The Plight of the Jewish People

For you, my dear Marcia, in hopes that you find all of your loved ones that made it through the Holocaust. I love talking with you after you have found a relative. It is heartwarming. Jacob and I worked on this for you and your family. Even through the sadness, there are beautiful pictures of love and hope.

The Holocaust began in January 1933 when Hitler came to power and technically ended on May 8, 1945 (VE Day).
Between 1993 and 1945, more than 11 million men, women and children were murdered in the Holocaust. Approximately six million of these were Jews.
The Holocaust would not have been possible without mass transportation.
Many children suffocated in the crowded cattle cars on the way to the camps. Those who survived were immediately taken to the gas chambers.
The majority of people who were deported to labor and death camps were transported in cattle wagons. These wagons did not have water, food, a toilet or ventilation.
Young children were particularly targeted by the Nazis to be murdered during the Holocaust. They posed a unique threat because if they lived, they would grown up to parent a new generation of Jews.
Sometimes there was not enough cars for the major transport, so victims waited at a switching yard, often with standing room only for several days.
Over 1.1 million children died during the Holocaust.
The longest transport of the war took 18 days. When the transport doors were open, everyone was already dead.
The most intense Holocaust killing took place in September of 1941 at the Babi Yar Revine just outside of Kiev, Ukraine, where more than 33,000 Jews were killed in just two days.
Jews were forced to undress and walk to the ravine's edge. When German troops shot them, they fell into the abyss. The nazi's then pushed the wall of the ravine over,burying the dead and the living.
Carbon monoxide was originally used in gas chambers. Later, the insecticide Zyklon B was developed to kill inmates. Once in the chamber, the doors were screwed shut and pellets of Zyklon B dropped into the side of the walls, releasing toxic gas.
In 1946, two partners in a leading pest control company, Tesch and Stabenow (Testa) were tried before a British military court on charges on genocide. It was argued that the accused must have realized that the massive supply of Zyklon B they provided to the concentration camps was far above the quantity required for delousing. They were convicted and hanged.
Prisoners, mainly Jews, called Sonderkommando were forced to bury corpses or burn them in ovens. Because the Nazis did not want eyewitnesses, most Sonderkommandos were regularly gassed, and fewer than 20 of the several thousand survived. Some Sonderkommandos buried their testimony in jars before their deaths.
Auschwitz was the largest of the German concentration camps. Over one million people were murdered at Auschwitz complex, more than any other place. The Auschwitz complex included three large camps: Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Monowitz
The "Final Solution" was constructed during the Wannsee Conference in January of 1942. Fourteen high-ranking Nazis met in Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, and presented a program to deport all Jews to Poland where the SS would kill them.
An estimated 1/3 of all Jewish people alive at that time were murdered in the Holocaust.
In his memoirs, Rudolph Hess described the process of tricking the Jews into entering the gas chambers. To avoid panic, they were told they had to undress to be washed and disinfected. The Nazi guards used a "Special Detachment Team" (other Jewish prisoners) to help keep an air of calm and to assist those who were reluctant to undress.
Children often cried, but after members of the Special Detachment Team comforted them, they entered the gas chambers, playing and joking with each others, often still carrying their toys.
In the initial stages of the destruction of European Jews, the Nazis forced Jews into ghettos and instigated a policy of planned, indirect annihilation by denying them the basic means of survival. In the Warsaw ghetto in Poland, the largest ghetto, about 1% of the population died each month.
Kristallnacht or "Night of Broken Glass" occurred throughout Germany and Austria on November 9, 1938, when the Nazis viciously attacked Jewish communities. The Nazis destroyed, looted, and burned over 1,000 synagogues and destroyed over 7,000 businesses. They also ruined Jewish hospitals, schools, cemeteries, and homes. When it was over, 96 Jews were dead and 30,000 arrested.
The word "Holocaust" is from the Greek holo "whole" + kaustos "burnt". It refers to an animal sacrifice in which the entire animal is burned. It is also known as the Shoah, which is Hebrew for "destruction".
The term "Holocaust" originally was a Bible word that meant "burnt offerings".
The terms "Shoah" and "Final Solution" always refer to the Nazi extermination of the Jews and the "the Holocaust" refers to the overall genocide caused by the Nazis, while the general term "holocaust" can refer to the mass killing of any group by any government.
Approximately 220,000 - 500,000 Romanies (Gypsies) were killed during the Holocaust.
The term "Holocaust" became a household word in America in the 1978 NBC television aired the miniseries titled Holocaust. However, Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel called the miniseries, "untrue and offensive". Wiesel objected to what he thought were historical inaccuracies, German and Jewish stereotypes, "too much drama and not enough documentary." He also argued that television was an inappropriate medium to portray the Holocaust.
