Holocaust Memorial Day Prepared by Gloria Wallace, Fellow of Suffolk New College 25 January 2011
Victims of the Nazi Era1933-1945 Jews Blacks Gypsies Disabled Homosexuals Jehovah’s Witnesses 11,000,000 killed under Nazi hate-policies for being “different”
Nazi mass Sterilization 400,000 Sterilized 1933 Hitler’s Germany adopted U.S.A’s sterilization law. “Law for the Prevention of Defective Progeny” The effort to "cleanse" the Aryan race targeted Germans with every kind of "defect" or disability. Over 400,000 men and women considered “abnormal” were forcibly sterilized.
“Commission Number 3". Hundreds of the African Rhineland-based soldiers intermarried with German women and raised their children as Black Germans Hitler called mixed raced children “Rhineland Bastards” or the “Black Disgrace” In 1937 the Nazis set up a secret group, Commission Number 3, to organize the sterilization of children of African descent, About 400 children were medically sterilized -- many times without their parents' knowledge Nazi propaganda photo depicts friendship between an "Aryan" and a black woman. The caption states: "The result! A loss of racial pride." After the war, scores of Blacks who had somehow managed to survive the Nazi regime, were rounded up and tried as war criminals. Talk about the final insult! The caption states: "The result! A loss of racial pride." Germany, pre war. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Forced Sterilization U.S.A. led the world in forced sterilizations, between 1907-1939 30,000 people were sterilized, many of them unknowingly or against their will. The 30,000 included the “feeble-minded”, learning disabilities, mental illness, physical disabilities, black people and “immoral” sexual behaviour including homosexuals. Eugenicist believed the human race could be improved by controlled breeding. (Based on Charles Darwin’s principle of natural selection).
Third Reich starts Propaganda “Lives not Worthy for Living” Propaganda calls for the sterilization of all people with hereditary diseases, i.e. Mental illness, learning disabilities, epilepsy, blindness, deafness and alcoholism. Also Black people, Gypsies, Gay men and female prostitutes. The propaganda “useless eaters” is used to highlight their burden on society.
Nazi Propaganda "Jews are our misfortune" and "How the Jew cheats." Germany, 1936 Illustration from a children's book. headlines say "Jews are our misfortune" and "How the Jew cheats." Germany, 1936. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Nuremberg Laws In May 1935, Jews were forbidden to join the army . Anti-Jewish propaganda appeared in shops and restaurants. "Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour" prevented marriage between any Jew and non - Jews. “Reich Citizenship Law” stated that all Jews, were no longer citizens of their own country, making them ("subjects of the state"). In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, there was now nothing to stop the anti-Jewish actions that spread across the German economy.
Helene Gotthold dies for her Beliefs Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. Members of the religious group refused to serve in the German military or give allegiance to the Nazi government, for which hundreds were executed. An estimated 10,000were sent to concentration camps where approximately 2,500 of them were killed. Jehovah’s Witnesses were unique in that they could secure their own release by renouncing their faith. Historian Sybil Milton concludes that “their courage and defiance in the face of torture and death punctures the myth of a monolithic Nazi state ruling over docile and submissive subjects”. Helene Gotthold, a Jehovah's Witness, was beheaded for her religious beliefs in Berlin on 8th December 1944. She is pictured with her children. Germany, June 25, 1936. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
“Gerda D” In 1934 this 19-year-old shop clerk, identified only as "Gerda D" was diagnosed as schizophrenic and sterilized at the Moabite Hospital. In 1939 she was repeatedly refused a marriage certificate because of her sterilization. The idea of sterilising those carrying hereditary defects was put into law in the United States, Sweden, Switzerland and other countries. Between 1935 and 1975, 63,000 people were sterilised on eugenic grounds in Sweden.
80% of European Gypsies, slaughtered at the hands of the Nazis. 1935 The Nuremberg Laws paved the way for authorities to arrest and incarcerate the Roma(Gypsies) in prisons and concentration camps. 1937 Gypsies are excluded from the military. Special concentration camps are created for Gypsies. In June 1938, “Gypsy Clean-up Week” took place throughout Germany, in which Roma and Sinti men, women and children were targeted for persecution, hatred and imprisonment. Romani (Gypsy) women boil laundry and hang it to dry in the middle of the caravan campatMarzahn. Germany, June 1936. — LandesarchivBerlinFurther "A group of Gypsy prisoners, awaiting instructions from their German captors, sit in an open area near the fence in the Belzec concentration camp.” Courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Nazi Propaganda This poster (from around 1938) reads: 60,000 Reich marksis what this person suffering from a hereditary disease costs the People's community during his lifetime. “Comrade, that is your money too” Typical Propaganda “The construction of a lunatic asylum costs 6 million marks. How many houses at 15,000 marks each, could have been built for that amount?”. “Life unworthy of life” “A threat to race hygiene” “Financial burden to the state”
Hitler Grants Decree for Mercy Killings. Programme “Action-T4” “Action T-4” was an experiment in killing and disposing of large quantities of Human Bodies. Physicians determined whether patients were “fit” to live. Patients who were blind, deaf, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, epileptic, or had some type of physical deformity were immediately identified as unfit to live. Thousands of “Useless Eaters” those who were not productive in the eyes of the state, were taken into newly built gas chambers to be murdered. In all between 200,000-250,000 were murdered from 1939-1945 in the T4 and other “euthanasia” programmes
The caption reads "... because God cannot want the sick and ailing to reproduce.” Secret Killing In 1939 an organized secret killing operation began targeting disabled children. Children with disabilities were brought to a number of specially designated paediatric clinics. They were murdered by lethal overdoses of medication or by starvation. Conservative estimates suggest that at least 5,000 children were murdered. Propaganda slide featuring a disabled infant.
