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Hitler and the Nazis used prejudice, persecution, propaganda, and punishment as their main ways of dehumanizing the Jews during the Holocaust and the events leading up to it. Hitler also used the Jewish people as a scapegoat, and blamed all of their societies problems on them.   Discrimination or prejudice toward Jewish people is the definition of Anti-Semitism, and this term dates back to ancient times. During the Jewish and Roman wars, Romans invaded the city of Jerusalem, tore down a Jewish temple, destroyed and stole many of its artifacts. Jews stayed and kept living their lives as well as they could, until the Romans came and wiped out mostly all of the Jewish villages. During the destruction of their homes and towns, many Jews were killed and the ones that weren’t, were sold as slaves or forced to leave. After the wars had ended, Hadrian, the leader of the Roman Empire at the time, renamed Jerusalem in order to cut ties from the Jewish population. The Jews that had either fled or survived, were now only allowed to practice their religion if they paid the Jewish Tax. During this time, the Romans adopted Christianity as their official religion. Another surge of anti-semitism hit during the 1800’s when political movements such as Zionism and German unification came into play. Zionism was the push for the rebuilding of Jewish homes by creating their own state in Palestine. This led to Germans creating conspiracy theories that the Jewish population secretly planned to take over the world.  Since there was not a single official German nation, Germans wanted to unite and create one. The Germans sought to create a nation that could compete with the political and economic power of  Britain, France, and Russia. However, progress was slow, and the blame Question 1got placed on the Jews shoulders. German writers wrote that the Jews were to blame for the slow progress because they were afraid of the power of a unified Germany. World War I was a conflict between Germany and its allies; Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire, and Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan, and the United states. World war I took place from 1914 until 1918, 15 years before the beginning of the Holocaust. Hitler was a part of the army, and like many Germans, he believed that Jews were the reason they lost the war. After the war was over, Hitler joined a party known as the NSDP, or the National Socialist German Workers Party. In 1923, Hitler was put into jail for taking part in the attempt to overthrow the power of Munich, Bavaria. The attempt failed and resulted in the deaths of both officers and Nazis. During his time in prison, Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf”, a book where he wrote his predictions of a European war and how it would cause the Jewish population to end. Shortly after he was released from prison, Hitler was named the chancellor of Germany, and after the death of Germany’s president, Paul Von Hindenburg, Hitler took his place and took full control of Germany. Before the beginning of the Holocaust, Hitler and the Nazis used harsh punishment on groups such as their political rivals such as communists. Dachau was the first concentration camp that was opened, and many of the prisoners that were sent there were communists. Many concentration camps were built not soon after, and Nazis held rallies to prove their commitment to the idea where they would burn books that were written by Jews and Communists. In the next few years, Germany took a turn for the worst. Hitler wanted a race of completely Aryan people, which were people from Europe or Asian heritage with blonde hair and blue eyes. To accomplish Question 1his goals he started removing non-Aryan people from public service jobs, eliminating Jewish run businesses, and taking away Jewish lawyers and doctors licenses. In 1935, laws like the Nuremberg law were put into place that stated that people with 3 or 4 grandparents that were Jewish, were considered to be Jewish. The people that only had 2 grandparents that were Jewish, were thought to be half breeds. Because of the laws, these people gained a huge target on their back, and regularly were persecuted. In 1939, members of the German army moved into Poland and forced thousands of Jewish people to leave their homes and into areas known as ghettos. Ghettos were surrounded by barbed wire and high walls, and since conditions were unsanitary, disease like typhus was common. People in the ghettos were not able to maintain jobs, so poverty and hunger was also widespread.  