Explain the different ways in which Jews across Europe responded to Nazi persecution during the Second World War.

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Explain the different ways in which Jews across Europe responded to Nazi persecution during the Second World War.

When Hitler became chancellor in 1935 he began taking away Jews’ rights for example in 1934 they were banned from public places such as parks and pools and in 1936 they were banned from government and professional jobs. This is why, even before the Holocaust, Jews were fleeing their countries due to discrimination and anti- Semitism to Palestine, the US, England and small numbers fled to Argentina and South Africa. However this isn’t the only way Jews reacted to their persecution, the ultimate struggle to secure their races survival presented in many ways.

It is estimated that over 355,000 Jews had managed to flee Europe by 1940 however, this still left over 400,000 trapped, unable to escape due to the measures taken by Nazis such as introducing ‘flight tax’- an extortionate amount of money the Jews were forced to pay to leave the country, the Nazis knew very few Jews would be able to afford this therefore the number of Jews who managed to escape was limited. The Nazis also put restrictions on the transportation of Jewish property and assets, meaning if any Jews could afford the high cost of emigration, they would not be able to take any of their belongings with them out of the country. On October 23 1941, Jewish emigration from the Reich was completely forbidden. One of the most recognised Jews who tried to escape Nazi persecution was Anne Frank and her family. They immigrated to Amsterdam in 1933 when the Nazis came to power. They were safe until 1940 when the Nazis took control over Holland so in July 1942 Otto, Anne’s father, hid his family in a hidden area of his office building known as the ‘The Secret Annexe’. A week later on 16th July 1942 the Van Pels family, who lived in the same neighbourhood as the Franks moved into the annexe for safety. In November they were joined by Fritz Pfeffer, a dentist and family friend of the family. All 8 people hid in safety until they were betrayed, their position given away and on August 4th 1944 they were all arrested. Anne her sister Margo and her mother Edith were taken to Auschwitz then Bergen- Belsen, were Anne died, aged 15, in March 1945.

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From 12th June 1942 until 1st August 1944, Anne Frank kept a diary documenting her experience and feelings during her years hiding in fear from the Nazis. She writes, ‘I'm terrified our hiding place will be discovered and we’ll be shot’. Otto, Anne’s father was the only survivor out of the family, he went back to the place they had been hiding and found Anne’s diary was still where she had left it, it was published in German in 1947 and in English in 1952. Her diary is still read today as a testimony to the way Jews were treated ...

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