﻿Analysis of the Holocaust
Of all the examples of injustice against humanity in history, the Jewish Holocaust has to be
one of the most prominent. In the period of 1933 to 1945, the Nazis waged a vicious war against
Jews and other “lesser races”. This war came to a head with the “Final Solution” in 1938. One of
the end results of the Final Solution was the horrible concentration and death camps of Germany,
Poland, and other parts of Nazi-controlled Europe. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, people
around the world were shocked by final tallies of human losses, and the people responsible were
punished for their inhuman acts. The Holocaust was a dark time in the history of the 20th century.
One can trace the beginnings of the Holocaust as far back as 1933, when the Nazi party of
Germany, lead by Adolf Hitler, came to power. Hitler’s anti-Jew campaign began soon afterward,
with the “Nuremberg Laws”, which defined the meaning of being Jewish based on ancestry.
These laws also forced segregation between Jews and the rest of the public. It was only a dim
indication of what the future held for European Jews.
Anti-Jewish aggression continued for years after the passing of the Nuremberg Laws. One of
these was the “Aryanization” of Jewish property and business. Jews were progressively forced
out of the economy of Germany, their assets turned over to the government and the German
public. Other forms of degradation were pogroms, or organized demonstrations against Jews. The
first, and most infamous, of these pogroms was Krystallnacht, or “The night of broken glass”.
This pogrom was prompted by the assassination of Ernst von Rath, a German diplomat, by
Herschel Grymozpan in Paris on November 7th, 1938. Two days later, an act of retaliation was
organized by Joseph Gobbels to attack Jews in Germany. On the nights of November 9th and
10th, over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed, 175 synagogues demolished, nearly 100 Jews
had been killed, and thousands more had been injured, all for the assassination of one official by
a Jew. In many ways, this was the first major act of violence to Jews made by the Nazis. Their
intentions were now clear. The Nazi’s plans for the Jews of Europe were outlined in the “Final
Solution to the Jewish question” in 1938. In a meeting of some of Hitler’s top officials, the idea
of the complete annihilation of Jews in Europe was hatched. By the time the meeting was over,
the Final Solution had been created. The plans included in the Final Solution included the
deportation, exploitation, and eventual extermination of European Jews. In September 1939,
Germany invaded western Poland. Most, if not all Jews in German-occupied lands were rounded
up and taken to ghettos or concentration camps. The ghettos were located inside cities, and were
a sort of city/prison to segregate Jews from the rest of the public. Conditions in the ghettos
included overcrowding, lack of food, and lack of sanitation, as well as brutality by Nazi guards.
Quality of life in a ghetto was probably not much above that in a concentration camp. In June
1941, Germany continued it’s invasion of Europe by attacking and capturing some of the western
U.S.S.R. By this time, most of the Jews in Europe now lived in lands controlled by Nazi
Germany. The SS deployed 3000 death squads, or “Einstagruppen”, to dispatch Jews in large
numbers. In September 1941, all Jews were forced to wear yellow Stars of David on their arms
or coats. A Jew could be killed with little repercussions for not displaying the Star of David in
public. Some of the first Jewish resistance to the Final Solution came in 1943, when the process
of deportation to concentration and death camps was in full swing. The Warsaw ghetto in Poland,
once numbering over 365,000, had been reduced to only 65,000 by the continuing removal of
Jews to camps in other lands. When the Nazis came to round up the remaining inhabitants of the
ghetto, they were met with resistance from the small force of armed Jews. The revolt lasted for
almost three weeks before being subdued.
Between the years of 1941 to 1945, the main destination for Jews to be transported was a
concentration camp or death camp somewhere in Poland or Germany. In these camps, innocent
Jews, along with Gypsies, Slavs, Jehova’s Witnesses, Communists, and P.O.W.s, were brutally
beaten and abused, fed meager rations of poor food,