Human Rights Violations

Human Rights Violations Throughout the history of humankind, man has always been hateful and prejudice towards a race or religion different from his or her own. In the early twentieth century itself, we faced atrocities such as the Armenian Massacre, the rape of Nanking and many more. One such crime against the human race that can overthrow all of them is, the Nazi Holocaust led by Adolf Hitler. After World War I, Germany was in a condition of total chaos. The Weimar Republic that was set up by the League of Nations was not holding much water and the citizens of Germany were looking for some authority to put every thing back into order.

This was when Hitler rose into power, he was first given the position of chancellor and it was from there that he began taking control over Germany. More Germans were attracted to Hitler’s promises to improve the economy, defy the hated Treaty of Versailles, and rebuild Germany’s military power. Soon after he became chancellor, Hitler began to destroy the constitution and build a dictatorship. He permitted only one political party, the Nazis. The party seized control of the nation’s courts, newspapers, police, and schools.

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People who opposed the government were murdered, imprisoned in concentration camps, forced to leave Germany, or beaten up by the Nazis’ private army called storm troopers. In 1936, German troops reoccupied the Rhineland, although this was in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles none of the major powers said anything. Also in 1936, Germany formed an alliance with Italy and signed an anti-Communist agreement with Japan, the three countries became known as the Axis powers. In March 1938, Germany occupied Austria and made it part of the Third Reich. In September, Britain and France consented to Hitler’s demands to take over the German-speaking areas of Czechoslovakia at the Munich Conference.

This was blatant appeasement. They were giving into the demands of psychopathic dictator. This was the beginning of Hitler’s tyrannical rule in Europe and of his ‘Final Solution.’ Adolf Hitler wanted to eliminate all Jews as part of his aim to conquer the world, and he did, at least six million of them. In addition to Jews, the Nazis systematically killed millions of other people whom Hitler regarded as racially inferior or politically dangerous. The largest groups included Germans who were physically handicapped or mentally retarded, Gypsies, and Slavs, particularly Poles and Soviet prisoners of war. Nazi victims also included many homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, priests and ministers, members of labor unions, and Communists and other political opponents.

On April 1, 1933, Hitler’s government sponsored a nationwide boycott of Jewish stores and other businesses. In the next several months, the government passed a number of laws that barred Jews from specific occupations. Jews were excluded from civil service, for example, and from the fields of education and culture, and they could no longer farm the land. The Nuremberg laws of 1935 stripped Jews of citizenship. Jews were forbidden to marry non-Jews. The laws set forth a definition of who was a Jew and who was a part-Jew, also known as a Mischling which meant ‘mixed blood’. For example, a person who had at least three Jewish grandparents was classified as a Jew.

The Nazi persecution reached a new height on Nov. 9, 1938. Beginning that night and continuing for about twenty-four hours, Nazis destroyed thousands of Jewish owned businesses and burned most synagogues in Germany and Austria. They beat Jews in the streets and attacked them in their homes. They killed dozens of Jews. They arrested about 30,000 Jews and sent them to concentration camps.

The night became known as ‘Kristallnacht’, a German word meaning Crystal Night. In English, it is called the Night of Broken Glass. After World War II began in 1939, Germany’s powerful war machine conquered country after country in Europe. Millions more Jews came under German control. The Nazis killed many of them and sent others to concentration camps. The Nazis also moved many Jews from towns and villages into city ghettos. They later sent these people, too, to concentration camps.

Although many Jews thought the ghettos would last, the Nazis saw ghetto confinement as only a temporary measure. The slaughter began with Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Special squads of Hitler’s SS troops accompanied advancing German forces. They rounded up Jews, Gypsies, and Soviet leaders, and shot them to death one by one. The face-to-face killing became difficult for the killers, and the Nazis soon sought a more impersonal and efficient method of genocide.

They began using sealed vans. The prisoners choked to death on exhaust fumes as the van traveled to a burial pit. Later at the Wannsee Conference, held in Berlin in January 1942, Nazi leaders further systematized the killing. They decided that Jews throughout German-occupied territory would be evacuated to concentration camps in Eastern Europe. These camps would become centers for slave labor and extermination.

The first Nazi concentration camps were organized in 1933, shortly after Hitler came to power. By the late 1930’s, the facilities held tens of thousands of political prisoners arrested by the Nazis. In the early 1940’s, several new camps were established, with specially constructed gas chambers disguised as showers. For the Jews who had been confined in ghettos, the next step was what the Nazis called deportation. The Nazis herded the Jews into railroad freight cars to be taken to the camps. When the Jews arrived at a camp, an SS physician singled out the young and able-bodied.

The others were sent directly to the gas chambers. The guards seized the belongings of those who were to die. As many as 2,000 prisoners were sent into the gas chambers at one time. SS personnel poured containers of poison gas down an opening. Within 20 to 30 minutes, the new arrivals were dead.

The guards shaved the heads of the corpses and removed any gold teeth from their mouths. Then they burned the bodies in crematoriums or open pits. The able-bodied prisoners had their heads shaved and their belongings seized. Camp personnel tattooed a number on the arm of each person, from then on; the prisoners were identified by the number instead of by name. These prisoners were forced to work long hours under cruel conditions, when they were too weak to work any longer, they too were killed or left to die.

There were six death camps, all in German occupied Poland Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. Auschwitz was the largest and most notorious of all these camps. It was a slave labor camp as well as a killing center, about 11 million people were murdered there. History Essays.


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