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Describe how Jews were persecuted in the twentieth century before the Holocaust.

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Introduction

Describe how Jews were persecuted in the twentieth century before the Holocaust. The hatred of Jews started well before World Ward II started. It can be traced right back to when the religion of was still young. The Holocaust did not just happen. There were many ways in which the Jews were persecuted in the 20th century before the Holocaust, and not just in Germany. At Easter in 1903, Government agents organised an anti-Jewish programme in Russia, where a newspaper published a series of anti-Semitic articles. "A Christian child was discovered murdered" and "A young Christian woman at the Jewish hospital committed suicide". Jews were blamed for the deaths. Violent fights started, 49 Jews were killed, 500 injured, 700 homes looted, 600 businesses and shops looted and 2,000 families left homeless. The 5,000 soldiers in the town did nothing. Later it was discovered that the child had been killed by his family and the suicide was not related to Jews. In 1905 the Russian secret police converted an early anti-Semitic novel into a document called "Protocols of the elders of Zion". The protocols were later issued by the Okhrana in the propaganda campaign that was associated with massacres of the Jews. 600,000 Jews were forced to move from western boarders of Russia towards the interior in 1915. Around 100,000 died of exposure or starvation. In 1917 200,000 Jews were murdered in the Ukraine before the white armies made extensive use of the protocols to incite widespread slaughters of Jews. World War I left many Germany many economical problems. The Treaty of Versailles meant Germany had lost land, they owed a lot of money and there was a lot of unemployment throughout. These difficulties were blamed on the "Jewish influence" and the Jewish committee in Germany were thought of as "evil" people. Anti-Semitic posters were put up. One shows a German Christian woman, a male Jewish with distorted facial features, a coffin and the word "Deutschland" (Germany). ...read more.

Middle

In this part of the essay I will suggest some of the questions which may have been raised, and try my best to explain them. 1. If the Jews were Gods chosen people, why didn't he save them from the Holocaust? Since the beginning of the religion, Jews believed that they were Gods chosen people. So how could he let this happen to them? In Judaism, Jews believe their God to be omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing). So surely he could have prevented this from ever happening at all? It is a very difficult question to answer, because only God himself can really answer it. No one can tell what God is ever thinking, so therefore no one knows the answer. When God made humans, he gave them 'free will'. This means he made us to have our own opinions, and choose our own fate. We can choose whether we as individuals want to be on the good side or bad. Eliezer Berkovits was an orthodox rabbi who lost many members of his family in the Shoah. He said, "We have not been programmed by God only to do good things...People should strive to do good because they want to." Some say that the only reason the Holocaust happened was because too many people chose to be on the bad side with Hitler. This meant there were too many for God to be able to change their minds, so he could not intervene even if he wanted to. Some people (the people who are still Jewish) still believe they ARE Gods chosen people, and that he DID save them from the holocaust because he must have intervened and stopped it, so the whole Jewish nation was not wiped out. Hitler had made up his mind, that all Jews were evil, and I personally think that because of the tough times the people of Germany were going through after the First World War, they were confused and wanted an answer quickly and therefore chose the wrong side to go on- Hitler's. ...read more.

Conclusion

This all shows that Jewish people have had a long line of trouble. They have had their children killed at early ages (children were also killed in the Holocaust), been made to work against their will (like in the work camps), been stopped from leaving the country (like the immigration laws Hitler made), been made scapegoats, starved, imprisoned, put into ghettos and killed in large numbers. This is all very similar to the Holocaust, therefore it is not a unique event in Jewish experience. I agree. The Holocaust IS a unique event in Jewish experience, because nothing exactly the same has ever happened- not in its scale. The Holocaust was a deliberate attempt by one man who was angry with Jewish people for reasons which were mostly made up by him, to eradicate a whole nation. It was totally unjustified, and cruel. The main reason why it is unique (I believe), is because Hitler had it all planned. He planned to get the German public on his side and turn them against the Jews. He planned to build railways and roads and ghettos to take the Jews to their deaths. He planned to wipe out an entire nation (even if it didn't work), he still managed to 'shake the world', and raise some of the hardest questions in the world to answer. 6 million Jews were murdered in a space of a couple of years. Which is more than any other time in Jewish experience. On many occasions, the Jewish people survived hard times (like the ten plagues). This made people suspicious, and started to blame everything on them. But in many of the occasions, it was because of the Jewish way of life- the Sanitary Laws. These laws (found in the Jewish Book of Laws) meant that Jews were only allowed to eat kosher food, and did not work on Saturday's. I agree with this statement, although there have been many things similar to it in the past; I feel the reasons I have given to agree with the statement. Count for much more than the others. 1 ...read more.

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