How Did This Happen?
Pain, fear, emotional scarring and death, all of those words can't even describe how
horrible and disgusting the Holocaust was. January 30th, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed to
Chancellor of Germany by President Hindenburg. This was the start of a long and dark 12 years.
Countless raids, attacks, moving and mass killing millions of innocent people. Over 6,000,000
Jews and other people including Polish citizens, Soviet citizens, Gypsies, homosexuals, and
disabled/handicapped people. During the Holocaust, two thirds of all Jews in Europe were killed
and one third of the world's Jewish population. The Holocaust is one of the most disturbing and
fearful parts of history, but a lot can be learned from it.
Anti-Semitism in Europe did not begin with Adolf Hitler. The term itself can be dated
back to the 1870s. There is evidence of hatred towards Jews long before the Holocaust, as far
back to ancient Rome. Anti-Semitism, in the 20th century took a rather noticeable racial quality.
Nazi-era propaganda portrayed Jews as biologically distinct from white Europeans and
possessing physical characteristics. Such as large noses and thick curly hair. Adolf Hitler’s belief
that Jews were racially inferior which in his eyes posed a threat of the “pure blood” of the Aryan
race. This inspired the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which made it illegal for for marriage and sex
between Germans and Jews. The Nazis, as a governing party, ordered many anti-jewish boycotts
and staged book burnings these acts soon to become more popular and increased in severity. On
November 9th, 1938, the Nazis destroyed synagogues and Jewish owned stores, through
Germany and Austria.
During the Holocaust, the creation of ghettos was a step in the Nazi process of separating,
and ultimately destroying Europe’s population of Jewish people. Ghettos were made to keep
Jews separate from the rest of the population. They were designed to be a temporary location,
some only lasted a few days or weeks, in some cases a few lasted for several years. Majority of
the people who lived in ghettos died from disease or starvation, were shot or moved to
concentration killing camps. Living conditions were awful and miserable. They were enclosed
locations that isolated Jewish people from the rest of the population. The Germans created over
1000 ghettos in German occupied, annexed Poland and the Soviet Union. There were three types
of ghettos, open ghettos, closed ghettos and destruction ghettos. The first ghetto was established
in Poland, Piotrków Trybunalski, in October 1939. The largest ghetto was Poland which was the
Warsaw Ghetto. In Warsaw more than 400,000 Jews were forced into an area of 1.3 square
Hitler and the Nazi regime also resorted to simple and extra legal terror to scare
opponents. Nazi paramilitary formations, for example the Storm Detachments (more commonly
known as Storm Troopers) and the Protection Squads (SS). These were established to scare
political enemies and to...