What Happened To The Jews During The Holocaust ?
The Holocaust refers to the systematic persecution and slaughter of Jews by the Nazis. It was a genocide of insurmountable proportions that is difficult to comprehend even decades later. This genocide started in April 1933 and only came to an end after the Second World War finished. What happened to the Jews during the Holocaust was unthinkable.
It is estimated that nearly 11 million people were persecuted as well as slaughtered during the Holocaust. The Nazis did not spare women or children. About 6 million Jews were sent to concentration camps and the remaining 5 million comprised of homosexuals, gypsies, political activists, Jehovah's witnesses and disabled people.
When the Holocaust started, the Germans were encouraged to boycott businesses and establishments run by Jews. This was done via the Nuremberg Laws. The laws also forbade inter-racial marriages and banned Jews from holding government jobs. As time went by, Jews were further banned from coming to public places and Jewish doctors and healthcare professionals could treat just Jews and no one else. The Nazis made it mandatory for the Jews to wear a yellow-colored Star of David, so that they could be identified easily.
Jews were asked to vacate their homes and were shifted to specific areas in cities known as ghettos. In these ghettos, several families had to live under one roof in cramped and unhealthy manner. It was from these ghettos that Jews were dispatched to concentration camps, which were categorized as transit camps, labor camps or death camps.
Concentration camps were mostly present in Poland, but could be found where ever the Nazis had occupied the country. The Jews were transported in freight trains to these camps under inhumane conditions, and many perished on the way.
In these camps, the inmates were tortured, used for medical experiments and also as slave labor for SS run as well as private businesses. They were hardly given any food. If the Jews did not die from the torture, they often succumbed to starvation. Many Jews were hung, beaten or whipped severely in these camps. They were also made to work long hours, some times 12 to 14 hours without a break. The barracks to house the prisoners did not have heating, bathrooms or sanitation. The inmates had to sleep on hard wood.
The death camps were the worst of the lot. These were built to exterminate the Jews without them knowing. The most dreaded death camp was located in Auschwitz, Poland. The inmates were taken into chambers and then killed en masse using cyanide gas. It is estimated that a million Jews were killed in Auschwitz. Children, adults who were ill or frail, and others considered bad for the Aryan race were killed. According to estimates, the Nazis killed 1.2 Jewish children and thousands of gypsy and disabled children.
More Articles :