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Overview of the Holocaust. Bradley Veile Holocaust Museum Fellow Alfred Lerner Fellow [email protected] Holocaust. Refers to a specific genocidal event in the 20 th century history Defined:

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Overview of

the Holocaust

Bradley Veile

Holocaust Museum Fellow

Alfred Lerner Fellow

veile.[email protected]


Refers to a specific genocidal event in the 20th century history


the state-sponsored systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945 - USHMM

Hitler rise

Rejected Austrian artist

WW I veteran

Treaty of Versailles

Beer Hall Putchz

Leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi)

Multi-party system

National Elections

Nazi party wins plurality of 33%

Hindenburg names Hitler chancellor

Constitutional freedoms suspended

Hitler’ Rise


Targeted groups
Targeted Groups

  • Jews

  • Soviet Prisoners

  • Sinti and Roma

  • Handicapped

  • Jehovah Witnesses

  • Communists and enemies of the state

  • Homosexuals and a-socials

But won t there be a negative outcry from world leaders

But won’t there be a negative outcry from world leaders?

“Who, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?” – Adolf Hitler

Selected nazi legislation 1930s


One day boycott of Jewish shop


Nuremberg Laws

Jews lost citizenship

Jew/Aryan marriage outlawed


Jews carry ID cards

Jewish street names replaced

Passports marked with “J”

Jews barred from streets on Nazi holidays


Curfew for Jews

Jews turn in radios

Polish Jews required to wear Star of David

All Jews must have a Jewish first name – Sarah or Israel added if necessary

SelectedNaziLegislation - 1930s

Selected nazi legislation 1940s


German Jews into “protective custody’

Income tax to support Nazi party


German Jews wear Star of David

Police permission needed to leave residence

Friendly relations with Jews prohibited


Turn in all wool and fur clothing

Apartments marked as Jewish

Not use public transportation

Not buy meat, eggs, milk

Not have birds, dogs, cats, etc.

Blind & deaf not wear identifying armbands in traffic


Jewish criminals sent to extermination camps

Selected Nazi Legislation – 1940s

Kristallnacht november 1938

Attache von Rathe shot and killed by Grynszpan, a Jew

Demonstrations end with Jewish shops destroyed and looted

267 Synagogues burned or desecrated

91 people killed others beaten, 30,000 arrested

1 billion RM fine on Jews

Jews pay own repairs

FDR recall US Ambassador to Germany

KristallnachtNovember 1938

Nazi propaganda
Nazi Propaganda

The Poisonous Mushroom

"The result! A loss of racial pride."


  • Selective breeding – basis for Master Race

  • Sterilize unfit parents and potential parents

  • Euthanize “life unworthy of life”

  • Operation T-4

    • Disabled killed

    • Starve, injections, gassings

Cemetery at Hadamar

Refugee issue

Refugee Issue

So who will take in the Jews?

Kinder transports december 1938 september 1939
Kinder TransportsDecember 1938 – September 1939

  • 10,000 unaccompanied Jewish children enter Great Britain

  • Children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia

  • Most never see parents again

  • Many were converted to Christianity

Children in the Netherlands shortly before evacuation to London

Voyage of the st louis may 1939
Voyage of the St. LouisMay 1939

  • Departed Hamburg for Havana - May 15, 1939

  • 937 passengers almost all Jewish

  • 29 allowed into Cuba

  • Ship forced to leave Cuba

  • Passengers eventually divided between:

    England Netherlands

    France Belgium

  • Most killed by Nazis

Passengers attempt to communicate with friends and relatives in Cuba

Evian july 1939
EvianJuly 1939

  • Meeting called by FDR

  • Resort on Lake Geneva

  • 32 Countries attend

  • Discuss Jewish Refugees

  • No country was willing to accept refugees

  • Costa Rica and Dominican Republic would accept a small number for a large sum of money

postcard of Evian-les-Bains

“Green Light Go” – New York Times

Nazi goal expansion for lebensraum living space
Nazi Goal: Expansion for “Lebensraum” – Living Space

  • Rhineland

  • Austrian Anschluss

  • Sudetenland

  • Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact

  • Invasion of Poland – WW II begins

Wannsee conference january 20 1942
Wannsee Conference January 20, 1942

  • Villa in a affluent suburb of Berlin

  • Meeting lasts less than 90 minutes

  • 15 officials – 8 have PHD’s

  • Euphemisms

    • “Special treatment”

    • “Bath house”

    • “Arbeit Macht Frei”

    • “Final solution”

Villa at Wannsee

Resettlement to the east
Resettlement to the East

  • Crowded cattle cars

  • One suitcase of belongings

  • People gathered:

    • volunteers

    • forced

    • “actions”

    • transit centers

    • ghettos

  • Destination:

    • ghettos

    • camps

Train car used in transport - Yad Vashem


  • Ghettos established by decree on Sept. 21, 1939

  • Goals

    • Isolation

    • Forced labor

    • Access murder/deportation

  • Conditions

    • Life directed by Judenrat

    • Overcrowded

    • Unsanitary/disease infested

    • Starvation rations

Warsaw Ghetto Wall

Street in Warsaw Ghetto

Types of camps
Types of Camps

  • Concentration

  • Forced-labor

  • Transit

  • Extermination or “Death Camps”

Dachau established march 22 1933
Dachauestablished March 22, 1933

Barracks with “beautification project “ –

line of trees on the right

Mauthausen established august 8 1938
Mauthausenestablished August 8, 1938

“Stairs of Death”

Carrying stones up the “Stairs of Death

Westerbork german control july 21 1942
WesterborkGerman control July 21 , 1942

Train depot inside the camp

Camp blueprint

Auschwitz birkenau established may 20 1940
Auschwitz-Birkenauestablished May 20, 1940

Zyklon B Label –

used for gassings

Aerial view of Birkenau


  • Nazi SS – Schutzstaffel

    • Death Head’s Unit

    • Heinrich Himmler

    • Adolf Eichmann

    • Joseph Mengele

  • Einsatzgruppen

    • Special action group

    • 3000 troops in 4 units

    • Goal: make German controlled areas “judenrein”

  • Heinrich Himmler


Execution of a group of Soviet civilians

Execution of a Ukrainian Jew


  • Indigenous police forces in France and Netherlands

  • Hungarian troops/fascists

  • Slovakian Hlinka Guard

  • Ustasa – Croatian Nationalists

  • Anti-Soviet elements in:

    • Ukraine

    • Estonia

    • Latvia

    • Lithuania

Ustasa militia execute prisoners near Jasenovac camp


  • Person who is present, without being involved, at an incident where another life or dignity is in danger

  • Did people living near camps know what was happening?

  • What actions could have been taken to stop the Holocaust?

  • What risks were involved in taking a stand against the Nazis?

Two German women file past corpses at newly liberated Buchenwald


  • “Not all victims were Jews but, all Jews were victims” –Wiesel

    • 6,000,000 Jews

    • 3,000,000 Soviet POWs

    • 3,000,000 Catholic Poles

    • 700,000 Serbs

    • 250,000 Sinti & Roma

    • 70,000 Handicapped

    • 12,000 Homosexual

    • 2,500 Jehovah Winesses

      Each number is anINDIVIDUAL with goals, dreams, and families

Mania Halef, age 2

killed at Babi Yar



Opposition to Hitler and Nazi ideology took many different paths which shared a common destination.


  • Underground

    • Oppose Nazis

    • Many were anti-Semitic

    • Selective membership

  • Bielski Brigade

    • Open Jewish membership

    • Included all ages and genders

  • White Rose

    • Students at University of Munich

  • Various Political Factions

Kalinin Jewish partisan unit (Bielski group)


  • Prayer Groups

  • Torah Studies

  • Religious Services

  • Kosher Tradition

  • Observance of Holidays

  • Religious Literature

  • Maintain the will to live

clandestine school in the Kovno ghetto


  • Art

  • Music

    • Concerts

    • Cabarets

    • Operas

  • Plays

  • Literature

  • Schools/Libraries

  • Language

    • Yiddish

    • Hebrew

prisoners' orchestra in Buchenwald


  • Bunkers

  • Concerns

    • Health

    • Age

    • Supplies

    • Secrecy

    • Assistance

    • Denouncing

  • Generosity of Others

hiding place for Dutch Jews


  • Physical appearance

  • Cultural norms

  • Language

  • New residency

  • Name

  • Family history

  • Societal expectations

Vladka Meed in Warsaw

Righteous among the nations
Righteous Among the Nations

Gentiles who risked their own lives to save Jews; honored at Yad Vashem

  • Raoul Wallenberg

  • Oskar Schindler

  • Corrie Ten Boom

  • Miep Gies

  • Varian Fry (only American)

Raoul Wallenberg

Oskar Schindler with Ludmila Pfefferberg-Page

Hiding destroying evidence
Hiding/Destroying Evidence

  • Distribution of confiscated belongings

  • Transport stockpiled belongings and valuables

  • Dismantle camps

  • Physical destruction of Auschwitz-Birkenau crematoriums

Destroyed Crematorium in Birkenau

Death marches
Death Marches

  • Forced marches to interior of the German Reich

  • killed for impeding progress

  • Death toll: 250,000 - 375,000

    Starvation Wounded

    Sick Exposure

  • Those considered unable to survive the march left behind

    • Otto Frank in Auschwitz

death march from Dachau to Wolfratshausen

Now the world knows
Now the world knows

Russia Majdanek July 23, 1944

Auschwitz January 27, 1945

British Bergen-Belsen April 15, 1945

America Dachau April 29, 1945

Germany Hitler suicide April 30, 1945

America Mauthausen May 5, 1945

VE Day WW II Ends May 8, 1945

Displaced persons
Displaced persons

Those who did not want to be repatriated placed in DP Camps

  • German Army barracks

  • POW camps

  • Concentration Camps

    • Bergen-Belsen

    • Dachau

  • 1957 Last DP Camp closed - located in Belgium

vocational training in displaced persons camp

Bringing perpetrators to justice
Bringing perpetrators to justice

Nuremberg defendants

Eichmann receives death sentence in Jerusalem

Amon Goeth

Plaszow camp

  • International military tribunal

    Crimes against humanity & peace War crimes Conspiracy

    161 convictions

  • Trials within individual countries

Some holocaust legacies


Common tie between hate groups

White supremacist organizations

Political ideologies tied to Nazi Philosophy

Hate Crimes

Establishment of Israel

UN acknowledgement of genocidal issues

Importance of civil rights and individual freedoms

Human Rights Organizations

Holocaust Centers and Museums

Some Holocaust Legacies

Share the lessons so never again truly means never again
Share the lessons so“Never Again”TRULY means“Never Again”