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Ghettos In The Holocaust: The Badge Of Shame

1585 words - 6 pages

"I would sit in our apartment, and I would see the Polish children across the street bringing milk back home. It was like watching people in a storybook-we had no food, no milk..." These words of Nelly Cesana, a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, are just a slight insight to the torture and neglect that Jews endured while living at the ghettos of the Holocaust.
The concept of separation of people by religion actually began in the Middle Ages. By the time the Nazis came to power, the ghettos were no longer in use, but the Nazis revived the idea of separation by religion. The Nazis wanted the Jews separated from the rest of the population, allowing them to practice their religion without impacting the rest of the population (Wood 58-59).

While living in the ghettos, Jews lived very different lives, experiencing limited types of social interactions, poor living conditions, malnutrition, and horrible health problems.
While living in the confined spaces of the ghettos, Jews lived extremely different lives than they were ever used to. Jews ages 12 years old and over living within the walls of the ghettos were required to wear blue and white armbands more commonly known as "The Badge of Shame". These armbands were used to humiliate the Jews and to isolate them from the Polish ("Everyday Life in the Ghettos 6/7").
Praying and praising: Jewish worship continued in the ghettos and was even more intense during the Holocaust, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that the Nazis forbade it. Many, like those studying Jewish texts in the Krakow ghetto, made huge sacrifices to practice their religion, running the risk of being caught. (Wood 67)

Schools and orphanages were run by the Judenraete (Wood 65). The Judenraete were Jewish councils set up by the Nazis to carry out their orders (64-65). Often times, the Nazis would shut down these schools and orphanages, but the Judenraete would operate them in secret. Many times these informal schools took place in communal kitchens (65-66). The Judenraete created as many factories and workshops as they could to create jobs for the Jews confined in the ghettos. These job opportunities reduced the number of Jews deported (65). Upon arriving in the ghettos , the Nazis confiscated the Jews' money, and in return gave what the Jews called "Monopoly Money". This money was only accepted in the ghetto that it was distributed in, it had no value anywhere else (64). All of these were daily problems and inconveniences for the Jews living within the walls of the ghettos.
The daily lives of those living in the ghettos were made worse by the terrible living conditions that the Nazis confined the Jews to.
We had to go to a pump to get water, which during winter was frozen. It was an existence that is very, very hard to believe. We were there to be used as forced labor. My father was forced to reinforce the fence that surrounded the ghetto and we were given so little food that in three months, he died of starvation....

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