The Holocaust

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by georgiaaawatson
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
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The Holocaust


What happened?The Holocaust (also known as the Shoah) was a terrible, inhumane event that happened over a period of several years, 1933-1945. It included anti-sematic to be spread all throughout Germany and parts of Europe and concluded in approximately 6 million Jews and a few other groups (homosexuals, those with mental or physical disabilities, Jehovah's Witnesses, socialists and gypsies) being murdered. The leader of this event was Adolf Hitler who was also the leader of the Nazi Party and the chancellor of Germany. Even before the Holocaust, Hitler hated the Jews and had written that he would ‘rid Germany of the Jews when he became the ruler’ in his book, Mein Kampf. He blamed the Jews for Germany losing World War and thought of them as less than human. He began his work against the Jews as soon as he was named Chancellor of Germany. Adolf Hitler encouraged Germany that the Jews were to blame for losing the war and the Great Depression throughout their country. This had a snowball effect on the Germans and the hate for the Jews grew. The middle-class Nazi’s started to get jealous of the higher ranking Jews and this eventually helped the Jews to be known as dirt. Hitler, along with the Nazi Party and the majority of Germany who followed the Nazi Party started to show the Jews just how much they were disliked. Hitler introduced laws that prevented Jews from having rights. Soon enough, Jewish people were out of jobs, houses and businesses. They were made to wear the Judaism symbol (star) on their clothing so they could be recognised easily. Ghettos were set up in an abandoned area of the town. Hundreds of Jews were forced into the ghettos and fenced in with barbed wire. Multiple families were crowded into a single room with little water, food or medicine. Inevitability, the ghettos turned into very dirty and disease-filled places. Around this time, Hitler started up concentration camps. Thousands of Jews were sent to the camps, thinking they were relocating to a better place however, this was not the case. They were given no substantial amount of food or water, if any at all, and forced to do hard labour. The weak which were mainly old people and children died more quickly due to starvation and dehydration. During the decline of the Jewish elimination, Jews that had not been caught hid with non-Jewish families in order to save their lives. Some even escaped across the border without the Germans knowing. Anne Frank, who was a 13 year old girl, was part of a Jewish family during the Holocaust. Her family went into hiding with a German family for two years before they were betrayed and captured. While they were in the transit camp waiting to be moved to a concentration camp, Anne kept a secret diary recording her take on the event. She wrote “Have you ever heard the term ‘hostages’? Innocent people are taken prisoner to await their execution. They simply grab five hostages and line them up against a wall. Their announcements of death in the paper are referred to as ‘fatal accidents’. 9 October 1942”. Gas chambers were eventually planned and put into concentration camps. The largest and most popular camp was Auschwitz which was a concentration and extermination camp. Masses of Jews were stripped of their clothes and led down into the gas chambers (known as the showers by the Jews). Once everybody was in, the doors were locked and instead of water coming out of the showerheads, carbon monoxide was released. This was a success for the Nazi’s as they had discovered an effective way of killing large numbers of Jew’s at one time. The bodies were then put into camp oven’s which burned the evidence, the bodies of the Jews. These events continued to happen over several years. Many European countries were on-side with the Nazi’s and their population was also decreased by mass killings. Other parts of the world were just bystanders as the Nazis continued to carry out the mass murder of the Jewish people. In 1944-1945 some of the ally countries had started to try and take over camps and bring down Germany’s power, initiated by Adolf Hitler. World War II was coming to an end during this period and in 1945 Auschwitz was emancipated. This was a major push to end the Holocaust. The Nazis were found guilty of the mass murders they carried out on the Jewish people. It is unknown if it was the fear of punishment or just the plain cowardly nature upon him that caused Adolf Hitler to commit suicide 30th April 1945. However, he was not the only Nazi who killed himself. Many Germans did this to prevent being caught by the allies and punished for the rest of their lives. Germany was stripped of its power and also ended up losing the war.

