The Holocaust File

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The Holocaust
The Holocaust
 The Holocaust (the Shoah – Hebrew for
destruction; in Greek Holocaust means
“whole” + “burnt”).
 Refers to the murder of 6 Million European Jews
in concentration/death camps during WWII
 There were 9 million Jews in Europe pre-WWII
(500,000+ lived in Germany).
The Holocaust
 The word Holocaust was given to the killing of
the 6 million Jews because it was a war of
extermination designed to wipe out an
entire group of people.
 Hitler’s “Final Solution”
 Systematic, deliberate genocide
The Holocaust
 What was unique about Hitler’s “Final
Solution of the Jewish Problem,” was:
 The Nazi’s determination to murder
without exception every single Jew who
came within grasp.
 The fanaticism, ingenuity, and cruelty
with which they pursued their goal.
The Meaning of Genocide
 What does genocide mean?
 Genocide is the deliberate and
systematic murder/extermination of an
entire racial, ethnic, religious, cultural or
national group.
Non-Jewish Victims
 There were also
many non-Jews in
concentration /
death camps:
 Soviet POWs
 Soviet and Polish
 Gypsies (Roma +
 The mentally and
physically ill (the
disabled; the elderly)
 Political enemies
 Religious opponents
to the Nazi party
 Anyone who was
Non-Jewish Victims
 For a total of approximately 17 million
people killed by the Nazis.
 There were 60 million World War II deaths.
Holocaust Chronology, 1933
 Jan 30, 1933
 Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of
Germany, a nation with a Jewish population of
 March 22, 1933
 Nazis open Dachau concentration camp near
Munich, to be followed by Buchenwald near
Weimar in central Germany, Sachsenhausen
near Berlin in northern Germany, and
Ravensbrück for women.
Holocaust Chronology, 1933
 April 1, 1933
 Nazis stage boycott of Jewish shops and
 April 11, 1933
 Nazis issue a decree defining a non-Aryan as
"anyone descended from non-Aryan,
especially Jewish, parents or grandparents.
One parent or grandparent classifies the
descendant as non-Aryan...especially if one
parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith“
= pre-curser to Nuremburg Laws.
 A Jewish man
wearing the yellow
star (Star of
David) walks along
a street in
Holocaust Chronology, 1933
 July 14, 1933
 Nazi Party is declared the only legal party in
Germany; the Nazis pass a law to strip Jewish
immigrants from Poland of their German
Holocaust Chronology, 1933
 July 1933
 Nazis pass law allowing for the forced
sterilization of those found by a Hereditary
Health Court to have genetic defects.
 Eugenics = belief and practice of improving
the genetic quality of the human population.
Holocaust Chronology,
 Nov 24, 1933
 Nazis pass a Law against Habitual and
Dangerous Criminals, which allows beggars,
the homeless, alcoholics and the unemployed
to be sent to concentration camps.
 Sept 15, 1935
 Nuremberg Race Laws against Jews decreed.
Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935
 Deprived German Jews of their rights of
citizenship, giving them the status of "subjects"
in Hitler's Reich.
 The laws also made it forbidden for Jews to
marry or have sexual relations with Aryans.
 The Nuremberg Laws had the unexpected result
of causing confusion and heated debate over
who was a "full Jew."
Nuremberg Race Laws: Jew?
 The Nazis settled on defining a "full Jew" as a
person with three Jewish grandparents.
 Those with less were designated as Mischlinge.
 After the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, a dozen
supplemental Nazi decrees were issued that
eventually outlawed the Jews completely,
depriving them of their rights as human
• The white figures
represent Aryans
• The black figures
represent Jews
• The shaded figures
Holocaust Chronology,
 July 23, 1938 - Nazis order Jews over age 15
to apply for identity cards from the police; to
be shown on demand to any police officer.
 May 1939 - The St. Louis, a ship crowded with
930 Jewish refugees, is turned away by Cuba,
the United States and other countries
(including Canada) and returns to Europe.
 Sept 1, 1939 - Nazis invade Poland (Jewish
pop. 3.35 million, the largest in Europe).
Holocaust Chronology,
 Oct 1939- Nazis begin sterilization,
euthanasia (murder) of the sick, disabled, and
mentally ill in Germany - later of any person
deemed inferior.
 Doctors were elevated in Nazi party - hand
chosen by Hitler.
 Doctors healed, killed and performed
experimentation in death facilities (gassed +
burnt corpses; 70,000 mentally ill persons
were killed).
