “unleashed” and killed 91 Jews. Many others are beaten in the streets. Thirty thousand male Jews are sent to concentration camps, though most will be released in a few weeks. Why? 267 synagogues are desecrated and destroyed. (this is almost all of them) SS chief Reinhard Heydrich instructs security agencies to burn the synagogues unless German lives or property are endangered. Jewish businesses are looted and destroyed.
September 1939: Invasion of Poland; World War II begins With the invasion of Poland, the Third Reich “acquires” over 3 million “new” Jews under their control. Hitler realizes that the laws and disenfranchisement will not be enough.
Forced into Ghettos October 8, 1939 – the first ghetto is established in Lodz, Poland The largest will be in Warsaw, Poland, at roughly 500,000 people in only a few square mile area. Ghettos, originated in 15 th century Italy, become concentration points for the Jewish population. All major cities will have ghettos created and rural populations of Jews will be forced to live in them. People become subject to humiliation, systematic persecution and slave labor. Disease, however, is the major cause of death, due to the dense living conditions and rampant starvation. Judenrat are established in each ghetto to help the Nazis with selections. Most Jews selected for this duty believe they can actually try to help, although most will fail.
Violation of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact Ribbentrop- Molotov Agreement June 22, 1941 – Hitler violates the Ribbentrop- Molotov Agreement Sends German troops into the Soviet Union, known as Operation Barbarossa German Wehrmacht The surprise attack works – the German Wehrmacht pushes rapidly into the Soviet Union **An unforeseen side effect of this is that Hitler’s Germany has now inherited even more Jewish people under its control.** It is decided by the Nazi command that death is a “solution” to the Jewish problem. The term “Final Solution” has not yet been coined.
Einsatzgruppen The “Einsatzgruppen” are Mobile Killing Units. Their mission was to follow the push of the Wehrmacht through Soviet occupied Poland and into the Soviet Union itself. Their task was to round up Jews and to kill them. Occasionally they would select males for hard labor (usually to build concentration camps). They would round up all Jews in the town square.
They would then march the Jews to a forest or wooded area outside of town. Typically, the Jews were forced to dig a mass grave, if no natural ravine or ditch could be found. They were ordered to undress. Then, they were executed.
Ordinary Men? Most Einsatzgruppen units were lead by Nazi officers. However, they were composed of older men, seen as not able to fight in the Wehrmacht. They were typically older and only trained for this specific task. Many were educated men. The Einsatzgruppen were made up of laborers, teachers, doctors, lawyers and family men. Yet, they followed the orders of the Nazis, for the most part, without question and without any sign of remorse or disgust. There are only a few incidents where individuals requested a different assignment. Aside from being mocked by their peers as “cowards”, they suffered no penalties. It is said that the two things that the Einsatzgruppen consumed in mass quantities was ammunition and alcohol. In their “greatest” achievement, they murdered 33,000 people at Babi Yar, outside Kiev, in only two days.
T4 : The Euthanasia Program Beginning in 1939, Hitler decreed that those who were unworthy of life would have to be registered. “Life unworthy of life” included the mentally retarded, criminals and insane. Jews were included as a separate category. Many German civilians thought this was a “good” thing, as it seemed that the Nazi doctors were going to “care” for their sick children. Those families would soon get death notices in the mail. Many doctors, medical professionals, who were not Nazis, violated the Hippocratic Oath by taking part in the bureaucracy process of ordering deaths. Hitler ensured those doctors who questioned it that he would make legal problems disappear for those who participated.
Wannsee Conference Spring, 1941 – destruction of European Jewry becomes a goal in and of itself. By 1942, the “strain” on the Einsatzgruppen was taking its toll. Heinrech Himmler, head of the SS, was splattered with blood at one of the killing sites. He decided that there must be an easier way to kill Jews without putting such mental and physical strain on his men. January 20, 1942 – Wannsee, Germany. Twenty top Nazi administrators including Reinhard Heydrich (left) decided that Jews would be killed efficiently by bringing them to killing sites, instead of having the killers go to them. Initially idea of using mobile killing vans and carbon monoxidethen the idea of gas chambers and crematoriums as widespread means of death becomes implemented. Soon the gas “Zyklon B” is made famous for its use in killing hundreds within twenty minutes at a time.
Deportations Jews living in Ghettos would be “deported”. They were told they were being moved “to the East” where they would be more productive. This made the story seem feasible to the vast majority of Jews. In some cases, Jews would escape the death camps, return to the ghettos and tell of the horrors they’d seen, only to be called liars. Jews would be packed into cattle cars, designed to hold 40 people, up to one hundred at a time. They were told to label their luggage as it would arrive separately. Many would not survive the two to three day journeys without food, water, or sanitary conditions.
Three types of Camps Transit = act as collection points, and holding camps, for eventual deportation to either concentration or extermination camps Concentration = initially for political prisoners, caused fear in general population due to “Night and Fog” orders. Populations swell during war years – not just Jews, but any who were deemed unworthy. Slavs, Poles, political prisoners, Russian prisoners of war, etc. Slave labor to help with war effort. Also, some killing, but not sole purpose Extermination Camps = sole purpose was to kill Jews. There were only six specific extermination camps, all in Poland: Auschwitz- Birkenau, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno, Belzec, Majdanek
"Regarding the question of the optimum amount of people gassed in one day, I can state: according to my estimation a transport of thirty freight cars with 3,000 people was liquidated in three hours. When the work lasted for about fourteen hours, 12,000 to 15,000 people were annihilated. There were many days that the work lasted from the early morning until the evening... I have done nothing to anybody that was not my duty. My conscience is clear.' “ "Regarding the question of the optimum amount of people gassed in one day, I can state: according to my estimation a transport of thirty freight cars with 3,000 people was liquidated in three hours. When the work lasted for about fourteen hours, 12,000 to 15,000 people were annihilated. There were many days that the work lasted from the early morning until the evening... I have done nothing to anybody that was not my duty. My conscience is clear.' “ Franz Stangl, Commandant of Treblinka Franz Stangl, Commandant of Treblinka
Forced Marches Conditions in all camps were horrible. Diseases spread at a rampant pace. Starvation was an ever present danger, as was the threat of being picked for a selection. However, as Allied forces began to win the war and close in on Germany and Poland, the Nazis realized they needed to get rid of evidence of their deeds. Prisoners were forced towards interior camps, mostly in Germany, away from the Allied advance. They received no food and water, and little rest. Any who could not keep up the pace were shot on the spot. Elie Wiesel details his forced march in Night: “We were masters of nature, masters of the world. We had forgotten everything-death, fatigue, our natural needs. Stronger than cold or hunger, stronger than the shots and the desire to die, condemned and wandering, mere numbers, we were the only men on earth."
Response & Responsibility Many groups, and nations either acted to assist or failed to act to stop the Nazis – US had closed its doors to Jewish emigration in 1940 – 1942 – Roosevelt and Churchill fail to bomb tracks to Auschwitz – need to end war is seen as “best course of action to halt oppression” Nations under Nazi control had some options: Denmark sent Jews to Sweden Bulgaria refused local groups murdered in many countries – in some cases – locals murdered Jews, without Nazis or Wehrmacht units in the vicinity Could more have been done? Is it fair to ask that question? What was known by Western leaders and what was not? These questions are continually debated, even today.