Anti-Semitism, prejudice, and discrimination against the Jews has existed since their beginning and can be traced throughout history. In the 1930s and 40s it was starting to become the popular and accepted thought pattern and theory throughout most of Europe, which was why it was so easy for Hitler to gain support in The Holocaust from those countries who were members of the axis powers. This in many ways was the root cause of the mass killings and torturing during World War II in The Holocaust. This catastrophe and atrocity of The Holocaust could have been avoided and never would have happened if Hitler had never been allowed to rise to power.
The Holocaust in many ways was started before WWII, “World War I and it’s conclusion helped lay the groundwork for Nazism’s rise to power and it’s success in scapegoating
Jews.” (Pg. 82). The Germans blamed the Jews for WWI and this was one of the many reasons that The Holocaust happened. This allowed the start of the formation of the Nazi party and Hitler’s rise to power, “A new, democratic government led by the moderate Social-Democratic Party (SPD) took power, but not until left-wing revolutions were bloodily repressed in early 1919.” (Pg. 82). Around this time Hitler discovered another political party, “the German Workers’ Party, which had originated in small World War I-era circles of racists and self-styled intellectuals. Quickly asserting himself as leader, Hitler renamed the party the ‘National Socialist German Workers’ Party.’ (NSDAP; ‘Nazi’ an abbreviation of the german for ‘National Socialist,’ quickly became the party’s informal designation.)” (Pg. 84). Hitler added the word Socialist in order to gain more support and win more votes in spite of the fact that it was not truly a Socialist party. This party officially started its rise to power when it finally won an election in the 1930s, “The Nazi party won more votes than any other party, 37 percent, in the July 1932 elections, which like the multitudes of hastily called elections of the early 1930s failed to resolve the deepening political crisis.” (Pg. 85).
Shortly after this Hitler was appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg, the president of Germany at the time, on January 30, 1933. Using his power as Chancellor, Hitler annihilated any and all political opponents and competition at the time, “Four weeks after HItler’s appointment, in the early in hours of February 27, 1933, the Reichstag (parliament) building was burned down.” (Pg. 86). He took every opportunity he could to seize more power, “The regime, however, consolidated itself by the fall of 1934, after a vicious purge (the ‘Night of the long Knives’) of its own SA leadership and others, and the death of President Hindenburg in August 1934, after which Hitler combined the offices of chancellor and president oder the title of “Fuhrer” (Leader).” (Pg. 87).
During this time Anti-Semitism and prejudice against the jewish race was slowly growing and slowly gaining popularity among both the people of Germany and throughout Europe as a whole. At the time there were many Anti-Jewish ad, poster, and media campaigns encouraging those that weren’t Jews to abandon their friendships with Jews, disassociate themselves from their Jewish friends, and ignore all Jews and have nothing to do with those that were of the Jew race or religion. There were also many pogroms at the time in an attempt to rid Europe of its Jewish population. The final straw for many Jews was a pogrom now known as Kristallnacht, “The Kristallnacht (Crystal Night, or The Night of Broken Glass) pogrom of November 9-10, 1938 heralded a violent new stage in anti-Jewish persecutions.” (Pg. 88). This pogrom was also a way to encourage Jews to leave Europe, “Kristallnacht encouraged Jewish emigration, one of the Nazis’ aims.” (Pg. 90).
Even though The Holocaust did in many way start before this, Kristallnacht was in many ways the start of The Holocaust. Shortly after this the Nazis started to round up Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Liberals, anyone who did not agree with the Nazi party’s political beliefs as well as many other racial minorities who the Nazi party was prejudiced against. All of those at the time were sent to ghettos set aside for them to live in, These being cramped with disgusting unlivable conditions, between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands in these ghettos were often only given about 2% of the city to share.
Soon after this the Nazi’s started rounding up those in the ghettos to ship them off in cramped boxcars to Concentration camps or Death camps and often times many of those who were sent to these camps never actually made it because the Nazis would often kill several thousand on the way to these camps or on one of the stops that the trains would make before the trains arrived at the camps at which they were dropping the Jews and other prisoners. In Concentration camps the prisoners being held were given one set of clothing, tattooed with a serial number as if they were animals, and sent to be worked to death through hard labor. The living conditions in these camps were also unbearable and cramped and the prisoners were also only given a small piece of bread to eat each day and a tiny bit of soup if they were lucky and sometimes they didn’t even get the bread. In the Death camps the living conditions were similar to those in the Concentration camps but those in the Death Camps were not given hard labor to work themselves to death, they were given an occupation of some sort to work at until they were chosen to either be taken out into the woods to be tricked into thinking they were being let go and then getting shot in the process or being taken to what were known as the “Showers”, which no one came back from, to be gassed.
Despite all of the oppression, mass killings, and torturing during the Holocaust there were still those that tried to resist and rise up against the Nazis and those who attempted to help and rescue the Jews. Those being held prisoner attempted several times to rise up against their oppressors and get out of bondage, one example being The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of April to May 1943, but everyone of these uprisings was put down and ended by the Nazis in an attempt to keep those being held prisoner in a vulnerable position so that it was easy to wipe them out. There may have been many bystanders, and many who stood by and let the mass killing of Jews happen before their eyes, but there were still many attempted to help rescue the Jews and end their mass killing, “The leaders of the Great Mosque of Paris, for example, saved Jews by giving them papers indicating they were muslim. Other examples are more surprising: Italian military authorities sheltered several thousand Jews who had escaped German-controlled territories: Spanish diplomats, also serving a government ruled by far-right and Fascist politicians, saved Jews in Greece and Hungary by issuing false passes, setting up safe houses, and other means.” (Pg. 109).
In 1945 shortly after WWII Hitler spent his last ten days alive in an underground bunker under Berlin. During these last days of his life Hitler, in a strange and gloomy ceremony married his mistress just for them both to commit suicide the next day. The day after Hitler and his mistress committed suicide, Hitler’s wife and accomplice poisoned his six children and the committed suicide themselves thus ending the Third Reich and the Nazi Party.
During The Holocaust six million Jews were killed in ghettos, Death camps, Concentration camps and various other forms of mass killings and mass murders. This large, astounding number is one that should never ever again be the body count of a single people group from a mass killing, a war, or any other type of slaughter or murder. “Never Again” this is the motto people should take up when thinking about the holocaust. Anti-Semitism is wrong as is prejudice towards, and discrimination against any group and should never ever have been let to go far enough to have allowed six million Jews to be slaughtered like animals. Anti-Semitism should be oppressed and smothered and never again should the Jews or any other people group be killed and murdered in such large numbers. The Holocaust was an atrocious monstrosity that should never ever be allowed to happen again.