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The Holocaust: A Quest for Meaning Prof. Heidi M. Szpek.

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Presentation on theme: "The Holocaust: A Quest for Meaning Prof. Heidi M. Szpek."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Holocaust: A Quest for Meaning Prof. Heidi M. Szpek

2 Life Before the Holocaust Kielce's Market: Kielce Museum, Jewish artist P.Schultz

3 Anti-Semitism before the Holocaust Jew as ‘the Other’ under Rome & early Christianity Persecution during the Crusades Creation of the ghetto (Venice 1517) Blood libel charges Martin Luther –Emphasis on conversion –Issue of Usury Mass expulsions throughout Europe ( ) Prominence of the Other (professional accomplishments) Change from Anti-Semitism based on religion to ethnic discrimination

4 Pale of Settlement in Russia Est by Czar Elizabeth II, under pressure to rid Moscow of Jewish business & ‘evil’ influence 90% of Jews lived in 4% of land

5 Pogroms (E. Europe) Yiddish/Russian term for ‘devastation’

6 Jewish Reaction Sought complete assimilation Fought to be accepted at local and national levels (e.g. WWI service) Maintained separate Jewish lifestyle Excerpt: Norman Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland: Remembering Kolbuszowa

7 Four-tiered Social Structure Poles (Catholic) Ukranian peasant (Russian Orthodox) Volksdeutsch/Ethnic German – descendant of German settlers brought in during 18 th century Jews (Yiddish) Eastern Europe

8 Select Additional Sources Elie Wiesel, “The World of the Shtetl.” In Wise Men and Their Tales: Portraits of Biblical, Talmudic, and Hasidic Masters. Schocken, 2004 (pp ). [On Reserve] (hopefully soon back online)

9 After World War I Largest Jewish community was in Poland Ukraine: Petlura Gang – 60,000 Jews killed Germany: Weimar Constitution = democracy –Walter Rathenau, Minister of Reconstruction Jews blamed for Germany’s humiliation National Socialist German Workers’ Party

10 25 Point Program (Munich, 25 February 1920) Creation of a Greater Germany Return of Germany’s lost colonies POINT FOUR: –None but members of the Nation may be members of the State. None but those of German blood, whatever creed, may be members of the Nation. No Jew therefore may be members of the Nation.

11 Adolf Hitler 1920 #7 in the Nazi party 1925 jailed for treason 1925 first installment of Mein Kampf –Marxism & Judaism greatest threats –Redefined Aryan and Semitic –Excerpt: Mein Kampf 1933 Chancellor of Germany

12 Germany Military organization within Nazi party established (SA, SS, Gestapo) 1926 Hitler Youth Inflation & unemployment began to rise 1931 Rosh HaShanah – attack on Jews returning from synagogue; symbolic

13 February 1933 Emergency Decree 27 February 1933 Reichstag fire 28 February 1933 Emergency Order March 1933 Dachau opened 23 March 1933 Enabling Act Einzeloperationen “individual operations” Boycott of Jewish shops Windows marked with Star of David or Jude 7 April 1933 Order retirement (all non- Aryans) Sachsenhausen & Esterwegen camps Jews expelled from Universities (Einstein) 10 May 1933 book burning, Berlin Opera House October 1933 Law of Revolution at Dachau (hanging)

14 Jewish Reaction Despair Suicide Some left Germany to W. Europe 5000 emigrated to Palestine Others waited

15 Intensified campaign to create Judenfrei villages May 1934 Der Sturmer

16 Attempted legislation to prevent sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews Redefinition of who is Jewish New term: Christian non-Aryans 15 September 1935 Nuremberg Laws –1. Citizenship only belong to a national of German or kindred blood –2. Jews were not of German blood; intermarriages forbidden –3. forbid relations outside marriage between Jew and German –4. Jews forbidden to fly German flag

17 1936-August 31, 1939 Assassination of Wilhelm Gustloff, head of Nazi party in Switzerland, THUS all police power centralized under Gestapo –One of events later used to justify Kristallnacht March 1936 Przytyk pogrom, s. of Warsaw –Poles would be accustomed to such actions Palestinian Arabs begin General Strike –Because British allowed Jews to emigrate in Palestine Hitler into Rhineland (violating Versailles) –half of German Jews find refuge –Polish Jewry (c. 4 million) too extensive

18 The Eternal Jew 8 November 1937

19 1938 March 1938 Austria annexed (Anschluss) Buchenwald opens June 1938 burning of synagogues 6 July 1938 International Conference at Evian – issue of refugees & avoid having a Jewish problem September 1938 Sudetenland to Germany

20 Kristallnacht 9 November 1938 Impetus: Grynszpan affair (Paris) 191 synagogues damaged Jews fined for damage done Berlin, Germany Dortmund, Germany

21 December 1938 first train to Britain with German Jewish children 3 May 1938 second ‘Jewish Law’: Hungary –Forbid Jews to be judge, lawyer, teacher … 17 May 1939 Palestine White Paper –75,000 Jews to Palestine in next 5 years May 1939 plight of the St. Louis 23 August 1939 non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany & Soviet Union –If invade Poland, Soviet Union would do nothing 1 September 1939: Germany invades Poland: World War II begins

22 Discussion Your response/reactions to stories/ photos/details in Gilbert’s Holocaust & Wiesel’s After the Darkness Life and character of Adolf Hitler Your response to: –response/reaction of world –human nature for action/thoughts to oppressed at this time


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