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THE HOLOCAUST. Year 10 Humanities. THE NAZI PARTY. The German Workers’ Party, originally led by Anton Drexler, was formed in 1919. Adolf Hitler joined and soon became leader. His speeches gave people scapegoats to blame for Germany’s problems:

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the holocaust


Year 10 Humanities

the nazi party
  • The German Workers’ Party, originally led by Anton Drexler, was formed in 1919.
  • Adolf Hitler joined and soon became leader. His speeches gave people scapegoats to blame for Germany’s problems:
    • The Allies.
    • The Treaty of Versailles and the ‘November Criminals’ (the politicians who signed it
    • The Communists
    • The Jews
  • In 1920, the party renamed itself the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party)
  • Initially, the Nazi Part was both nationalist (they believed in Germany’s greatness) and socialist (they believed the state should benefit everybody equally)
the aryan race
  • Adolf Hitler aspired to create a superior race of German people known as the Aryan Race.
  • His ideas descended from the theories of GustafKossinna (1858-1931), professor of German Archaeology who was one of the most influential German pre-historians of his day.
  • Hitler to put forward the Aryans as a master race of Indo-Europeans, who were supposed to be Nordic in appearance and directly ancestral to the Germans.
  • They were desired for the following features:
    • Blue eyes
    • Blonde hair
    • German speaking
    • Direct German bloodlines
    • Physically and mentally fit and healthy
    • Slightly tanned skin
who were the jews
  • The Nuremberg Laws were antisemitic laws introduced in Nazi Germany at the Nuremberg Rally of 1935.
  • After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism.
  • There was a rapid growth in German legislation directed at Jews.
  • The Nuremberg Laws classified Jews as:
      • Anyone descended from three or four Jewish grandparent.
      • A person with one or two Jewish grandparents was a Mischling, a crossbreed, of "mixed blood“
  • These laws deprived Jews of German Citizenship and prohibited marriage between Jews and other Germans.
  • The Nuremberg Laws also included a ban on sexual intercourse between people defined as "Jews" and non-Jewish Germans and prevented "Jews" from participating in German civic life.
what was the holocaust
  • "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire."
  • The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
  • The Nazis, who came to power, under Hitler, in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the superior Germans.
  • German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": Gypsies, the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples. Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioural grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals.
who were the key players
  • Adolf Hitler- Leader of the Nazi Party, the Fuhrer. Dictator and sole leader of Germany.
  • Heinrich Himmler – Chief of Police, Commander of the SS. The second most powerful man in the Nazi Party
  • Joseph Goebbels- The Nazi Party’s Reich Propaganda Director and the Minister of People's Enlightenment and Propaganda. The third most powerful man in the Nazi Party.

Adolf Eichmann - SS Lieutenant Colonel who implemented the system of transporting prisoners to concentration camps as well as the method of efficient slaughter of Jews.

  • Josef Rudolf Mengele – An SS officer and physician who supervised the selection of arriving transports of prisoners at Auschwitz then later became infamous for performing grisly human experiments on camp inmates. He was known as “The Angel of Death”
the final solution
  • The term "Final Solution" refers to Germany's plan to murder all the Jews of Europe.
  • The term was first officially used at the Wannsee Conference (Berlin; January 20, 1942) where German officials met to discuss its implementation.
  • While thousands of Jews were murdered by the Nazis or died as a direct result of discriminatory measures instituted against Jews during the initial years of the Third Reich, the systematic murder of Jews did not begin until the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

List of Jewish populations by country used at the Wannsee Conference, 20 Jan 1942

the camps
  • Hostage camps (or death camps): Camps where hostages were held and killed as reprisals.
  • Labor camps: Concentration camps where interned inmates had to do hard physical labour under inhumane conditions and cruel treatment.
  • POW camps: Concentration camps where prisoners of war were held after capture. These POW's endured torture and liquidation on a large scale.
  • Camps for rehabilitation and re-education of Poles: Camps where the intelligentsia of the ethnic Poles were held, and "re-educated,” according to Nazi values, as slaves.
  • Transit and collection camps: Camps where inmates were collected and routed to main camps, or temporarily held
  • Extermination camps: Camps where systematic extermination of new-arrivals occurred. Many of the bigger camps (such as Auschwitz and Majdanek) also had had an element of labour camps incorporated
some visual evidence
  • The Holocaust – The Final Solution

