he history of the Holocaust

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In 1933, the Jewish population in Germany was approximately 525,000, representing only 1 per cent of the total German population (Herf, 2006). Following Adolf Hitler’s seizing of power, Germany conducted the systematic destruction of European Jews. The Nazis started a highly effective propaganda, as a result subjecting the Jews to persecution as well as discrimination. the Jews were then separated in various countries occupied by the Nazis after 1939. By the end of the Second World War in 1945, approximately 6 million European Jews had been persecuted in the Holocaust (Herf, 2006).

            To push the racist agenda Hitler blamed the German defeat in world war I and the economic problems in Germany on Jews to gain support for their persecution. The Nuremberg laws introduced in 1935 targeted to prohibit Jews from German citizenship, marriages and relationships between Jews and the non-Jews (Berenbaum & Kramer, 2005). These laws also went ahead to limit the kind of jobs that would be given to the Jews. The Jews became targets for continuous harassment and stigmatization which forced them to migrate (History learning site, 2018). Following the shooting of a German diplomat by a Jewish youth in November 9th and 10th 1938, Kristallnacht or the night of broken glasses was experienced. The Jewish shops and synagogues were burnt, smashed and property stolen. On that night, more Jews were murdered and arrested and their future in Germany became grim. Jews stepped up their efforts to leave the country as this marked the end of their public culture and activities. Hitler spread propaganda referring to the Jewish people as bacteria, rats and poisonous mushroom to signify they were deemed unworthy to live (Katz, 1994). This process enabled the Nazis to launch the next stage in their campaign.

            After Hitler found out that the Jews could not be eliminated by emigration he resulted to their isolation into ghettos. Ghettos served as segregated detention cities for the Jews, sealed with high walls and barbed wires. It was a planned move by Hitler to kill the Jews through starvation and diseases from the overpopulation but they hung on. The Warsaw Ghetto and the Lodz Ghetto were the largest holding 400,000 and 160,000 people respectively (Katz, 1994). According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum archives, the Warsaw Ghetto was approximately 1.3 square miles. Jews were isolated in about 1000 such ghettos in the German-occupied Poland as well as the Soviet Union alone (Berenbaum & Kramer, 2005). Isolation of Jews into the ghettos would make future logistics of deportation to the extermination camps easier. After Kristallnacht, Germans established several detention sites in Europe in the form of concentration camps. Meanwhile, concentration camps were prisons for slave labour where political prisoners, Jews and other rejects were subjected to extermination experiments ((Friedländer & Kenan, 2009). In the cause of Ghetto liquidation day, the Jews would be relocated to these camps where people would be worked to death and even succumb to death due to hunger, epidemics, exhaustion and brutal punishments (Marrus, 1987). From 1940 Jews from all over the European continent were deported to the polish ghettos where some faced hunger and died. (Marrus, 1987). This enabled the Nazis implement their next plan-extermination phase.

            The extermination phase included killing the Jews by the Einsatzgruppen. These refer to the German mobile killing intellectual units who mowed several Soviet Jews (Friedländer & Kenan, 2009). Jews became open and easy targets when they were designated to have a yellow-star mark. Jews were deported from all over Europe and from the ghettos especially Warsaw to the concentration camps. Extermination camps were put up expressly for killing children and weak people who were not strong enough to work to reduce the burden of overpopulation in ghettos and concentration camps (Friedländer & Kenan, 2009). All these were preparations for the final solution. By 1945 most of the weak and handicapped people had been massacred in preparation for the ultimate holocaust (Levi and Sznaider, 2006). The murders were systematically conducted where by men asked to dig trenches before the row to row executions of the victims who would be buried in these trenches. Heinrich Himmler was mandated to supervise the execution of the final solution. The final solution refers to the final extermination method that would lead to Jewish annihilation (Timeline of Events,2018). Wannsee Conference was held in Berlin, 1942 that saw millions of Jews eliminated by a combination of mass murder, forced labour, use of gas chambers and a combination of concentration and extermination camps to offer the final solution (Browning, 2014). Dead bodies were cremated to get rid of evidence. The obsession of Hitler to get rid of the European Jews led to the final solution.

            I agree the Holocaust was systematic extermination following the strategic unfolding of events that led to the annihilation of two-thirds of European Jews who were considered “impure”. Most European Jewish communities were devasted by the crimes committed in the course of Holocaust. People must not forget the Holocaust since it promoted tolerance as well as protect the multicultural society.


Berenbaum, M., & Kramer, A. (2005). The world must know: The history of the Holocaust as   told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Johns Hopkins Univ Pr. 

Browning, C. (2014). The origins of the final solution. Random House.

Friedländer, S., & Kenan, O. (2009). Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945 (p. 99). Harper             Perennial.

Herf, J. (2006). The Jewish enemy: Nazi propaganda during world war II and the holocaust. 

History learning site. (2018) The Holocaust. Retrieved 3 September 2018, from             https://www.historylearning site.co.uk/wwar-two/holocaust-index/the-holocaust/

Katz, S. T. (1994). The Holocaust in Historical Context, Volume 1: The Holocaust and Mass    Death before the Modern Age.

Levy, D., Sznaider, N. (2006) The Holocaust and Memory in a Global Age. Philadelphia, PA:      Temple University Press.

Marrus, M. R. (1987). The Holocaust in history.

Timeline of Events. (2018). Holocaust!

Retrieved 3 September 2018, from             http//jessicatran11.weekly.com/timeline-of events.html.

November 24, 2023

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