Human Rights Violation: The Holocaust
The Holocaust was one of the worst and most horrific events that took place in world history, the largest attempted genocide ever. The Jewish Holocaust has to be one of the largest events that has ever violated human rights. The Holocaust began in 1933 with Adolf Hitler leading the anti-Jew campaign which ultimately led to the torture and murder of over six million Jews in Germany. Hitler’s campaign not only affected the Jews but others would be labeled as “undesirable” as well. Gypsies and homosexuals as well as political and religious opposition would also be eliminated. The Holocaust is taught as a mass genocide of the Jews, but more than five million others would undergo persecution, torture, tattooing and murder. The events that took place during the Holocaust were a definite violation of human rights and social injustice. Adolf Hitler rose to power as dictator of Germany during a time when Germany was experiencing severe economic hardship. He promised the Jews that he would bring them through this rough time. Adolf Hitler was a wise politician and an excellent organizer (Landau 5). With the German defeat in World War I, Hitler became leader of the Nazi regime. His rule began January 30, 1933 and ended May 8, 1945 with the end of the war in Europe. It was Hitler’s vision that the best way to solve the problems that Germany had was to conform to a master race that would control Europe (Fischel 13). He used many devious techniques to convince the German people and many others that they should eliminate all of the people that stood in their way and thus the “Great Germans” would prosper (Schoenberner 45). The destruction of the European Jews was not part of a divine plan, but a human one that Hitler had planned. After Hilter took control of Germany, the terror began. “Jews were characterized as an active and dangerous enemy that endangered the nation” (Fischel 13). Within months of Hitler’s rise to power, he and his government enacted new laws that basically removed Jews from public life and took away their right as citizens. Students and librarians had to free the libraries of all the “undesirable” literature (Schoenberner 17). At this time, public parks forbid Jews from entering. Theaters, concert halls, and museums did not allow entry to the Jews. Schools expelled Jewish children. The Nazi regime demanded all Jewish people to give up their jewelry, radios, and to turn over all of their assets. All Jews had a nightly curfew of eight o’clock (Schoenberner 33). After Hitler invaded Poland, over two million Jews fell into the hands of the Germans. Any Jews over the age of twelve had to be marked. The mark was an armband worn on the upper arm that bore the blue Star of David against a white background (Schoenberner 34). During the Holocaust, the Nazis established concentration camps soon after Hitler took control of Germany. During the war, the Germans created ghettos, transit camps, and labor camps to imprison the Jews. After Hitler launched the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, the murdering process of Jews began. There were extermination camps and death camps that contained gassing facilities (Wollenberg 15). All European Jews now had the mark of death. It was at this time that the Germans began to practice their inhumanity. There was no secret of the violence that the Jews suffered. Everyone, young, middle-aged, or old could witness the destruction of public morality (Wollenberg 15). One eyewitness account of what took place during the Holocaust is Elie Wiesel’s Night. His autobiography gives an account of what happened to the Jews as well as how Hitler destroyed human rights during his reign. Wiesel uses his personal accounts to show just how horrible the Holocaust was to the Jewish people. One example of this is when Wiesel found out that children were being killed by the Nazis. “Not far from us flames...
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Wollenberg, Jorg. The German Public and the Persecution of the Jews. New Jersey: Humanities Press International, 1996.
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