Nearly six million Jews were killed and murdered in what historians have called "The Holocaust." The word 'holocaust' is a conflagration, a great raging fire that consumes in it's path all that lives. In the years between 1933 and 1945, the Jews of Europe were marked for total annihilation. Moreover, anti-Semitism was given legal sanction. It was directed by Adolf Hitler and managed by Heinne Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann. There were many other great crimes and murders, such as the killing of the Armenians by the Turks, but the Holocaust stood out as the "only sysmatic and organized effort by a modern government to destroy a whole race of people." The Germans under Adolf Hitler believed that the Jews were the cause of all the German troubles and were a threat to the German and Christian values.
Dating back to the first century A.D. the Jews and Christians were always at war. The Jews were considered the murderers of Christ and were therefor denounced from society, rejected by the Conservatives and were not allowed to live in rural areas. As a result, the Jews began living in the cities and supported the liberals. This made the Germans see the Jews as the symbol of all they feared.
Following the defeat of the Germans in WW1, the Treaty Of Versailles and the UN resolutions against Germany raised many militaristic voices and formed extreme nationalism. Hitler took advantage of the situation and rose to power in 1933 on a promise to destroy the Treaty Of Versailles that stripped Germany off land. Hitler organized the Gestapo as the only executive branch and secret terror organization of the Nazi police system. In 1935, he made the Nuremberg Laws that forbid Germans to marry Jews or commerce with them. Hitler thought that the Jews were a nationless parasite and were directly related to the Treaty Of Versailles. When Hitler began his move to conquer Europe, he promised that no person of Jewish background would survive.
Before the start of the second world war, the Jews of Germany were excluded from public life, forbidden to have sexual relations with non-Jews, boycotted, beaten but allowed to emigrate. When the war was officially declared, emigration ended and 'the final solution to the Jewish problem' came. When Germany took over Poland, the Polish and German Jews were forced into overcrowded Ghettos and employed as slave labour. The Jewish property was seized. Disease and starvation filled the Ghettos. Finally, the Jews were taken to concentration camps in Poland and Germany were they were murdered and killed in poisonous gas chambers in Auschwitz and many other camps. Despite the harsh treatment of the Jews, little Germans opposed this.
When the news reached the allies, they all refused and put down any rescue plans to aid the Jews. American Jews were warned against seeking any action for the benefit of the European Jews although Zionists managed to save small groups of young Jews and brought them to Palestine. The Vatican condemed racism in general but did hardly anything to stop the German actions.
The victories of the Germans in the early years of the war brought most of the majority of the European Jews under the control of the Nazi's. The Baltics, Ukrainee's and white Russians gladly joined the Nazi's. France and Italy sent 100,000 Jews to Germany but refused to send any of it's Jews. Holland and Belgium were Anti-Nazi's and refused to co-operate with Germany. Denmark protected it's Jews from Germany and Norway sent it's Jews to Switzerland for protection.
Unaware that they will be gassed, the Jews kept quiet until the last moment. When their fate was clear, the first Jewish uprising came in April 1943 in Warsaw Ghetto, when more than 60,000 pitifully armed Jews decided to resist. The battle took 28 days before the heavily equipped German forces put down this violent uprising. Individual Jews also resisted by joining partisan groups. Jewish resistance, however, was mainly spiritual.'The Jews prayed, wrote, observed festivals and also refrained.'
The war in Europe ended on May 8th, 1945. The following years tended to heal a few wounds, but the damage caused to the Jews of Europe could not be fully repaired.'A great deal of the Jewish culture and learning perished. Deep mental scars plagued the survivors and their children.'' An aspect of human cruelty was exposed more brutal than the civilized world could admit.' In Israel, the Holocaust day is celebrated on Nisan 27, the date that marked the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943. Although the Germans had lost the war, they won their war on the Jews of Europe.
1) Rossel, Seymor. The Holocaust, Toronto: Canada. 1981 edition.
2) Britanica Publishing Company. Britanica Vol.6, Toronto: Canada. 1984 edition.
3) Americana Publishing Company. Americana Vol.14 Washington: America. 1988 edition.
Seymor Rossel. The Holocaust, Toronto:Canada. 1981 edition.
Britanica Publishing Company. Britanica Vol.6, Toronto:Canada. 1984 edition.
Americana Publishing Company. Americana Vol.14, Washington:America. 1988 edition.