Adolf Hitler- Germany's Chancellor and The Leader of the Holocaust

Jewish children being held in a concentration/extermination camp

Significance to New ZealandThe Holocaust was significant to world history and New Zealand history. In 1930 New Zealand got the first taste of anti-sematic material. At first New Zealanders listened to the Nazi propaganda but later on New Zealand newspapers published articles in support of the Jewish community. When the liberation of Auschwitz and other camps was knowledge to the world, New Zealand was shocked to learn the reports from the allies about the deaths of the Jews. An Otago Daily Times editorial piece read “It is not possible to read of the discoveries made at the notorious Buchenwald and Auschwitz concentration camps without experiencing utter nausea, without admitting to a feeling of despair that there can ever be regeneration of German minds so lost in the depths of depravity “ – April 1945. After the Holocaust there were many Jewish refugees and some of them immigrated to New Zealand. This allowed them to start a new life, far away from their homeland that was no longer liveable for them. New Zealand was accepting of the few migrants that made home in New Zealand. Approximately 1300 Jews were sent to New Zealand at the beginning and at the end of the war. Refugees found jobs in their professions and carried on with life. In 1871 to 2006, the number of residents in New Zealand that said their religion was Jewish on their census form went from 1262 to 6858 people. Even some of New Zealand’s well known personal are Jewish such as New Zealand’s first women doctor, Emily Siedeburg. The Jews adapted well to New Zealand culture and gave themselves another chance after the Holocaust.

BackgroundEven before the Holocaust, Jews were discriminated and blamed for many things by different groups of people. Straight after WWI, the Great Depression broke out worldwide. Jews at this time were living in Europe. It was a very hard time for everyone however Germany was suffering the most. After losing WWI, Germany’s pride had been bruised and they were not in a good place. Germans started to notice that Jewish people were excelling in their jobs and making good lives for themselves during this time. Apart from the being jealous, the Germans were looking for someone to blame the downfall of their economic factors on. This made the Jews perfect scapegoats and they were blamed for these things. They had been blamed before recognised crimes and during the depression, they were blamed yet again. It only took people such as Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Party and other anti-Semitic Germans to encourage propaganda and psychological factors to gain followers in a group against the Jews. This grew over time and it wasn’t until Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany until he started to do something about the hate the Nazi’s had against the Jews.

Large mass of Jewish prisoners after being executed.

A gas chamber where millions of Jews were killed

Jewish refugees escaping German captivity

How it affected peopleThe Holocaust had a big effect on many different people. The first obvious effect on people was the amount of Jews and people with other beliefs than Hitler and the Nazi Party had, that were killed. This effected population and the Jewish race. Over the duration of the Holocaust, between 5.5 and 6.5 million Jews died. 2 million Jewish women and 1 million Jewish children were killed. The total number of Jews killed exceeds over 9 million. This is a very wide approximation because due to the large amount of people that were killed, they're bodies were spread out and buried in lots of different areas. Germans and Nazis during this time were severely punished and sentenced by the allies. One of the punishments was even for them to help dispose of the Jewish bodies they had so easily exterminated. Jewish survivors of the Holocaust found it almost impossible to return to their homes as many had lost their whole family and could not stay in the country where they had been tortured and scarred. This led to many refugees moving across Europe. They were homeless and looking for a new life. The IRO (International Refugee Organisation) helped the Jewish DP’s (displaced persons) to find new homes. Jews immigrated to parts of South America and to Israel. Moving to Israel renewed some conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians. This later resulted into wars. They also immigrated to other countries like South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. This allowed the Jews to start a new life and try to forget the horrors of their experiences of the Holocaust.

'Survival in Auschwitz''' We lay in a world of death and phantoms. The last trace of civilisation had vanished around and inside us. The work of bestial degradation, begun by the victorious Germans, had been carried to conclusion by the Germans in defeat.'' - Jewish author, Primo Levi, describing his and his inmates state of mind January 1945-

The Holocaust

Judaism symbol(Star of David)

Swastika(symbol of the Nazi Party)

A Jewish Survivor re-lives his experiences....


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