Holocaust Chronology,
 Gas vans and X-ray vans created so doctors
could inspect people for “tuberculosis” - really
were designed to kill; the bodies were dumped
bodies into mass graves.
Holocaust Chronology,
 Build stationary gas chambers (Belzen) and
doctors discovered a new method =
insecticide/cyanide – Zyklon B (Auschwitz).
 Became the foremost tool of extermination
(took 15-20 minutes to die) – doctors kept
up medical rouse.
 Zyklon B manufactured by IG Farben =
Holocaust Chronology,
 March 7, 1941 - German Jews ordered into
forced labor camps.
 Oct 5, 1942 - Himmler orders all Jews in
concentration camps in Germany to be sent to
Auschwitz and Majdanek.
Holocaust Chronology,
 January 20, 1942 – The “Final Solution to the
Jewish Question” is enacted in the Wannsee
 Senior officials of the Nazi German regime met
in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee.
 Ordered all Jews in Europe to be annihilated.
The Ideas: Beautify the World
Through Violence
 Beautify and purify = cleanliness in art, life,
workplace, humans, etc.
 Strive for a common goal = kill to make way
for a new culture.
 Metaphor: Jews were the microbe that infected
society; were the rats, lice, vermin, pests, a
cancer spreading throughout the world = had
to be eliminated – non-human.
Ghettos and Camps
 Recently researchers have cataloged some
42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout
Europe, spanning German-controlled areas
from France to Russia and Germany itself,
during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to
 When the research began in 2000, it was
expected that perhaps 7,000 Nazi camps and
ghettos existed, based on postwar estimates.
The Warsaw Ghetto
 One of the most
famous photos taken
during the Holocaust
shows Jewish families
arrested by Nazis
during the
destruction of the
Warsaw Ghetto in
Poland, and sent to
be gassed at
extermination camp.
Mobile Killing Units
 Einsatzgruppen (aka Death Sqauds) =
action group, aka “death squads”.
 Formed officially in 1939.
 Systematically murdered 1,500,000 people
across Eastern Europe = predecessors of the
Concentration/Death Camps.
Soviet POWs at forced labor in 1943 exhuming bodies in the ravine at
Babi Yar, Ukraine.
Here the Nazis had murdered over 33,000 Jews in September of 1941.
A mass grave in Bergen-Belsen
concentration camp.
Documented Camps
 The documented camps include not only
“killing centers” but also thousands of
forced labor camps, where prisoners
manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war
camps; sites euphemistically named “care”
centers, where pregnant women were forced
to have abortions or their babies were killed
after birth; and brothels, where women were
coerced into having sex with German military
The Numbers Astound
 30,000 slave labor
 1,150 Jewish ghettos
 980 concentration
 1,000 prisoner-of-war
 500 brothels filled
with sex slaves
 1,000s of other
camps = euthanizing
the elderly and infirm,
performing forced
prisoners or
transporting victims to
killing centers
Urban Examples
 In Berlin alone, researchers have documented
some 3,000 camps and so-called Jew
houses, while Hamburg held 1,300 sites.
Women’s Camp
Killing Centres
 A view of
which served
as a
camp and also
as a killing
center for
At Belzec death camp, SS Guards stand in
formation outside the kommandant's house.
Works Makes One Free
Auschwitz – Birkenau
(Auschwitz I + Auschwitz II)
 Initially was meant for Polish political prisoners
and Soviet POWs.
 Eventually became a pre-imminent death camp
that processed (killed) millions of people.
 Run by Rudolf Hoess.
 Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess (Höss) (25
November 1900 – 16 April 1947) was an SSObersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel), and
from 4 May 1940 to November 1943 was
the commandant of Auschwitz concentration
camp, where it is estimated that more than a
million people were murdered.
 He and his family (wife + 5 children) lived right
beside Auschwitz.
Auschwitz – Birkenau
(Auschwitz I + Auschwitz II)
 The first extermination of prisoners took place
in September 1941, and Auschwitz II–Birkenau
went on to become a major site of the Nazi
"Final Solution to the Jewish question".
 From early 1942 until late 1944, transport
trains delivered Jews to the camp's gas
chambers from all over German-occupied
 At least 1.1 million prisoners died at Auschwitz,
around 90 percent of them Jewish;
approximately 1 in 6 Jews killed in the
Holocaust died at the camp.
 Others deported to Auschwitz included
150,000 Poles, 23,000 Roma and Sinti,
15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, 400 Jehovah's
Witnesses, and tens of thousands of people of
diverse nationalities.
