11 years ago, when i was about 10 years old, I had a homeroom teacher back in New York City, Miss Alana Pollack. During class, there would be a period called 'read aloud' where she would read to us. She would go chapter by chapter each day, emphasizing each point, each intonation. Whenever she reads, we would all gather at the rug, some of us were on those beanie pillows, playing each of her words in our minds, like a mental movie. 'The Devil's Arithmetic' was one of the earlier books she read to us.
Before she reads it to us, she asked what we thought the book would be about. And considering the title, plus the previous book she read to us being the first harry potter book, i thought this time, it would be about ghosts and demons LOL Oh how bluntly wrong I was. It wasn't a fantasy book with fairies and flying brooms lol, it was about this girl who was brought back in time to the holocaust years (1941 - 1943 ish) and got trapped in one of the concentration camps. I didn't quite know what the holocaust was all about at that age. But then was when i was exposed to it.
11 years after that, specifically yesterday LOL, i was browsing thru the movie channels and stumbled upon another holocaust movie entitled, 'The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas'. Its about this 8 year old son of a leader of one of the concentration camps (too many 'ofs' hahaha :P), who befriend a jewish boy in the concentration camp. And at that time, he had a tutor who kept on teaching him how the Jewish people are the enemies, and them being Germans should despise the Jews for the love of their country (or something like that). Of course, to the kid, who's pure and saw no difference between races/colour, there's nothing wrong in befriending a person who's nice to him, and so he continued his friendship. Long story cut short, one day, he decided to help the jewish friend to find his dad who seemed to have been 'missing' (obviously, the dad was already killed, but the jew kid was around 8 and didn't know any better perhaps). So the German kid disguised himself as one of the prisoners in the camp, he wore one of the camp clothes (there's a name for it, but i forgot what it is, sorry :P), dug a hole under the camp's fence, and entered the concentration camp. As they were happily walking to search for the Jewish kid's dad, the Nazi soldiers started to barge into their huts, and called everybody in that camp to gather. The two kids were stuck in the middle of the group of people, as the whole group was being pushed into a room. They were told to take their clothes off and enter another small room. By then, the German kid's parents started to look for him, but it was too late. That small room happened to be one of the gas chambers and he was killed along with the other 200 prisoners. Imagine how the dad must have felt, being the leader of that concentration camp and having his own son to die there.. I'd go mad if i were him..
Regardless of my personal views towards the people who were held as prisoners in those camps, them being good views or bad, i would still say that its still monstrous to treat other people that way out of pure hatred. But Hitler did it, and not only that, he also managed to influence all of Germany to believe in this crazy ideology of his. Yea, he's freakin'ly cruel, but you gotta admit, he's one great man to do that. To be able to make the whole nation share his hatred, to be able to make the whole nation believe that his ideology was right regardless of how insaaane it was. And so after I watched that movie yesterday, it suddenly occur to me to wonder, why did Hitler hate the Jews so much? What did they do to him? I googled it, and below would be the information i found. It may not be useful to any of you, but its something to know considering how it effected the world for so many years huhu :)
Why did Hitler and the Nazis hate the Jews so much?
- Jealousy. Some Jews were successful and held "visible" positions in Austria and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. In the Great Depression. Germany was hit the hardest by the worldwide economic depression, and successful Jews were envied.
- Some Germans believed that "Jewish bankers" were responsible for the Treaty of Versailles.
- Jews became a scapegoat for Germany's economic problems. (According to this racist sentiment, "international Jewish financiers had plunged the world into a war and the Depression for their business profit.")
- Hitler and many Nazis were influenced by the notorious anti-Semitic book called "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion."
- Hitler lived in Vienna from 1907 to 1913 and those were the most difficult years of his life. Hitler was trying to become an artist or to make himself a name in field of arts. He was twice rejected from the Vienna Academy of Fine Art. He claimed that the professors that rejected him were Jewish ... [However, none of the members of the selection panel was Jewish].
- The Nazis had a vision of an Aryan German race that did not include Jews and many other groups of people.
- Here is an example of Hitler's anti-Semitic racism from a speech given in Munich in July 1922: "His is no master people; he is an exploiter: the Jews are a people of robbers. He has never founded any civilization, though he has destroyed civilizations by the hundred...everything he has stolen. Foreign people, foreign workmen build him his temples, it is foreigners who create and work for him, it is foreigners who shed their blood for him."
