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The Holocaust


The Holocaust In words and pictures taken from The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Web Site: The Holocaust the systematic, bureaucratic, state ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Holocaust

The Holocaust
In words and pictures taken from The United
States Holocaust Memorial Museum Web Site
The Holocaust
  • the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored
    persecution and murder of approximately six
    million Jews by the Nazi regime and its

Prewar photograph of three Jewish children with
their babysitter. Two of the children perished in
1942. Warsaw, Poland, 1925-1926.
Two German Jewish families at a gathering before
the war. Only two people in this group survived
the Holocaust. Germany, 1928.
A Jewish family in the Piotrkow Trybunalski
ghetto. All those pictured died in the Holocaust.
Poland, 1940.  
Two young cousins shortly before they were
smuggled out of the Kovno ghetto. A Lithuanian
family hid the children and both girls survived
the war. Kovno, Lithuania, August 1943.
Portrait of members of a Hungarian Jewish family.
They were deported to and killed in Auschwitz
soon after this photo was taken. Kapuvar,
Hungary, June 8, 1944.
Word Play
  • "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning
    "sacrifice by fire.
  • The Nazis frequently used euphemistic language to
    disguise the true nature of their crimes. They
    used the term Final Solution to refer to their
    plan to annihilate the Jewish people.

  • Genocide is a term created during the Holocaust
    and declared an international crime in the 1948
    United Nations Convention on the Prevention and
    Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The
    Convention defines genocide as any of the
    following acts committed with the intent to
    destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
    ethnical, racial or religious group, as such a.
    Killing members of the group b. Causing serious
    bodily or mental harm to members of the group c.
    Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions
    of life calculated to bring about its physical
    destruction in whole or in part d. Imposing
    measures intended to prevent births within the
    group e. Forcibly transferring children of the
    group to another group. The specific "intent to
    destroy" particular groups is unique to genocide.
    A closely related category of international law,
    crimes against humanity, is defined as widespread
    or systematic attacks against civilians.

  • The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in
    January 1933, believed that Germans were
    "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed
    "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called
    German racial community.

Asocials- outside the norm
  • During the era of the Holocaust, German
    authorities also targeted other groups because of
    their perceived "racial inferiority" Roma
    (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic
    peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other
    groups were persecuted on political, ideological,
    and behavioral grounds, among them Communists,
    Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals.

  • The Nazi rise to power brought an end to the
    Weimar Republic, a parliamentary democracy
    established in Germany after World War I.
    Following the appointment of Adolf Hitler as
    chancellor on January 30, 1933, the Nazi state
    (also referred to as the Third Reich) quickly
    became a regime in which Germans enjoyed no
    guaranteed basic rights.

Germans cheer Adolf Hitler as he leaves the Hotel
Kaiserhof just after being sworn in as
chancellor. Berlin, Germany, January 30, 1933.
  • After a suspicious fire in the Reichstag (the
    German Parliament), on February 28, 1933, the
    government issued a decree which suspended
    constitutional civil rights and created a state
    of emergency in which official decrees could be
    enacted without parliamentary confirmation.

  • In the first months of Hitler's chancellorship,
    the Nazis instituted a policy of
    "coordination"--the alignment of individuals and
    institutions with Nazi goals. Culture, the
    economy, education, and law all came under Nazi
    control. The Nazi regime also attempted to
    "coordinate" the German churches and, although
    not entirely successful, won support from a
    majority of Catholic and Protestant clergymen.

  • Extensive propaganda was used to spread the
    regime's goals and ideals. Upon the death of
    German president Paul von Hindenburg in August
    1934, Hitler assumed the powers of the
    presidency. The army swore an oath of personal
    loyalty to him. Hitler's dictatorship rested on
    his position as Reich President (head of state),
    Reich Chancellor (head of government), and
    Fuehrer (head of the Nazi party). According to
    the "Fuehrer principle," Hitler stood outside the
    legal state and determined matters of policy

How did Hitler get everyone on his side?
  • the use of propaganda to spread the ideals of
    National Socialism -- among them racism and
  • the Nazi message was successfully communicated
    through art, music, theater, films, books, radio,
    educational materials, and the press.  

German children read an anti-Jewish propaganda
book titled DER GIFTPILZ ( "The Poisonous
Mushroom"). The girl on the left holds a
companion volume, the translated title of which
is "Trust No Fox." Germany, ca. 1938.
Nazi propaganda photo depicts friendship between
an "Aryan" and a black woman. The caption states
"The result! A loss of racial pride." Germany,
This image originates from a film produced by the
Reich Propaganda Ministry. It is captioned "A
moral and religious conception of life demands
the prevention of hereditarily ill offspring."
Nazi propaganda aimed to create public support
for the compulsory sterilization effort.
A Nazi propaganda poster encourages healthy
Germans to raise a large family. The caption, in
German, reads "Healthy Parents have Healthy
Children." Germany, date uncertain.
Nazi propaganda poster warning Germans about the
dangers of east European "subhumans." Germany,
date uncertain.
"Propaganda tries to force a doctrine on the
whole people... Propaganda works on the general
public from the standpoint of an idea and makes
them ripe for the victory of this idea." -Adolf
The Nazi regime used propaganda effectively to mobilize the German population to support its wars of conquest until the very end of the regime. Nazi propaganda was likewise essential to motivating those who implemented the mass murder of the European Jews and of other victims of the Nazi regime. It also served to secure the acquiescence of millions of others -- as bystanders -- to racially targeted persecution and mass murder.  
The Stages
  • Under the rule of Adolf Hitler, the persecution
    and segregation of the Jews was implemented in

