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The Holocaust and Europe’s Jews

The Holocaust and Europe’s Jews

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The Holocaust and Europe’s Jews

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  1. The Holocaust and Europe’s Jews Rebecca Margolis Mini Course, University of Ottawa 2011

  2. Terms • Term “Holocaust” • “burnt offering” | Ancient Greek Bible translation holokauston, offering consumed by fire • Used to refer to catastrophes (Shakespeare) • Used in journalism re. Nazis in 1942, common usage in 1970s– • Other Jewish terms: shoah(“devastation, ruin, destruction”), Khurban/ khurbn(“destruction”) • Holocaust survivor • Second Generation, #G (Third Generation) • Holocaust denial

  3. Introductions • Name • Age • School • Interest in the Holocaust. • Previous exposure to the Holocaust • Favourite activity/activities for relaxing/having fun • Any other questions

  4. Groups targeted by the Nazis • Targeted for complete and immediate annihilation: Jews (6 million deaths) • Targeted for death, eventual annihilation: Sinti and Roma (500,000 deaths) | disabled/mentally ill (250,000 deaths) | Polish, Soviet intellectuals • Unevenly targeted populations: Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social Democrats, Communists, partisans, trade unionists, etc. (internment + deaths)

  5. Timeline • 1933: Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany • 1933: Dachau = 1st concentration camp • 1934: Hitler declared Führer; totalitarian regime • 1933-1939: campaign to make Germany “Judenrein” (500,000 Jews) • 1938: annexation of Austria, Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia) (+200,000 Jews under German control) • September 1939: invasion of Poland, World War II (+ 2.3 million Jews under German control) • 1939-1942: creation of Jewish ghettos, mobile killing units • June, 1941: German invasion of Soviet Union • December, 1941: Japanese attack on of Pearl Harbor, U.S. entry into war • 1941-1942 creation of death camps in Poland • Jan.1, 1942: Wannsee Conference: “Final Solution” • Summer 1944: Soviets take Poland| liberation of death camps • 1945: VE Day| Dropping of atomic bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki, VJ Day. • Video: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_nm.php?MediaId=7827 (6:30)

  6. The Nazi regime and the Jews • Institutionalized antisemitism under Hitler • 1933-1938: campaign to make Germany “Judenrein” • 1933: 400 + anti-Jewish laws | 1935 Nuremberg Laws: Jews stripped of citizenship • 1938: Kristallnacht, Nov. 9-10: 267 synagogues destroyed, 7,500 stores looted, 30,000 Jews sent to concentration camps, 91 Jews killed • 1938-1945: Nazi expansion in Europe • 1939-1941: creation of ghettos (356 in total): ~ 800,000 Jews killed • 1939-1942: Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) 1.5 million Jews killed • 1941-1942 creation of death camps in Poland: Chelmno, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Belzec , Sobibór, Lublin (Majdanek) • ~2.7 million Jews killed in death camps + ~150,000 in concentration camps • Question: why?

  7. Nazi camps, 1943-44 (www.ushmm.org)

  8. Background on antisemitism • Definition: hostility towards Jews (term: 1879 by German journalist); Jews as “other” • Examples of anti-Jewish stereotypes: • The Jews reject the gods of the state (ancient Greeks, Romans); they are disloyal. • The Jews killed Jesus and reject Jesus as Messiah: they are stubborn/ a punished people. • Jews are devils; they bring plagues and poison wells; they kill Christian babies. • Racial ideology: the Jews are an undesirable/inferior race. They are parasites, a disease, etc. • There is an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world; Jews are: Capitalists, Communists, etc. None of these ideas are based in fact. • Results: • Exclusion; persecution; forced conversion; • Most extreme = systematic murder (Nazis)

  9. Undoing the stereotypes

  10. Images of Jews

  11. Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust • Great diversity: non-religious to ultra-religious • Jews emancipated in much of Europe: integrated into general society • In general: fair to very good relations with non-Jews

  12. Nazi propaganda, 1937, 1943 • Film: DerEwige Jude (The Eternal Jew, 1940) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5849499994484879153# Opening: stereotypes re. $ Min 14:30-18: illness

  13. International Responses • Evian Conference called by U.S President Roosevelt, July, 1938 • International outrage re. Kristallnacht, November 1938 • Chaim Weizmann (1st Israeli President), 1936: “The world seems to be divided into two parts: those places where Jews cannot live, and those where they cannot enter.” • Voyage of S.S. St. Louis (Hamburg), May 13, 1939 • ~800,000 Jewish refugees from the Third Reich, 1933-39: • Argentina: 10,000 • Brazil: 20,000 • Canada: 4,000 (+1,000 1939-48) • China: 15,000 • Columbia: 20,000 • Great Britain 85,000 • Mexico: 20,000 • Palestine: 100,000 • United States 140,000 • Almost no European Jews allowed into other countries during World War II (1939-45)

  14. Jewish resistance • Ghettos: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April 19-May 16, 1943); also Vilna, Bialystok, others • Camps: Treblinka Uprising (Aug. 1943), Sobibor, Auschwitz • Underground efforts (e.g. Hannah Senesh); partisans (~20,000-30,000) • Spiritual resistance (e.g. Oneg Shabbat archive, Warsaw ghetto) • “Righteous Gentiles” • Post-Holocaust rebuilding: Displaced Persons camps, emigration

  15. Holocaust survivors • Total losses under Nazis: 6 million Jews / ~50-70 million casualties of war • Jewish survivors: 900,000 sheltered + 1.5 million under Nazi rule • State of Israel, May 1948: ~170,000 Jewish DPs by 1953 • United States: 1945 loosening of quotas  28,000 Jews/ 40,000 DPs; 1949-52: 68,000/400,000 DPs • Canada: 1948-1956: 35-40,000 Jewish displaced persons/survivors • Nazi war trials: 1945-46: International Military Tribunal trials; 1946-49: Nuremberg Trials, Germany; 1961-62: Eichmann Trial, Jerusalem | Most Nazis never persecuted • End 1970s: Holocaust miniseries on U.S. television, first Holocaust museums, educational programs

  16. Issues in Holocaust Studies • How can we understand the Holocaust? • How/why remember/teach the Holocaust? • History: Was the Holocaust planned? Concepts of “victims”, “perpetrators,” “bystanders” (Raul Hilberg); international responses • Knowledge: who knew what & when? • The Holocaust as a/the genocide • Holocaust as “rupture” (Emil Fackenheim) • Representations of the Holocaust in literature, art; “authenticity”

  17. Discussion questions • What methods have you come across to teach about the Holocaust? What worked/didn’t? • What might some of the goals be in teaching the Holocaust? • What are some possible ways to teach this topic? What are the pros and cons? • Challenges: avoiding oversimplifying/misrepresentations (e.g. depictions of Jews) | contextualizing | authenticity etc.

  18. Simulation activities • Crowding; • Dividing group into two with different treatment; • Dividing group into “Jews” and “Germans” with different treatment. Questions: • How do you feel about the activity? • Does it feel like a useful activity to teach the Holocaust?