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Oppression During The Holocaust In World War Ii History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The Holocaust, the persecution and murder of approximately eleven million people, began in the year 1933 when Hitler came to power in Germany. It continued and escalated during World War II, and later ended in the year 1945, when the Nazi’s were defeated by allied powers. During this time, the Jews’ human rights were violated both religiously and economically. This was all because these people were of a different race, and did not ‘fit’ into Hitler’s so called belief of a German ‘pure-race’. This was the beginning of anti-Semitism. This anti-Semitism occurred because the Nazi party believed that the Germans were racially superior to all other people. Additionally, the Jewish people were falsely held accountable for most of Germany’s problems.

However, the Jews had been treated as outcasts and persecuted since early history, all because of their participation in Judaism. ‘Laws of Judaism demand a specific way of life. [Ancient political power leaders] saw this as a form of resistance against their influence and control over the [Jewish Population].’ (Jewish Federation, 2011) The approval of the Jews having their own laws, codes and practices was denied by these dictators. Before World War II, documented evidence shows religious genocides of the Jews which occurred in Egypt, in the year 38. As for their differences, Romans placed restrictions on them, isolating them within the city. This eventually led to torture and murder. Due to the hatred of the Jewish cultural background, the continuation of oppression towards Jews, increased and extended into World War II, by the Germans.

In 1933 when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, Jews’ human rights were further violated. This continued into the year 1935, as Germans began to exclude Jews from public life. ‘Jews were excluded from public places such as parks; fired from civil service jobs (government jobs); Jews were made to register their property; and Jewish doctors were prevented from working on anyone other than Jewish patients.’ (About.com, 2011) The Jews were also forbidden to use public transport such as the tram, the bus or a car. During the year 1939, after World War II had begun, Jews were forced to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing. This was ordered by the Nazi’s, to ensure that Jews could be easily identified and targeted. Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who lived during the time of the Holocaust. She kept a diary throughout this time, writing down her feelings, sightings, and extraordinary experiences during the Holocaust. Although Jews, like the Frank family, could not use public transport, they still travelled by foot. Anne “…got sympathetic looks from people on their way to work. [She] could see by their faces how sorry they were they couldn’t offer [her] a lift, the gaudy yellow star spoke for itself.”(July 9, 1942) (Introduced by Anna Quindlen, 1993). Nazi’s began ordering Jews to live in certain, very specific, areas of big cities known as ghettos. They were later sent to what they thought were labour camps, but were actually concentration camps, extermination camps, prisoner-of-war camps and transit camps. The life within Nazi concentration camps was horrific. Prisoners were forced to do hard physical labour but were given tiny rations. Disease and illness spread rapidly throughout the camps, with no medical support. Prisoners slept three or more people per crowded wooden bunk with no mattress or pillow. Torture within the camps was common and deaths occurred frequently. Prisoners of extermination camps were told to undress to take a shower but were actually herded into chambers and gassed to death. Anne Frank and her family were later found by the Germans, in a hidden annex of a house, and were sent to extermination camps for their death. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only one from the Frank family who survived the Holocaust. In the year 1943, Otto Frank, along with many other Jews who survived the Holocaust, celebrated liberation, but at the same time, grieved for their lost loved ones.

World War II was coming to an end and people saw signs of liberation as extermination camps were closing. ‘After the Holocaust, many of the survivors found shelter in displaced persons (DP) camps administrated by the Allied powers.’ (Holocaust Encyclopedia, 2011) Many were forced to these camps because their homes and families had been destroyed. By the end of the year 1943, the extermination camps were closed down by the Germans. Auschwitz continued to operate death camps through the summer of 1944. By late 1945, thousands of Jews died in what became known as death marches, as the prisoners of war were sent walking to camps in central Germany. Children were hidden in orphanages throughout Europe, and that is where most of them remained. The Nazi’s pulled down and destroyed the death camps, hoping to cover up their crimes. Although the world has attempted to prosecute many of the Nazi war criminals in trials, many escaped with only very light sentences. Moreover, some of the Nazi officials are still in hiding today.

The Jews were condemned by the Germans to starvation; torture; violation of rights; disease, illness and death. All human rights were taken away from them, and they were treated without dignity and respect. Today, the survivors of the concentration camps still wear the scars mentally, physically and emotionally from living through the Holocaust. The approximation of eleven million persecuted Jewish people in Germany, will remain a tragic memory throughout future generations. Anne Frank and her family is a well written and documented account of a family who were part of the Holocaust tragedy and Otto Frank, being a survivor who saw liberation before his death.


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