After Germany lost World War I, it was in a national state of humiliation. Their economy was in the drain, and they had their hands full paying for the reparations from the war. Then a man named Adolf Hitler rose to the position of Chancellor and realized his potential to inspire people to follow. Hitler promised the people of Germany a new age; an age of prosperity with the country back as a superpower in Europe. Hitler had a vision, and this vision was that not only the country be dominant in a political sense, but that his ‘perfect race’, the ‘Aryans,’ would be dominant in a cultural sense. His steps to achieving his goal came in the form of the Holocaust. The most well known victims of the Holocaust were of course, the Jews. However, approximately 11 million people were killed in the holocaust, and of those, there were only 6 million Jews killed. The other 5 million people were the Gypsies, Pols, Political Dissidents, Handicapped, Jehovah’s witnesses, Homosexuals and even those of African-German descent. Those who were believed to be enemies of the state were sent to camps where they were worked or starved to death.
In these camps that these people were sent to, the Germans identified each respective group with a triangular patch sewn onto the people’s clothes. Each patch would have a color, denoting each person into their respective groups. There were also letters placed onto the patches which showed the country of origin of each person.
The Roma Gypsies, like the Jews, were chosen for complete genocide. Both groups of people were chosen completely based on their respective race. The Roma gypsies were not characterized by religion like the Jews, however, like the Jews; they were not respected throughout history and were denied certain basic rights within countries. According to A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust, the Nazis ‘viewed the Roma both as asocial and as racially inferior to Germans’ (‘Victims’). They were sent to execution and concentration camps in large numbers and by the end, hundreds of thousands were killed.
Poland was the country directly to the east of Germany, and conveniently placed, so that Germany could easily take control. They wanted control of that land because of the plentiful agricultural land that would be used to feed the great German race. The Pols were part of a bigger group of people known as the Slavs. ‘To the Nazis, the Slavs were considered Untermenschen, or subhumans’ (‘Victims’). They were treated as though they weren’t people, and Hitler and the Nazis viewed them as just another obstacle to expanding the great German living space. Now what makes the Slavs unique from the other persecuted groups, is that they were not characterized by religion or physical trait, but rather, because of the area of the world they were born in. Also, the mobile killing squads and death camps were not exclusive to just one sub-group within the Slavs; Hitler’s genocidal efforts reached to all kinds of Slavic people.