Unlike other genocides in which victims are often able to escape death by converting to another religion, those of Jewish descent could be spared only if their grandparents had converted to Christianity before January 18, 1871 (the founding of the German empire).
Of the nine million Jews who lived in Europe before the Holocaust, an estimated 2/3 were murdered. Million of others, including those who were disabled, political and religious opponents to Hitler, Romanies, Jehovah's Witnesses and homosexuals, were also murdered.
Those who survived Dr. Josef Mengele's experiments were almost always murdered and dissected. Many children were maimed or paralyzed and hundreds died. He was known by children as "Onkel Mengele" and would bring them candy and toys before personally killing them. He later died in a drowning accident in Brazil in 1979.
Hitler introduced the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which made it illegal for Germans to marry or have sex with Jews. It also deprived Jews of their German citizenship and most of their civil rights.
The 1940 Nazi pseudo-documentary The Eternal Jew attempted to justify the extermination of Jews from Europe. The movie claimed that the Jews were genetically destined to be wandering cultural parasites.
On November 11, 1938, Germany enacted the "Regulations against Jews: Possession of Weapons," which made it illegal for Jews to carry firearms or other weapons.
Muselmann was slang for concentration camp victims who gave up hope.
Hitler was able to establish 1000 camps. First, he established a legal base for acts of brutal inhumanity by the Enabling act. Second, he used propaganda to dehumanize Jews. And he used a system of brutality.
Approximately 100,000 Jews died during "death marches."
The soldiers who patrolled and operated concentration camps were called Totenkopfverbrande, or "Death's Head." detachments.
The first concentration camp was Dachau. The first arrivals were political opponents of Hitler, including communists, socialists, and political Catholics. It was later used as a extermination camp
As Jews fled from Hitler's rule, representatives from 32 countries met in France to discuss the growing refugee crisis in Europe. Great Britain said they had no room. Australia said, "We never had a racial problem and we don't want to import one." Canada said "none were too many."
Holland and Denmark offered temporary asylum but only for a few. Only the Dominican Republic offered to take 100,000 Jews but they were soon overwhelmed and only a few were able to go.
Einsatzgruppen, "task forces", were mobile killing fans which were regular trucks with the exhaust pipes redirected into the cargo area.
There were several types of camps like transit camps, POW camps and police detention camps. They were six main killing camps, all in Poland: Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Chelmno, Auschwits/Birkenau, and Majdanek.
More than 870,00 Jews were killed at Treblinka.
At the entrance of each camp, there was a process of selection. Small children, the sick or handicapped, the elderly etc, were sent immediately sent to the chambers.
Camp laborers were forced to run in front of SS officers to show they could work. They then sent them into two lines. One went to the chambers and the other to the barracks. The runners didn't know where which line went where.
Auschwitz was the largest and high organized death camp in history. it was three camps: A concentration camp, slave labor camp and death camp.
At Aushcwitz, thousands of prisoners were sterilized using radiation.
When Soviet troops entered Birkenau, they found 358,000 men suits, 87,000 women's dresses, and 15,400 pounds of hair packed in paper bags.
The Nazi's would process victims hair into felt and thread.
Six million is the minimum amount of Jews killed by the Nazi's.
The first mass gassing of Jews happened at Chelmno.
Joseph Goebbels was the Nazi minster of propaganda and prior of 1933, head of the Nazi organization in Berlin.
Heinrich Himmler was the Nazi leader more directly involved than any other officer in the Holocaust. He established Dachau, and the extermination camps in Eastern Europe.
More than half of Jewish victims were women. Most women with small children were immediately sent to the gas chamber.
After the camps were liberated, thousands of people who had been starved, beaten and worked to exhaustion died in the first week. In Dachau, the daily death rate was 200 and in Bergen-Belsen it was 300.
Bergen-Belson was the first camp liberated by the allies. Originally designed to house 10,000 prisoners, by the end of the war, it held 41,000.
Adolf Eichmann was a SS officer who directed the implementation of the final solution. At the end of the war, he escaped to South America but was captured by the Israeli secret service in 1960.
At Dachau, the Nazis researched ways to stop a bullet wound from bleeding out. They would use chemicals like polygala-10 on prisoners and shoot them in parts of their body. they usually died within a few moments
Porrajmos is the Romany term for the Holocaust and it means "devouring."
More than 500,000 people visit Auschwitz every year.
Material published in 2001 alleged that IBM developed punch card technology to make selection of Holocaust victims easier.
Between 1945 and 1985, approximately 5,000 Nazi war criminals were executed and 10,000 were imprisoned.
In 1945, the Allies created the International War Crimes Tribunal, which included judges from the U.S, France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. Never before the leaders of the losing countries held answer to their crimes
After the Holocaust, the U.N formed the Commission of Human Rights in 1946. In 1948, the Commission approved two agreements: the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
When an injured and dying former SS man asked Holocaust survivor Simon Wisenthal for forgiveness, he gave him silence instead of forgiveness. He asked other people to comment on his choice later on. He made his book The Sunflower.