 Living conditions were brutal, and many of
those not killed in the gas chambers died of
starvation, forced labor, infectious diseases,
suicide, and medical experiments.
Auschwitz – The Arrival
 People arrived to Auschwitz squished into
cattle cars via the German National Railway.
 Once off the trains people were separated into
two different lines.
 All the while, Wagner was being played live by
prisoners on the platform, SS officer dogs
barked viciously, and SS officers yelled =
Auschwitz – The Arrival
 In regards to the separate lines, Dr. Josef
Mengele, the camp’s head doctor, sat at a table
assessing the new prisoners and deciding what
use they were.
 Children were separated from their parents.
Auschwitz – The Arrival
 He decided which line:
 Left = work (capable of working to death;
extermination via work).
 Right = showers/“special treatment” (not
useful = die immediately/extermination via
gas chambers).
Camp Conditions
 Prisoners were housed in primitive barracks
that had no windows and were not insulated
from the heat or cold.
 There was no bathroom, only a bucket.
 Each barrack held about 36 wooden bunkbeds,
and inmates were squeezed in five or six
across on the wooden plank.
Camp Conditions
 As many as 500 inmates lodged in a single
 Inmates were always hungry.
 Food consisted of watery soup made with
rotten vegetables and meat, a few ounces of
bread, a bit of margarine, tea, or a bitter drink
resembling coffee.
Camp Conditions
 Diarrhea was common.
 People weakened by dehydration and hunger
fell easy victim to the contagious diseases that
spread through the camp (typhoid, cholera,
dysentery, influenza, etc.).
 Most prisoners at Auschwitz survived only a
few weeks or months.
Products Repurposed
 Many of the victims of the Nazis left behind
items/products that would be redistributed and
repurposed for the greater German population
and the Nazi soldiers.
 Included in these items was victims hair
(stuffed pillows), skin (lamp shades), body fat
(soap), skulls (paperweights).
Products Repurposed
 Products such as shoes, clothes, gold from
teeth, jewelry, prosthetics, glasses etc. were
stored in a buildings at every camp.
 The storage warehouses at AuschwitzBirkenau, located near two of the crematoria,
were called "Canada," because the Poles
regarded that country as a place of great
riches = “the place of riches”.
A warehouse full of shoes and clothing confiscated from
the prisoners and deportees gassed upon their arrival.
The Nazis shipped these goods to Germany.
Nazis sift through the enormous pile of clothing left
behind by the victims of a massacre (1941).
Life in a Concentration Camp
 A prisoner in Dachau is
forced to stand without
moving for endless hours
as a punishment.
 He is wearing a
triangle patch
identification on his
 A chart of prisoner triangle identification
markings used in Nazi concentration camps
which allowed the guards to easily see which
type of prisoner any individual was.
Symbol Meanings
Red triangle—political prisoners.
Green triangle— "professional criminals."
Blue triangle—foreign forced laborers, emigrants.
Pink triangle—sexual offenders, mostly homosexual men.
Purple triangle— Bible Students, Jehovah's Witnesses.
Black triangle—people who were deemed "asocial
elements" and "work shy" including Roma + Sinti
(Gypsies), the mentally ill, Prostitutes, Drug addicts,
 Brown triangle—Roma (Gypsies) (previously wore the
black triangle).
 Uninverted red triangle—an enemy POW, spy or a
Identification: The Tattoo
 Originally tattoos were made using a special
metal stamp holding interchangeable numbers
made up of needles approximately one
centimeter long.
 This allowed the whole serial number to be
punched at one blow onto the prisoner's left
upper chest.
 Ink was then rubbed into the bleeding wound.
Identification: The Tattoo
 When the metal stamp method proved
impractical, a single-needle device was
introduced, which pierced the outlines of the
serial-number digits onto the skin.
 The site of the tattoo was changed to the outer
side of the left forearm; however, prisoners from
several transports in 1943 had their numbers
tattooed on the inner side of their left upper
Identification: The Tattoo
 Tattooing was generally performed during
registration when each prisoner was assigned a
camp serial number.
 Since prisoners sent directly to the gas chambers
were never issued numbers, they were never
 Tattooing was introduced at Auschwitz in the
autumn of 1941.
Identification: The Tattoo
 What is significant about the tattoo
form of identification?
 In other words, what did it actually
Death and Imprisonment
 It is estimated that 15 million to 20 million
people died or were imprisoned in the various
Nazi Human Experiments
 Nazi human experimentation was a series of
medical experiments on large numbers of
prisoners (many children) by the Nazi regime in
its concentration camps during WWII.
