The Holocaust was a genocide in which the Nazi rule in Germany and its collaborators executed about six million Jews. Those who died comprised of 1.5 million children and 4 million women, moreover, the figure was about two-thirds of all the Jews who were residing in Europe at the time. The killings began in 1933 when the Nazis assumed leadership in Germany. The term holocaust is of Greek origin which means death by fire, the Greece was a society that was deemed religious, and as a result, the Nazi felt that by carrying out the Holocaust, they had some religious affiliation in killing the Jews. The Nazi believed that the Germans were racially superior. Therefore, the increasing population of Jews in Europe indicated a threat to their development as an elite and superior society. In response to this threat, the Nazi rule under the leadership of Adolf Hitler implemented a plan to execute at least two out of three Jews. This is because the Nazi regime felt that the Jews were racially inferior and were just serving as a threat to their development.
Therefore, the Nazi authorities began executing the Jews who were initially living in Germany and then those that were residing in the then German occupied territories. Due to the tyranny that surrounded the leadership in Germany, their search for Jews for execution spread to Europe, everywhere in Europe the Nazi authorities were searching for Jews and killing them. However, this actions did not affect only the Jews, other communities such as the Soviet citizens, the Roma, and the Polish were affected too. The nature in which the killings were conducted has aroused many questions, for instance, was the plan to execute the Jews prepared earlier and was just waiting for execution or was the act instantaneous? Moreover, who bears the responsibility for the actions that occurred during the war? In addressing these particular concerns, this paper reviews the whole Holocaust experience, the effects of the killings, and most important, who bears the responsibility of holocaust.
Events of Holocaust: A review
The Germans were a super power nation and had occupied many regions in Europe, however, they were perturbed by the spread and increase in the population of the Jews. Therefore, they decided to reduce the number of Jews in Europe. The number of Jews in the year 1933 stood at around nine million in Europe only. The Germanys thought that a day could come when the Jews would decide to unite, in so doing they could achieve many feats, one of them being to subdue or outdoor the reigning superpowers which were the Germans. Therefore, when the Nazi ascended to power in 1933 with Hitler as its head, all the beurocratic and logistic factors aligned with Hitler in commissioning mass execution if the Jews. The Jews had spared all over Europe and had no defences. Moreover, few nations could match the strength and the mighty of the Germanys by then. Through a series of killings that followed, the Nazi authorities in assistance with the elite police and battalions squads of the elite Germany Force murdered about six million Jews while the number if those captured exceeded the dead ones. This called for setting up of various camps to accommodate the captured Jews; these were called concentration camps.
The killing by the Nazi occurred in different stages. However, all the steps were leading to a final objective which was obtaining a final solution to the Jews question. This referred to the attainment of an agenda to exterminate all the Jews in Europe. Initially, the Nazi regime had enacted laws to exclude the Jews from civil society, especially the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. After the outbreak of world war two, the Nazis created a network of concentration camps in various places which were used to hold those who were considered to be their opponents, however, it was just a facade because these camps were filled with Jews who had been captured in the Nazi-controlled regions and were awaiting transport to ghettos, holding camps, and forced labour camps. In the year 1942, Germany became a worry of the high numbers of their prisoners, who comprised majorly of the Jews, the Polish, and the Soviet citizens. They feared that keeping them together could make them form an alliance with each other which could be detrimental. Moreover, it could show or exploit a weakness in their leadership. Therefore, to solve this, the Germans began moving the prisoners either by foot or on forced march to extermination camps. In the extermination camps, the prisoners were killed using a range of means such as starvation and use of special gassing facilities.
The continued movement of prisoners across Europe coupled with the engagements in war with the aired forces were proving to be difficult for the Nazis, often the moving trains came in contact with sections of the allied forces who battled the Nazis and rescued the prisoners. In other places, what the German leadership had feared most began happening, rescuing of a vast number of prisoners by the allied forces. With the end of world war two nearing, Germans grasp on more prisoners began to weaken; they now resorted to defensive strategies as opposed to prisoner protection. However, they still continued with the execution of the detainees and the Jews in their extermination camps though on a dwindling scale. The end of the second world war marked the end of Holocaust, Germanys Nazi forces had been defeated and their collaborators had been defeated too.
Holocaust brought many consequences both to the direct victims and those who were not affected directly. The effects were not just felt in Europe but in the whole world. Common effects to the people included psychological conditions that victims still have, as they age, visions of murder and inhuman deaths plunge into their minds. It shows how prejudiced a society can become towards one another. In societal and moral consideration, Holocaust lead to the eradication of society, the initial ethical and human thoughts of a model society were eliminated. The Jews as a community was scattered all over the planet, those who survived lived in fear whereas others still have health and mental condition. Indeed, Holocaust was a destruction of the entire human nature. Germany too felt this, since the end of the holocaust and world war, it has struggled to reshape its way as a nation so that it can for once be viewed as a palatable society.
The effects on the larger scale involved formation and loss of various institutions. One development after the war was the formation if Israel as a state, this was as a result of the settlement of the Jews who lacked places to go and whose earlier society had been eradicated. Moreover, most Jews felt that they could not go back to the places they were living previously. Therefore, the settlement by the allied nations chose an area near Parkston where they settled the Jews, and the area came to be known as Israel. The aftermath of the war also led to a resurgence of antisemitism; this was witnessed mostly in Poland after the return of Jew remnants from the Soviet Union and Germany. This later resulted in moving of the Jews from Poland as they no longer felt safe there. Another significant effect of Holocaust was the decline of Yiddish language and culture. This is because the people who were previously practising the culture were dispersed and others were killed.
Responsibility for Holocaust
Holocaust was applied systematically within a short time and over a large area. This posed a question of whether the plan had just been hatched or the plan was in existence awaiting execution. Despite the presence of various suggestions, what is clear is that Adolf Hitler is the one who commissioned it and encouraged the German battalion soldiers to carry out the execution. However, the total responsibility of the war was not with Hitler; his entire capital was responsible too. However, the ordinary German citizens should not be blamed. This is because they were fed with wrong information and were meant to believe and obey the sentiments posted by Hitter.
In conclusion, Holocaust represents one of the darkest points in history, not only to Germany but the whole world. It leaves us asking to what extent prejudice can go. However, what is important is that it provides us with a point to make, the choice of leaders should be carefully made to avoid having leaders who will not hesitate to sanction such moves again.
Chang, Iris. The rape of Nanking: The forgotten holocaust of World War II. Basic Books, 2012.
Horowitz, Sara R. Voicing the void: muteness and memory in Holocaust fiction. SUNY Press, 2012.
Lipstadt, Deborah E. Denying the Holocaust: The growing assault on truth and memory. Simon and Schuster, 2012.
Wardi, Dina. Memorial candles: Children of the Holocaust. Routledge, 2014.
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