Join the army to support the Nazis in the war or they went on spirit rallies to rouse up Germany’s spirits and remind everyone of the Nazi’s goal: punish the Jews. Before all of this, Jews living in Germany were peaceful with the Germans. Jews were law-abiding citizens and were having a decent life. Until the end of World War I, the people of Germany were frustrated with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Germany had to admit that they caused World War I. They also had to pay huge reparations payments for the damage done in World War I to the victors and limit their troop supply. Lastly, Germany had to give up land to Britain and France.
With the terms of the Treaty of Versailles impacting Germany, the Germans needed someone to blame all this on, so they picked on the Jewish people. As a result, the Nazi Party formed on February the twenty-fourth, 1920, with a huge goal: anti-Semitism. When this party formed, Jews were starting to get nervous about their lives in Germany. Then in 1921, Hitler became the leader of the Nazi Party and he was a big fan of anti-Semitism. The Nazi Party started spreading fear and hate of the Jews with propaganda and this is when the Jews living in Germany were getting really afraid of Nazis.
Once the Nazis started spreading this propaganda of the Jews, the Jewish people still didn’t leave the country. The Jews thought this was another phase where people hated Jewish people. They thought Hitler would soon stop being angry at them. But things started to get worse for the Jews. Germany started to pass laws that only applied to the Jewish people. They made them wear the Star of David representing that they are Jewish. All of this still didn’t make the Jews leave the country until it was too late. Later, Germany passed a law in 1938 saying that all Jewish passports are invalid until the letter “J” has been stamped on it.
Then the government wanted the Jewish people to separate from the German people by changing their name and adding “Israel” and “Sara”, respectively, to their name. Then, the Jewish people were ordered to carry an identity card that says that they are Jewish. Ultimately, the Jews living in Germany suffered immensely. German citizens started to boycott Jewish shops. Eventually, this boycotting lead to the Kristallnacht or, “Night of Broken Glass”, where Germans broke the glasses of Jewish shops and looted them.
Jewish people were killed if they were seen in the streets and synagogues were burned. This is when the Jewish people started to get persecuted. With identity cards and the Star of David on Jewish people, finding them wasn’t all that difficult. Jewish people have registered already, so the Nazis knew where they all lived. Then, the hunt for Jews started. Some Jews, however, managed to escape from Germany’s wrath. Others went hiding in Germany, hoping that the Allies would invade Germany in time before the Nazis find them. During all this, concentration camps were being made.
A concentration camp is a place where large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or persecuted members of a minority, are imprisoned in a small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labor or to await mass execution. Many of these concentration camps later became death camps for Jews. One of the most infamous concentration camps was Auschwitz because it was the largest of all concentration camps. In these concentration camps, the prisoners were either forced to do labor or left to rot and die. However, weekly or monthly, the Nazis will decide who will get sent to a new concentration camp and who will stay.
Sometimes, those who are sent to a new camp, are actually being sent to their deaths. Moreover, the living conditions in the concentration camps are atrocious. The concentration camps were always overpopulated. People there had dirty clothes and never washed them. Bathrooms were never sanitized and the water was never clean. All these factors lead to mass outbreaks of diseases. However, diseases weren’t the only thing killing the people in the concentration camps. Guards would sometimes beat someone up if he or she didn’t do what they were told to do. These injuries would lead to infections if it wasn’t treated properly.
Prisoners were given very little food or sometimes they weren’t even fed. Then, starvation would take these lives of prisoners. Despite all these ways to die in the camps, there was another way to die, the gas chambers. Unfortunately, many prisoners died because they were forced in these gas chambers. The Nazi soldiers would call out certain names off of a list and take those people off to a different place. The gas chambers used hydrogen cyanide in the form of Zyklon B. This type of gas is lethal when exposed to air and was the quickest way to kill people. This lead to mass executions of prisoners in the concentration camps.
Even though there are many other ways to execute people, the Nazis chose gas chambers for a certain reason. More simply, the Nazis wanted to execute as many people in very little time without having to do much work to clean up the corpses. When using guns or knives to kill the prisoners, there will be a lot of “mess” to clean up afterward. As a solution, the Nazis started testing hydrogen cyanide on prisoners of war and on criminals. During the tests, the Nazis realized that it didn’t take much time to kill off the testing subjects and there wasn’t a mess to clean up, other than the corpse itself.
With this new weapon, the Nazis started to develop a plan to annihilate all Jews in Europe or as they called it the “Final Solution. ” With the plan in action, SS guards and armed forces of Germany started to carry out shooting operations on Jewish villages in the Soviet Union. The invaders used guns, bombs, and the new mobile gas vans. These new mobile gas vans had exhaust pipes to pump out poisonous carbon monoxide gas into sealed sides of the van, killing the people trapped inside. This way of killing people was to accompany the successful shooting operations.
Along with shooting operations, the Nazi guards at the concentration camps started to put more and more people in the gas chambers. Fortunately, the Allies came in time to save those that were left to die in the concentration camps. Along with liberating the camps, many of the Allies sent doctors and relief workers to the camps to help. Many of the liberators found that many of the prisoners were very close to dying. As an American army journalist, Bill Barrett described what he saw at Dachau: “There were about a dozen bodies in the dirty boxcar, men and women alike.
They had gone without food so long that their dead wrists were broomsticks tipped with claws. These were the victims of a deliberate starvation diet… ” (Liberation). Those that were saved by the Allies were experiencing different emotions at the time. Some were guilty that they survived the Holocaust while many others died. Some were confused about what they were going to do after they get home. Some didn’t even have a home to go back to. But unfortunately, even after when the camp was liberated and the survivors were being cared for, some survivors still died within a few days due to how weak they were and couldn’t digest food.
Luckily, there are many survivors of the Holocaust that are able to share their stories of the horrifying actions of the Nazis during the Holocaust. To sum up, the Nazi Party was a ruthless organization. They promoted German pride and most importantly, anti-Semitism. With the help of different kinds of propaganda, the Nazi Party was able to spread fear and hate of the Jews. This propaganda of fear and hate of the Jews spread like wildfire with posters, newspapers, and rallies. More and more people started to support what the Nazis were doing and praised Hitler.
This lead to Hitler becoming chancellor and Fuhrer of Germany and his dictatorship. With this absolute power over Germany, Hitler and the Nazi Party developed a plan to annihilate all Jews or as they named the plan the “Final Solution. ” “The movement that will end genocide in this century must rise from each of us who have the courage to challenge discrimination, hatred, and tyranny. We must never let the wreckage of our barbaric past keep us from envisioning a peaceful future when law and democratic freedom will rule the earth” (Genocide Watch).