Killing Centre’s “Euthanasia“ Euthanasia (a Nazi euphemism) referred to the systematic killing of those Germans whom the Nazis deemed "unworthy of life". The doomed were bused to killing centre’s in Germany and Austria. Six gassing installations were established Hartheim, Sonnenstein, Grafeneck, Bernburg, Hadamar, Brandenburg. The Nazis began experimenting with poisonous gas for the purpose of mass murder in late 1939. Gas chambers were disguised as showers complete with fake nozzles in order to deceive victims.
Nazi “Racial Hygiene” "Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews." Adolf Hitler 9th November 1938 the SS conducted the Night of Broken Glass ("Kristallnacht"), the storefronts of Jewish shops and offices were smashed and vandalized.
Helene Melanie Lebel In 1935 Helene Melanie Lebel was diagnosed as schizophrenic, and placed in Vienna's Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital. In 1940 Helene was transferred to Brandenburg Prison where she was undressed, subjected to a physical examination and then led into a shower room, (Gas Chamber). Helene was one of 9,772 persons gassed that year in the Brandenburg "Euthanasia" centre. She was officially listed as dying in her room of "acute schizophrenic excitement."
Hadamar “Euthanasia" Centre Hadamar was one of the most notorious killing centre’s. The victims were stripped, dressed in paper shirts and taken to a gas chamber. The bodies were moved to crematoriums by conveyer belts, Six bodies to a furnace. To conceal its real purpose, it also operated as a normal crematorium. In 1941 the staff celebrated the cremation of their 10,000th patient with a party. Hadamar only ceased operation shortly before liberation by the American troops in March 1945. (Photo credit: Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives) The thick smoke from the incinerator was said to be visible every day over Hadamar. 1941
Hadamar’s Killing Crate Buses used to transport patients to Hadamar Mental Institution. The windows were painted to prevent people from seeing those inside. School pupils called the gray transport buses “killing crates”. They threatened each other with the taunt, "You'll end up in the Hadamar ovens!”
Hitler invades Poland. On the 1st September 1939, Hitler invaded Poland from three directions. Poland never had a chance, by the 8th October 1939 Polish Jews and non-Jews were stripped of all rights and were subject to special legislation. Rationing only bare sustenance of food and medicine. Young Polish men forced into the German army. The Polish language was forbidden, only German allowed. All secondary schools and colleges closed. Polish press liquidated, libraries and bookshops burnt. Polish art and culture destroyed. Polish churches and synagogues burnt. Priests arrested and sent to concentration camps. Street signs changed to German names. Polish cities and towns were renamed in German. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md A Polish town lies in ruins following the German invasion of Poland
All Poles will disappear from the world.... "All Poles will disappear from the world.... It is essential that the great German people should consider it as its major task to destroy all Poles.” Heinrich Himmler echoed Hitler's decree 3.1 million Polish Jews and 2.5 million non-Jewish Polish citizens perished during the course of the war. Hitler authorized his commanders, to kill "without pity or mercy, all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need". Heydrich formed SS Special Action Groups to systematically round up and shoot Polish politicians, leading citizens, professionals, aristocracy, and the clergy. Poland's remaining people, considered by the Nazis to be racially inferior, were to be enslaved. Courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives Mass execution of Polish hostages in Palmiry forest. In all, fifty-one civilians were shot.
