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The Holocaust is one of the most brutal, horrible times in mankind’s history. An estimated six million European Jews were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators between the years of 1938 and 1945, one and a half million of those people were children. The Holocaust is not only one of the worst times in history, but it is also one of the most forgotten and over-looked. After over fifty years of proof of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, people still deny the Holocaust and children are still not taught enough about it. The Holocaust must be known about. Before you read any further, you should know a few things. Questions like, “What is the Holocaust?”, and “Why did the Holocaust occur?” pop into your head. Here is a brief history to help:
In 1933 a man named Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. He and his Nazi party took immediate control and began to manipulate the people of Germany into believing that Jews were the “pest of the world,” and that blonde hair and blue eyes was the perfect person. Soon, most of Germany was anti-Semitic. Within the next few years the German “Lighting War”, Blitzkrieg, took place and World War II broke out. Almost all of Europe was under Hitler’s rule, and he soon began weaving his message of hate into Europe’s people. Concentration camps and death camps were set up, all of these camps had one goal: to exterminate all Jews. When the war ended in 1945, Allied troops found thousands of people, barely alive. When the total dead was estimated, it came to about six million.
This time in history became known as the Holocaust. The word holocaust means to be destroyed by fire. Most of the Nazis’ victims bodies were burned.
Anne Frank has become most defiantly one of the most famous icons of the Holocaust and the six million European Jews that perished. She and her diary are known world wide. The Diary of Anne Frank has sold over twenty million copies and been printed in hundreds of editions in more than fifty languages. It has been turned into a successful Broadway production and every night, as the sun goes down, somewhere in the world, the curtain for another play about Anne goes up. In 1959, a movie was made about Anne and her diary which was seen by millions. Her voice has reached the far ends of the earth and it continues to touch many people each and every day.
What is perhaps is the most famous picture of Anne Frank taken in 1939.
Photo taken from the cover of
In 1944, the commander of Auschwitz, Rudof Hoss, reported that two million Jews had been exterminated in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Today, historians believe that Hoss may have been exaggerating and that number is more around one and a half million. Being the largest death camp, more people were murdered at Auschwitz than anywhere else. About one-fifth of the six million European Jews killed were murdered at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death and concentration camp.
The Nazis were against all of the Jews of the world and they wanted to get rid of them. Concentration camps and death camps were set up, among these was Auschwitz. Set up in 1940, Auschwitz was one of six death camps. All of these camps had one goal: to exterminate all Jews. When the war ended in 1945, Allied troops found thousands of people, barely alive. When the total dead was estimated, it came to about six million.
Auschwitz was just one of the many camps, but somehow, it’s unique, it stands out. Perhaps it’s because so many were killed there, or because so many survived. Thousands of people survived because Auschwitz was also a labor camp. When other groups like the Gypsies are included about two million were murdered at Auschwitz.
Before Coming to Auschwitz
The Jews of Europe were just like everyone else. The children went to school, adults had jobs, there were middle class, high class, and low class Jews, and so on. They led normal lives, like normal people. Then, came Hitler. Soon, the Jews’ friends, neighbors, and classmates had turned on them. They wanted to get rid of these “stinking Jews,” and fast.
In each Nazi controlled country, Jews went through a number of humiliating tasks. Yellow stars of David, a loss of transportation, weren’t able to shop at their favorite stores, and so on, and so on.
Then they were transported from their homes to ghettos, like Warsaw or Lodz, or transit camps. like Westorbork or Vught. The conditions at the ghettos and the transit camps were awful. After a few days, weeks, or months in the ghettos and camps, the Jews would be called for “resettlement in the east.” When the people reported, whether by force, or willingly, they saw the first part of the horror that they were about to endure.