The Holocaust is viewed as the exemplary model of a genocide and is often used as a comparison for judging the different defining characteristics of a genocide. Even the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was passed on the 09th December 1948 under the motto “Never again” in response to the Nazis’ destruction of the Jews. Since the Holocaust plays a central role in genocide research, you can find various articles about this subject on our blog.
We will begin with the persecution and discrimination of the Jews between 1933 and 1941.
Despite homosexual activities being punishable acts in the Weimar Republic, the homosexual scene in Germany flourished. The social acceptance of gay men and lesbian women grew: associations were founded, bars and clubs were opened, and magazines were published. The Nazis viewed this as decadent and felt responsible for eradicating the vice of homosexuality. Beginning with the take-over of power in 1933, the Nazis started to persecute homosexual men. Hundreds were sent to concentration camps, associations and societies were disbanded, bars and clubs were closed, any gay publications were prohibited and homosexuals were forced into hiding.
#The destruction of the European Jews 1941 – 1945
Read Part 1 here
#The destruction of the Jews in …
In 1939, Poland was home to more Jews than any other European nation – approximately 3.3 million. All Jews living in areas occupied by Germany were forced to live in ghettos, and later deported to various concentration camps.
The Nazis set up the first concentration camp on Polish soil in Chelmno. It was in operation intermittently between December 1941 and January 1945. Mainly Jews from ghettos in the Polish town of Lodz were brought there. Approximately 300,000 Jews, as well as 5,000 Sinti and Roma, were killed with only three gas vans.
Th destruction of six million Western and Eastern European Jews occurred steadily over the course of the Second World War. Concrete evidence of any annihilation order written by Adolf Hitler has never been found. As such, the assumption is that the decision to commit genocide was made gradually.
In March 1939, Adolf Hitler placed the region known as Rest-Tschechei (also known as “rump” of Czechoslovakia) under administration of the German Reich as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. In November 1941, they converted the garrison town of Theresienstadt into an assembly and transit camp as part of the solution to the Jewish problem. The camp was to predominantly fulfil the following four purposes:
# act as a Gestapo prison (small fortress)
# be used as an assembly and transit camp (main fortress)
# used to aid in the extermination of Jews
# employed as a propaganda tool
During the Third Reich, sick people and people with physical or mental disabilities were viewed as “parasites to the nation’s body” or as “lives unworthy of life”. In accordance with the principle of racial hygiene, people suffering from a variety of illnesses and those with reduced social adaptability were eradicated. The racial doctrine adopted by the National Socialists was based on the theory of social Darwinism, which derives from Darwin’s principle of “survival of the fittest”. By extinguishing all lives unworthy of life, the Nazis looked to accelerate the natural selection process, thereby creating a true master race with pure hereditary material.
Photo: creative commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6652471