Early Stages of Persecution
  • During the first six years of Hitler's
    dictatorship, from 1933 until the outbreak of war
    in 1939, Jews felt the effects of more than 400
    decrees and regulations that restricted all
    aspects of their public and private lives. Many
    of those laws were national ones that had been
    issued by the German administration and affected
    all Jews.

  • The first wave of legislation, from 1933 to 1934,
    focused largely on limiting the participation of
    Jews in German public life.

1935-Nuremberg laws
  • Excluded German Jews from Reich citizenship and
    prohibited them from marrying or having sexual
    relations with persons of "German or
    German-related blood."
  • deprived of most political rights. Jews were
    disenfranchised (that is, they had no formal
    expectation to the right to vote) and could not
    hold public office.

  • The Nuremberg Laws did not identify a "Jew" as
    someone with particular religious beliefs.
    Instead, the first amendment to the Nuremberg
    Laws defined anyone who had three or four Jewish
    grandparents as a Jew, regardless of whether that
    individual recognized himself or herself as a Jew
    or belonged to the Jewish religious community.

  • Government agencies at all levels aimed to
    exclude Jews from the economic sphere of Germany
    by preventing them from earning a living.
  • Jews were required to register their domestic and
    foreign property and assets, a prelude to the
    gradual expropriation of their material wealth by
    the state.
  • Likewise, the German authorities intended to
    "Aryanize" all Jewish businesses, a process
    involving the dismissal of Jewish workers and
    managers, as well as the transfer of companies
    and enterprises to non-Jewish Germans, who bought
    them at prices officially fixed well below market

  • In 1937 and 1938, the government forbade Jewish
    doctors to treat non-Jews, and revoked the
    licenses of Jewish lawyers to practice law.
  • Jews were barred from all public schools and
    universities, as well as from cinemas, theaters,
    and sports facilities. In many cities, Jews were
    forbidden to enter designated "Aryan" zones.
  • The government required Jews to identify
    themselves in ways that would permanently
    separate them from the rest of the population. In
    August 1938, German authorities decreed that by
    January 1, 1939, Jewish men and women bearing
    first names of "non-Jewish" origin had to add
    "Israel" and "Sara," respectively, to their given
    names. All Jews were obliged to carry identity
    cards that indicated their Jewish heritage, and,
    in the autumn of 1938, all Jewish passports were
    stamped with an identifying letter "J".

The Ghettos
  • ghettos were city districts (often enclosed) in
    which the Germans concentrated the municipal and
    sometimes regional Jewish population and forced
    them to live under miserable conditions.
  • The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos in
    German-occupied and annexed Poland and the Soviet
    Union alone.

What happened to the ghettos?
  • With the implementation of the "Final Solution"
    (the plan to murder all European Jews) beginning
    in late 1941, the Germans systematically
    destroyed the ghettos.
  • The Germans and their auxiliaries either shot
    ghetto residents in mass graves located nearby or
    deported them, usually by train, to killing
    centers where they were murdered. German SS and
    police authorities deported a small minority of
    Jews from ghettos to forced-labor camps and
    concentration camps.

Jews captured during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
are led by German soldiers to the assembly point
for deportation. Photo credit National
Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Mobile Killing Units
  • Einsatzgruppen squads composed primarily of
    German SS and police personnel.
  • By autumn 1941, the SS and police introduced
    mobile gas vans. These paneled trucks with the
    exhaust pipe reconfigured to pump poisonous
    carbon monoxide gas into sealed spaces, killing
    those locked within, were to complement ongoing
    shooting operations.

Members of an Einsatzkommando (mobile killing
squad) before shooting a Jewish youth. The boy's
murdered family lies in front of him the men to
the left are ethnic Germans aiding the squad.
Slarow, Soviet Union, July 4, 1941.
Sardine Packing
  • Often with the help of local informants and
    interpreters, Jews in a given locality were
    identified and taken to collection points.
    Thereafter they were marched or transported by
    truck to the execution site, where trenches had
    been prepared. In some cases the captive victims
    had to dig their own graves. After the victims
    had handed over their valuables and undressed,
    men, women, and children were shot, either
    military style, standing before the open
    trench, or lying face down in the prepared pit,
    in a manner that came to be known irreverently as
    sardine packing.

  • The term concentration camp refers to a camp in
    which people are detained or confined, usually
    under harsh conditions and without regard to
    legal norms of arrest and imprisonment that are
    acceptable in a constitutional democracy.

