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Facts About Holocaust

 

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The Nazi expansion into Europe marked the increased abuse of the Jews. Due to the invasion of Poland (1939) and Russia (1941), there was a mass influx of Jews under German rule. Hitler gave the role of dealing with them to Himmler (SS) and Heydrich (SD) both fierce anti-Semites. It was decided that Poland, a country with 2 million Jews would be rounded up and be placed into Ghettos, most notably Warsaw. The Nazis believed that by placing them into these fenced cages many would starve to death or die of “natural causes”. The conditions were appalling, starvation and disease were rife leading to many uprisings against the Nazis, namely the Warsaw Uprising (1943), which involved an uprising numbering 60,000 and although it was bold and brave it was severely crushed by the SS. People living in these ghettos and other Jews were forced to wear to Star of David so that they could be recognised easier. This degradation and inhumane treatment of the Jews is an example of the ill treatment that they were experiencing under Nazi control. The mass influx of Polish and Russian Jews especially forced the final decision to be made on the “Final Solution” because the ghettos were becoming inundated with inhabitants that there was not enough space to house them all. A number of ideas were put forward, e.g. the Madagascar Plan, which would involved the transportation of European Jews to the island of Madagascar, where they would be worked as slave labour to death. However, this proved impractical because the British Navy controlled the seas, but the solution would involved the slave labour and extermination. These plans obviously spelled a worsening of treatment for the Jews and by June 1941, Himmler was given the order supposedly by Hitler to begin the construction of gas chambers and crematoria for mass extermination, no official documentation was found of the order. The invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 saw the beginnings of the mass killings and murderous treatment of the Jews. Behind the Nazi advance, 4 action squads (A-D), consisting of SS men, police forces and other ordinary Germans were deployed to begin systematic execution of Russian Jews, called Einsatzgruppen. These extermination squads caused the deaths of 1.2 million Russian Jews, but this method proved mentally taxing on the men and was not achieving the figures the Nazis wanted. Hence, more emphasis was put into the construction of the gas chambers.

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