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The Holocaust

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THE HOLOCAUST (1) When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the Jews were their very first target. The infamous boycott against Jewish businesses took place in April 1933 and the first laws against the Jews were enacted as early as on April 7, 1933. Jews were progressively erased from almost every facet of German life. The Nuremberg Laws, passed in 1935, further depriving the Jews of almost every remaining right and freedom. This culminated in the bloodiest programme to date the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in November 1938. Over 100 Jews were murdered and a "fine" was levied against the Jews in excess of 1 billion RM. * The Communists were often explicitly targeted as well, but the Nazis believed that Communism was a creature of the Jews in any event. The expression often used was "Jews and other undesirables," and the Jews were almost always the first group targeted in any initiative. There is no doubt that they were the focal point from beginning to end. The Nazis wasted very little time after Hitler's appointment as chancellor on 30 January 1933. ...read more.


Hitler blamed the Jews for the loss of World War I, which he called "the stab in the back" and made the focus of his political campaigns. The combination of religious anti-Semitism and political anti-Semitism with patriotism led many German people to accept Hitler's message. One of the stumbling blocks to even wider acceptance of the Nazis' racism was the assimilation of Jews into German life. Unlike the Jews of eastern Europe, German Jews considered themselves different from other Germans only in the religion they practiced. They were merchants and scholars and professional people who went to the same schools and gathered in the same places as other Germans. And, for their part, the other Germans were used to dealing with Jewish businessmen and having their ailments treated by Jewish doctors. As Heinrich Himmler stated in a speech to SS officers long after the actual extermination began, every German had a "favourite Jew." When Hitler came to power he could not expect the masses of ordinary German people to agree to his program of extermination. Instead the Nazis led them to that end by gradual steps. ...read more.


In the following months, tens of thousands were deported to ghettos in Poland and to cities wrested from the USSR. Even as that movement was under way, the stage was set for another innovation: the death camp. The heaviest deportations occurred in the summer and fall of 1942. The destinations of the transports were not disclosed to the Jewish communities, but reports of mass deaths eventually reached the surviving Jews, as well as the governments of the United States and Great Britain. In April 1943, the 65,000 remaining Jews of Warsaw offered resistance to German police who entered the ghetto in a final roundup. The battle was fought for three weeks. When the war ended, millions of Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Communists, and others targeted by the Nazis, had died in the Holocaust. The Jewish deaths numbered more than 5 million: about 3 million in killing centres and other camps, 1.4 million in shooting operations, and more than 600,000 in ghettos. (Traditional estimates are closer to 6 million.) Pressure was placed on the Allied powers to establish a permanent haven in Palestine for Jewish survivors. The establishment of Israel three years after Germany's defeat was thus an after effect of the Holocaust. ...read more.

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