The Nuremburg laws were new laws introduced by the Nazis to re-classify parts of the population, The Jews within Germany. The Nuremburg laws ensured that the Jews were seen and treated differently, overall less equally. For instance the Jews were not allowed to work, get married or even have sex with one another. They had to wear the Star of David, to ensure they were identified as different by others. Ultimately the Nazis did this to make them stand out.
Kyrstalnacht, the night of broken glass was the start of Nazi violence towards the Jews. It was mainly encouraging them to leave. The Nazis tried to immigrate the Jews to Madagascar, however this failed. Many Jews couldn’t afford to leave the country and furthermore war had just begun. Overall, the point of Nazi violence was to make the Jews feel un-welcome and force them out of Germany.
In 1939, World War 2 began. After Germany invaded Poland, 2 million more Jews became a problem for the Nazis, as they were now under their control. The war made it impossible for Hitler to get rid of the Jews to other parts of the world and they were therefore trapped under Nazi rule. Jews from Germany and Poland were rounded up and sent to an area which the Germans called a ‘Jewish reservation’ in Poland. In 1940 however this idea was dropped and the Jews were moved into a number of Ghettos.
The largest Ghetto was in Warsaw, the Ghettos were made separate to the rest of the city, and walls were built to do this. Around seven Jews lived in each room, and they were given just 300 calories of food a day. Many of the Ghettos were un-heated and disease was common. For example Typhus, a disease carried in bad drinking water, evidence that living conditions were horrific. Anyone attempting to leave the Ghetto was executed. Ultimately the main aim of the Ghettos was to starve the Jews out and let them slowly deteriate. Altogether half a million Jews died in the Ghettos.
In 1941 The Germans Invaded the USSR. By doing this another 5 million Jews became under the Nazi control. As the German army fought its way into the USSR, they were followed by the Nazi execution squad, the SS Einsatzgruppe. They were a special force and their main job was to murder all the Jews. Altogether the SS Einsatzgruppe murdered over two million people. Firstly execution of the Jews was just restricted to Russia however soon it was used for all Jews under Nazi control.
On the 20th of January 1942 leading Nazis met at Wannsee to plan the ‘Final solution’ to their Jewish problem. The decision was that the Jews would be brought to the East for labour and large labour gangs were formed, with separate sexes. The labour gangs were used for road construction, however many dropped out through natural wastage. Overall the Wannsee conference was arranged to plan the Final solution.
By the end of January 1942 the Germans were busy making all the arrangements for the extermination of the Jews. The Germans built death camps in remote areas within Eastern Europe. Preparations were made, including the preparation of railways trucks, timetables were drawn and the Jews were rounded up. Thousands helped with this process, including administrators, police, soldiers and even ordinary people, some of which were not even German. The Jews were rounded up and then sent to the death camps. A major death camp was Auschwitz and they involved slave labour. Many prisoners worked in fields around the camps and the Jews were worked to death. Life expectancy in the death camps was just three months. Many prisoners would die of disease a lack of food or general exhaustion. If the prisoners were found to be too weak to work, they were simply killed.
Jews were taken to be undressed and then led to the gas chambers. They were furnished with showers and water pipes, looking like a real bath house. Many would accommodate 2000 people at one time. The door would then be closed and screwed up and gas was released through the vents. Victims would have no idea when entering the gas chambers that they were being led to their death. It took just three to fifteen minutes to kill everybody inside the chamber. Hair was cut from the bodies and gold teeth were removed. The bodies were then taken and burned in huge pits.
The Jews never had a chance to fight back before it was too late. Everything was kept discreet by the Nazis and overall the Jews couldn’t believe such cruelties would be performed by the Nazis. The Nazis published the fact that Jews from the ghettos were being ‘resettled.’ Germans themselves did not know about the killing. The death camps were kept a closely guarded secret, furthermore people were too scared to complain, and nobody would step up to the Nazis. Finally the Germans were trained by Nazi Propaganda to treat the Jews as if they were not human beings, in some eyes the killing of the Jews was not even classed as murder.