In 1940, Hitler’s power had expanded and in 1941 Jews and hundreds of thousands of people from other minority groups were put into the ghettos after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. During this time, mobile killing stations were set up as a way to get rid of these minorities by shooting. Later in the year, the Nazis started moving the people from the ghettos into concentration camps. The people that were transported first were the weakest, usually the elderly, the very young children, and people who were sick. Shortly after, everyone was moved into these camps. “Dehumanization is the psychological process of demonizing the enemy, making them seem less human and hence not worthy of humane treatment” (Maiese). When people first arrived that the concentration camps, they went through a process called the selection. Nazis and S.S officers used this selection process to weed out the people that were unable to work or that they thought wouldn’t make good workers. S.S. officers would yell orders Question 1during the selection like, “Men to the left! Women to the right!” (Wiesel 27), to control the large masses of people in the camps.  The people that were selected, were killed. The people were killed by being burned alive in large pits of fire, where they threw bodies one on top of the other. In Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night, he writes “I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it…” (Wiesel 42). The babies that had survived up to this point, were now killed in very violent ways, like being shot in the air or being smashed onto the sidewalks head first. Nazis thought so little of the Jews, so much so that they tattooed identifying numbers into each prisoners skin, and sewed a colored star of david into their uniforms, as if the Jewish people were property rather than human beings. The Nazis also relentlessly beat the prisoners as if they were mindless animals without feelings. Being caught not working, slacking, or even just being sick in general may have cost you your life. In the camps, the people were always at risk. Elie writes, “Was there a single place here where you were not in danger of death?” ( Wiesel 37). In Night, the S.S officers had a particular liking for beating Elie’s father. Just like most of the prisoners, he was left with unnecessary scars, and Elie no longer found himself able to stand up for his father. Elie knew that it was better to keep quiet to protect himself.  Living conditions were also something that made these people seem not human. The concentration camp rooms that were dedicated to the Jews had no beds or furniture at all. The people slept on piles of hay that were sat on the floor. After more and more people were shoved into these camps, bunks were eventually added, but not enough as there were around 180 areas to sleep in with almost 700 prisoners per block. The Jews also did not have the opportunity to shower, or relieve themselves in sanitary ways. These conditions led to multiple Question 1rat and lice infestations, along with the spread of various diseases and illnesses. The workers in the camp were also dehumanized by offering little to no rations of food at the end of the day. Most of the workers spent the daylight hours doing hard labor, and the ones who didn’t do hard labor were doing something tedious. Doing this work burned lots of calories and used tons of energy. At night, the food consisted of a small piece of bread and a soup that had the consistency of water. The lack of food left their bodies frail and skinny. After the Holocaust had ended, American and Soviet troops entered these camps to find piles of bones, dead bodies, and ashes from burning these bodies. These were evidence of mass murder. The people that had survived the events of the Holocaust were left starved and disease ridden. After the Jews were liberated, many feared to return to their homes, because the hatred of Jews was still very much alive. The Nazis also used propaganda to dehumanize the Jewish people. Propaganda is used to persuade the general public to view something a certain way. In Hitler’s Book, Mein Kampf, he wrote about propaganda and his ideas to promote socialism, racism, and antisemitism. In 1933, Hitler made a group called Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda to persuade people to believe his thoughts about the Jews. The group made propaganda through art, music, movies, books, and broadcasts on the radio.  Jews and other minority groups that were affected during the Holocaust were serious victims of dehumanization and anti-semitism. Scapegoating, prejudice, and punishment led to the mass killing of several thousand human beings. Question 2 During the Holocaust, many of the Jewish prisoners questioned and lost their faith in their religion. Although, Elie maintained his faith and even talked to him and asked God questions. After all the Jews had been transported on the train cars, gone through the selection, and had been moved into the concentration camps, many did not pray. Elie Wiesel writes in his memoir, Night, “Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever” (Wiesel 43). During the horrors and events of the Holocaust, many people questioned and even lost their faith in God. The people questioned how God could let something this wrong happen. He wrote, “Some of the men spoke of God: His mysterious ways, the sins of the Jewish people, and the redemption to come. As for me, I had ceased to pray. I concurred with Job! I was not denying His existence, but I doubted His absolute justice” (Wiesel 175). The fact that Wiesel continued to keep his faith during these mass killings, really shows how good his soul truly was. Even though he questioned why this was happening, he maintained his faith and kept asking God questions. This also proves that he was a strong minded human being. Many people in the camps also wondered if this was a test to see who could kill the bad things (Satan) inside them, and prevail. “God is testing us. He wants to see whether we are capable of overcoming our base instincts, of killing the Satan within ourselves. We have no right to despair. And if He punishes us mercilessly, it is a sign that He loves us that much more” (Wiesel 176).  