The Holocaust – 24.3

Schutzstaffel
the security squadron (SS), that rounded up Jews; could shoot and kill any Jew

Holocaust
the systematic murder of 11 million people across Europe, more than half were Jews

Anti-Semitism
hatred of the Jews

Nuremberg Laws
stripped Jews of their German citizenship, jobs and property; 1935

Kristallnacht
known as the “Night of Broken Glass” – on November 9-10, 1938, Nazi storm troopers attacked Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues across Germany; glass windows were smashed, 100 Jews were killed, and hundreds of Jews were injured; 30,000 Jews were arrested; hundreds of synagogues were burned; Nazis blamed Jews for the destruction

Joachim von Ribbentrop
the German foreign minister in 1938; “We all want to get rid of our Jews. The difficulty is that no country wishes to receive them.”

St. Louis
a German ocean liner that passed Miami in 1939 forced by U.S. Coast Guard to return to Europe; 943 passengers; 740 passengers had U.S. immigration papers and were denied entry into the U.S.; more than half eventually died in Holocaust

Final Solution
the policy of Hitler that began in Poland, that condemned to slavery or death
Jews, communists, Freemason, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals, incurably ill, physically disabled, mentally deficient, and mentally ill – – people that the Nazis thought were inferior, unworthy, or enemies of the state

Ghettos
segregated Jewish areas in certain Polish cities; these were sealed off by the Nazis with barbed wire and stone walls

Concentration Camps
labor camps, originally set up to imprison political opponents and protesters; Jews were dragged from homes and herded onto trains and trucks to be shipped to camps; expanded by SS and used to warehouse the “undesirables”

Scapegoat
someone who is made to bear the blame of others

Jews were Targeted
blamed as the cause of Germany’s failures, WW I defeat, and economic woes

Star of David
the Jews had to wear this as a yellow patch to make it easier for Nazis to identify them

Jewish Refugees
they had trouble finding nations that would accept them; France took – 40,000; Britain took – 80,000; Palestine (controlled by the British) took – 30,000; United States – 100,000 (persons of exceptional merit)

American Response to Jewish Refugees
many Americans wanted doors closed – especially during the Great Depression; Anti-Semitism; fear of “enemy agents”; allowed ‘exceptional persons’ (including physicist Albert Einstein, author Thomas Mann, architect Walter Gropius, and theologian Paul Tillich); 100,000 were admitted; official indifference to plight of Jews (St. Louis)

Death Squads
these were Hitler’s elite Nazi security squadrons (SS) – rounded up men, women, children, and babies and shot them on the spot

Life in Ghettos
miserable; bodies piled up in street before they could be removed; factories built alongside where people forced to work for German industry; despite harsh conditions… resistance movements formed; resistance underground newspapers published and distributed; secret schools set up; theater and musical groups operated

King Christian X
important symbol of Danish resistance in WW II; in 1942 he rejected the plan to enforce the Nuremberg Laws against Jews in Denmark; spoke out against German occupying forces in 1943; imprisoned for remainder of war

Life in Concentration Camps
crammed into crude wooden barracks; up to 1,000 people in each; shared quarters and food with fleas and rats; cycle of hunger, humiliation, and work that almost always ended in death; torture; hunger was intense; work dawn to dusk, 7 days a week until they collapsed; killed if too weak to work; mass exterminations; gas chambers; firing squads; mass graves

Wannsee
a lakeside suburb in 1942, where Hitler’s top officials agreed to begin new phase of Final Solution; add mass murder by poisonous gas – because beating, overworking, starvation, and shootings of the Jews were not fast and efficient enough for Nazis

Death Camps
six built in Poland with several large gas chambers in each; 12,000 people could be killed a day; an estimated 6 million Jews died in these camps and in Nazi massacres

Auschwitz
largest death camp; upon arrival prisoners were separated from strong enough to work and those who would die that day; those would die were taken to “shower” and told to undress, cyanide gas piped in, sometimes music played by inmates who were temporarily spared; at first mass graves, then huge crematoriums installed (ovens); some were shot, hanged, or injected with poison; horrible medical experiments carried out by camp doctors; others were sterilized

Righteous Gentiles
non-Jewish persons who risked or lost their lives trying to save Jews from Nazis