The Final Solution
By: Jacqueline Kapoian 3
Pogrom is a Russian word meaning "to wreak havoc". It refers to an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group - in this case the organized massacre of Jewish people. One of the most well known cases of anti- Jewish pogroms that happened during the Holocaust was called Kristallnacht ("Night of Crystals"). In November of 1938 many acts of violence towards Jewish people broke out in Germany and parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia. German officials violently attacked many Jewish people by hitting and beating them as well as breaking windows and glass from Jewish homes, synagogues, and Jewish owned businesses hence the meaning "Night of Crystals". (Kristallnacht: A Nationwide Pogrom)
Nuremberg Laws were a set of racial laws created at a propaganda rally in November of 1935 that denied Jewish citizens the right to marry or have relations with any German citizen. These laws also laid down the premise of what categorizes a citizen as a Jew. For example, if your grandparents were Jewish you were considered Jewish as well; or if you had converted to Christianity or do not recognize/practice the Jewish faith you were still considered a Jew. These laws also took away freedoms in government that the Jews once had such as voting or holding a high government position. These laws were not based on religious belief but instead defined by blood and how "pure" you were. (Background: Nuremberg Laws)
Liquidation of Ghettos
The Nazis organized most of the Jews by placing them into Jewish ghettos. These ghettos were made so that Jews could be identified and deported into death or concentration camps in much easier and larger quantities. These ghettos were in horrible conditions and a lot of the Jews who lived in them starved and caught many deadly diseases and illnesses. The biggest and most famous Jewish ghetto was the Warsaw Ghetto. On April 19, 1943 the SS was supposed to liquidate the Warsaw Ghetto and transport all the remaining Jews to concentration and death camps. However, the Jewish community formed an organized resistance and attacked the Nazi officers. Even though the Jewish resistance caused the SS some casualties it was not enough to liberate the camp. The Nazi officers regained control of the ghetto overtime and most of the remaing Jews that were still in the ghetto were liquidating and sent to concentration or death camps. (Warsaw)
The Wannsee Conference was held on January 20, 1945 in Berlin. There, high ranked German government officials and Nazis met to discuss the "Final Solution" or to address what they should do with all the Jewish people that were still in Europe. The purpose of the Final Solution was to carefully plan out the destruction and the extermination of all the remaining Jews in Eastern Europe as well as hide evidence to the rest of the world of the mass murder and extermination to multiple ethnic groups. (Wannsee Conference and the "Final Solution")
This image above shows the liquidation of Jewish people in the Warsaw Ghetto in German occupied Poland. This is significant to the Final Solution because it illustrates an organized way to keep large communities of Jewish people in one place so the deportation and liquidation of Jews will be much quicker. This makes it easier for German officials to carry out their main goal of the Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution - to exterminate all the Jews. This also falls under stage six (preparation) of the eight stages of genocide; the Jewish people were identified by being placed into the ghettos, making them easier to kill.
Anti- Jewish Pogrom
The image above shows an anti- Jewish pogrom. This is significant to the Final Solution because it carries out the most important aspect of the solution - to kill and exterminate the Jewish race. Pogroms are also used to fulfill another very important part of the Final Solution. Since a pogrom is an organized massacre, pogroms are organized to hide the evidence from all the mass murdering of the Jewish people. Pogroms also fall under the last two stages of the eight stages of genocide. Extermination (stage seven), is when a targeted group, the Jewish people are killed. These pogroms were meant to exterminate the Jewish people. Denial (stage eight) is evident in pogroms as well because hiding the evidence is basically stating that these mass killing never happened.
Excerpt from The Diary of Anne Frank
For my form of media I chose a video which reads an expert from the Diary of Anne Frank. I chose to do a passage from Anne Frank even though it does not relate to any of the topics above because I wanted to stray away from the many Jewish people that were killed because of the Final Solution and focus on how some Jewish people were able to to survive and rise above the Final Solution even if it was only for a little while. Anne Frank's story of living in an annex for almost three years shows that some Jews were not going to be defined and ashamed by the gold star that they wore on their coat but rather that they were proud of being a Jew and that they will stand up to the Nazis and the Final Solution.
Work Cited Page
Liquidation of Ghettos:
Wannsee Ghetto Picture:
Anti- Jewish Pogrom Picture:
Anne Frank Media: