The Other Cultures and Religions
Hitler and other Nazi leaders saw the Jews as a poisonous race,not as a religious group. After Hitler had taken power, the Nazi teachers in school classrooms began applying the "principles" of racial science. The Nazi teachers measured the skull size and nose length, and recorded the color of their pupils. The hair and eyes would determine whether students belonged to the true "Aryan race".The Jewish people and the Gypsy students were often humiliated in the process.
In the spring of 1933, the Nazi student organizations professors and the librarians made long lists of books that they thought shouldn't be read by the Germans. On the night of May 10, 1933, the Nazis raided the libraries and the bookstores across Germany. They marched with torches in big nighttime parades chanting, they broke into the bookstores and libraries and burnt more than 25,000 books. The Nazis also burnt books about the famous Helen Keller.
The Nazis and Hitler were always against homosexual people. The Nazis thought that the homosexuals behaved "unmanly" and "abnormal because they cannot reproduce". The Nazi storm troopers encouraged the reproduction of Aryans. Soon after Hitler had taken office, the storm troopers began to lead raids against homosexual clubs. Many of the homosexuals were arrested and were prisoners in the concentration camps. Dozens of the teenagers were in this group.
The main targets for the Nazis were the Jews. However the Jews werenÕt the only targets for the Nazis they were also targeting the Polish, Gypsies ,Slovakians and the Hungarians.
Most of the people that lived in Europe did not take part in the Nazi genocide. They also didn't do anything to help Jews and the other victims of the Nazi policies. Throughout the Holocaust, millions if people stood silently by while they saw the Jewish, Gypsies and lots of other "enemies of the Reich" being deported and rounded up. Many of the bystanders told themselves that what they had seen happening wasn't any of their business. Many of the others were even too frightened to help. In many places providing shelter to the Jews was considered an crime punishable for death. In spite of the risks a very small number of certain individuals refused to stand by and watch. Those people had the courage to help with providing hiding places and underground escape routes. They would also provide them with food, money, clothing and sometimes they would even provide them with weapons.
Denmark was the only occupied country that resisted the Nazis attempts to get rid of its Jewish residents. On September 28, 1943 Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz who was a German diplomat secretly informed the Danish resistance that the Nazis were planning to deport the Danish Jews.However the Danes did respond quickly,they organized a nationwide effort to smuggle the Jewish people by sea to neutral Sweden.
There were some Jewish families that had the opportunity to leave. They had foresighted what was coming and they took their money (they were Jews that were semi rich). They set up for departure in the earlier days of the Nazi regime. Others stayed thinking that "Hitler won't last" and they use to tell this to each other comfortably. Others thought that it would just be a passing faze that wouldn't last. They also thought that the old German history and that sanity would return after a short while.
The Jews led largely separated lives from the other Poles. Their children went to other schools. Plus it was very rare for the Jews to marry other people from outside their community. It was even rare for the Jews to go on dates with other people outside their community. The Jews were always treated like second hand citizens by the Nazis. The Jews always thought that they went first before the other Poles because they had a larger population but the Nazis make them feel even lower.
When the German army marched into Warsaw in the Polish capital in 1939 there were about 500,000 Jews living there. In the fall of November 1940, the occupying German army built a three-meter high wall around the main Jewish district. The main district is in the Polish capital. Then the Germans told all the Jews that they had to stay inside it. Not mixing up the non-Jewish population. If the Jewish were caught outside the wall they were shot immediately.
Survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp after liberation, Buchenwald, Germany, 1945
Many of the non-Jewish Poles thought that this segregation was not such a bad idea. It was certainly not a new experience. In the middle ages Jews were very unpopular in many of the European cities. There were separated sections and cities that were separated. The gave the districts old Italian names. The Warsaw Ghetto became known all over the world as the worst example of Nazi inhumanity.
Life inside the walls were very tough from the beginning. The Jewish occupants did all that they could to limit the hardship for the children. Although they were allowed a small amount of rations they would set up little canteens for the children. In the canteens the children were not disturbed. Plus they got the best available food possible. They also tried to organize some limited teaching for them. Although the Nazis would not permit proper schools to be established.
As time went by it became more difficult to provide food for the food was becoming scarce. Hardly anything was available. The most available thins were bread, onions and occasionally eggs. Some times children would climb over the wall onto the non-Jewish area and steal what they could for themselves and for their families. Even though they knew they would get shot if they were caught. Some of the Jewish had non-Jewish friends who would pass food through the drainage holes at the foot of the wall. In the Jews desperation they were willing to eat any thing. Even cats and dogs on occasions.
Some of the Jewish families had access to money inside ghetto. So they could buy very few staple foods and goods that were available. Others tried to sell their family possessions. Such as jewels and even coats from their backs so that they could afford bread. In the earlier days it was more common to see small children standing on the street corners selling ornaments or furnishings from their apartments. With money having increasing in the value it was having trouble being spent on necessary foods.
Adolf Hitler wrote of his desire for a "Jew-Free" life in Germany and Europe. Almost as he gained his power in the year of 1933, it became clear that he had intended to translate this aim into action. There were some laws that he had used so that the Jewish population would not extend. For example the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 banned marriage between Jewish and non-Jewish people. This turned Jews into second class citizens. They weren't entitled to vote at elections. There were series of laws in the year 1938 they placed restrictions on what the Jews were allowed to do, where they had to live, how they were aloud to travel around and what jobs they were aloud to pursue. A little while after these series of laws the first concentration camps were built and soon the Jews were being sent to them.
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