The Holocaust, or Shoah in Hebrew, was a planned and thought out way to systematically exterminate all Jews. This government bases program was executed by Hitler, and its allies during WWII. Not only six million Jews were murdered, gypsies, soviet civillians, prisoners, the disabled, homosexuals, and other people who opposed Hitler’s views were murdered too. If all of these people counted the death count would be more like 11-17 million deaths. The Holocaust had two stages, one between 1933-1939, and the other 1939-1945
Around the early 1930s, Germany was desperate for a leader after they were destroyed in WWI and were made to pay reparations by the allies. Hitler’s rise to power began when he joined the German worker’s party, or the DAP, the name was changed in 1920 to the more recognisable Nazi party. Hitler became the chancellor of Germany in 1933 and became dictator the following year.
Anti-Semitism is hostility or prejudice against Jews, but didn’t start with Hitler. People’s hate for the Jews people runs deep but some major reasons as to why people hate the Jews are racial cleansing. Hostility against Jews may date back as far as the ancient empires of Babylonia, Greece, and Rome, Jews were often criticised and persecuted for trying to keep away from the religious norm. With Christianity spreading, anti-Semitism spread throughout most of Europe, early Christians labelled the Jewish people as evil as a way to get more people to convert to Christianity. They accused the Jews of kidnapping and murdering Christian children to use their blood in their Passover bread.
Concentration camps were there just to demoralise and dehumanise the people in them. During WWII, Nazi Germany created heaps of concentration camps, labour camps, and death camps. Hitler decided that certain groups of people were not as good as others, and proceeded to kill people that didn’t agree with his way of thinking. The Nazis sent a lot of people to concentrations camps to work as slave labour, after a few years, some camps were set up just to kill people.
After the liberation of the concentration camps, the Jewish survivors were afraid of returning to their homes because of anti-Semitism that was still present in parts of Europe, people who returned feared for their lives. In post-war Poland, there were a number of violent anti-Jewish riots that ensued. With few options for immigration, thousands of homeless holocaust survivors travelled west to other European places that have been liberated by the allies, many of these people lived in refugee centres.
The children of holocaust survivors were very affected by the trauma that their parents had to go through, both positively and negatively. The intergenerational transmission of trauma is so present in holocaust survivors that it carries over to the children of the children of the survivors. Research shows that people who experience trauma are more likely to partake in self-destructive behaviour, develop lifestyle diseases, and commit crimes. High rates of bad mental and physical health, self-harm, and addiction are only some things that directly correlate to experiences of trauma.
The holocaust was an extreme example of racism and discrimination that will affect the Jewish people for generations. It has affected modern life in many ways. For hundreds of years Jews have been persecuted, and just now it has come to our attention. Through a horrible few years, the Jewish culture has stayed strong, and thrived. Hopefully, we as people learn from this event and cast away feelings of hatred toward people of different religion and race. I truly hope that no group of people has to go through something like that ever again.