Week 4 Holocaust Responce
All students are required to respond to other student posts each week The goal here is to ENGAGE in respectful dialogue – be supportive of each other, even as you are critical of each other’s ideas.
Discuss THREE numbered HOLOCAUST-focused revelations you’ve had this week:
- This week I finally came to understand how Hitler saw the Jewish people. It is said that to Hitler, “Jews were an inferior race, an alien threat to Germany racial purity and community.” (History, 2009). In which his final solution was to completely persecute and kill the entire population of them, this act is what we know today as the holocaust.
- The second revelation I came to was that “in September 1939, the German army occupied the western half of Poland. German police soon forced 10s of thousands of Polish Jews from their homes and into the ghettos, giving their confiscated properties to ethnic Germans (non-Jews outside of Germany who identified as German), Germans from the Reich or Polish gentiles. surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, the Jewish ghettos in Poland functioned like high captivity states governed by Jewish councils.” (History, 2009). Which was briefly discussed in the Holocaust a reader part 1, but it made it sound like the ghettos were completely open, as if the people could just leave at any point in time. I was completely unaware that this was a part of town that they had completely blocked in like a concertation camp.
- The last revelation I had this week was that “at Auschwitz alone, more than two million people were murdered in a process resembling a large-scale industrial operation.” (History, 2009). This shocked me as that is so many people in just one place, and we know now that there were camps in town after town in Germany.
One single open-ended question for US to ponder:
My question to the class this week is why did the Germans have to continue to move around the Jews from concentration camp to concentration camp if they already created the ghettos? Wouldn’t it have just been easier for them to kill them all right then and there? Instead of keeping them alive, feeding them for months, and then eventually gassing them out. It just seems so backwards.
A&E Television Networks. (2009, October 14). The Holocaust. History.com. from https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/the-holocaust
1) In a single sentence IN YOUR OWN WORDS (IYOW), provide an OVERVIEW of this section.
This section deals with those targeted by the Nazis alongside also the Jews, but deals quite especially with the policies and practices put in place that was to annihilate those not deemed “Aryan.”
2) For each chapter (5-8), provide a THESIS sentence and THREE specific pieces of evidence to support your thesis – what is each writer’s MAIN argument, and how does each writer support said argument? (Use 2-3 sentences for EACH and feel free to number them.)
1. Henry Friedlander: The Holocaust did not exist within a vacuum and there were beliefs that provided the foundation for it.
What encouraged the Nazis was eugenics which was further encouraged by the traditional prejudices of the nineteenth century. Friedlander says, “Without any evidence, scientists concluded that human differences were hereditary and unalterable, and in doing so, they ‘precluded redemption’ because they imposed ‘the additional burden of intrinsic inferiority upon despised groups.’,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 93). This thinking would influence the biases of scientists in eugenics that devalued others and influenced the Nazis.
Friedlander points to the eugenics movement that occurred in the US and Germany that gave rise to the context of persecution against others in Nazi Germany. He says, “Germans scientists accepted the idea that hereditary alone determined natural selection. Similar to their colleagues in the United States, the German eugenicists studied family genealogies and problems of degeneration, dividing populations into superior and inferior individuals; they hoped to safeguard the nation’s ‘genetic heritage’ and viewed degeneracy as a threat,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 101).
What came to justify the actions of the Holocaust, as he points out, would be the Binding-Hoche polemic, which discussed that a life worth keeping around “was determined not only by its worth to the individual by also by its worth to society,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 106). The polemic encouraged euthanasia and Binding and Hoche argued that one should not be punished for it, based on very lenient circumstances, and would come to influence medical circles in Germany and then the Nazi higher-ups (Gigliotti and Lang, 107-108).
2. Raul Hilberg: The ghetto served as a way to segregate the Jews from everyone else and to jail them.
“Personal contacts across the [ghettos] were sharply curtailed or severed altogether, leaving in the main only mechanical channels of communication: some telephone lines, banking connections, and post offices for the dispatch and receipt of letters and parcels. Physically the ghetto inhabitant was henceforth incarcerated,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 139). The Jews could not communicate with others in an effective manner, being left alone only with these mediated ways of communication.
“Even in a large ghetto he stood never more than a few minutes walk from a wall or fence. He still had to wear the star, and at night, during curfew hours, he was forced to remain in his apartment house,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 139). The ghettos were not exactly small towns or communities that served as nation-states, rather they were captivities that Jews were forced to express themselves as something else in. They could not even go near the walls, like a prisoner who could not go near the bars of his cell.
The ghetto, according to Hilberg quoting a Nazi, was “only a transition measure. I shall determine at what time and with what means the ghetto… will be cleansed of Jews,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 129). One could further compare a ghetto to jail because one awaiting execution does not wait outside the bounds of jail, rather he is forced to stay in it till then.
3. Christopher Browning: He argues there was an evolution of ethnic cleansing that eventually would lead to the Final Solution.
“By the end of September 1939 Himmler and proposed and Hitler approved a grandiose program of demographic engineering based on racial principles that would involve the uprooting of millions of people,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 147). Hitler had racial principles based on pseudo-science and contempt that underlayed his desire to eliminate the Jews and others, such as the Slavs. His support of such plans built broad support for “German racial imperialism…” and “for the mass murder of the Jews would be built” upon (147).
The evolution of ethnic cleansing by expulsion gave further rise to the Final Solution. There were failures, as he notes, for the original ideas of ethnic cleansings that were primarily set on the expulsion of the Jews from land that was to belong to the Aryan race. These plans failed because of the complications of moving populations and finding where they should go and these “old settlements plans were dead, replaced by a vague genocidal vision…” (Gigliotti and Lang, 160).
The ethnic planning of Jews, to some extent, differed once the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, were it was more encouraged to kill a population. What they planned for the Soviet Union was a “hunger plan” that would starve Slavic and Jewish populations to death, further then encouraging the gradual endorsement of the Final Solution (Gigliotti and Lang, 159).
4. Heinrich Himmler: He’s stating how Germans are to treat others in other lands that are not “pure-blooded”.
He says that they are to be treated like slaves. He says in regards to those forced from their homes, “This population will be available as a leaderless labouring class and provide Germany with migrant and seasonal workers for special work projects…” (Gigliotti and Lang, 169). He does this because they are to him, inferior and serve no other purpose, though he argues they may be treated better.
He writes that they are not be to educated to a certain point, as he sees it unnecessary, such as teaching “simple arithmetic up [over] five hundred…” and “reading,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 168).
They are to be divided on account of their racial differences. They are not to feel at all united and strengthened, “within the ethnic groups themselves we have no interest in leading them to unity and greatness or in gradually giving them a sense of national consciousness…” (Gigliotti and Lang, 167).
3) Select ONE of the documents that you find MOST illuminating, and explain WHY in 4-5 sentences.
I find Hilberg to be the most enlightening. It was interesting to learn about how the Jewish councils formed ended up forming oligarchies at times. This was not always the case, but some also treated those under their supervision with respect. I think the formation of the ghetto was also interesting, especially in that it is really another step of evolution towards the eradication of the Jews.
ideas you find MOST troubling or problematic, and why, with 3 specific pieces of evidence.
Of course, the one I find the most troubling is Himmler. He said that populations were not to be educated, or united; they were to also serve as slaves pretty much (Gigliotti and Lang, 167-168). This is no doubt immoral, and they have absolutely no justification.
What was most surprising to you about the evolution of ethnic cleansing in Nazi Germany?