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Lesson Study Non-Jewish Victims of the Holocaust

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1 Lesson Study Non-Jewish Victims of the Holocaust
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Karen Levine, Central Middle School, New Jersey Jenny Levy, Independence High School, New York Laurie Schaefer, Mt. Tabor High School, North Carolina

2 Lesson Study Challenges
Personal collection of Laurie Schaefer

3 Lesson Study Challenges
Personal collection of Laurie Schaefer

4 Lesson Objectives MAIN GOAL:
-Students will understand the wide-spread impact and effectiveness of Nazi racial policies on all victim groups. MAIN OBJECTIVE: -Students will explain how Nazi ideology dictated which groups were targeted by the Nazis, as well as the different Nazi policies/actions toward those groups

5 Pre-Teaching: Aspects of Nazi Ideology
Multiple Aspects of Nazi Ideology were based on the following premises: ü       Survival depends on racial purity. (The Germans believed that there was a measurable, physical difference between other races and themselves.) ü       Survival depends on the seizure of territory. (In order for the Germans to expand into a great nation, much more space was needed.) ü       Survival depends on nullifying or eliminating anti-social groups who undermine society and government. (Those whose lifestyle or belief system did not fit into the Nazi Ideology were labeled as “anti-social.”)

6 Predictions/Conclusions
Name of Victim Group Prediction of Ideology Used Conclusion about Ideology Used Poles SPACE Jehovah’s Witnesses ANTI-SOCIAL Disabled RACIAL Homosexuals Gypsies/Roma

7 Disabled
Photograph with the caption: "...because God cannot want the sick and ailing to reproduce." This image originates from a film, produced by the Reich Propaganda Ministry, that aimed through propaganda to develop public sympathy for the Euthanasia Program. __________ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

8 Disabled
Propaganda slide produced by the Reich Propaganda Office showing the opportunity cost of feeding a person with a hereditary disease. The illustration shows that an entire family of healthy Germans can live for one day on the same 5.50 Reichsmarks it costs to support one ill person for the same amount of time.

9 Disabled

10 Disabled
Helene Lebel, raised as a Catholic in Vienna, Austria, first showed signs of mental illness when she was nineteen. Her condition worsened until she had to give up her law studies and her job as a legal secretary. In 1936 she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and was placed in Vienna's Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital. Two years later, Germany annexed Austria. Helene's condition had improved at Steinhof, and her parents were led to believe that she would soon be moved to a hospital in a nearby town. In fact, Helene was transferred to a former prison in Brandenburg Germany. There she was undressed, subjected to a physical examination, and then led into a "shower room" where she was killed with deadly gas.

11 Homosexuals
Among the personal responses to the growing police attention to individual homosexual's lives was the "protective marriage" to give the appearance of conformity. Paul Otto (left) married the woman behind him with her full knowledge that his long-time partner was Harry (right). Berlin, Private Collection, Berlin/UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM #073

12 Homosexuals
Diagram of the spreading "contagion" of homosexuality from individual number 1 to 28 others. The Nazis believed that the agent of "infection" was the "seduction" by one man of another. K. W. Gauhl, Statistische Untersuchungen über Gruppenbildung bei Jugendlichen (1940), 82/UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM #379

13 Homosexuals
Friedrich–Paul was born in the old trading city of Luebeck in northern Germany. He was 11 when his father was killed in World War I. After his mother died, he and his sister Ina were raised by two elderly aunts. After graduating from school, Friedrich–Paul trained to be a merchant —39: In January 1937 the SS arrested 230 men in Luebeck under the Nazi–revised criminal code's paragraph 175, which outlawed homosexuality, and I was imprisoned for 10 months. The Nazis had been using paragraph 175 as grounds for making mass arrests of homosexuals. In 1938 I was re–arrested, humiliated, and tortured. The Nazis finally released me, but only on the condition that I agree to be castrated. I submitted to the operation —44: Because of the nature of my operation, I was rejected as "physically unfit" when I came up for military service in In 1943 I was arrested again, this time for being a monarchist, a supporter of the former Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Nazis imprisoned me as a political prisoner in an annex of the Neuengamme concentration camp at Luebeck. After the war, Friedrich–Paul settled in Hamburg.

