The Holocaust

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The Holocaust
Holocaust.jpg
Perpetrator: Nazi Party
Schutzstaffel
Sturmabteilung
Gestapo
Einsatzgruppen
Imperial Japan
Arrow Cross Party
Ahnenerbe
Ustaše
Sicherheitsdienst
Slovak People's Party
Italian Social Republic
Nasjonal Samling
Republican Fascist Party
Belarusian Central Council
Vichy France
National Legionary State
Iron Guard
Hellenic State
Trawnikis
Wehrmacht
Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
Date: 1941 - May 8, 1945
Location: Nazi Germany, Greater Germanic Reich
Motive: To purge Europe of Jews in order to favor the "Aryans" of Germany.
Crimes: Genocide, Crimes against humanity, war crimes
The Holocaust was the most evil crime ever committed.
~ Stephan Ambrose

The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah and the Final Solution to the Jewish Question (or simply the Final Solution) was a government-orchestrated mass genocide that affected approximately six million Jews or more during the final years of World War II. The Holocaust was orchestrated by the Nazi Germany dictator, Adolf Hitler, and it advocated the idea of doing away with several fragments of society. This included other groups such as: Black people (incluiding African immigrants), LGBT people (including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender); Slavs (including Russians, Ukrainians, Serbians, Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks), Romani, Greeks; various Christian denominations (primarily Jehovah’s Witnesses and Catholics); Muslims; Brown people (incluiding Mulattoes and Mamelukes); communists, socialists, capitalists, anarchists, feminists, and other dissidents and Allied POWs, especially Soviet POWs.

Though the Nazis were the primary perpetrators of the Holocaust, other groups that comprised the Axis Powers participated as well, most notably Hitler's two main allies, Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini.

Everyone of these people was seen as "sub-humans", people that was not fit for the Nazi Party's ideology of what they referred to as the Aryans, that was seen as the "master race" of Germany. Also that the Jews was seen as "responsible" by the Nazis that Germany lost World War I and causing the country's economy to collapse, the so-called "Stab-in-the-back myth".

Prelude

We shall only talk of peace when we have won the war. The Jewish capitalist world will not survive the twentieth century.
~ Adolf Hitler

The Holocaust was established through stages. At first, the German government passed laws that excluded Jews from social affairs, such as with the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which stripped German Jews of their citizenship and forbade Jews to marry non-Jewish Germans.

In August 1938 the German authorities announced that residence permits for foreigners were being canceled and would have to be renewed. This included German-born Jews of foreign citizenship. Poland stated that it would renounce citizenship rights of Polish Jews living abroad for at least five years after the end of October, effectively making them stateless.

The deportees were taken from their homes to railway stations and were put on trains to the Polish border, where Polish border guards sent them back into Germany. This stalemate continued for days in the pouring rain, with the Jews marching without food or shelter between the borders. Four thousand were granted entry into Poland, but the remaining 8,000 were forced to stay at the border. They waited there in harsh conditions to be allowed to enter Poland. A British newspaper told its readers that hundreds "are reported to be lying about, penniless and deserted, in little villages along the frontier near where they had been driven out by the Gestapo and left." Conditions in the refugee camps "were so bad that some actually tried to escape back into Germany and were shot", recalled a British woman who was sent to help those who had been expelled.

Genocide

It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.
~ Elie Wiesel

The Holocaust was set off with an event known as Kristallnacht, or the "Night of Broken Glass", a pogrom carried out by both the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel (the Nazi Party's two primary paramilitary forces) on November 9 and 10, 1938. Jewish homes, hospitals and schools were ransacked and vandalized as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland. Over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed, and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. The whole event was overseen by Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels.

This event set in motion mass deportations of Jews to concentration camps over the next several years while the Nazis went from country to country, pillaging and conquering. Later on in 1941, a paramilitary death squad, dubbed the Einsatzgruppen, was established, and their job was to execute civilian stragglers in conquered Nazi territories.

By the end of 1942, many European Jews were forcibly taken to the various camps set up in Nazi territories on freight trains. If any Jewish person was fortunate enough to survive the trip to the death camps, they would almost always find themselves being executed in gas chambers disguised as shower rooms. Others would be put to work doing extremely difficult forced labor with little to no food, and often died from overwork or starvation. This was part of the so called "Final Solution to the Jewish Question", to exterminate all the Jews in Europe.

During the genocide, SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth, who served as the commandant of Płaszów concentration camp in Poland from 1943 to 1944, personally executed over 500 people, arguably the most murders committed by one man in Nazi Germany.

These systematic mass murders continued until the end of WWII in 1945.

