This story now
IN History & Culture ON 15 May, 2015
The Holocaust was the mass killing of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime. It is a Greek word which means "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews were considered to be "inferior". The Nazis thought that they posed a threat to the Aryan race and hence, decided to conduct the infamous mass killing.
There were two main laws which discriminated against Jews:-
1. The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service: Most Jews were denied access to their profession and were stripped off their labels. They no longer possessed an identity.
2. The Nuremberg Laws were enacted: These laws stated that there can be no relation between the Jews and the Germans. For instance, a German can't marry a Jew. The Reich Citizenship Law stated that the Germans were considered as the citizens of Germany, but the Jews weren't included in that. By the start of World War II in 1939, many Jews migrated to the United States, Palestine, Great Britain, and other countries.
The ideology of Nazism included anti-Semitism, racial hygiene, and eugenics and it was certainly a case of territorial expansionism. They wanted more population of Germans and less of Jews. The Nazis main aim was to kill as many Jews as possible.
The Soviet prisoners of war were murdered or they died of starvation, disease, neglect, or maltreatment. The Germans put them to work and the homosexuals were treated badly. Most of the times, the homosexuals were being killed because they did not respond to the natural laws.
In the final months of the war, the camp inmates were stuffed in the cattle wagons and were being driven to concentration camps. On May 7, 1945, the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally to the Allies and the World War II officially ended in Europe on the next day, May 8 (V-E Day), while Soviet forces announced their “Victory Day” on May 9, 1945.
In the aftermath, the survivors took shelter in the displaced camps which were put up by the Allies to help them. Between 1948 and 1951, almost 700,000 Jews immigrated to Israel. Others went to U.S. or neighboring countries. The devastating incident cannot be forgotten till date.
Decades after the Holocaust, the German government provided compensation to the Jewish families who suffered due to the Nazis. Although, it was not sufficient to cope up with their loss, but they were really sorry for what had happened in the past.
Reading the facts, I was really terrified. How can people commit such brutalities? My heart raced while reading about the Holocaust. Looking back at the past, I ask one simple question: Did humanity exist? Were people hypnotized or so much influenced by Hilter's speeches that they lost their minds and started murdering the Jews? We all are human beings and pure and impure blood does not really exist. It is all in our minds. We only have created these differences and because of this, people start slaughtering each other like animals. If we have been gifted with the exceptional sense of thinking, why such a fatal act? Look around you. There are many souls who need your love and support. Instead of focusing on religion, sexuality, caste and creed, we must join hands and unite for a common goal. The goal is to restore faith in humanity and spread love all around the world.
World War II prisoners of war stare through a barbed wire fence.
The phrase on the main entrance gateway to the Auschwitz camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau translates to "Work Gives Freedom." Over one million people were murdered in this camp itself. The Auschwitz complex included three large camps namely Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Monowitz.
Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest Nazi concentration camp and extermination camp. It operated 4 gas chambers where 6,000 people were put to death each day by the Nazi regime. The atrocity committed by the Nazis was absolutely unforgivable.
The Jews were taken to concentration camps with the help pf cattle wagons which did not have food, water, toilet, and ventilation. One time, the transportation took 18 days, so when the doors were being opened, all the people were found dead.
The young children posed a threat to Nazis because they would have eventually grown up to be Jewish parents, producing more Jews. Many of them died in the crowded cattle cars and the ones who survived were being suffocated to death in the gas chambers.
The row of chimneys above the crematorium were constructed where all the bodies were burnt.
Usually, the gas in the chambers during the Holocaust entered the lower layers of air first and then rose slowly toward the ceiling, which forced victims to trample one another in an attempt to breathe. Stronger victims were often found on top of the pile of bodies.
Carbon monoxide was originally used in gas chambers. Later on, the insecticide Zyklon B was developed to kill the inmates and once they entered the chamber, Zyklon B, a toxic gas was released through vents and the inmates were choked to death. The prisoners screamed for their lives and blood came out of their ears and foam from their mouths.
The prisoners who were mainly Jews were called Sonderkommando and they were forced to bury corpses or burn them in ovens. This was mainly because the Nazis did not want any eye-witnesses. So, they also put the prisoners into the death camps and released toxic gases to kill them.
The nazis destroyed the Jewish-owned businesses on the "Night of Broken Glass" or "Kristallnacht." It had occurred throughout Germany and Austria on November 9, 1938 when the Nazis attacked the Jews. They looted, burned and destroyed everything. Over 1,000 synagogues and 7,000 businesses were demolished. Also, the Jewish hospitals, schools, cemeteries, and homes had been attacked. When it was over, 96 Jews were discovered dead and 30,000 were arrested.
They arrive at the Auschwitz concentration camp, about 50 km west of Krakow, Poland, spring 1945.
The room was originally used as a mortuary, but it was converted into a gas chamber in 1941 where Soviet POWs and Jews were killed.
They remain in their barracks after liberation by Allies on April 16, 1945. Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize winning author of Night, is on the second bunk from the bottom, seventh from the left.
Ebensee, Austria, May 7, 1945.
U.S. troops found rings, watches, precious stones, eyeglasses, and gold fillings near the Buchenwald concentration camp.
Germany, May 5, 1945.
In April of 1944, a declaration ordered all Jews in Hungary to prominently wear yellow stars.
The cases, most inscribed with each owner's name, were taken from prisoners upon their arrival at the camps.
More than half a million Hungarian Jews were killed during World War II.