- Some say Hitler and the Nazis were opportunistic demagogues. Inciting hatred of the Jews was the means to an end. The Nazis used hatred of the Jews to unify the German people and create a new German empire. Nothing unites a people more than when they believe they are constantly under attack and fighting a common enemy. The Jews were convenient enemies. After propagating this idea of Jews being the scum of the earth so passionately, Hitler and the Nazis may have deluded themselves into believing it.
- Christianity had traditionally blamed the death of Christ on the Jews. One can see in the Bible the statement that the Jews demanded the death of Jesus, and said, "let it be upon our heads and that of our children." This became an excuse to abuse the Jews for more than a thousand years. It was not until the 1960s that the Catholic Church stated that the Jews were NOT to blame for the death of Jesus. Antisemitism was deeply embedded in European and American culture.
- In the 1930s there was a lot of anti-Jewish feeling and resentment in the Western world. Many Jews who tried to escape the persecution in Germany were refused entry into the US and other European countries and also many countries further afield.
- Antisemitism has been rife throughout European history, largely because the Jews were a distinct, identifiable group, who did not integrate. (Those who really wanted to integrate converted.) Of course, many now see pluralism as a virtue, and a variety of ethnicities and religions as a positive thing. However, in the inter war period diversity was often regarded as divisive and "disloyal".
- Another key element of a dictatorship is fear, and a visible scapegoat experiencing the wrath of the state is a good way to keep people from stepping out of line.
- Hitler stated: "The war is to be a war of annihilation". His henchman Heinrich Himmler declared: "All Poles will disappear from the world. . . . It is essential that the great German people should consider it as a major task to destroy all Poles."
- The Jews did absolutely nothing to deserve the treatment they got. Like the Africans and the Indians the Jews were just picked for hatred and unjust things but again they did absolutely nothing!
- Since the 1870s the Jews had been the object of a new wave of demonization and conspiracy theories. On the whole this wasn't taken too seriously in Germany, but in Austria anti-Jewish conspiracy theories were spread by extreme right-wing politicians and also by the Roman Catholic Church, which knew perfectly well that these theories were rubbish. Young Adolf was a server (altar-boy) and may have been influenced by this.
- Well, there were more "sub-humans", as Hitler called those poor people, than he could handle. He had to find ways to kill them without making it too obvious. That's when the real Holocaust started ! He built extermination camps, where he could kill many thousands of people at a time.
- Hitler blamed Germany's defeat in WWI on the Jews, and he hated them. When he took power he started rounding them up. He did the same when he started taking over other countries. He used the Jews, Poles, gays, gypsies, Russians and mentally challenged people as slave labor and then started to annihilate them in gas chambers. His reason - hatred. He classed the above mentioned people as sub human and basically in his Nazi world there was no place for the "sub human", only the Aryan (blonde hair blue eyed Germans)
- To understand the Holocaust you have to understand the Darwinian biology of the time. There was a growing sense, particularly since Ernst Haeckel, that there were those in society who were 'biologically' inferior and that for a 'fit' world to survive and thrive, those who were 'unfit' should be done away with. Instead of letting nature take its course, there was a unspoken sense that humans could take matters into their own hands. I am obviously not supporting this twisted logic, but that is a key to understanding how a number of things converged to create the nightmare of the century. [However, 'biological inferiority' is subjective. In Britain, for example, many Social Darwinists, especially those active in education, were most impressed by the achievements of Jews in schools and universities and concluded that they were a 'superior breed' ... This view was to some extent echoed in Nazi conspiracy theories, which painted a picture of diabolically cunning Jews].
- Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany's defeat in World War I.
- Not only did Hitler thank the Jewish doctor who treated his mother, apparently he allowed the doctor to escape Nazi Germany without repercussions. (Doesn't sound like he was too angry at the man).
- He didn't only kill Jews. He killed Communists, liberals, homosexuals, gypsies and many other groups, including millions of victims of warfare. Why he did is up for debate, but I'd guess a mixture of antisemitism and stereotypes of the as Jews as Communists, subsersives and all kinds of other things - as a means to an end. A common way to gain power is to spread fear and panic about an enemy (real or imaginary), stir up hatred and present yourself as the only person able to 'save' the country.