Holocaust survivor Yehuda Bacon, who spent his early teens in concentration camps, recounted he burst out laughing during a funeral procession after he left. "People are crazy," he said. "For one person a casket is made and solemn music? A few weeks ago I saw thousands of bodies piled up."
After the war, Militant Jews spread over Europe and attempted to track down and execute SS officers in hiding.
The allies felt that the German people should know the crimes during the Holocaust. Many people were forced to view bodies found in the camps.
German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer acknowldeged guilt for the Holocaust and agreed to pay damages to individual Holocaust victims.
On Holocaust remembrance day, sirens go off all over Israel for two minutes at 10 AM.
Soviet soldiers were first to liberate the death camps.
General Eisenhower ordered every citizen of the Germany town of Gotha to tour the camp Ohrdruf. After the mayor and wife did so, they went home and hanged themselves.
When General Eisenhower learned about Ohrdruf, he ordered every American solider in the area who was not on the front lines to visit the camp. He said that if they didn't know what they were fighting for, now they know who they are fighting against.
At some camps, selected prisoners were used for medical experimentation, including exposing the body to high altitude, freezing tempatures, and extreme atmospheric pressure. Others underwent experimentation with diseases like, hepatitis, tuberculosis and malaria
In 1942, the Allies publicly denounced the massacre of the Jews but they failed to do anything about it.
The 1985 movie Shoah is nine hours long and consists entirely of interviews of people who experienced the Holocaust first hand.
In letters and documents addressing the Holocaust, The Nazis never used the words exterminate or killing. Instead they used final solution, evacuation, or special treatment.
Victims at some camps were injected with the bacterium that produces gas gangrene. Several woman prisoners died or were severely burned as a result of infections.
To refute Iran's president's claim that the Holocaust never happened, prominent Muslims, Jews and Christians at the former camp of Auschwitz in 2011 to honor Jewish Holocaust Victims.
At Birkenau over 1.1 million Jews were murdered.
It also included 20,000 Poles, 19,000 Gypsies, and 12,000 Russians POWs
Nazi Germany established approximately 20,000 camps.
During the Holocaust, The most respected German companies used slave labor
The companies who used slave labor were BMW, Daimler-Benz (Mercedes-Benz), Messerschmitt, and Krupp.
They were not forced to use slave labor but as "good business practice."
Auschwitz was 19,000 squared miles and guarded by 6,000 people.
Signs on the chamber entrances said "Baths and disinfecting rooms Others said: "cleanliness brings freedom."
Hair from Holocaust victims were made into felt and thread. it was made into socks, ignition mechanisms, ropes and cords, and more
camp commanders were required to submit monthly reports on the amount of hair they collected
The first mass gassing of hitlers rule happened on November 15, 1939
It happened at the Owinski psychiatric hospital near Poznan.
The 1,100 were polish mental patients and th gas was carbon monoxide.
To further the facade of "cleanliness", SS men dressed as doctors pretending to "examine the victims before they were gassed.
The real purpose was to mark victims who had gold teeth in their mouths.
Thousands of people died after the liberation of the camps
Some Jews who were liberated died from overeating sweets and chocolate provided by friendly soldiers.
In 1961, Adolf Eichmann was tried and convicted of crimes against humanity.
He was soon hanged in 1962
One observer at Treblinka noticed the dirt was gray, not brown.
When he touched the dirt, he said it was "coarse and sharp and filled with fragments of human bone."
After WW2, the Allies debated on whether the leaders or the whole German nation were to be held accountable.
A Lithuanian Jew named Abba Kovner formed the Avengers, a group of former ghetto fighters and partisans.
They sought revenge not just against the Nazis but the entire German nation
After the war, the Western powers sentenced over 3.4 million former Nazis to some form of punishment
The 1991 film The Eighty-First Blow is a film about the disbelief and downright hostility that many Holocaust survivors faced
Polish teacher Janusz Korczak voulintary left with the children from his orphanage when they were deported to extermination camps.
It is believed he died in 1942 at the Treblinka concentration camp.
Many Jewish children hiding with Christian famiilies didn't know their Jewish heritage and stayed with their foster parents.
some children became so close to their foster parents that they didn't want to rejoin their surviving family members.
After the war, the Western powers revoked race laws and other repressive measures, disbanded Nazi organizations and eliminated "racial science" in schools.
The Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem includes the names of over 10,000 people who risked their lives to save Jews.
In Hebrew, this heroes are called Hasidei Umot Haolam, or "Righteous among the Nations of the World."
During the Holocaust, Nazi Germany became a genocide state. Every part of the government played a role.