14 Homosexuals NAZI LEADER HEINRICH HIMMLER ON THE "QUESTION OF HOMOSEXUALITY" If you further take into account the facts I have not yet mentioned, namely that with a static number of women, we have two million men too few on account of those who fell in the war [of ], then you can well imagine how this imbalance of two million homosexuals and two million war dead, or in other words a lack of about four million men capable of having sex, has upset the sexual balance sheet of Germany, and will result in a catastrophe. I would like to develop a couple of ideas for you on the question of homosexuality. There are those homosexuals who take the view: what I do is my business, a purely private matter. However, all things which take place in the sexual sphere are not the private affair of the individual, but signify the life and death of the nation, signify world power or 'swissification.' The people which has many children has the candidature for world power and world domination. A people of good race which has too few children has a one-way ticket to the grave, for insignificance in fifty or a hundred years, for burial in two hundred and fifty years.... Therefore we must be absolutely clear that if we continue to have this burden in Germany, without being able to fight it, then that is the end of Germany, and the end of the Germanic world.... Translated in Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, The Racial State: Germany (New York, 1991), pp

15 Soviet Prisoners of War
Extract from the Commissar's Order for "Operation Barbarossa," June 6, 1941 June 6, 1941 Staff Command Secret Document Chief Only Only Through Officer High Command of the Wehrmacht WFST [Armed Forces Operational Staff] Div. L (VI/Qu) No /41 g.K Chiefs Guidelines for the Treatment of Political Commissars In the fight against Bolshevism it is not to be expected that the enemy will act in accordance with the principles of humanity or international law. In particular, the political commissars of all kinds, who are the real bearers of resistance, can be expected to mete out treatment to our prisoners that is full of hate, cruel and inhuman. The army must be aware of the following: 1. In this battle it would be mistaken to show mercy or respect for international law towards such elements. They constitute a danger to our own security and to the rapid pacification of the occupied territories. 2. The barbaric, Asiatic fighting methods are originated by the political commissars. Action must therefore be taken against them immediately, without further consideration, and with all severity. Therefore, when they are picked up in battle or resistance, they are, as a matter of principle, to be finished immediately with a weapon.

16 Soviet Prisoners of War
Anti-Bolshevik Poster; Translation: “Europe’s Victory is Your Prosperity” 1941

17 Soviet Prisoners of War

18 Soviet Prisoners of War
Wounded Soviet prisoners of war await medical attention. The German army provided only minimal treatment, and permitted captured Soviet personnel to care for their own wounded using only captured medical supplies. Baranovichi, Poland, wartime. __________ Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz

19 Poles
This is a late 1939 postcard proclaiming "Danzig is German." Danzig, now the Polish city of Gdansk, was a free city, separated from Germany as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, until the Nazis recaptured it after invading Poland. The sun peeking through the clouds (on a church) suggests that even the heavens approve of Hitler's conquests.

20 Poles A German soldier stands on a toppled Polish monument. Krakow, Poland, wartime. Institute of National Remembrance

21 Poles
Janusz Piotrowski (Born Plock, Poland, June 21, 1919) Janusz was the eldest of four children born to Catholic parents in Plock, a town located in a rural area north of Warsaw. His father was an accountant. Janusz attended local schools, and became active in scouting. : Janusz went to Warsaw to study civil engineering. On September 1, 1939, the Germans began bombing Warsaw. One week later, all able-bodied men who had not been mobilized were directed to retreat east. On September 17, Janusz was 90 miles from the Romanian border. That night, the Soviets invaded Poland from the east, cutting off any escape route. Trapped, Janusz returned to German-occupied Poland, to his family in the town of Wyszogrod. : Janusz was arrested in his parents' home in Wyszogrod on April 6, Some 129 community leaders, professionals and university students were taken that day. Two weeks later, Janusz arrived with a transport of 1,000 Polish political prisoners to the Dachau concentration camp. One month later, he was in the first transport to the Gusen camp in Austria. Janusz spent most of the next five years in Gusen, working in the quarry for the first year, and then in the camp's construction office. He was a member of the camp's underground organization. At 5 p.m. on May 5, 1945, Janusz was liberated in Gusen by soldiers of the U.S. 3rd Army. He emigrated to the United States on March 23, 1948.

