Holocaust: The Holocaust and German Power Sphere Essay

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Genocide Research Project: The Holocaust

In international law, the crime of destroying, or committing conspiracy to destroy, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group is known as Genocide. The crime of Genocide has been committed or attempted many times in recorded history. The best known example in this century was the attempt by Nazi Germany during the 1930's and 1940's to destroy the Jewish population of Europe, known as the Holocaust. By the end of World War II, 6 million Jews had been killed in Nazi concentration camps. The known objective of the Nazi rule was Jewish extinction. In November 1938, shortly after the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a young Jew, all synagogues in Germany were set on fire, windows of Jewish shops were smashed, and thousands of Jews were arrested. This "Night of Broken Glass" was a signal to Jews in Germany ad Austria to leave as soon as possible. When war began in September 1939, the German army occupied the western half of Poland and added almost 2 million Jews to the German power sphere. Limitations placed on Polish Jewry were much worse than those in Germany. The Polish Jews were forced to move into ghettos surrounded by walls and barbed wire. The ghettos were like jailed cities. Each ghetto had a Jewish council that was responsible for housing, sanitation, and production. Food and coal were to be shipped in and manufactured products were to be sent out for German use. The food supply allowed by the Germans was mainly made up of grains and vegetables, such as turnips, carrots, and beets. In the Warsaw ghetto, the amount of food given provided barely 1200 calories to each inmate. Some black market food, smuggled into the ghettos, was sold at a very high price, and unemployment and poverty were common. The population was large, and the amount of people reached six or seven persons in a room. Typhus became common, and the death rate rose to roughly 1 percent a month. At the time of the forming of ghettos in Poland, a project was launched farther in the east. In June 1941, German armies invaded the Soviet Union, and at the same time an agency of the Soviet Socialists, the Reich Security Main Office, dispatched 3000 men in special units to newly occupied Soviet territories to kill all Jews on the spot. These mobile detachments, known as "Einsatzgruppen", or "Action Squads", were soon engaged in nonstop shootings. The massacres usually took place in ditches or ravines near cities and towns. Occasionally, they were witnessed by soldiers or local residents. Before long, rumors of the killings were heard in several capitals of the world. Camps equipped with facilities for gassing people were being created on the soil of occupied Poland. Most prospective victims were being created on the soil occupied Poland. Most prospective victims were to be deported to these illing centres from ghettos nearby. From the Warsaw ghetto alone, more than 300,000 were removed. The first transports were usually filled with women, children, or older men, who could not work for the Germans. Jews capable of labor were being held for work in shops or plants, but they too were to be killed in the end. The heaviest deportations occurred in the summer and fall of 1942. The destinations of the transports were not known to the Jewish communities, but reports of mass deaths eventually reached the surviving Jews, as well as the governments of the United States and Great Britain. In April 1943, the 65,000 remaining Jews of Warsaw put up a fight against German police who entered the ghetto in a final roundup. The battle was fought for three weeks. The death camps in Poland were Kulmhof, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Lubin, and Auschwitz, Kulmhof was supplied with gas vans, and it's death toll was 150,000. Belzec had carbon monoxide gas chambers in which 600,000 Jews were killed. Sobibor's gas chambers accounted for 250,000 dead, and Treblinka's for 700,000 to 800,000. At Lubin some 50,000