The hardships the Jews faced during the Holocaust Essay
The hardships the Jews faced during the Holocaust
The lives of the Jews in Germany were punctuated by long periods of suffering and many problems. The Jews went through a lot of hardships such as; going through hard labor, loss of family union due to separation, torture and their freedom was also suppressed.
Introduction Holocaust was a serious happening ever witnessed and it involved killing of over six million people (Jews) at the time of World War 2. These killings were executed by Nazi officials. The Jews were seen as a threat to the German government (Braiterman, 1998). Most Jews were residents in Germany by 1933.
However, there was emigration afterwards due to the dictatorial leadership imposed by the Nazis. Few Jews were, therefore, left in Germany following these emigrations. The leadership of the Nazis brought a lot of changes in the lives of the Jews in Germany, both socially and economically. It led to suffering and many other harrowing experiences in the hands of the Nazis. It led to the marginalization of the Jews and segregation in all aspects of life. Most of the Jews lost their jobs and found themselves in the camps that were established by the Nazis.
This occurred in what was known as Kristallnacht which took place in November 1938 (Dwork and Pelt, 2002). Most organizations of the Jews struggled to improve the lives of the Jews in Germany by helping the Jews to emigrate from Germany, uplift the local organizations of the Jews and oppose the segregation of the Jews. New laws were formed by the government after war broke out on September 1, 1939. One of such laws included imposition of a curfew on the Jews. Some areas were also restricted hence no Jews were allowed in such areas of the city. As a result of this, most Jews lacked important items needed in the house hold.
They were only allowed to buy at specific limited time and from certain stores only. The Jews were also forced to hang badges on their garments wherever they went. These identified them as being Jews in the streets and hence they were easily noticed by the Nazis (Dwork and Pelt, 2002). Hard Labor The Jews were subjected to hard forms of labor without rest. This was a tough life which was unbearable and resulted in the death of many of the Jews. They were forcefully ejected from the houses and transported in fully packed vehicles to the concentration camps. They could not access water and had to go thirsty for several days.
Food was also a problem hence most of the Jews died due to starvation. Other problems included extremely low temperatures and other forms of sickness. By the time they arrived at the camps, only a few of them survived but the conditions never improved in these camps. The Nazi men mistreated them by forcing them to remove their clothes in the cold and stand in a line. They usually chose the Jews who were to live and the ones to be killed. The gas chamber was used to kill the Jews. They looked like showers hence no Jew was aware of its dangers (Soumerai and Schulz, 1998).
Children were never spared by the Nazi men who were ruthless and cared less. After suffocation in the gas chambers, the bodies were put on fire in the ovens or buried in the graves which were filled with quicklime. For the lucky Jews who never died that particular day, numbers were tattooed in their bodies. They were taken back to the labor camps (concentration camps) and worked for long hours with little or no food. The Jews lived in poor and unbearable conditions. Most of the experiments that were done by the Nazis and the Germans involved the use of children as specimen.
Back in the camps, torture was the order of the day for the Jews. They were physically assaulted and inflicted with so much unbearable pain. It was a traumatizing experience in that most of the Jews were shot inside the graves that they dug. They were shot for fun inside these graves. The suffering, however, did not only involve the Jews. The other groups of people who went through such oppression include; those who were mentally retarded, individuals who were transgendered, the Gypsies, communists and homosexuals (Gilbert, 1987).
Family separation and Lack of Education The most daunting experience was that most families became separated from their loved ones. The most affected groups were the children who had to live without their parents and other relatives. Some of the children managed to hide but could not trace their parents afterwards. This separation was a painful experience which psychologically traumatized the families. There were cases whereby the families did not see each other in the whole of their lifetime afterwards. Most Jews were involved in rescue operations in order to help the children so that they were not caught.
The impact of the separation was that these children did not attend schools since they were hiding from the Nazis. They, therefore, missed the opportunity to go to school although some of them managed to be taught by the rescuers (Gutman, 1990). Torture and Killings The children of the Jews were killed through suffocation as soon as they were born. Most of them (the Jewish women) felt that it was better to kill these children rather than watch them die of starvation. This is due to the fact that the milk for the child would be inadequate hence he would die of hunger.
This was painful experience to the Jewish woman although it was considered as a better method for killing which was justified. The child was, therefore, saved from the harsh conditions where the other Jews lived. Food was limited in these places hence starvation was the major cause of death. As a result of this, the health of the Jews deteriorated gradually (Soumerai and Schulz, 1998). Restricted freedom The Jews were completely stripped of all their personal freedoms and the freedom to own properties. The Jews owned most businesses in different parts of Germany.
These were completely destroyed and looted by the people known as Storm troopers. Rape cases were reported during these times. Women were raped in broad daylight in public by the military officers. Many of the Jews were also harassed by the police officers. The military also arrested journalists, communists, human rights leaders and people who were seen to oppose the government. There was nothing like fair trial during this time. Once anyone was arrested, he or she was put in jail, seriously beaten and subjected to severe punishment. These people were later killed or taken to the camps and forced to do hard labor.
The German government then established new laws known as Nuremburg Laws which further led to more suffering. This is due to the fact that the Jews were arrested and held by the government without knowing why they were being arrested. Some of the reasons for the arrests never made sense at all. For example, any Jew who was involved with a Gentile lady was arrested. Some offenses were punishable by death. These include any sexual relationship involving a Jew and a Gentile woman (Yahil, Friedman and Galai, 1991). Due to oppression and hostility that they experienced, most of the Jews tried to organize how to get out from Germany.
This process was not an easy one since the acquisition of the passports was an expensive task and most of the Jews were not able to get the large sums of money. As a result of this, most of them decided to flee from Germany and left their belongings and even those that they loved back. Those who managed to escape were lucky since what followed thereafter was the worst of all the experiences that they had. This is because Hitler was designing a final plan or solution to eliminate all the Jews from Germany once and for all. Some of the Jews were not aware of the cruelty of the Germans hence were reluctant to believe such rumors.
This might be due to the reason that the Germans were never hostile to the locals during World War 1 (Yahil, Friedman and Galai, 1991). In the event that any German soldier got killed by the Jews, local people in that particular area were immediately shot or moved to the labor camps where they were forced to do hard forms of labor, starved, used as experimental specimen, the women were raped and physically assaulted. The Jews were also robbed of their possessions and valuables such as gold fillings, jewelry and clothes and used by the Nazis. In the long run, Hitler resolved to kill all the Jews.
He collaborated with the Nazi officials to build showers which were filled with poison (Zuccotti, 1993). Problems of Emigration Those people who wished to move from Germany were forced to part with a lot of cash before being allowed to do so. Most of the cries of the Jews fell on deaf years. It is worth noting that even other refugees who were not Jews faced the same problems (Soumerai and Schulz, 1998). Conclusion The Holocaust is the experience that humanity was subjected to in history. It is a period that cannot be forgotten easily in the minds of many people in different nations.
Many nations remember this daunting experience that the Jews were subjected to by the Germans in collaboration with the Nazi officials. Although it took place many years ago, many generations that followed have come to understand the painful moments and horrors that occurred during the World War 2. Despite all the actions of Hitler, not all the Europeans supported him. Some of the German’s offered help to the oppressed Jews. Therefore, the Holocaust had serious irreversible impacts since most Jews were killed and this led to resistance.