Advanced Composition/ ENGL 135
June 20, 2011
Alena Synjova once stated, “ I’d like to go away alone where there are other, nicer people, somewhere into the far unknown, there, where no one kills another. Maybe more of us, a thousand strong, will reach this goal before too long” (Volavková, 1994, p. 50). During the Holocaust, people craved opportunity to escape to a place where there were polite people and no one killed each other. The Holocaust affected everyone, ranging from the elderly to the young children, who were faced with horrific situations. They witnessed the death of the people around them and were forced to live under unmentionable conditions. The holocaust altered non-Jewish and Jewish childhoods because of forced hatred, exposure to violence, and survival based on self-reliance.To begin with, non-Jewish children were lucky they did not have to endure the same pain and suffering as the Jewish children. Unfortunately, still quite a few non-Jewish children were murdered. These were Romani (Gypsy) children who were killed in Auschwitz concentration camps. 5,000 to 7,000 children were killed as victims of the “euthanasia” program. These children murdered in reprisals. They lived villages in the occupied Soviet Union who were killed with their parents (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). During one night alone, 2,897 Gypsy men, women, and children were gassed (Roth, 2001, p. 77).
Fortunately, there were still those non-Jewish children who were allowed to live; Nazis wanted to spread their beliefs around to the other Germans. “The Nazi Propaganda Ministry, directed by Dr. Joseph Goebbel, took control of all forms of communication in Germany” (Bachrach, 1994, p. 16). Schools played a major role in informing children of the Nazi beliefs. “Some books were removed from classrooms by censors, other textbooks, newly written, were brought in to teach students a blind obedience to the party, love for Hitler, and anti-Semitism (Bachrach, 1994, p. 16). One of those books was The Poisonous Mushroom. By reading this book children learned to hate the Jews (Bachrach, 1994, p. 17).
The children were obligated to join the youth groups. Boys joined the Hitler Youth group and the girls joined the League of German Girls. Girls joined the group at age ten and when they turned fifteen they joined a higher group. “From childhood, girls were taught to prepare for motherhood and conform to the motto of BDM: ‘Be faithful, be pure, be German’” (Roth, 2001, p. 82). The Nazi Youth group leader taught the children that Germans were a superior “Aryan” race and that Jews were inferior people who only wanted to take their money and destroy their country (Fox & Abraham-Podietz, 1999, p. 11). There were also taught to spy and report enemies of Nazism, including their own parents (Adler, 1989, p. 14).
Through the influence of parents, schools, and Nazis, the non-Jewish children were taught how to identify a Jew. “For Hitler, the ideal ‘Aryan’ was blond, blue-eyed, and tall (Bachrach, 1994, p. 12).
Since the children were taught to hate the Jews, there were children who treated the Jewish children horribly and then there were the children who did not believe what they were taught in the youth groups. For example, a non-Jewish young girl named Anne, who was friends with a Christian girl, Dorit, was unable to be publicly seen together because non-Jews were not allowed to be around the Jews. However, Dorit would still secretly visit Anne to play together. They valued their friendship more than a silly rule and did not want to stop the close bond they shared. (Fox & Abraham-Podietz, 1999, p. 24). Being seen with Jews was deadly.
Nonetheless, there were the Jewish children who were taken from their homes and forced to live in the ghettos, in which they were later transported to concentration camps. Before moving people to the camps, the Nazis killed whoever they thought would not be able to...