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TERMS TO DESCRIBE THE UNSPEAKABLE (most Germans today speak awkwardly of “the mass murder of the Jewish people”) “Holocaust” is derived from the ancient.

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Presentation on theme: "TERMS TO DESCRIBE THE UNSPEAKABLE (most Germans today speak awkwardly of “the mass murder of the Jewish people”) “Holocaust” is derived from the ancient."— Presentation transcript:

1 TERMS TO DESCRIBE THE UNSPEAKABLE (most Germans today speak awkwardly of “the mass murder of the Jewish people”) “Holocaust” is derived from the ancient Greek for “wholly burnt,” i.e., an offering to the gods consumed by fire on the altar. English-speakers since Milton have used it to describe any great destruction by fire or disastrous loss of life, and historians since around 1960, to describe the Nazis’ mass murder of the Jews. “Shoah” =Hebrew for “calamity”, the term preferred by Israeli scholars since “Genocide” =the crime of attempting to murder an entire people, coined by the Polish-born expert on international law Raphael Lemkin in 1943 and enshrined in the United Nations “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” in 1948.

2 GERMAN EXPANSION 1936: Rhineland remilitarized March 1938: Anschluss with Austria Sep 1938-March 1939: Absorption of Bohemia Sep. 1939: Conquest of Poland May-June 1940: Fall of France

3 ORIGINS OF THE “FINAL SOLUTION OF THE JEWISH QUESTION IN EUROPE”  Jan. 1939: Hitler tells the Reichstag, “If international finance- Jewry should succeed in dragging the nations once more into a world war, the result will be NOT be the Bolshevization of the earth and thereby the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!” (Compare Racial State, p. 99.)  Sep. 1939: Three million Polish Jews become subjects of the German Reich and are ghettoized in  Summer 1940: Himmler promotes the “Madagascar Plan.”  May 1941: “Commissar Order” issued to Wehrmacht units preparing to invade Russia; SS forms Einsatzgruppen.  July 31, 1941: Hermann Göring orders Heydrich to take charge of the “complete solution of the Jewish question.”  Sep. 30, 1941: The 33,771 Jews of Kiev are shot at Babi Yar, including women and children.  January 20, 1942: The Wannsee Conference.

4 Throughout German-occupied Europe, Jews were segregated in 1940 and received lower rations

5 Das Großdeutsche Reich ( ): Non-aryans were swiftly expelled from West Prussia, the Warthegau, & Alsace-Lorraine

6 The Lodz ghetto, established on April 30, 1940

7 One of the three Lodz Ghetto foot bridges across the streetcar lines of Litzmannstadt

8 THE MADAGASCAR PLAN Himmler recommended to Hitler on May 25, 1940, that all “racially valuable” Polish children be removed to Germany, while the rest should be denied any education beyond learning to count to five hundred and write their names. “As inhuman and tragic as each individual case might be, this was nonetheless the mildest and best method if one rejected on grounds of conscience the Bolshevist method of the physical destruction of a people as un-German and impossible.” The memo later suggested “the possibility of a great emigration of all Jews to Africa or elsewhere into a colony.” Hitler endorsed the memo, and negotiations began with Vichy France & the USA. Germany’s defeat in the Battle of Britain (Sep-Nov 1940) made the Madagascar Plan impossible.

9 Entrance to the Warsaw Ghetto, founded in October 1940, where up to 500,000 Jews lived in a district built for 50,000

10 The best hope for survival lay in proving the value of Jewish labor for the German war economy (a forced labor detail, Warsaw Ghetto, 1941)

11 Nazi “Productionists” vs. “Attritionists” in Poland Hans Frank ( ), Governor-General of Poland Odilo Globocnik ( ), SS Police Commander in the Generalgouvernment

12 Pedestrians ignore a corpse, Warsaw Ghetto, ca. 1942: Frank gained permission in May 1941 to reorganize the Ghetto but found the population too weak for meaningful labor….

13 PREPARATIONS FOR “OPERATION BARBAROSSA,” December 1940-May 1941 In Poland the army refuses to “liquidate the Polish intelligentsia,” so Hitler orders a major expansion of the SS, including the formation of Waffen-SS combat units, SS military police units, and roving SS execution squads (Einsatzgruppen) to conduct anti-partisan warfare. All German soldiers receive orders to ignore the Geneva Convention, because the USSR had never signed it. The “Commissar Order” of May 1941 requires the execution of all Communist functionaries; oral instructions specify that all Jews should be treated as commissars. German troops receive orders to live off the land and to plunder food supplies for shipment home, even if “tens of millions” of Russians starve to death.

14 German conquests, June- December 1941

15 “Grain that will benefit the victor” (propaganda photo, summer 1941) It was German policy that no food move from the rural south to Russia’s urban north, nor people from north to south

16 Soviet POWs fill in the ravine at Babi Yar outside Kiev after SS Einsatzgruppen shot over 33,000 Jews on September 29/30, 1941

17 Site of the Wannsee Conference, convened on January 20, 1942, by Reinhard Heydrich and SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann (see Racial State, pp )

18 In 1942 the ghettos became waiting rooms for the death camps

19 WHAT ALL GERMANS KNEW: The Jews of Würzburg are “evacuated” in March/April 1942

20 “The Jew: Warmonger, War-Prolonger” (1942): Jews were blamed for the Allied bombing campaign, and the argument that Jews would face lynch mobs in German cities provided an excuse to “evacuate” them.

21 Jewish deportees travelling through Germany, 1942/43

22 Deportation of Jews from the Lodz Ghetto, 1941/42

23 THE BEST KEPT SECRET: Auschwitz entrance--“Arbeit macht frei” (”Work sets you free”)

24 Rail Entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1942

25 Auschwitz alone was both a death camp and industrial center

26 Hungarian Jews newly arrived at Auschwitz, spring 1944

27 A new shipment of Hungarian Jews undergoes selection on the Auschwitz train ramp

28 Auschwitz-Birkenau labor camp, February 1945: The stronger among the newly arrived were sent to these barracks for “destruction through labor”

29 The weaker were disposed of immediately: Hand-carved model of the main gas chamber and crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)

30 Details

31 Flow chart for the process of assembly- line murder developed in 1942 at the death camps: Chelmno, 150,000 Treblinka, 800,000 Sobibor, 250,000 Belzec, 575,000 Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1,100,000

32 Jewish victims of the Third Reich: “Righteous Gentiles” were found most often in Denmark and France

33 STAGES IN THE PROCESS OF GENOCIDE (as defined by Raul Hilberg) 1.DEFINITION 2.DISCRIMINATION 3.PHYSICAL SEPARATION 4.ANNIHILATION Hilberg argues in his classic work, The Destruction of the European Jews (1961) that even when mass murder is not planned, the completion of any stage in this process makes a transition to the next stage far more likely….


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