 German physicians carried out such experiments
at Auschwitz (Dr. Josef Mengele), Dachau,
Buchenwald, Ravensbrück, Sachsenhausen
and Natzweiler camps.
Nazi Human
 Prisoners were coerced into participating; they
did not willingly volunteer and there was never
informed consent.
 Typically, the experiments resulted in death,
disfigurement or permanent disability.
The Doctors
 Dr. Eduard Wirths:
 At Auschwitz and other camps, selected inmates were
subjected to various experiments which were
supposedly designed to help German military
personnel in combat situations, develop new
weapons, aid in the recovery of military personnel
that had been injured, and to advance the racial
ideology backed by the Third Reich.
 Dr. Carl Vaernet:
 Is known to have conducted experiments on
homosexual prisoners in attempts to "cure"
The Doctors
 Dr. Josef Mengele:
 From 1943-1944 performed experiments on nearly
1,500 sets of imprisoned twins at Auschwitz, was the
central leader of these experiments.
 Had a double PhD, highly educated, civilized, normal.
 Known as the “Angel of Death”.
 Dr. Aribert Heim:
 Conducted similar medical experiments at
The Experiments List
 Experiments on twins
 Bone, muscle, and nerve transplantation
 Freezing experiments
 Malaria experiments
 Mustard gas experiments
 Sea water experiments
 Sterilization experiments
 Experiments with poison
 Incendiary bomb experiments
 High altitude experiments
How? Why?
 How could these doctors experiment
so brutally and so inhumanely on
their test subjects?
 Why were they able to do this?
 Despite the indifference of most Europeans
and the collaboration of others in the murder
of Jews during the Holocaust, individuals in
every European country and from all
religious backgrounds risked their lives to
help Jews.
 Rescue efforts ranged from the isolated actions
of individuals to organized networks both small
and large.
 Bert and Anne
Bochove, who hid 37
Jews in their
pharmacy in Huizen,
an Amsterdam suburb,
in 1943 and 1944.
 The two were named
"Righteous Among
the Nations."
 Oskar Schindler was an
ethnic German and a member
of the Nazi party who is
credited with saving the
lives of over 1,200 Jews by
employing them in his
enamelware and ammunitions
factories in Poland and the
Czech Republic respectively.
 He was named "Righteous
Among the Nations."
Holocaust Chronology, 1945
 Jan 27, 1945 - Soviet
troops liberated
 By this time, an
estimated 2,000,000
persons, including
1,500,000 Jews, have
been murdered there.
 April 29, 1945 - U.S.
7th Army liberated
Young survivors behind a barbed wire
fence in Buchenwald.
Survivors in Mauthausen open one of the
crematoria ovens for American troops who are
liberating the camp.
Displaced Persons
 From 1945 to 1952, more than 250,000 Jewish
displaced persons (DPs) lived in camps and
urban centers in Germany, Austria, and Italy.
 These facilities were administered by Allied
authorities and the United Nations Relief and
Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA).
 Among the concerns facing these Jewish DPs in the
years following the Holocaust were the problems of
daily life in the displaced persons camps, Zionism,
and emigration.
Nuremberg Trials
 The Nuremberg Trials (1945-46) were a
series of military tribunals, held by the main
victorious Allied Forces of WWII, most notable
for the prosecution of prominent members of
the political, military, and economic
leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany.
 The trials were held in the city of Nuremberg,
Bavaria, Germany at the Palace of Justice.
The Doctors’ Trials
 After the war, these crimes were tried at what
became known as the Doctors’ Trials
(1945), and revulsion at the abuses
perpetrated led to the development of the
Nuremburg Code of medical ethics.
The Holocaust:
Films + Documentaries
 Holocaust (1978)
 Jakob the Liar
 Schindler's List
 Sunshine (1999)
 Ann Frank
Remembered (1995)
 The Devil's
Arithmetic (1999)
 Life is Beautiful
 Ann Frank: The
Whole Story (2001)
The Holocaust:
Films + Documentaries
 Conspiracy (2001)
 The Pianist (2002)
 The Downfall: Hitler
and the End of the
Third Reich (2005)
 Sophie Scholl - The
Final Days (2005)
 I Am Still Here (MTV
documentary, 2006)
 The Reader (2008)
 The Boy in the Striped
Pyjamas (2008)
 Defiance (2008)
 Sarah’s Key (2011)
The Secret Files
 60 Minutes: Hitler’s Secret Files (June
 12 minutes + 50 seconds