How The Holocaust Affected Its Jewish Victims

.. y. Some of the Jews were put in different ranks, some as spies, some as thieves. Some of the spies were to report on family members and friends, betraying them, and even leading to their own demises. Why they did it was obvious.

Either they were told they themselves would be killed, or their family or friends would be killed. And they actually trusted the word of a Nazi. Art from the Ashes Although much of the Holocaust had an increasingly negative effect on its victims, it also caused inspiration through the strength survivors gained from it. One of the most famous Holocaust writers was Elie Weisel. He was born in Sighet, Transylvania, in 1928.

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Weisel’s younger sister and mother were sent immediately to the gas chambers from the train they had entered. Elie, his father, and 2 older sisters were sent to a concentration camp to work. His most famous book, simply entitled, Night (1958) was his autobiography, mainly about his experiences in the camp. Another book of his, inspired by the Holocaust, Un di velt holt geshvign (And the World Remained Silent), written in Yiddish in 1956, was never actually published in English. This was his earlier, longer biography.

Weisel won the Nobel Peace prize in 1986. His goals were to create a society where the victims of the Holocaust imposed no blame on themselves, which they were brainwashed into thinking by the Nazis. Other inspired victims were not as lucky as Weisel. Poems, drawings, and stories were found among the ashes, so to speak, of the victims who did not make it. For My Child is a dramatic poem written for a child that was poisoned by Germans. The child’s mother wrote it, a woman named Freydke Sutzkever, wife of Holocaust poet Abraham Sutzkever.

There were also many artists that emerged from the horrific times. Karel Fleischman, painter and artist, was born in Klatovy, Czechoslovakia in 1897. In Prague, he studied medicine, later becoming a dermatology specialist. Then, on April 18, 1942, he was deported to Terezin, a Holocaust camp. His work was preserved, and he was deported to Aushwitz, the most famous Holocaust camp, a combined concentration camp and death camp, where he met his fate, on October 23, 1944. Some of his works include View of Terezin, Furniture, and Registration for Transport.

Laws and Politics 664 laws actually excluded the Jews from German society, increasing the amount of hatred towards the Jewish population through the anti- Semitism, as well as creating yet another insurmountable obstacle for the Jews. On April 1st, 1933, Jewish businesses were boycotted. Laws to exclude Jews from holding civil service, university, and state positions were put into effect less than a week later. So many of the laws put into effect to ban Jews from society resulted in the loss of jobs, and created many homeless families, with nowhere to turn (since the majority of German society and elsewhere, such as Poland, had turned against them). The final nail in the coffin for Jewish society was the establishment of the Gestapo, or the Nazi secret police, on April 26th, 1933.

Within the next 3 months, Jews were officially denied German citizenship. On September 15, 1935, Anti-Jewish laws were put into effect, also called the Nuremberg laws. All of these laws that were put into effect, the political actions of Hitler and the anti-Semitic population created a harsh environment for the Jews to endure. The Effects Werent Just Felt in Europe One of the most universal effects of the Holocaust was the impact it had on the relatives of those who were murdered. Although many Jews were killed in ghettos, camps, and elsewhere, many escaped the tragedies that swallowed so many others by running away, hiding, or leaving the country before any real damage could be done.

One example is of a Jewish woman’s parents who left Poland before the killings began: About my mother… She was a very warm happy person. She was always singing. She would sing around the house as she was doing her household chores. Then one day, someone came who had been living in Kolomyya (her home town) and had escaped the Nazi terror.

He told of what happened, how the soldiers came into the town, rounded everyone up from their houses, marched them out to the edge of town, made them dig trenches and then shot them all dead. She stopped singing after that and never even smiled again. She became depressed and embittered and never a day went by that she did not curse Hitler. It was early on before they had started using gas chambers. It was afterward decided that shooting individual groups took too long and then started what was called the Solution – the railroad cars to the gas chambers. Home Sweet Where? The towns that the Jews inhabited before they were shipped off to camps and ghettos were essentially destroyed after they were sent away.

Whether they were burnt down by the bombs and bullets of warfare during World War II or by the actions of Nazi soldiers, as an act of hatred, not much was there for the liberated Jews to return to. One man accounts for the loss in a letter to his friend whose family grew up in a little town called Kolomyya, Poland: I returned from Kolomyya. The town looks great. It was really a thrill. Unfortunately not much remains. There were 50 synagogues there in 1938; today they are restoring 1 that was used as a gym by the Russians.

It’s pretty primitive but you have to give it to the 150 Jews still living there that have prayed in secret all these years and are donating their lives to this pursuit. Your relatives’ houses on Legionow St. are gone. It was a main street of the town where the Jews lived (it was a Polish name and was renamed for a leader of the Ukrainian Cossacks-a little ironic). What I suppose was the most important thing that I learned was that Kolomyya was 50% Jewish and that the Jews formed an integral part of the city – there was a Jewish mayor by 1870 and many Jews were represented in the City council until the second World War. Therefore the Jews had the right to own land, build temples and receive an education.

