Essay about Nazi Germany and Jewish Working Parties

Submitted By acerfectpircle
Words: 809
Pages: 4

Slaughter in the Ukraine People of the world have experienced tough times. World history contains numerous situations of oppression against individuals and nations as a whole, yet the most prevalent and noted situation involves the systematic mistreatment of Jewish people. Although anti-Semitism and violence against Jewish people would continue throughout time, it reached a climax with the Holocaust, a mass genocide committed by the German Nazis upon Jewish people in Europe. Following their defeat in the First World War, the German nation could not believe they lost the war, especially since the German government continuously relayed propaganda to its citizens. Many people began to believe that the war was lost due to defeatist groups wishing to see Germany fall, as opposed to incompetence. The idea of a scapegoat became centered largely upon Jews, and the fragile state of anti-Semitism slowly expanded until a man named Adolf Hitler rose to power and enacted laws to dehumanize them and eventually had them killed. In the brief reading "The Murder of the Jews in Berdichev" by Vasily Grossman, the author writes of the massacre Jews in a Ukrainian city and the circumstances leading up to their murder. Flowing in chronological order and in great detail, Grossman recounts the Nazi-German invasion of the Soviet Union, their arrival in Berdichev, the living conditions they subjected the Jews to, and the ultimate slaying of close to twenty thousand Jews; all steps in a master plan to rid Berdichev of its Jewish population. Well before the Nazi occupation, Berdichev was a harmonious city where Jewish people lived with the native Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish populous in the city and neighboring villages; most had gainful employment in the many factories. Grossman recounts the Germans’ abrupt arrival and indicates a third of the Jewish population left. With twenty thousand people still in the city and surrounding areas, the Germans swiftly removed the rights as citizens of the Jewish populous and consequentially made insane demands of goods that could not be fulfilled. In addition to demands, Grossman notes that Jews were to take their hats off when approaching or approached by a German. Failure to do so would result in physical punishment and shaming. The violence escalated into what Grossman refers to as “joke killings,” starting with workers at a leather curing factory being forced into pits of acidic extract used for curing leather, which progressed into a Synagogue burned to the ground with people trapped inside, women forced to swim a large lake and consequently drowning, then finally a German officer’s brutal slaying of a butcher. The one sense of hope came that these acts perpetrated by the Germans surely were not within the spectrum of their orders. Grossman believes when the Jewish populous became aware of the amount of freedom the Germans were given to deal with this problem began to mentally defeat them. It was at this point when things went from bad to worse and demoralizing the Jews was working effectively. By this point, the Jews had received sub-human treatment by the Germans. Receiving no help from the city government, the Jewish