You have probably heard about a period of time, not so long ago, known as 'The Holocaust.' A holocaust, according to Webster's dictionary, is 'a complete destruction by fire' (Stadtler, 1). In Europe, during this period, there was a complete destruction by fire - of Jewish homes, Jewish businesses, Jewish neighborhoods, and Jewish people. This destruction was carried out under the direction of Adolf Hitler, during the years 1939-1945, but it actually began earlier, in 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany.
In my opinion, the Holocaust, which was caused by ignorance, could very well have been prevented. There were many powerful nations, such as the United Stated, the USSR, and Britain, whose leaders and militaries could have stepped in and helped the Jewish people who were facing extremely brutal persecution. Throughout most of the war, the American government clung to the delusion that the Nazi's were persecuting the Jews because of their political or religious beliefs. The U.S. closed its gates to emigration from Europe in 1940-1941, when Jews were still allowed to emigrate. 'Anti-Semitism in America actually increased during the war and started to decline only at the end of it' (Bauer, 297). A Soviet attitude toward the murder of the Jews simply did not exist. While fighting a desperate battle for its own survival, Britain saved the Jews of Palestine, North Africa, and much of the British Empire from the fate of European Jewry. 'The British fought only for themselves, but the defense of their own interests coincided with the defense of civilized humanity, including the Jews' (Bauer, 296). The May 1939 White Paper on immigration to Palestine stated that immigration to Palestine would end after 75,000 had been admitted between 1939 and 1944. When war broke out, the British decreed that no enemy nationals could enter Palestine, which in effect, closed the doors to those who needing rescue most, specifically the
Cited: PAGE Bauer, Yehuda. A History of the Holocaust. New York: Franklin Watts, 1983. Chartock, Roselle, Jack Spencer. The Holocaust Years: Society on Trial. New York: Bantam Books, 1978. Des Pres, Terrence. The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. 'Holocaust. ' Microsoft Encarta (CD ROM). 1993. Stadtler, Bea. The Holocaust: A History of Courage and Resistance. New York: Behrman House, Inc., 1973. Isaacman, Clara. Pathways Through the Holocaust. New York: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1988.