The Holocaust

The Holocaust was the extermination of the Jews and other people whom Hitler considered inferior. It took place from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany led this effort. About 12 million people were murdered, half of them being Jews. When Hitler took over control of Germany, everything changed. Hitler had a very strong prejudice against the Jews. He wanted to create the perfect race of blonde haired blue eyed Germans. His followers, who were the soldiers in the camps, were called Nazis. They enforced all killing that Hitler wanted done. Also, there were many other people involved in this massive genocide. Different people were leading the killing and different groups of people were being killed, not only Jews. For instance, there were many doctors who ran tests on people, but didn't care if the patients were hurt or even killed, which they usually were. All surgeries were performed without any anesthetic. These are just a couple general things that happened during the Holocaust. There are so many things that happened in this time period that are impossible to imagine or just are too horrible to think about.

The things about the Holocaust that I find the most unnerving are the torture and pain they put the Jews and other groups through. The two main topics I feel are most serious or crucial are the medical experiments and their results and reactions on the patients. Also, the different camps, their strong points and general methods for killing used there. There are three camps that are familiar to me and I hear mentioned the most. They are Dachau, Treblinka, and of course, Auschwitz. The doctor who was most infamous for carrying out horrible experiments was Mengele.

Dachau, Treblinka, and Auschwitz were three of the six concentration camps that were used for execution of Jews and other groups considered inferior. At Treblinka, 700,000 to over 1,000,000 people were killed. The gassings at Dachau never went past the experimental stage. They were in no way used as the gas chambers in Auschwitz were. Also, at Dachau, they performed Intense Cooling experiments. A summary of what they did was they'd dress the subject in certain clothes and either put their whole body, to include the brain stem, or only up to the brain stem in water which was from 2.5 to 12 degrees Centigrade. Fatalities only occurred when the brain stem and back of head were also chilled. High altitude tests were also performed where the subject would be taken up at certain heights above sea level and they'd see how long they would survive before their breathing totally ceased. Auschwitz, on the other hand, killed probably the largest amount of people, and this camp was different in the respect that it was also a labor concentration camp. Approximately 1,300,00 people perished at Auschwitz. 1,000,000 of which died in the gas chambers.

Heinrich Himmler appointed Mengele chief doctor at Auschwitz. Mengele once supervised an operation where two Gypsy children were sewn together to make Siamese twins. Their hands, where the veins had been resected, became badly infected. He once cut off a person's arm, without anesthetic, and attempted to reattach it to see if it would still work or go back to normal. Mengele never used anesthetic in his experiments. It was far too expensive for him to waste on people who meant nothing to him and especially on that many subjects. Mengele would personally kill his victims by injecting chloroform into their hearts to perform other or further experiments on their internal organs. He mainly did this with identical twins to see if he could find their genetic cause. Mengele also was known to drop chemicals into patients' eyes in attempt to change their eye color. He also did testing to find out how different diseases affected different races. In other words--how the subjects, each of a different race, reacted to certain diseases, and if those reactions differed among the subjects.

Another topic concerning the Holocaust I find very important is how a society so educated and advanced could create such a situation. Also, an important issue is actually the answer to the question of whether or not a democratic society such as the U. S. could create another Holocaust such as Germany or any other country have or are doing.

There are simple reasons to how an educated and advanced society, such as Germany, could create the situation of the Holocaust. When one single person rules a country, making it a dictatorship, anything is possible. It just so happened, that this person, Hitler, had horrible intentions for his use of power and had psychotic ideas of how things should be. He knew he had the power, so he used it to the best of his benefit and it worked. Since Hitler was so strong from the beginning, he could win people's trust and then make them believe certain things he wanted carried out were perfectly reasonable. He obviously had many followers, which were the Nazis. Who knows if some or even all of them were forced into this just out of fear. If they feared for their lives in any way, then I'm sure they'd go to great extents to stay alive. Also, once they were committed, they must have realized that was it, they weren't getting out of it. Now, also, there must have been many people who willingly attached to Hitler and his beliefs. Those people deserved whatever they got since they were no better that Hitler himself.

Dictatorship, to me, seems to be the biggest reason the Holocaust happened so easily. This is probably what makes the possibility of a similar situation like that happening in the U. S. so unlikely. The U. S. has a president. He does run the country, in a way. He does not, on the other hand, rule over everything, and what he says goes. For example, if Bill Clinton spontaneously said he had a prejudice against all Catholics and he wanted them all persecuted on his call, what do you think would happen? The people have their own rights and can make laws that have the potential to be carried out. There's Congress that has to agree to certain laws. Each state has separate laws, lawmakers, and law enforcers. The fact that the U. S. is a democratic society really does justify the unlikeness. There is so much more freedom for beliefs and religion in the U. S. than in most other countries that the possibility for us to have a similar Holocaust seems crazy. The president cannot just say something and then have it carried through just like that. Germany, on the other hand, had Hitler ruling and what he said was obeyed, or considered then taken in and accepted with no other alternatives. They have no Congress, separate state senators or Cabinets. None of that had any significance over in other countries. I mean, there's always the smallest possibilities for anything to happen anywhere. So you can't rule out anything specifically, but you can easily say how unlikely it is. If a large enough group threw a large enough riot, who knows what would happen, but how could a majority of people from different states all get together and do that secretly? That's where the unlikeness comes in. I feel comfortable with the U. S. way of life and secure that nothing as horrible as that will ever happen here, at least in my lifetime.

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