Definition of Holocaust: Destruction or Slaughter on a Mass Scale

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How Hitler rose to power

On January 30, 1933 the president of Germany Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as the new chancellor of Germany. At the time Germany was in an economical depression that had put millions out of work, because of this its was fairly easily for someone like Adolf Hitler to rise to power. On July 14, 1933 the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche arbeiterpartei in German) was declared the only political party that was allowed in Germany. At the time german population did not realize the extent of the nazis hate for jews and non-germans.

The beginning of a tragedy

One survivor named Edward Adler says that on June the 14th, 1935 he was at a birthday party when he heard someone banging on the door. Tthinking it was his friends he opened the door,. but instead of finding his friends on the other side he found two men with guns telling him that he was under arrest( it was later found out that it was because he was dating a non-jewish woman). Confused he got dressed and left with the the men. From there he was taken to the local police station and was put in a room with two to three hundred other people all asking each other why they were in there. The answer was always that they didn’t know.

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Around six o’clock in the morning they loadedloading everyone, including Edward, into trains (the germans had not begun to use boxcars yet). Then after several hours they arrived to the outskirt of Berlin and unknowingly began to march to the concentration camp. Edward was the forced to do construction labor until in 1938 his wife made arrangements to leave Germany. Later on it wouldn’t be so easy to leave.

Auschwitz and the Angel of Death

Over 6 million people were killed in the Hholocaust itself, over 1 million of these people were killed in a Auschwitz. Even though many know about Auschwitz not very many people have heard of Josef Mengele the Angel of Death. Josef joined the Nazi party in 1937 and on May 30, 1943 he was transferred to the Auschwitz Death camp. In the death camp if they had survived they were to be unloaded and go through a selection. Selections were common occurrences in death camps. When a new group of people arrived a selection took place as soon as they stepped out of the boxcars. They were terrifying things, the prisoners would step out and soon after a german guard would either point to the right or to the left. Whether they lived or died was up to the guard. If they were pregnant, had kids, were under 18 or looked too old they were chosen to die and would be sent to the showers which were actually the gas chambers in disguise. If they were chosen to live then they would be shaved, given new clothes and taken to the barracks. Most guards could not do this sober they would often show up drunk to feel less guilty and would not go if they weren’t required to,but Josef Mengele was different. He would come to almost every selection, sober and in his best uniform unlike all the other doctors and guards.

Mengele wanted to make a name for himself in the medical community using genetics. He thought if he could find out how to assure that a baby would look a certain way(eye /hair colors) it would be one step closer to the saving the german population.For this reason mengele was obsessed with twins, as well as people with dwarfism, gigantism, and those with heterochromia. He didn’t want to missed any twins so he told the guards to shout Zwillinge! (which meant twins) when unloading the boxcars. Some parents did not want give up their children and hid them more often than not the children were found but if not then they sent off to the gas chambers with their mothers.

Josef was called the Angel of Death for many reasons,but one of the main reasons were that he experimented on children of all ages.He would often drop dye or some other chemical into their eyes wondering if it would change their eye color, or purposely inject one twin with a dangerous disease to see if the other would react, if the injected twin died they would kill the other one as well to see what affects the disease had. Each and everyday the twins would be examined for any differences in their physical appearance, then they would have massive blood transfusions,after they would have various injections without anesthesia. That were painful and often fatal.

The War after the War

Even though many camps were liberated the war was not yet over for the prisoners that survived. Most prisoners went back to their hometowns only to find out that they were destroyed and a ghost of what they were before the war. On top of that over 6 million Jews were killed many big families were reduced to one or two people and small families were even less likely to survive. Since this was common after the war many committed suicide not being able to deal with the loss. Others had one or two family members left and lived to honor their family. The holocaust was a dreadful time in history where many inhuman things happened we should learn from past mistakes and prevent this from happening again.

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