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Holocaust Essay

1925 words - 8 pages

The Holocaust
No one could ever determine the importance of six million lives, it would be impossible to. “The intentional extermination of six million people has affected the world in ways that we will never know, maybe the person who could have discovered the cure for Cancer or AIDS died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.” (Fischel, 78). Six million people is fully one fifth of the world's population.
This may not sound like a huge number, but it is. Six million lives all gone. Whole families were wiped out. The Holocaust illustrated many societal conditions in history. Therefore, it is important that we study the effects that the Holocaust had on the concentration camp prisoners.
The holocaust was the principle part of Adolf Hitler's master plan to have the white Aryan race dominate the world. All other life was unimportant. It was to be used as either slavery, or be exterminated. Most minorities were counted as the people that must be wiped out, but primarily Jews. The holocaust was not only Jews however. An estimated 5.5 million other Slaves, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, mental defects, socialists, communists, and any other groups that did not fit into his vision of the master race were murdered in the same concentration camps in the same way as the Jews. The main difference between Hitler's killing of the Jews, and these cases, is that there was no intention to kill all of them, or cause a “genocide”, as was true with the Jews (Fischel, 117). Would have Hitler killed them all if he had enough time is an interesting question, however there is not enough evidence to base an answer on it.
Almost all of the killing during the holocaust was done in prison like facilities called concentration camps. These large camps were guarded my German SS officers who were told to kill any inmates they thought necessary. The largest, and perhaps most well known concentration camp during the holocaust was located in north Poland in the small town of Zasole. There were actually two camps to be built here. The first was built right after Poland was made into the Axis Empire in 1939. This camp held only ten thousand people. It was named Auschwitz. Two years later, a second camp was built about one and one half miles from the original camp. This camp was much bigger and had as many kills as the original and it’s was named Birkenau. Later, the camps were put together and called Auschwitz-Birkenau (Fischel, 125).
Most of the killings in the concentration camps, especially in Auschwitz, were done in gas chambers. German SS officer Bock describes a gassing at Auschwitz saying "There was a sign to disinfection”. He said “you see, they are bringing children now”. They opened the door, threw the children in and closed the door. There was a terrible cry. A member of the SS climbed on the roof. The people went on crying for about ten minutes. Then the prisoners opened the doors. Heat was coming from the bodies and they were placed on a rough wagon and...

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