  • The first concentration camps in Germany were
    established soon after Hitler's appointment as
    chancellor in January 1933. In the weeks after
    the Nazis came to power, The SA
    (Sturmabteilungen commonly known as Storm
    Troopers), the SS (Schutzstaffel Protection
    Squadrons -- the elite guard of the Nazi party),
    the police, and local civilian authorities
    organized numerous detention camps to incarcerate
    real and perceived political opponents of Nazi

Arrival of political prisoners at the Oranienburg
concentration camp. Oranienburg, Germany, 1933.
Roll call for newly arrived prisoners, mostly
Jews arrested during Kristallnacht (the "Night of
Broken Glass"), at the Buchenwald concentration
camp. Buchenwald, Germany, 1938.
  • As Nazi Germany expanded by bloodless conquest
    between 1938 and 1939, the numbers of those
    labeled as political opponents and social
    deviants increased, requiring the establishment
    of new concentration camps.

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  • The concentration camps increasingly became sites
    where the SS authorities could kill targeted
    groups of real or perceived enemies of Nazi
    Germany. They also came to serve as holding
    centers for a rapidly expanding pool of forced
    laborers deployed on SS construction projects,
    SS-commissioned extractive industrial sites, and,
    by 1942, in the production of armaments, weapons,
    and related goods for the German war effort.

The Final Solution
  • Between 1941 and 1944, Nazi German authorities
    deported millions of Jews from Germany, from
    occupied territories, and from the countries of
    many of its Axis allies to ghettos and to killing
    centers, often called extermination camps, where
    they were murdered in specially developed gassing

Killing centers
  • also referred to as "extermination camps" or
    "death camps were almost exclusively "death
  • German SS and police murdered nearly 2,700,000
    Jews in the killing centers either by
    asphyxiation with poison gas or by shooting.

Hairbrushes of victims, found soon after the
liberation of Auschwitz. Poland, after January
27, 1945.
  • Almost all of the deportees who arrived at the
    camps were sent immediately to death in the gas
    chambers (with the exception of very small
    numbers chosen for special work teams known as
    Sonderkommandos). The largest killing center was
    Auschwitz-Birkenau, which by spring 1943 had four
    gas chambers (using Zyklon B poison gas) in
    operation. At the height of the deportations, up
    to 6,000 Jews were gassed each day at
    Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. Over a million Jews
    and tens of thousands of Roma, Poles, and Soviet
    prisoners of war were killed there by November

Death Marches
  • In the final months of the war, SS guards moved
    camp inmates by train or on forced marches, often
    called death marches, in an attempt to prevent
    the Allied liberation of large numbers of

A view of the death march from Dachau passing
through villages in the direction of
Wolfratshausen. German civilians secretly
photographed several death marches from the
Dachau concentration camp as the prisoners moved
slowly through the Bavarian towns of Gruenwald,
Wolfratshausen, and Herbertshausen. Few civilians
gave aid to the prisoners on the death marches.
Germany, April 1945.
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  • During these death marches, the SS guards
    brutally mistreated the prisoners. Following
    their explicit orders, they shot hundreds of
    prisoners who collapsed or could not keep pace on
    the march, or who could no longer disembark from
    the trains or ships. Thousands of prisoners died
    of exposure, starvation, and exhaustion. Forced
    marches were especially common in late 1944 and
    1945, as the SS evacuated prisoners to camps
    deeper within Germany.

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When did the reign end?
  • As Soviet troops fought their way towards the
    Reich Chancellery, Hitler committed suicide on
    April 30, 1945.
  • The Allies defeated Nazi Germany and forced a
    German surrender on May 8, 1945.

  • Soviet forces, British forces, and American
    Forces liberated the camps and those that
    survived the death marches survived
  • Liberators confronted unspeakable conditions in
    the Nazi camps, where piles of corpses lay
    unburied. Only after the liberation of these
    camps was the full scope of Nazi horrors exposed
    to the world.
  • Survivors of the camps faced a long and difficult
    road to recovery.

Soon after liberation, a Soviet physician
examines Auschwitz camp survivors. Poland,
February 18, 1945.
Emaciated survivors of the Buchenwald
concentration camp soon after the liberation of
the camp. Germany, after April 11, 1945.
American military personnel view corpses in the
Buchenwald concentration camp. This photograph
was taken after the liberation of the camp.
Germany, April 18, 1945.  
Liberated prisoners demonstrate the overcrowded
conditions at the Buchenwald concentration camp,
Germany, April 23, 1945.
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" remain silent and indifferent is the
greatest sin of all... Elie Wiesel
Prevent this from happening again
Honor the dead
Wiesel at age 15
Bert and Anne Bochove, who hid 37 Jews in their
pharmacy in Huizen, an Amsterdam suburb, pose
here with their children. The two were named
"Righteous Among the Nations." The Netherlands,
1944 or 1945.
Dr. Joseph Jaksy, who rescued 25 Jews during the
war. He provided them with hiding places, money,
medicine and forged identification papers. Jaksy
was named "Righteous Among the Nations."
Czechoslovakia, prewar.