22 Poles

23 Jehovah’s Witnesses To the Officials of the Government:
The Word of Jehovah God, as set out in the Holy Bible, is the supreme law, and to us it is our sole guide for the reason that we have devoted ourselves to God and are true and sincere followers of Christ Jesus. During the past year, and contrary to God’s law and in violation of our rights, you have forbidden us as Jehovah’s Witnesses to meet together to study God’s Word and worship and serve Him. In His Word he commands us that we shall not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25) To us Jehovah commands: ‘Ye are my witnesses that I am God. Go and tell the people my message.’ (Isaiah 43:10, 12; Isaiah 6:9; Matthew 24:14). There is a direct conflict between your law and God’s law, and, following the lead of the faithful apostles, ‘we ought to obey God rather than men,’ and this we will do. (Acts 5:29) Therefore this is to advise you that at any cost we will obey God’s commandments, will meet together for the study of His Word, and will worship and serve Him as He has commanded. If your government or officers do violence to us because we are obeying God, then our blood will be upon you and you will answer to Almighty God. We have no interest in political affairs, but are wholly devoted to God’s Kingdom under Christ His King. We will do no injury or harm to anyone. We would delight to dwell in peace and do good to all men as we have opportunity, but, since your government and its officers continue in your attempt to force us to disobey the highest law of the universe, we are compelled to now give you notice that we will, by His Grace, obey Jehovah God and fully trust Him to deliver us from all oppression and oppressors

24 Jehovah’s Witnesses
Declaration Denouncing Beliefs Jehovah's Witnesses incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps were given the opportunity to be freed if they signed the following statement renouncing their beliefs and indicating a willingness to become a soldier. Few did so, even when beaten and tortured. Concentration camp: Department II DECLARATION I, the born on in herewith make the following declaration: I have come to know that the International Bible Students Association is proclaiming erroneous teachings and under the cloak of religion follows hostile purposes against the State. I therefore left the organization entirely and made myself absolutely free from the teachings of this sect. I herewith give assurance that I will never again take any part in the activity of the International Bible Students Assocation. Any persons approaching me with the teaching of the Bible Students, or who in any manner reveal their connections with them, I will denounce immediately. All literature from the Bible Students that should be sent to my address I will at once deliver to the nearest police station. I will in the future esteem the laws of the State, especially in the event of war will I, with weapon in hand, defend the fatherland, and join in every way the community of the people. I have been informed that I will at once be taken again into protective custody if I should act against the declaration given today. Dated Signature From Jehovah's Witnesses: Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 1993), p.661.

25 Jehovah’s Witnesses
When Wolfgang was an infant, his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses. His father moved the family to the small Westphalian town of Bad Lippspringe when Wolfgang was 9. Their home became the headquarters of a new Jehovah's Witness congregation. Wolfgang and his ten brothers and sisters grew up studying the Bible daily. : The Kusserows were under close scrutiny by the Nazi secret police because of their religion. As a Jehovah's Witness, Wolfgang believed that his highest allegiance was to God and His laws, especially the commandment to "love God above all else and thy neighbor as thyself." Even after the Nazis arrested Wolfgang's father and oldest brother, Wilhelm, the Kusserows continued to host, illegally, Bible study meetings in their home. : Believing that God, not Hitler, was his guide, and obeying God's fifth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," Wolfgang refused induction into the German army. He was arrested in December, 1941, and a bill of indictment was issued on January 12, After months in prison, Wolfgang was tried and sentenced to death. On the night before his execution, he wrote to his family, assuring them of his devotion to God. Wolfgang was beheaded by guillotine in Brandenburg Prison on March 28, He was 20

26 Jehovah’s Witnesses
Johann was born to Catholic parents in the part of Austria known as Carinthia, where he was raised on the family farm. Johann enjoyed acting and belonged to a theater group in nearby Sankt Martin, which also happened to have a Jehovah's Witness congregation. He became a Jehovah's Witness during the late 1920s, actively preaching in the district around Sankt Martin. : Johann continued to do missionary work for the Jehovah's Witnesses even after this was banned by the Austrian government in The situation for Jehovah's Witnesses worsened after Germany annexed Austria in March Like other Witnesses, Johann refused to give the Hitler salute, to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler, or to enlist in the army. : In April 1940 Johann was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned in Klagenfurt. The Nazis deported him to the Neuengamme concentration camp, and then to the Sachsenhausen camp. In Sachsenhausen, the Germans tried to force Johann to repudiate his faith as a Jehovah's Witness, but Johann refused. Though it was forbidden, he had secretly hidden a tiny Bible, and reading Scripture enabled him to fortify his belief that the power of God was stronger than the power of the Nazi regime. Johann was executed on May 7, 1944, in Sachsenhausen. He was 34 years old.

27 Gypsies (Roma)
German hygienist Sophie Ehrhardt checks the eye color of a Gypsy woman during a racial examination. Bundesarchiv.

