Holocaust is a “Greek word meaning, ‘destruction of an entirety; a whole'” (Berry Notes). The Holocaust usually refers to a time in Germany when Adolf Hitler was Chancellor, and he and his many followers killed around six million Jewish people, as well as around six million others. We can see the beginnings of Hitler’s theories in his book, Mein Kampf, which means “my struggle”, in which he talks about the master race theory, where all other races than the master Aryan race should serve or be exterminated. After writing this book, Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany, and found many followers by telling German citizens that all of Germany’s problems were caused by the Jewish race. Germans were quick to believe this, because they needed a scapegoat for their problems. Hitler then began to take away the citizenship of Jews, followed by deporting them to ghettos, labor camps, and eventually death camps.
The question still arises, though: who was actually responsible for the Holocaust? Many blame it on Hitler and the German government. After all, they ordered this to happen by creating the Nuremberg Laws, Jewish Ghettos, the “Final Solution”, and so forth. “The Jews were trapped in Hitler’s death net” (Chaikin 121). Hitler was the originator of the idea of this genocide, and he and his partners should be the ones to take sole responsibility, for if it weren’t for them, things could have ended up a lot differently.
“Hitler passed laws to legalize hatred and irrationality” (Chaikin 131).
It could also be said that the German people were partly responsible for this crime against humanity. They fell right into Hitler’s trap, and most followed him in the hate of the Jews rather than asking questions or standing up. Some did have a moral dilemma – it was uncommon for one to speak up because of the consequences – death. Some found ways of doing so, though. “The Dutch people as a whole, like the Italian people as a whole, helped protect and hide their Jewish fellow countrymen” (Chaikin 122). Although the known consequences stopped many from standing up for what they knew was right, many followed Hitler with no reservations. “[Jews] were regularly attacked, both from church pulpits and by mobs in the street” (Chaikin 121). Even people who could have made a difference by saying something rarely did so. “Were there no ministers or public officials to cry out against Nazi policies? Very few” (Chaikin 124). Others around the world even got word of the terror that was happening in Germany, but the facts were to horrible to believe. “Many heads of state found it difficult to believe the reports and tended to discount them” (Chaikin 129).
Many think that the Holocaust should be blamed on one person and one person only: Adolf Hitler. This is not the case, though. Numerous amounts of people are to be held accountable for the killings, from Hitler to the German citizens to members of other countries who aided in the terror or who ignored the facts when they were presented. A final party that should be held accountable, though, that many never think of, is those of us who learn, research, and study about the Holocaust, even today. The fact is, many are unaware that crimes against humanity like this one are still happening today.
It is because of the people who don’t hold that knowledge, and those who hold it but do nothing about it, that these things are still occurring in the present day. Perhaps it is because they don’t understand the reality of the Holocaust, or the present – day terrorism. It can’t be put into words, and perhaps we will never understand it, but if it could be put into a quotation, it would be this: “Six million. Behind each digit, starting with the number one, was a pair of eyes, a face, a living, vital human being” (Chaikin 135).