Aftermath

The Holocaust is very much alive. The wounds are still there. The scars are still there. The influence is still there.
~ Avner Shalev

After all the concentration camps were liberated by the Americans, British/Canadians, and the Soviets; most of highest members of the Nazi party and the SS were standing on trial in the Nuremberg trials. Many that were involved in the Holocaust were sentenced to death for war crimes and crimes against humanity, only a few were sentenced to prison, for example Karl Dönitz, Albert Speer and Rudolf Hess (who committed suicide in Spandau Prison in 1987 at age 93.)

Other Nazis that were involved in the genocide, such as Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, committed suicide before they even got to trial; others such as Amon Göth were captured and put into Soviet labor camps or were executed. Still others, such as Adolf Eichmann, Franz Stangl, and Klaus Barbie, remained on the lam for decades before being captured.

Some Nazis were able to evade capture entirely. Here are several notable Nazis who were never captured:

  • Josef Mengele managed to stay in hiding and died in Brazil in 1979 without ever facing justice.
  • Martin Bormann would die shortly after the war ended but his remains would go unidentified for three decades. It is believed that he was killed by Soviet troops as he tried to flee Berlin.
  • Heinrich Müller vanished completely and was never seen alive again; his ultimate fate remains unknown to this day.
  • Alois Brunner fled into exile in the Middle East, first going to Egypt then later to Syria, where he was allegedly protected by President Hafez al-Assad, and then by Bashar al-Assad when he succeeded Hafez. He died either in 2001 or 2010.
  • Aribert Heim settled in Cairo, Egypt and lived there in hiding until his death in 1992.

Legacy

For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.
~ Elie Wiesel

The Holocaust is believed to be the most horrific example of humanity at its worst. The Holocaust was also the most significant genocide to have ever occurred in the 20th century, leading to the deaths of approximately 11 million people, including children. Many people were killed in absolutely deplorable ways, including various forms of sadistic torture. Many victims of the Nazi Party's campaign of carnage would either be burned to death in the various ovens scattered throughout the camp, or some would even be forced to dig their own graves, and then be shot into said graves after they were finished digging. Many Jews were starved beyond recognition, and some of the Jewish people would be so weakened from malnutrition, that they would often fall into ditches whenever they escaped their captivity from the hands of Hitler and the Nazis. Many Jewish people were also used as human guinea pigs in various experiments. For example, many Nazi doctors, such as Josef Mengele (who was perhaps the most infamous of the Nazi doctors) attempted to change their eye and hair colors to match what they considered to be the superior race, and these experiments would often lead to failure. Many people of Jewish descent were killed from these failed experiments. Because of this fact, many Nazi doctors were found guilty for crimes against humanity, and were executed.

Many people, including former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and American white supremacist David Duke, among others, try to claim that these mass murders never happened, and that the government most likely made them up in order to acquire sympathy from their listeners; this is, in fact, a very common belief in the anti-semite, white supremacist, and Alt-Right communities of the modern era.

They most likely are in denial about these mass murders, because they were so morally atrocious, that the idea that any human being can do something this horrible to another human being should seem like it should only happen in fiction. Unfortunately for the rest of us, this is painfully not true, and things like this can happen if we let them happen. We should all come together in peace and love, and try to listen to both sides of an argument. If we can do this, then maybe, something as horrible as the Holocaust, may never happen again, ever.

Badges given to concentration camp inmates

In addition to Nazis giving inmates tattoos of numbers at concentration camps, they also gave certain inmates badges in the form of a triangle or star shall they be Jewish. If a Jew was of another description listed below, the badge would be a combination of a yellow star and the triangle color specified.

  • Yellow - Given to Jewish people.
  • Blue - Described all Slavic ethnic groups. Also to Black people.
  • Pink - LGBT people, as well as other people who the Nazis considered sexually immoral, namely rapists, pedophiles, zoophiles, necrophiliacs, incestuous etc.
  • Green - Criminals: low profile and high profile. People with these badges were often assigned "kapo" roles by concentration camp staff.
  • Red - Political opponents such as, but not limited to communists, socialists, capitalists, anarchists and feminists.
  • Purple - Jehovah’s witnesses, Catholics and other pacifistic religious groups.
  • Brown - Romani men.
  • Black - Used for other prisoners who were deemed "antisocial" by Nazis.
    • Romani women and children. Boys would eventually be given the brown triangle shall they reach adulthood.
    • Mentally ill and disabled.
    • People with addictions, examples include substance abuse and gambling.
    • Homeless prisoners.
    • Prostitutes
    • Lesbians.
    • Brown people.
    • Drug Dealers
    • People with mental disorders such as Autism.
    • Illegal immigrants