The Holocaust

By Fallon and Bailey Huss

The Causes and Consequences of the Holocaust

Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer of Germany who unjustly viewed the Jewish people as an inferior race that was a threat to German racial purity and community, initiated the Holocaust. As the Jews began to be mercilessly persecuted, World War II became a cover for enormous killing centers and concentration camps located in Poland. This hatred towards the Jewish people became known as anti-Semitism and rapidly spread amongst those under Hitler’s reign. Like many others, Adolf Hitler placed the blame of Germany’s World War I defeat in 1918, on the Jews.


Adolf Hitler’s main goals were racial purity and spatial expansion. His idea of a “pure” human race was called Aryan. Unbeknownst to many, the Holocaust and persecution towards particular races extended past the Jewish people alone and included other persecuted groups, such as Gypsies.


The long-term negative effects of the Holocaust were that it destroyed society. Approximately eleven million people were killed and thousands of people were left in physical or mental pain. These survivors who were able to escape would be traumatized for the rest of their lives. The cities where the brunt of the Jewish populations were eliminated have seen lower wages and lower economic growth. Many educated and productive people were killed.

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Eyewitness Testimonies

Mr. Werner Coppel from Cincinnati, Ohio, says he lived in Germany in a small Jewish community where he was not allowed on the playgrounds or in the parks. He could not see any movies or go to restaurants. There were signs that said “Jews and dogs prohibited” or “Jews die in the gutter”. The inside of his synagogue was destroyed by the German army. He was eventually sent to Auschwitz in 1945.

Mr. Hugo Eichelberg lived in Hamburg, Germany. He went to school next to their synagogue . The day after Christmas, their synagogue was destroyed with the inside being burnt out. He saw many of his neighbors and friends taken away and sent to death camps. He and his mother left Germany by order of the Gestapo and went to Italy, later sailing to the U.S.


SS officer, Kurt Gerstuin, visited the death camps Belzec and Treblinka in August of 1942, and saw the mass gassing of Jewish children, women, and men. He knew that he had to expose what was happening to the world. He wrote a report regarding what he saw in the Jewish death camps. He risked his life many times to tell the world about the atrocities that he saw, trying to stop the killing. He even accidently met the Secretary to the Swedish Legation in Berlin, Baron Goran von Otter, and explained the whole story of the Nazi death camps. He asked him to get the word out to the world. Kurt even went as far as destroying shipments of Zyklon B Gas used in the extermination of thousands of Jews. He was arrested on alleged war crimes in 1945, but was cleared of all charges on January 20, 1965.

Response from the United States

When the United States found out about the Holocaust, the reports were either denied or unconfirmed by the government. When the U.S received evidence that the reports were indeed true, the government suppressed the information. They had reconnaissance photos of the Burkienaw camp showing people going into the gas chambers. The War Dept. stated that the information should be kept classified, and the Roosevelt administration refused to seize opportunities to rescue the Jews. Initially, the U.S. was a passive accomplice in the Holocaust crimes. However, our country's troops did eventually help to end the massive slaughter of the Jewish people. As World War II came to an end, the Allies began to liberate the Concentration camps. The soldiers that did so included men from the United States.

Survivors

Approximately 140,000 Holocaust survivors came to the U.S. and settled throughout.
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Precautions Against Genocide

There are several actions that can be taken to prevent mass genocide from ever happening again. One such action is political will. We must speak up and demand that government leaders make the right choices to prevent and stop barbaric acts. We also need to hault the enablers by stopping the support from governments and corporations. We can use public pressure to stop companies and governments from assisting them. We can also hold nations accountable for welcoming or rewarding perpetrators of mass atrocities. Human rights and stopping genocide carnage must be part of our U.S. foreign policy.