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The Final Solution - Sources Questions

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Introduction

?????????????????? The Final Solution Question 1 Study Sources 1 and 2 a) In which country were camps located solely for the murder of Jews? b) How much does the map (Source 1) support Source 2? 1a) Camps set up solely for the extermination of Jews were located in Poland, according to Source One. 1b) Source One supports Source Two, by William Carr, because it says, " The Nazis tried to shroud the operation in secrecy by carrying it out in a remote part of Poland." The map in Source 1 shows that concentration camps were set up in Poland solely for the extermination of Jews. Question 2 Study Sources 2-7 How could the Germans have found out about the Final Solution? 2) It is suggested that the German people could have found out about the "Final Solution" in many ways. Source Two, by William Carr, says, "...rumours did circulate about the dreadful deeds in the East" and, "Germans who rounded up the Jews tried to believe that the deportations had no sinister implications," which suggests that even if they didn't know for sure what was going on, that they did at least have some suspicions. Source Three, by Philip Sauvain, writes of how, "Workers were told, Keep quiet about this or face the death penalty." He also quotes an American observer, who says, "...when the crematoria were turned on the electricity in the houses went down," and, "ashes from the crematoria settled on the front lawns," which if the American observer is to be believed shows that the German people more than likely would have been able to come to the conclusion that something was happening to the Jews. Philip Sauvain, again in Source Four, tells of how, "One heard that it would have been impossible not to know what was happening." We also read that, "... the unmistakeable odour of burning bodies could be detected for miles around concentration camps," so much so, that, "villagers got up petitions to have the camps moved elsewhere." ...read more.

Middle

b) Why were they represented like this in Germany in the 1930's and early 1940's? 5a) In Source 11 the Jewish community are represented as being beggars, leeches of the state, shown by the stereotypical Jew holding his hand out with loose change in it. In his other hand is a whip suggesting oppression, that the Jews are wicked, a threat. Also shown in this source is the map of Germany with the 'Hammer and Sickle'- symbols of Communism, implying that the Jews threaten to introduce this ideal into Germany. Another thing to be noted about this source is that the Jew depicted is a very typical caricature like figure. The man is unshaven and dirty, is sneering and his features are exaggerated which gives people a false impression of Jews. In Source 12 a primary Source is shown, a beer mat from the time of Nazi rule. It has a caption which translates as "Whoever buys from the Jews is a traitor to his people." This caption implies that the Jews were the Germans' enemy. Depicted is another stereotypical caricature of a Jew, sneering with exaggerated features and a sinister expression on his face. He appears dirty and again as in the previous source is not cleanly shaven. In Source 13 another primary source is displayed, from a children's book published by the Nazi Party. It compares an Aryan man, 'the Perfect German,' with a Jewish man, 'the greatest scoundrel in the whole Reich.' The Jewish man this time is represented in a way which contradicts other sources. He is represented as being a rich, overweight, well dressed person but still the stereotypical features, of being dirty and ugly, are applied in the drawing. These are shown by the briefcase he carries in his right hand and the money he tightly clenches in his left. The exaggerated features are again the large nose and irregular ears, as well as the man also being, yet again, unshaven. ...read more.

Conclusion

From all the sources studied and other knowledge a wide range of perspectives can be seen regarding the 'willingness' of Germans to have the Jews exterminated. From these there is little evidence to show that Germans were 'willing executioners.' In contrast there are a great number of indications that Germans were 'unwilling executioners,' (Sources 7&10) and Alfons Heck's interview which states that even fanatical Nazis did not want the Jews to be exterminated. The majority of the information analysed is unclear in saying how willing the Germans were in supporting the Final Solution. The vast majority it seems were neither actively 'willing executioners' or 'unwilling executioners.' They were stuck in the middle and just ignored or went along with what was happening. I think that the sources and other knowledge discussed shows that there may have been a very small number of people who were 'willing executioners,' ie the workers at extermination centres. There was an equally small number of 'unwilling executioners' who actively tried to discourage the killing of Jews, ie 'Die Weisse Rose,' the diary writer in Source 10 and Oskar Schindler. I find that the vast majority of German people may have thought of the topic of the Final Solution as a taboo subject and so were neither willing or unwilling executioners. I think they did not become unwilling executioners because they were afraid to speak out against the Nazis, "at risk of arrest or possibly even death." I think they did not become willing executioners because they knew it was wrong what the Nazis wee doing. The Germans were stuck in the middle with no-where to go. Although it was not through the fault of the vast majority of German people that so many Jews were killed, I still think that those who were neither willing or unwilling executioners do hold some responsibility for letting the "abominable and inhumane crimes happen." I draw the conclusion that the German nation as a whole were neither willing or unwilling executioners. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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