Holocaust

.. s, socialists, liberals, trade unionists, dissident clergy, those who didn’t fit in with the racial theories, mentally retarded, physically handicapped, emotionally disturbed Germans, Gypsies, and also Jehovah Witnesses. When the German Army captured Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, a number of German buildings were destroyed by the Soviet Secret Police. The Germans sought retaliation and the Jews of Kiev were targeted. An outdoor office was set up at the ravine Babi Yar, where the Jews waited to be “registered”.

The Jews were stripped of their clothes and valuables and were marched naked to the ravine. There they were shot. The killing continued for three days and three nights. Between the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement there were 33,771 Jews dead, lying in the Ravine of Babi Yar. In the months to come the site at Babi Yar remained a site where executions of Gypsies and Soviet prisoners of war took place.

At the time when the Red army was advancing. The mass graves at Babi Yar were dug up and the bodies destroyed. For more than a month the men worked to dispose of the bodies, and the flames could be seen from Kiev. The Jews then took a call to arms. They fought against the Nazi troops that were taking them in for deportation purposes.

Those in concentration camps fought back as well. The Jews fought against impossible odds. Though they were confined to the ghettos they were still vulnerable. The arms acquired by the Jews were difficult and dangerous to get, and no assistance was obtained by the allies or by the Polish underground resistance. The Jews attacked the Nazis when they learned of their intentions. The call to arms in Bialystok read: Even if we are too weak to defend our lives, we are strong enough to defend Jewish honor and human dignity, and thus prove to the world that we are captive, but no defeated. Do not go freely to your death! Fight with your life until the last breath ..

Make your enemies pay with blood for blood and death for death. (Witness to the Holocaust, 1997, p. 150) The Jews took to arms and fought back against Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jewish population. When did Hitler decide on the plan to exterminate the Jews? Was it when he wrote the Mein Kampf? His third speech excerpted to the Reichstag was his final will and testament just prior to his suicide, when he says to his people to continue the struggle against the Jews. The killing of Jews started when Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 1941.

Conferences were held where the evacuation of the Jews to the east was to be made. Those at the conference knew what the evacuation to the east was in fact the Jews being sent to Concentration camps. Many methods had been tested, such as mobile gas trucks and the construction of gas chambers from farm barns. However by March of 1944, Germany was losing the world war. The Soviet Union was pushing from the west; the Allies were coming from the south and the Germans feared that Hungary would switch sides. With that Germany took Hungary.

The Jews were subject to the Nuremberg laws. They were stripped of all rights and sent to the ghettos. Adolf Eichmann succeeded in sending more than four hundred thousand Jews in seven weeks to their deaths in Auschwitz. The Warsaw ghetto uprising was the most heroic act by the Jews. When the order came for the deportation of Jews from the ghetto, the residents sprung into action. They fought battles on the streets and open warfare began.

The Nazi troops were vulnerable. The Germans were pushed back despite several efforts to push forward. The Germans now started burning buildings one by one and street by street. Even though they didn’t surrender, Jews were seen as freedom fighters to other Jews. The ghetto was supposed to be dealt with in three days.

The Jews held out for more than a month. In the final days of the war, American soldiers came across the Nazi concentration camps. The concentration camps were not their targets, but the American soldiers stumbled upon their existence. The war ended and the Jews still could not return home because their homes were either destroyed or occupied by strangers. Most Jews immigrated to other countries or the US; but not all Jews were wanted.

In the winter of 1943 Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin declared that they would bring the Nazi leaders to justice. An agreement was made to have joint trials. Three forms of crimes were specified on the indictment: Crimes against the Peace – planing, preparation, initiation, or waging of a war of aggression; War crimes – violations of laws and customs of war such as the murder, ill-treatment, or deportation of slave labor or for any purpose of civilian populations .. killing of hostages, prisoners of war, plunder property, destruction of towns and cities; Crimes Against Humanity – murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation .. against any civilian population .. persecution on political, racial, or religious grounds .. whether or not in violation of domestic laws of the country where perpetrated.

(Witness to the Holocaust, 1997, p. 328) The first series of trials were Hitler’s trusted lieutenant Herman Goering, Nazi party officials, cabinet ministers, ministers of armaments and labor, ranking bureaucrats, military leaders, and German occupation officials. The second series of trials of 185 defendants were divided into twelve groups. These trials consisted of the doctors, mobile killing units officers, concentration camp leaders, judges, generals, corporate leaders of I.G. sale of Cyclon-B gas, and the slave labor leaders. No one claimed innocence, but they claimed not to know that they were following orders or that they were singled out.

Though the trials were dismissed because of the cold war, others argued that little was accomplished. The horrors and the acts against Humanity as a result of the Holocaust can’t be justified. Hitler is truly to blame. From the first assault against the Jews to the beginning of ghettoization, Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews and to the Nuremberg Trials prove that Hitler was the leading cause of the Holocaust. History Essays.