  • Hitler’s Henchmen – Heinrich Himmler The Executioner

  • Holocaust Documentary

  • Eichmann and his Bureaucrats: What Was Their Job and What Made Them Good At It?

fighting back
  • Despite the difficult conditions to which Jews were subjected in Nazi-occupied Europe, many engaged in armed resistance against the Nazis. This resistance can be divided into three basic types of armed activities: ghetto revolts, resistance in concentration and death camps, and partisan warfare.
  • The Warsaw Ghetto Revolt which lasted for about five weeks, beginning on April 19, 1943. It is probably the best-known example of armed Jewish resistance, but there were many ghetto revolts in which Jews fought against the Nazis.
  • Despite the terrible conditions in the death, concentration, and labour camps, Jewish inmates fought against the Nazis at the following sites: Treblinka (August 2, 1943); Babi Yar (September 29, 1943); Sobibór (October 14, 1943); Janówska (November 19, 1943); and Auschwitz (October 7, 1944).
  • Although no great victories were gained, it showed that the Jewish spirits had not been completely crushed.
  • Located just outside Munich, Dachau was the first Concentration camp opened in Germany.
  • It was operational for the entire reign of the Third Reich (1933-1945)
  • Originally, Dachau was used to 're-educate' citizens (i.e. communists, political opponents) but was later turned into a Concentration Camp. 
  • There are no records that the gas chambers were actually used at Dachau, but seeing as though they had them, they were most likely used.
  • Dachau was liberated by American forces in 1945.

The SS training grounds were located right next to Dachau as so there was no fence/wall between the two. The Nazi's figured that nobody was crazy enough to try and escape through SS Headquarters - they were right!

righteous among the nations
  • "Righteous Among the Nations," or "Righteous Gentiles," refers to those non-Jews who aided Jews during the Holocaust.
  • There were "Righteous Among the Nations" in every country overrun or allied with the Nazis, and their deeds often led to the rescue of Jewish lives.
  • YadVashem, the Israeli National Remembrance authority for the Holocaust. It bestows special honours upon these individuals.
  • To date, after carefully evaluating each case, YadVashem has recognized approximately 10,000 "Righteous Gentiles” however, that figure is far from complete as many cases were never reported, frequently because those who were helped have died. Moreover, this figure only includes those who actually risked their lives to save Jews, and not those who merely extended aid.
the nuremberg trials
  • The term "Nuremberg Trials" refers to two sets of trials of Nazi war criminals conducted after the war.
  • The first trials were held November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946, before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which was made up of representatives of France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States. It consisted of the trials of the political, military and economic leaders of the Third Reich captured by the Allies.
  • Among the defendants first brought to trial were: Goerring, Speer, and Hess. Many of the most prominent Nazis -- Hitler, Himmler, and Goebbels -- committed suicide and were not brought to trial.
  • The second set of trials, known as the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings, was conducted before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT), established by the Office of the United States Government for Germany (OMGUS). While the judges on the NMT were American citizens, the tribunal considered itself international. Twelve high-ranking officials were tried, among whom were cabinet ministers, diplomats, doctors involved in medical experiments, and SS officers involved in crimes in concentration camps or in genocide in Nazi-occupied areas.
lest we forget
  • Many individuals and organisations have dedicated their time and energy into creating projects that aim at educating the world. Their hope is that through awareness and education, a future Holocaust can be avoided.
  • Such projects include:
    • THE HOLOCAUST PROJECT – A website whose goal is to provide a detailed chronology and deeper understanding of how those tragic events now known as the Holocaust came about -- and why.
    • SURVIVORS OF THE SHOAH VISUAL HISTORY FOUNDATION – A non-profit organization founded by director Steven Speilberg in 1994. It was established to record testimonies in video format of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. Between 1994 and 1999, the Foundation conducted nearly 52,000 interviews in 56 countries and in 32 languages.
    • THE DNA SHOAH PROJECT – Opened a genetic database of people whose family members were victims of the Holocaust. The Project has been traveling throughout the United States collecting DNA swabs from Holocaust survivors and intends to use the samples to help reunite living family members and eventually help identify anonymous remains which may still lie in anonymous graves throughout Europe.
    • ASSOCIATION OF HOLOCAUST ORGANISATIONS - The Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO) was established in 1985 to serve as an international network of organizations and individuals for the advancement of Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

“A thousand years will pass and the guilt of Germany will not be erased.”

Hans Frank, Nazi lawyer and Gauleiter of Poland in his Nuremberg testimony

some useful online resources