People took comfort in the idea that God was testing them. Hope that was pretty much false.  If I were a Jew during the Holocaust, I would have not been able to keep my faith alive. Once you see the things that the prisoners had seen, and gone through what they had gone Question 2 through, I don’t think I would have believed anymore. Even though I currently identify with no religion in particular, I would have questioned why He could let something like this happen, and why he could let so many terrible things happen to innocent people.Since Elie Wiesel had a religious childhood and life, his faith was able to remain strong throughout the Holocaust. While living inside the concentration camps, his faith allowed him to watch and ask God difficult questions. This allowed him to view the events that took place during the Holocaust more clearly and with logic, even though it was extremely unnecessary. His experience also allowed him to speak for the entire population that lived, and died, inside of the Nazi concentration camps. It allowed him to speak the truths, and his account of the entire thing. He used his platform as an author to write about rights and become an activist, so things like this won’t happen again. In the documentary centered around Elie Wiesel’s life, First Person Singular, he says, “Listen” was written over and over in the Bible. He believed that listening was the way to learn everything. Elie loved strangers. He loved the way they spoke and had different experiences than he has had. In First Person Singular he says, “I love strangers. I love strangers so much because they bring stories, they bring memories, they bring ideas from far away.” (Wiesel). He also thought everything could be learned through words and experiences. Elie Wiesel used his experiences during his childhood and Holocaust to keep his faith strong and become a human rights activist to prevent things like the Holocaust from happening. Question 3 Mass killings and tragic events have taken place over the course of history, while people sit by and remain silent. Sometimes, it’s because they don’t want to get involved, or they don’t know the full story, and sometimes they just don’t care. Many people question why the people that had homes around the concentration camps did not help, and why they didn’t speak up. The people who lived around the concentration camps, just like the rest of the world, truly didn’t understand what was taking place inside. Since they were not living inside the camps also, they couldn’t see exactly what was happening. I feel like this is a huge reason why people didn’t speak up. How were people supposed to bring attention to something that they really didn’t know about? Although intervention may have saved thousands of peoples lives. In Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, he writes, “How could it be possible for them to be burning people-children- and for the world to keep silent?” (54). Another reason people did not speak up about the injustice against the Jewish population, was the risk of trouble that they would get themselves into. People who helped could possibly be thrown into these camps themselves, and then nothing would be accomplished. They also faced the risk of being put into prison or being deported. They thought that the risk of helping them was too high, so they kept quiet to protect themselves and their family. Although, I would assume that the smoke, screams, and the smell of burning bodies would definitely raise some red flags to the townspeople. Just like in todays society, many people thought, “What could one person do?”. Even though people may have known that something was wrong, just one person saying something Question 3wouldn’t have caused the change that they desperately needed. Wiesel wrote, “The world? The world is not interested in us.” (59). In the meantime, the world was still struggling with the idea of antisemitism. Because of this, people would fully deny that the Holocaust even took place at all. People would also brush off the severity of the Holocaust, claiming that it wasn’t “that bad”. The former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was reported saying that the Holocaust was a myth. Jewish people in the U.S. also faced retaliation and antisemitism.During the Holocaust some people ignored the warning signs of the holocaust like the smoke and the terrible smell, some people turned their cheek because of the high risk of being caught and put into the camps themselves. Many people just straight up denied that the Holocaust was even taking place. This led to the loss of several thousand lives, that could have been prevented.

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