Holocaust: Judaism and Eastern European Jews Essay

Submitted By calebballer3
Words: 1113
Pages: 5

By Caleb Baldwin
Core 1
5/6/13
Pre-War Jewry For thousands of years Jewish people have been discriminated, killed and ostracized from the community. This didn’t keep Jews from enjoying their life. Jews were originally from Egypt and migrated to Europe. Jews way of life was different before they began the holocaust. Jews have been living in Europe for over 2,000 years. The Jewish population before the Holocaust was 1.7 percent of the European population. In 1933 about 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe. Most Jews lived on the eastern side of Europe. The largest three Jewish communities were Poland, Great Britain and Germany. Poland was the largest community of Jews out of the top three. Poland had approximately 3.3 million Jews in this area. This was the second largest Jewish community in the world. Germany was the second largest community in Europe. Their community had approximately 500,000 Jews. Great Britain was the third largest community in Europe. They had about 300,000 Jews in their community. There are three different regions in Europe: these regions are Eastern, Western, and Central. The Eastern region had the most Jews out of all the groups. This was because the eastern side of Europe was closest to Egypt. Eastern is the largest region with Jews, the Western part of Europe was the second largest region, lastly central Europe was the third largest community. The Eastern and Western regions had many differences and but did share some similarities. Jewish life changed as people became separated in Europe. Eastern Europeon Jews lived predominantly in Poland, Soviet Union, Hungary, and Romania. Most families lived in towns or villages called Shtetls. Shtetls was a small town with a large Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe before the pogroms and the Holocaust. The concept of shtetl culture is used as a metaphor for the traditional way of life of 19th-century Eastern European Jews. Shtetls are protrayed as pious communities following Orthodox Judaism, socially stable and unchanging despite outside influence or attacks. Eastern Jews lived different than other jews. They spoke Yiddish, which is a combination element of German and Hebrew. The language originated in the Ashkenazi culture that developed from about the 10th century in the Rhineland and then spread to Central and Eastern Europe. Yiddish did not become the most frequently used designation in the literature of the language until the 18th century. Eastern jews read Yiddish books and also went to Yiddish movies. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was the center of Jewish culture thanks to a long period of outstanding religious tolerance and social autonomy. Poland had more than 3 million jews. This was the second largest in the world. Many Jews took part in the Polish insurrections, particularly against Russia, such as the Kościuszko Insurrection, January Insurrection, and Revolutionary Movement of 1905 all saw significant Jewish involvement to help Poland gain independence. By the end of the 19th century, 14% of Polish citizens were Jewish. Jews participated in their religious communities, as well as local and federal government. Polish Jews had a separate culture and ethnic identity from Catholic Poles. The major industries in which Polish Jews were employed were manufacturing and commerce. In many areas of the country the majority of retail businesses were owned by Jews who were sometimes among the wealthiest members of their communities. Many Jews also worked as shoemakers and tailors, as well as in the liberal professions. About 56 percent of all doctors in Poland were Jewish, 43 percent of teachers were also Jewish. Children were mainly enrolled in religious Jewish schools which limited their ability to speak Polish. In Poland there were 226 elementary schools and twelve high schools as well as fourteen vocational…