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Research Report on the Holocaust

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It's the Holocaust, 1940. You are a Jew, searching for any way whatsoever to survive. You could be sent anywhere, from terrifying concentration camps or ghettos. You might even have to hide away for the whole war with limited food and water with several other families also yearning to escape. All of these choices are no good, but you'll have to pick one to survive. I'll tell you about all of the different choices, and then you decide. 

The Holocaust


By: Sera Ulry

The Holocaust was a terrible time during WWII where Jews, Roma Gypsies, Homosexuals, and other "unfit people" were dicriminated. The Holocaust started in 1933 and - after 12 long years of devestating heartbreak, - ended in 1945 The Jewish population in Germany was reduced to 1% because of the Holocaust. 11 million people died, among those were 1.1 million children and babies. I know that Hitler blamed Jews for almost every problem he had, but why Jews? He could have picked Catholisim, Christianity, Buddhisim, etc., but he chose Judaism. As I was resarching, I found out that anti-semitisim (the hatred and discrimination of Jews), dated back to Ancient Roman times. Apparently, they burned synagouges and Jewish buildings. So that led me to think that Hitler picked Jews because violence in their direction has already occured, so he had evidence as to why he picked Jews to blame. Also, I was reading about how Hitler came to power using unreasonable promises and lies that decieved Germany. I wondered how Jews felt when he ranted about anti-semitisim and war. I think that maybe Jews were scared of Hitler. They probably felt threatened when Hitler declared dictatorship and talked about anti-semitisim. I believe that they were too afraid to speak up and oppose Hitler of his ways, especially after he declared dictatorship.


You might think that the Holocaust was only a minor incident during WWII, but actually, it was major. It turned lots of tides and got many countries to turn against the harsh Germans. 

What was the Holocaust?


     Ghettos are small, fenced in "towns" where Hitler sent his victims. There was little food, water, and medicine. You might have a house now where you have your own bedroom, but in ghettos, multiple families were crammed into one shack. Escaping wasn't an option, because of the heavily guarded barbed wire fences. If you weren't fit for work, you didn't get fed. Because of this, tons of people died in ghettos. 

A map of Germany's death and concentration camps


     It's rimmed in sharp barbed wire. Sick and malnourished kids cry while their parents cry harder. Nazi guards stand facing towards the fence, not letting everybody leave. Where are you? In a ghetto.



Concentration camps were places where the "unfit people" of Germany went for backbreaking labor until their death. Diseases like malnutrition were everywhere. 



     The Auschwitz concentration camp was the most powerful and deadly concentration camp of all time. About 12,000 people died there a day! 1 in 6 Jews that died during the Hoocaust med their end at Auschwitz. Hearing this, you would probably think that nobody would ever try to get into Auschwitz on purpose. Actually, Wiltold Pilecki (a Polish soldier) volunteered to go to Auschwitz so he could gather information and tell the world about the war. And even though Auschwitz was terrible, only about 750 of the 7,000 staff at Auschwitz were punished.


Carrying Wagons/Boxcars

     Imagine riding in a tiny car so cramped with over 75 people in it that you have to stand with your hands above your head. You have to ride for 5 to 10 days - without any food, water or ventilation, ot toilet. This was a real ride, and they were used to transport Holocaust victims to concentration camps and sometimes ghettos. The longest ride victims had to go on was 18 days long. And without any of the basic needs, that's just too much. When the doors were opened to let the victims out, everybody was already dead. 



     Labor was terrible - backbreaking labor day ina dn day out. One truly horrifying job was to burn dead victims of the camps in huge furnaces. Think about having to carry dead bodies and burn them every day and night! Only about 40 of the thousands of labor victims survived. 



     You walk, barefoot, along tough dirt littered with sharp pinecones and rocks, piercing your feet. But after standing on rocky stone while swinging all day at coal, your feet don't hurt the most. Your back aches from carrying 60 pounds of coal several miles, your arms ache from the constant swinging. No stopping, though, or one of the commanders will shoot you down. 




      Camp is no better. A five second "shower" under muddy water doesn't refresh you. After, you are served food. Today must be sunday, becaust you recieved your week's worth of rations. Gritty bread apparently filled with sawdust. Wattery cabbage soup poured in the same tin can you pee in. You greatfully sccept the food, though, and step out of line, though, before you get whaked with a baton. Trudging back to your bunk, you lay down with your only friends the bed bugs, and dread the next day, half-hoping it won't. 

Concentration Camps


     Killings. They happened every day during the Holocaust, even though it's huge news if one happens now. Infants and newborns were killed before thier births were even recorded. For example, there was a group of killings called the Einsatzgrupen Killings, which produced over 130,000 people dead in 5 months. But that's only to name one. 



    Euthanasia was the killing of the mentally ill and old. I think Euthanasia was a terrible element of the Holocaust. Killig old people and the mentally ill was just too much. For one thing, Euthanasia vitims can't defend and protect themselvess. Hitler tried to keep Euthanasia a secret from civilians to stop protests and uprisings, so they used words like "final solution" "cleansing" etc. But soon the word got out and people started questioning Hitler's fairness. 

Night of the Broken Glass

     The Night of the Broken Glass, or Riechkristallnacht, was probably one of the most major killings during the holocaust. Tons of Jewish synangouses were burned, crushing the Jewish spirit. Hundreds and hundreds of Jews were killed, and thousands more were arrested. 

Gas Chambers

     The gas chambers during the Holocaust killed millions. Gas chamber victims were led in large groups to a room that filled with poisonous gas, rising from bottom to top. Creepily, because of this, the strongest victims would be at the top of the pile of dead bodies because they fought thier way to the top where thier was fresh air harder than everybody else.      

     What happened every day? Was normal to watch during the Holocaust, but not today? What caused over 25% of the causualties during the Holocaust? Killings, of course. 



     Anne Frank was a youg Jewish girl who hid in the "Secret Annex" for a duration of the war. She is famous because of her diary, which she wrote in when she was hiding. She poured ALL of her feelings that couldn't be let our physically or verbally and made them into beautiful pieces of writing. Sadly, the Secret Annex where her and lots of other people were hiding was found and Anne and her sister Margot were taken to a concentration camp where her and Margot died. Her journal was found and made famous by her father, Otto Frank, who survived the war. I think Anne Frank was terrified hiding in the Secret Annex. She probably saw terrible things through the only small window in the Annex. She would obviously pour her feelings into her diary, but I couldn't imagine not being able to make loud noises of  go outside for over 2 years! 


     Hiders obviously hid out during the Holocaust. Jews lived with obliging non-Jewish families, etc. Or, the ffamily of victims would hide out in a secret place where they wouldn't be found ike a basement, attice, of crawlspace for the war. Necessities like food and water would probably be provided by non-Jews or people that weren't victims that were willing to take the risk. After the war, most of the families escaped to freedom or just stepped out in the open. Secret hiding places were obviously uncomfortable and inconvenient, with usually several families in one secret place. 


     By now, knowing that I've told you the most haunting elements about killings, ghettos, and concentration camps you're probably wondering how people survived at all! Well, some people survived becuase And they were hiders. How did they survive? Read on to find out. 


Anne Frank


     You survived? How? After reading my report, did you decide to be like Kamirez Piechowski and survive the concentration camps by escaping using stolen SS uniforms? Or like Anne Frank who survived a large duration of the war by hiding? Or like Jack, a Jew, who managed to escape a ghetto barely by sneaking away? Whatever you decided, I hope you understand how hard life was during the Holocaust, and respect the millions who died during it. 

"It is God that has made us as we are, but it will be God, too, who will rise us up again.  - Anne Frank