One man, the town historian, who showed me the wall of the first Temple built in Kolomyya in 1650 Liberation did not necessarily mean going back to the good old life for Jews. Although Liberation of the camps occurred on June 6, 1944, not all of the victims were saved that day, or any days after. Dachau was one of the first liberated camps. Ally soldiers said that they could smell the camp from at least five miles away. It was horrifying for an American soldier to walk into a room and find the living lying in the same beds as the dead, which occurred at Nordhausen camp. Thousands of those who were rescued died within the first week of Liberation because their bodies were too weak to take in the rich food they were given.

Only 200,000 lives were saved from the camps. Other Jews werent as lucky. When word of an attack on the camps was heard- Russia was coming from the east, the U.S.A. and England from the west- the Nazis had 2 options with how to use the prisoners: they could force to victims to battle against the allies or they could eliminate the witnesses. Both were tried as the allies moved in quicker. Eventually the Jews were forced to march into German territory, many being killed along the way. After complete Liberation, after so many deaths, after loved ones were buried properly, the Jews were allowed to return home.

As you can imagine, however survivors still had painful reminders of what they had seen and experienced first hand just a short time ago. Many survivors wouldnt call it surviving, which will be discussed later. They were tattooed with their numbers, had seen friends and family shot down in their tracks. These memories never changed. Having lived in the shadow of death everyday was a traumatizing experience, one that no one would ever want to experience.

A common proverb from camps asked, Do you know how one says never in camp slang? Morgan frh- Tomorrow morning. Not only did the Jews have to return with horrible memories, but they also had to face up to the new ones that had yet to be created. There was still a strong hatred towards Jews in eastern Europe (and forget Germany). Many who could not make it socially in their hometowns went to Displaced Persons Camps, which provided homes for prisoners of the camps. In 1947, there were 250,000 Jews in D.

P. C. s. Israel was established as a homeland for Jews in 1948, only to create more problems in the future. Understanding As you can obviously see, the Holocaust had one of the greatest impacts on Jews in recorded history.

They were tormented, beaten, killed, rescued, inspired, destroyed, chained, and crippled for so long, too long, yet they persevered. They survived under the harshest conditions, the most horrific situations that the world had ever seen at the time. 6 million Jewish lives were cut short because of the Holocaust and their lives have been celebrated; their stories remembered. Only recently have the stories of survivors like a group known as The Hidden Children, children who were hidden by non-Jews during World War II, been told and recorded. The International Conference for Hidden Children was held in New York City during May of 1991.

Sixteen hundred survivors and rescuers were there. The Israeli government has greatly helped to preserve the memory of the people who lost their lives in the Holocaust. There is a Remembrance Law that pertains to Martyrs and Heroes who are high-minded Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews. These people have had plaques engraved with their names placed at Yad Vashem, the museum in Jerusalem that memorializes European Jews who died in the Holocaust and the Christians who tried to save them. Also, the Anti-Defamation League sends monthly stipends to needy and elderly rescuers to make their lives easier.

Even though it has been over forty years since the last areas were liberated, the Jewish people still have not recovered from the serious losses that they suffered. The message of the Holocaust is that people can be thrown to the darkest Hells and to the very pit of absolute despair but, if they are strong, they will long endure, just as the Jewish people have. This was a tragic and terrifying point in our history and hopefully, we will never be plagued by it again. The lives lost cannot be reclaimed. It is true that many survived, but six million did not. Would you call it survival, or would you just claim to have not been killed? Many of those who lived to tell the tale would say that they werent killed. They are not valiant in their survival, one may claim.

Heroes and heroines belong to a romantic legend, not Holocaust reality 9. The thoughts and reflections of Holocaust victims in present day are dwindling. As time passes away, so do these survivors. Their memories of true cold and hunger, of true pain and loss present a new reality from their previously brainwashed lives. The German Nazis told Jews that it was their own fault for their persecution and sufferings.

Some believed this right up until the end of the war. In the end, those who were truly to blame were the Nazis, who were justly persecuted at the famous Nuremberg Trials in Nuremberg, Germany on November 20, 1945. Here, 22 Nazi leaders were brought to trial for ten and one half months. 19 of them were found guilty for crimes against the victims of the Holocaust (namely the Jews)- 7 were imprisoned, and 12 were executed. The other 3 committed suicide before the trials ended. A comment made at these trials sums up this entire work in two sentences: The mere punishment of the defendants, or even thousands of others equally guilty, can never redress the terrible injuries which the Nazis visited on these unfortunate peoples.

For them, it is far more important that these terrible events be established by clear and public proof, so that no one can ever doubt that they were fact, and not fable. 10 Chapter Notes 1. Adelaide Institute Introduction 2. Lawrence L. Langer, Preempting The Holocaust (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), p.11 3. Ann Byers, The Holocaust Camps (Springfield: Enslow Publishers, 1998), p.8 4. Nora Levin, The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry 1933- 1945 (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1968), p.

46 5. Lawrence L. Langer, Preempting The Holocaust (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), p.11 6. An Illustrated History of the Holocaust- Race Science 7. An Illustrated History of the Holocaust- Printed Propaganda 8.

Linda Altman, The Holocaust Ghettos ( Springfield: Enslow Publishers, 1998), p. 16 9. Lawrence L. Langer, Preempting The Holocaust (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), p.122 10. David A. Adler, We Remember The Holocaust (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1989), p.97 History Reports.


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