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Why did the Nazis treatment of the Jews change from 1939 -45?

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Why did the Nazis treatment of the Jews change from 1939 -45? The invasion of Poland in September 1939 led Britain and France to declare war on Germany. This acted as a catalyst for change in the treatment of the Jews. The conquest of Poland brought more than 3 million polish Jews under nazi rule, as this was the country with the highest Jewish population. In fact the polish city of Warsaw alone had a larger Jewish population than the whole German Reich. Naturally, the situation grew worse as German captured more land, they found more Jews and this meant that step by step more countries could be occupied in the same way, hence more Jews being exterminated. The Jews, which had been captured in Poland, were heavily terrorised with public humiliation, beatings and random killings. They were also driven into crowded ghettos in an area of Poland known as the general government. To mark them out, Jews were made to wear a yellow Star of David. Between the periods of 1939 -45, the Nazis dominated most of Europe and created 356 ghettos in Poland, the Soviet Union, the Baltic States, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Hungary. ...read more.


In 1941, the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. In the path of the invasion lay the countries of Ukraine and Byelorussia, namely part of the Baltic States, which contained about 5 million Jews. Before the invasion, Hitler gave out orders to his generals that they were to be merciless to the Slavs and doubly merciless towards Slav communists. He also said that special SS units known as the Einsatzgruppen were to shoot all communist. But the real order given to the SS units was to exterminate all soviet Jews. What followed could only be described as the brutal, in humane mass murder of the Jews. This killing took place on a massive scale. At Babi Yar outside Kiev in September 1941, over 33,000 Jews were massacred in two days. They were forced to stand and watch as row upon row of men, women and children were lined up along the edge of the ravine and systematically shot do that their bodies fell into depths which the Jews themselves were made to dig. In this way they were made to dig their own graves. Originally the executions at Babi Yar were carried out by mobile killing squads, called the SS, however it was not soon before they became emotionally distressed an traumatised by the pleading cries of Jewish children and women. ...read more.


Poland was a popular choice for these camps as the country consisted of a large Jewish population. 'the final solution' added to the terror that Jews were already facing. No longer were jews allowed to move out of areas under nazi control. They were now being dent to death camps. The Nazis did everything in their power to keep the extermination programme a secret. Therefore the death camps were located in remote areas in the East. However most people knew that Jews were being deported eastwards. But the Nazis never used such words as 'extermination' or 'killing'. Instead, they used code word such 'final solution' and 'evacuation'. This secret however was revealed in mid 1944. It is fair to say that the change in the treatment of the Nazis may not have taken place, if the allied nations had not declared war on Germany. Firstly, because there would have been more soldiers and so there might not have been a need to establish gas chambers an therefore many more Jews would have been saved. Also, Hitler had openly threatened that if the allied nations resisted Germany's invasion of Europe, than Hitler would hold the Jews hostage and as a result many Jews were unable to leave Europe and became prisoners in their own country. ...read more.

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