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Alex Hill 10M

September 14, 2012

The Holocaust
The Holocaust was genocide of approximately six million Jews during World War Two. It was a state-sponsored murder by the Nazis, and led by Adolf Hitler. It began January 30th 1933, right after Hitler became chancellor of Germany, until May 8th 1945, when the war in Europe ended. In these 12 years, he turned one of the most civilised countries into one of the most barbaric of all time. By the time his power had come to an end, he had caused over fifty million people during WW2. Hitler used the Jews as a scapegoat for Germanys economic problems, by blaming them for the countries deterioration then murdering them for the problems that he believed they had caused. Everything that happened in WW1 led up to the holocaust in WW2. In WW1, Hitler believed that the Jews had betrayed Germany, therefore should be counted as vermin, and should all be brutally murdered. This was the holocaust. The Jews were all kidnapped from their own homes to be taken to the concentration camps. Some werent even kidnapped, as some were told they were being resettled, or going on a free vacation, but none were told they were going to be killed. Later, when many Jews knew the truth about where they were taking them, the Nazis had no choice but to kidnap them and force them into a train to the concentration camp. Many Jews went into hiding. For example, the story of Anne Frank is the real diary of a Jewish girl whos family went into hiding during the Holocaust. Unfortunately, along with many other Jews trying to escape the Nazis, they were found and killed. Transport to the comps was often by freight train or in enclosed cattle trucks, which shows how they were looked upon as being animals, and not even human. Some Jews even died on the way to the concentration camps, usually due to starvation. There were many concentration camps situated all over Europe, especially in Germany, France, Poland, and Austria. On arrival at the concentration camps, the Jews were sorted into two groups. It was decided which were fit and unfit for work. Many children, pregnant women, elderly people who were chosen as being unfit for work were sent to the showers to be gassed, then cremated as quick as possible. The others, who were chosen as being fit for work, were made to do heavy manual labour on grossly sufficient food. Eventually, these healthy men and women were soon starved and exhausted from the work, to the point when they could not serve anymore. This is when they were sent to the showers to be gassed, and cremated right after. Some Jews were used for medical experiments. These experiments were carried out by physicians, and one of the most notorious of them all was Dr. Josef Mengele, who worked at Auschwitz .He performed brutal surgeries on many prisoners, including freezing, placing subjects in pressure chambers, testing drugs on them, attempting to change eye color by injecting chemicals into children's eyes and various amputations. He was particularly interested identical twins. He would find many sets of twins and place them in special barracks. In once case, fourteen sets of twins were rounded up, and he would place one set of a table, and put them to sleep. He then injected chloroform into their hearts, which killed them almost instantly. He would then dissect and note every part of the twins body. e supervised an operation by which two Roma children were sewn together to create conjoined twins; the hands of the children became badly infected where the veins had been resected; this also caused gangrene. A Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany took place on April 1st 1933. The Nazis tried to persuade people not to buy from Jews, as revenge for Jews supposedly causing

Germanys economic problems. People stood outside the stores yelling and holding signs that said: Deutsche! Wehrt Euch! Kauft nicht bei Juden! meaning, Germans! Defend yourselves! Do not buy from Jews! After the invasion of Poland, the Nazis established ghettos, where some Jews and Romani were kept, until they were shipped to extermination camps to be murdered. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest, with 380,000 people. They were vast and crowded prisons. From 1940 to 1942, starvation and disease killed hundreds of thousands. Over 43,000 residents of the ghetto died there in 1941. In the Kovno ghetto, which was situated in Kaunas, Lithuania, an underground school was built as an act of defiance when such education was banned in 1942. In the same year, it was decided that births were not permitted in the ghetto and pregnant women faced death. However, a number of babies were smuggled out of the ghetto and given to willing Lithuanian foster mothers. In the autumn of 1943, the ghetto was converted to a concentration camp, and many of the residents who were seen as fit to work, were sent to a concentration camp in Estonia, and children and the elderly were sent to Auschwitz. On July 8th 1944, the camp was evacuated, and most of the remaining Jews were sent to either a concentration camp in Germany, or one near Danzig on the Baltic Coast. The Germans later burned the Kovno ghetto to the ground using grenades and dynamite. As many as 2,000 people were burned to death, and many were shot when trying to escape the burning ghetto. A number of deadly pogroms were carried out during WW2. Pogroms were violent riots, generally against Jews. These riots were encouraged by Nazis, even in the early days of WW2, before the mass killings began. The first took place in Germany, where at least 91 Jews were killed, and another 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Over 1000 synagogues burned and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed. Even shortly after WW2, anti-Semitic riots continued to be carried out. Many Nazis began to occupy other countries, such as Lithuania, where 80% of Lithuanian Jews were exterminated by the end of the year. Many Jews were killed out in public during riots or massacres. To the south, Ukraines killed approximately 24,000 Jews. Also, Latvian and Lithuanians left their own countries and committed murders of Jews in Belarus, and Ukrainians served as concentration and death camp guards in Poland. In 1942, in addition to Auschwitz, five other camps were established were built as extermination camps. To of these were already labour camps, which then had extermination facilities added to them. The purpose of extermination camps was to kill Jews as quickly as possible. Extermination camps are frequently confused with concentration camps. In concentration camps, the majority of deaths is actually from starvation, disease, or exhaustion from over-working, rather than from the killings themselves, whereas an extermination camps were purposely designed for mass killing rather than labour work. At the extermination camps, all prisoners arrived in trains. Some days, one trainload will arrive, other days, five train loads will arrive. When they first arrive, the camp doctor on duty will find the small percentage who seem fit to do heavy labour in the regular camps. The rest were then hoarded straight into the gas chambers, which generally had a sign on it saying Baths or Sauna. They were also given towels and soap, and were told to remember where they put their belongings, simply to avoid panic. When they asked for water because they were thirst after the long train ride, they were told that there was coffee waiting for them at the camp, after they used the showers. Immediately, in the gas chamber, the gas was released. Many

died almost instantly, while for others it took up to twenty minutes to take effect. The other Jews who worked in the labour camps had to pull the bodies out of the gas chambers, then take any gold teeth out of any of the bodies. Afterwards, the SS did a check to see if there was any gold left, and if one was missed, the responsible Jew was thrown into the furnace alive as a punishment. At first, the bodies were buried in a pit then covered with lime, then later were dug up and cremated. In 1944, when Britain and the USA were approaching the concentration camps from the west, and the Soviet Union from the east, the SS and the camps were trapped in the middle. The SS did not want the world to know about the concentration camps so they decided to abandon the camps and destroy all the remains to make it seem like it was never there in the first place. They even persuaded farmers to plant crops on the ground where the camps once stood. They killed thousands of the Jews before they left, then forced the remaining Jews to do the death march, where they were marched for dozens of miles in the snow to railway stations, then transported for days at a time without food, water or shelter in freight carriages originally designed for cattle. On arrival at their destination, they were then forced to march again to the new camp. Any prisoners who were unable to keep up due to fatigue or illness were immediately executed by gunshot. The ending of the holocaust was triggered when the British, American, soviet, and other allies invaded Germany, and liberated the concentration camps, then forced them to surrender unconditionally. Another big event that ended the holocaust was the suicide of Adolf Hitler. After his death many Nazis retreated and went into hiding for fear of the Allies.