Study Notes on Hitler and the Holocaust

Bergen Belsen was a concentration camp southwest of Bergen, near Celle. It was mainly used between 1943 and 1945, and an estimated 50,000 people died there, including Jews, Czechs, anti-Nazi Christians, homosexuals, gypsies and Anne Frank.

Auschwitz was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps, which was in Southern Poland in a town named Birkenau. The camp consisted of three main parts, Auschwitz I, the administrative part, Auschwitz II, the extermination part and Auschwitz III which was the work part. It is estimated that 1.1 and 1.6 million people died there, from gassing, systematic starvation, disease, execution and medical experiments.

The Nuremberg Laws were denaturalization laws passed in 1935, against Jews. The first law, “The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour” banned marriage and intercourse between Jews and Germans, and also the employment of German women under the age of 45 in Jewish households. The second law “The Reich Citizenship Law” stripped Jewish people of their German citizenship.

Mein Kampf was an autobiography written by Adolf Hitler. The English translation of Mein Kampf is “My Struggle” or “My Fight” and the book was about his plans for an Aryan Germany and that Germany would join Britain and Italy to defeat France and Eastern Europe to overthrow the Soviet Union and the “twin evils” of Judaism and Communism.

The Aryan race was what Hitler believed would be the “master” race, of German/German or “pure” blood. He went to violent and extreme lengths to achieve this race by compulsory sterilisation of mostly mentally retarded people, handicapped people and the Jews. He also started a “euthanasia project” to kill people before they had the chance to breed.

Anti-Semitism is “discrimination, hostility or prejudice” against the Jewish people as “a religious, racial or ethnic group”. The main parts of Anti Semitism are “religious anti-Semitism” which is also known as Anti-Judaism, which meant the practice of the Jewish faith was the cause for hate and”racial anti-Semitism” which was hating the Jews under the belief they were an ‘alien’ and ‘inferior’ race.

Birkenau is the German spelling of a Polish town called Brzezinka, where the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Babi Yar is a ravine in Kiev, Ukraine. Nazis took control of Kiev on the 27th of September 1941 and gathered the 700 patients from the psychiatric hospital and killed them. On the 29th, all Jews in the town of Kiev were ordered to meet near the cemetery. They believed they would be loaded onto trains, but on that day and the next, 33,771 Jews were massacred, making it the second biggest single mass killing of Jews during the holocaust.

The Cold War is a war between the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies, from the mid 1940’s till the early 1990’s.

Concentration Camps before and during the Holocaust, Nazis set up camps that held millions of primarily Jewish prisoners, and large numbers died due to mistreatment, disease, starvation, overwork, or were just executed. Some concentration camps were also known as “death camps” where prisoners where taken not to work or be held captive, but just to be killed.

Fuhrer means “leader” or “guide” in German. In English, it is mainly used to reference to Adolf Hitler. In German, the word is common, but still does have social stigma attached to it.

Star of David is a Jewish symbol, also known as the Shield of David, or Magen David. It is named after King David of Israel and has been used against the ancient symbol of the menorah since the middle ages. In the Holocaust, it was used as a symbol to identify Jews.

Kristallnacht is more commonly known as “Crystal Night”, where civilians, storm troopers and Nazis ransacked, destroyed, looted and burnt down Jewish homes and stores through most of Germany and parts of Austria. 30,000 men were taken to concentration camps and 1,668 synagogues were burnt down.

Synagogues are the place for worship of the Jewish faith. The Hebrew term, biet Knesset means “house of assembly”. A lot of synagogues during the holocaust were either destroyed or turned into prisons/quarters for troops.

Schutzstaffel originated in the 1920’s as a personal guard unit for Hitler and other high ranked Nazis. Under the leader Heinrich Himmler grew to be one of the most powerful organizations in Germany. All personnel to join the SS as it was known, were picked on their opinions of “pure blood” and their loyalty to the Nazi party.

Reichstag refers to primarily three things.

a)It was the parliament for the Holy Roman Empire, the North German Federation and Germany until 1945.

b)The Reichstag Building, in Berlin, was the original house of the German parliament, from 1894 till 1933. It again became the house of Parliament in 1999.

c)The Reichstag fire was a huge event in establishing Nazi Germany. On the 27th of February 1933, a man named Marinus van der Lubbe set fire to the Reichstag building. The day after the fire, Hitler received the Reichstag Fire Decree from President Hindenburg which suspended most civil liberties in Germany.

Propaganda is a message from someone with power, trying to influence people, by misleading them or only providing partial information. Hitler admitted to using propaganda in the favour of racism and communism.

Deportation usually means getting expelled from a country, particularly foreigners.

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