Wólka Złojecka Died on the 12th March 1943 Aged 14 Auschwitz concentration camp Photograph credit: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and Wilhelm Brasse
Nazi Death Squad Einsatzgruppen-SS paramilitary death squads Responsible for the murders of over 1,000,000 people.... The mobile killing units carried out operations ranging from the murder of a few people to operations which lasted over two or more days. The first Nazi organization to commence mass killing of Jews as an organized policy. In 2 Days 33,771 Civilians massacred at Babi Yar ravin. In 2 Days 25,000 Civilians massacred at Rumbula forest. Polish civilians executed by the Einsatzgruppen
Mania Halef Two-year-old Mania Halef. Jewish child murdered by the SS during the mass executions at Babi Yar in September 1941. [Photo credit: Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Yelena Brusilovsky Collection]
Nazi Gas Van Nazis experiment with Mobile Gas Chambers for mass killing. GASSING OPERATIONS Gas Vans resembled ambulances or refrigerator trucks, when densely packed the larger vans could exterminate up to 150 people. The gassing process took between fifteen and thirty minutes, during this time the van was driven from the loading site to prepared graves. Use of gas vans began after Einsatzgruppe members complained of battle fatigue and mental anguish caused by shooting numbers of women and children. Gassing also proved to be less costly. The mobile killing units gassed hundreds of thousands of people, mostly Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and mentally ill people. The gas chambers were surmounted on the chassis of a cargo truck which employed carbon monoxide from the truck's exhaust to kill its victims. Nazi gas van used to murder people at Chelmno extermination camp
The Final Solution The camps at Treblinka, Bełżecand, Sobibór and Chełmno were constructed exclusively for the quick extermination of Poland's Jews within hours of their arrival. Nazis established camps specifically for the mass extermination of Polish Jews via gas chambers. Jews from the Lodz ghetto are loaded onto freight trains for deportation to the Chelmno extermination camp. Carpathian Ruthenian Jews arrive at Auschwitz–Birkenau, May 1944. Without being registered to the camp system, most were killed in gas chambers hours after arriving. Pictures credited— National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia The Auschwitz II (Auschwitz–Birkenau) and Majdanek camps were parts of a labour camp complex.
Systematic killing Each extermination camp operated differently, yet each was identically designed for quick and efficient Industrialized Killing Prisoners were selected and made to operate the Gas Chambers and Crematoriums. They were separated from the rest of the camp to maintain the secrete of the delousing showers (Gas Chambers). Furnace-The State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau They had to removed the corpses from the gas chamber, shave the corpses to minimize the distinct smell of burning human hair, then deliver the corpses to the crematoria or to the fire pits.
Jehovah’s Witness Political Anti-social Professional criminal Homosexual Emigrant Romani Jews
Identification Badges Prisoners during a roll call at the Buchenwald concentration camp. Their uniforms bear classifying triangular badges and identification numbers. Buchenwald, Germany, 1938-1941. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Disabled Jews with a Black triangle on yellow – "asocial jews". Buchenwald 1938. — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
“One day they were simply gone” "I saw quite a number of pink triangles. I don't know how they were eventually killed ...... One day they were simply gone.“ In the words of a non-gay survivor: Gay prisoners with pink triangles in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen.
Yellow Star of David badge Credit-United States Holocaust Memorial Museum — Bibliotheque Historique de la de ParisVille United States Holocaust Memorial Museum courtesy of Charles and Hana Bruml Jewish men wearing the mandatory yellow badge in the Jewish quarter of Paris. France, after June 1942. A yellow Star of David badge bearing the German word Jude (Jew) 1941, the Nazi regime, ordered Germany's Jews over the age of 6 to sew on their clothing a yellow Star of David with the word Jude (Jew). The following year, the measure was introduced in other lands under German control.
“Project Pink” "The inmates with the pink triangles never lived long; they were exterminated by the SS with systematic swiftness.” A recent study estimated that at least 500,000 homosexuals died in the Holocaust. They were not allowed to speak to prisoners with a different coloured badge; because they might try to seduce them. As a result, homosexuals became the most isolated and shunned inmates in the camps. For gay men, the “liberation" of 1945 meant no end to the discrimination and prosecution, many homosexuals remained prisoners in the camps until 1969 24 years after the end of the war.
After 1942, the SS, in agreement with the Ministry of Justice, embarked on an explicit program of “extermination through work” to destroy Germany’s imprisoned “habitual criminals.” Some 15,000 prisoners, were sent from prisons to camps, where nearly all perished within months.
Jacqueline Morgenstern Seven-year-old Jacqueline Morgenstern, a victim of tuberculosis medical experiments at the Neuengamme concentration camp. She was murdered just before the liberation of the camp. Paris, France, 1940. — Guenther Schwarberg
German police guard a group of Roma (Gypsies) who have been rounded up for deportation to Poland. Germany, 1940-1945.— USHMM, courtesy of Lydia Chagoll Polish children imprisoned in Auschwitz look out from behind the barbed wire fence. (July 1944) Photograph from the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives A Serbian gendarme serving the Serbian puppet government led by Nedia escorts a group of Roma (Gypsies) to their execution. Yugoslavia, ca. 1941-1943. — Muzej Revolucije Narodnosti JugoslavijeMilan
These are slave laborers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Jena; many had died from malnutrition when U.S. troops of the 80th Division entered the camp.
Your shoes could have been here View of a large pile of victims' shoes piled up outside barracks in the Dachau concentration camp. Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Dana