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The Warsaw Ghetto.

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Introduction

History Coursework - The Warsaw Ghetto Chris Russell Question 1 The main purpose of the Final Solution was the extermination of Jews in death camps in order to achieve a pure, Aryan race. The methods used to 'exterminate' Jews at death camps were gas chambers and crematoria. The first step in the final solution was the boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933. That same year, Jews were dismissed from professional employment. In 1935 Hitler passed the Nuremberg Laws, which forbade sex and marriage between Jews and non-Jews. It also took away their German citizenship. The first organised violence against Jews took place in 1938 during Krystallnacht. This was soon followed by the extermination of Jews by the Einsatzgruppen, who followed Nazi armies into Poland and killed the Jews that they came across. The Nazi forces in Poland soon started ghettoisation, a process by which Jews were forced to live in a walled off part of a city. The final solution was planned at the Wansee Conference in Berlin. There, it was decided to set up death camps, mainly in Poland, for the extermination of the Jews. These death camps and a lot of other evidence were destroyed as it became more obvious that an Allied victory was near. Overall, 6 million Jews were killed during the holocaust and many see it as the greatest tragedy in human history. ...read more.

Middle

This gives a very clear picture of life in the ghettos- little food, and even if there was any, you might be too ill even to eat it. The actual amount of food was minimal. Source D states that "The food allocation by the Germans being only 194 calories per Jew per day." This also confirms Source A, which also shows that overcrowding was also a major problem in the Warsaw ghetto. Source D confirms this, "Overcrowding increased... 'average' of thirteen people to a room, while thousands of others had no room at all." Source D also states that "The Germans confiscated Jewish property." And we see Nazi soldiers removing furniture from Jewish houses in Source A. Source A does give quite an extensive picture of life in the Warsaw ghetto, but it shows primarily images of suffering and death. In Martin Gilbert's 'Final Journey' it states that in the ghetto there were "Musical evenings, lectures and reading groups." This fact- that Jews tried to maintain standards- is partially confirmed by Source E which states that there were "Occupational training programs, workshops, rationing systems, housing authorities, hospitals, ambulances and other services." This suggests that even though the Jews were living in a poverty stricken environment, they still tried to maintain a civilised society, To me, that even though they were being extremely harshly treated, they wouldn't let the Nazis take away all of their dignity. ...read more.

Conclusion

This can be seen in the fact that there is a low death rate of 80.4% and 76.9% respectively in the 20-29 and 30-39 male groups. This also confirms the cruelty of the Nazis- they kept Jewish men for their usefulness as labourers, then when they were too starving and exhausted, they were sent to their deaths. Daniel Goldhagen, a revisionist historian, is the author of Source J. According to his account, most of the German population either took part in or endorsed what was going on in the holocaust. However, this ignores several key points. Nazi Germany was a police state, so no one would have dared object to what was happening in the Holocaust. That does not mean that the Germans agreed with it- they were simply too frightened to say anything. Moreover, according to Source B, the Final Solution was to be kept strictly secret. Indeed Source J is a very subjective account, partly because it was written by a Jewish historian and Goldhagen is understandably angry at what happened. So although Source J does not tell us about Jewish reactions during the Holocaust, it does tell us of them afterwards- future generations are obviously upset and outraged at what a preceding generation went through. Overall, these sources give us a vivid insight into Jewish and German reactions to the Holocaust. However, the German reactions cited are mainly Nazi, and cannot be used to condemn every German for what occurred. ...read more.

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