pasta asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Concerns about Holocaust.?

I have to write an in class essay about it, but we are not allowed to bring in notes to help us. So I was wondering about some things and hope I will find answers :)

What started the holocaust? People's words?

How the Jews felt during the Holocaust.

How long did it take for the victims to recover and be healthy (physically and mentally) again.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Words were a big part of it. Germany had lost a major war, plus had big economic problems, and Hitler and others in his Nazi Party blamed everything on the Jews (and also other groups like Communists and other political leftists, Gypsies, gays, etc.) . Newspapers, magazines, movies, schoolbooks told the Germans how other races were inferior and the Jews especially were evil.

    The Holocaust did not happen all at once. There were a series of laws that more and more restricted the freedoms of Jewish people and confiscated their property. Germany started WW2 and conquered a lot of other territory in Europe that included many more Jews including some who had left Germany. They said the Jews would have to be sent to work camps. The government came up with a very organized plan to kill the Jews. Some of them in the East in area that was won by Germany, were rounded up and shot. Then they decided to use gas chambers, which they were already using to kill disabled people. They set up gas chambers in 6 Death Camps in Poland, and began transporting Jewish people from all over Europe to them. Many more Jews as well as Gypsies, Nazis political enemies, priests, resistance fighters, homosexuals, and common criminals were sent to "work camps" all over Germany and occupied countries. Huge numbers of people died in these places as well from the mistreatment starvation, overwork, medical experiments etc.. (all in all about 6 million Jews and 5 million others were killed )

    Some people realised the danger early and were able to get out of the country. Many kept thinking with each step that surely it would not get any worse . The Nazis were great at psychologically manipulating people so that they did not realise what was in store for them. Also any rebellion was punished by killing your family, friends, maybe your whole village. and people hoped for survival. Yet some people did run off to the forests and formed resistance groups, or fought even a completely hopeless battle just to go down fighting, like in the Warsaw Ghetto.

    I think a lot of people in concentration camps felt like they were in a nightmare. They were almost in a state of constant shock, and just trying to find a way to survive for one more day, and trying to hold onto a little bit of hope. That was not easy to do in such brutal conditions with starvation, beating, overwork etc.

    Many survivors never recovered entirely. Many have health problems still related to the starvation and mistreatment they endured. It's hard to give a single answer because it really depended so much on the person, how bad they had been treated, how long they were a prisoner, how successfully they had been able to find extra food. (It was impossible to survive only on the allowed rations -- it was PLANNED that you would last 3 months) , and if they were in a job that did not require hard labor. (for example scientists, clerical workers, the women who sorted the confiscated belongings of new arrivals etc. had a better chance of survival ) But maybe most were physically fairly healthy again within a year or so.

    however, as my friend says, although she was physically set free in 1945, she was not emotionally and mentally free for decades. She finished school, immigrated to Israel and later to the USA, married, had kids, worked ,etc. but she feels it took over 40 years before she could let go of the pain and anger that crippled her psychologically. I think a lot of survivors still sometimes have nightmares and even flashbacks if something reminds them. For example my friend had been away from Europe for a long time, and when she went back and heard German spoken she had a panic attack. I was with another survivor at a building that was burned in a hate crime and the combination that it was hate and the smell of the burning reminded her of when the Nazis burned synagogues and Jewish businesses and homes, and she had to get out of there.

    Source(s): My conversations with survivors and I've gone back to visit Auschwitz with a friend who was a prisoner there. and have read this history a lot. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has an excellent website, well worth checking out as a place to start research on the web. http://www.ushmm.org/ a couple authors of memoirs about the Holocaust and the aftermath. Primo Levi - an Italian Jewish scientist and concentration camp survivor who wrote several excellent memoirs that have been translated into English, such as "Survival in Auschwitz", a quick book to read. He died in 1987 from a fall from a window, possibly suicide. Charlotte Delbo - not a Jewish survivor, but a French resistance woman, she wrote a trilogy called "Auschwitz and After" . I have only read the French but it was incredible. and I think it's translated to English. Of course a famous survivor who has written about it is Elie Wiesel. He writes in a more mystical sort of style, while Primo Levi for example is in a more stark, realistic style., I actually wonder about the accuracy of some of Mr.Wiesel's memories since they are so different from what i have read and heard in many other accounts of Auschwitz from those there at the same time, and historical records. I do not mean to insult him by saying that , or to dissuade you from reading "Night".-- as I wrote above , i think it was like being in a nightmare and the trauma may have affected his recollection. A great short film about the camp experience is "Nuit et Brouillard" -- "Night and Fog" by Alain Resnais. It is almost like a symphony of images -- both color film 10 yrs after the war, and black and white film and photos from the 1940s, plus a powerful soundtrack, and words written by a French poet who was himself in a concentration camp. (has subtitles)
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  • 1 decade ago

    i would love to tell you the answers to those questions, but there is a reason that entire history books are written about WWII. but one thing that you can do is read the book "Night", by Elie Weisel. he was in Auschwitz and he made it out alive, barely. he was in concentration camps for 3 years. his father, mother, and all sisters but one were killed. he talks about when the germans came into their town and everything. its not a long book and it is an easy read. it stays with you though, and makes you look at things with a different prespective. hope i helped!

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