28 Gypsies (Roma) HIMMLER’S CIRCULAR OF DECEMBER 8, 1938: “COMBATTING THE GYPSY NUISANCE” Experience gained in combating the Gypsy nuisance, and knowledge derived from race-biological research, have shown that the proper method of attacking the Gypsy problem seems to be to treat it as a matter of race. Experience shows that part-Gypsies play the greatest role in Gypsy criminality. On the other hand, it has been shown that efforts to make the Gypsies settle have been unsuccessful, especially in the case of pure Gypsies, on account of their strong compulsion to wander. It has therefore become necessary to distinguish between pure and part-Gypsies in the final solution of the Gypsy question. To this end, it is necessary to establish the racial affinity of every Gypsy living in Germany and of every vagrant living a Gypsy-like existence. I therefore decree that all settled and non-settled Gypsies, and also all vagrants living a Gypsy-like existence, are to be registered with the Reich Criminal Police Office-Reich Central Office for Combating the Gypsy Nuisance…. Treatment of the Gypsy question is part of the National Socialist task of national regeneration. A solution can only be achieved if the philosophical perspectives of National Socialism are observed. Although the principle that the German nation respects the national identity of alien peoples is also assumed in combating the Gypsy nuisance, nonetheless the aim of measures taken by the State to defend the homogeneity of the German nation must be the physical separation of Gypsydom from the German nation, the prevention of miscegenation, and finally, the regulation of the way of life of pure and part-Gypsies. The necessary legal foundation can only be created through a Gypsy Law which prevents further intermingling of blood, and which regulates all the most pressing questions which go together with the existence of Gypsies in the living space of the German nation. (Translated in Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, The Racial State: Germany (New York, 1991), pp )

29 Gypsies (Roma)
Ceija Stojka Born Kraubath bei Knittelfeld, Austria Ceija was the fifth of six children born to Roman Catholic Gypsy parents. The Stojka's family wagon traveled with a caravan that spent winters in the Austrian capital of Vienna and summers in the Austrian countryside. The Stojkas belonged to a tribe of Gypsies called the Lowara Roma, who made their living as itinerant horse traders. : I grew up used to freedom, travel and hard work. Once, my father made me a skirt out of some material from a broken sunshade. I was 5 years old and our wagon was parked for the winter in a Vienna campground, when Germany annexed Austria in March The Germans ordered us to stay put. My parents had to convert our wagon into a wooden house, and we had to learn how to cook with an oven instead of on an open fire. : Gypsies were forced to register as members of another "race." Our campground was fenced off and placed under police guard. I was 8 when the Germans took my father away; a few months later, my mother received his ashes in a box. Next, the Germans took my sister, Kathi. Finally, they deported all of us to a Nazi camp for Gypsies in Birkenau. We lived in the shadows of a smoking crematorium, and we called the path in front of our barracks the "highway to hell" because it led to the gas chambers. Ceija was subsequently freed in the Bergen-Belsen camp in After the war, she documented and published Lowara Gypsy songs about the Holocaust.

30 Bundesarchiv, Koblenz. Germany
Gypsies (Roma) Dr. Robert Ritter and his associate Eva Justin taking a blood sample as part of their racial research on Gypsies. Landau, Germany, 1938. Bundesarchiv, Koblenz. Germany

31 Exit Question Based on the predictions each group made at the beginning of class and the conclusions each group reached,: What patterns do you see in how the Nazis targeted their victims? What surprised you the most about what you learned today or the conclusions the class reached?

32 Homework/Follow-Up Activity
Do you believe that any of the Nazi ideologies used to target the other victims groups are still alive and effective in our world today? Explain your answer, using one or both of the following as examples: 1. groups who are targeted today 2. any of the other victims groups (handicapped, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies, Poles, Soviet Prisones of War) who are still targeted today

33 Follow-Up Activities The next day:
Put all of the handouts back up on the board and have the students spend some time making observations and finding patterns in the pieces of evidence in each category. Hold a whole class discussion about their findings, discussing each ideology and how the groups can “cross over” into different categories. Use the homework piece to hold a class discussion of the modern-day influences of Nazi Ideology on victim groups.

34 Follow-Up Activities Other Extension Activities:
Have students write down two questions they have about other victim groups and use those questions in a whole class discussion or use it to jump-start a mini-research project. Take students to the computer lab and have them choose a victim group to create a photo essay on, exploring life before the Holocaust and how they were targeted during the Holocaust. Have students do a gallery walk-by of all of the pieces of evidence, commenting on the conclusions the original groups reached. This would allow them to see and analyze all of the pieces.

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