German-Jews and the Holocaust
German-Jews and the Holocaust
Prior to the era of Second World War in 1930s, community of Jews had already established their society within the German realm. For last 1600 years of German-Jewish relations, German Jews were first to experience the dramatic persecutions inflicted by the German society. b. Overview German-Jews, despite of their German blood, did not experience any benefits or considerations during the Second World War. Prior to war (1938), the population of German Jews within Germany was approximately 560,000 (Lavsky 78).
As supported by Merchant, Rubenstein and Roth (2003), German Jews were at that time classified as coherent groups from the entire Jewish community (220). The feud between the German-Jews and the German society had originated from the rich Jewish culture and German Jewry that brought the hallmark of modernity to the Germany nation (Wright, Ager and Hantrais et al. 16). In fact, higher factions from German Jews were those families from middle to upper class sections, which considerably imply the rich legacy of German Jews in Germany (Merchant, Rubenstein and Roth 220).
According to Geller (2005), during the pre-war era, Germany was the official immigration beacon for the Jewish people, which eventually led to the assimilations and hybridizations of culture and lineage (1). During the initial years of World War II, German Jews were used as threatening objects against the overall Jewish community. According to Lavsky (2002), there were around 322,000 German Jews emigrated after a year followed by significant killings, massive German Jews persecutions and many were placed into exile (78).
Nazi leaders in 1938 and 1939 anticipated the initial killings of the deported German Jews at Germany in order to threaten the Jewish community and motivate them to leave Germany (Victor 195). Every Jewish kind presently living in Germany and near-by nations had become the prospects of Hitler’s annihilation plan. Even during the pre-war era, German Jews were the ones who first suffered from the activities of Nazis and Hitler’s henchmen. In 1941, the population of German Jews had dropped from 560,000 down to 150,000, which eventually dropped progressively due to the continuous deportation and murders within German camps (Lavsky 78).
In 1933, the time when Hitler rise to power, German Jews did not possess any effective organization to resist the anti-Jewish campaigns of the Nazis (Merchant, Rubenstein and Roth 221). During the same year, German Jews were noted to be at their height of social power with their members leading Germany’s trade, commerce, white-collar professions and different upper class positions (Herf 36). However, by the time Hitler and his Nazi started with their destructive anti-Jewish campaigns, German Jews became the initial target of their propaganda.
After the war, the population of existing German Jews was approximately 9000 comprising mostly of survivors from concentration camps, mainly in Theresienstadt (Lavsky 78). In the study, we explore the life of these German Jews during and post progressions of Anti-Jewish campaigns. II. Discussion a. German-Jewish in the Era of Holocaust The notoriously famed Nazi leader – Hitler – only aimed his destructive concentration among the existing Jewish population within Germany. However, even the German Jews were discreetly alarmed as Hitler came to power in 1933.
According to Merchant, Rubenstein and Roth (2003), German Jews established a movement called the Federal Representation of German Jews or the Reichsvertretung in September 17, 1933 composed of middle- and upper-class Jews. The head of the movement was Berlin Rabbi Leo Baeck – German’s most influential Jewish Rabbi (221). However, the problems confronted by the organization were its fragile foundations and relatively small number of population incapable of directing change to the overall Jewish community. According to Herf (2006), the population of German Jews in 1933 comprised only 0.
76% of the total German demographics (35). Unfortunately, the rise of Nazis in 1933s immediately degraded German Jews community with the Nazi’s strategies of armed resistance, alleviation, evasion, paralysis and compliance (Merchant, Rubenstein and Roth 221). According to Bankier (2000), even with the German Jews’ distinct suspicion against the Nazi’s rising dictatorial rule channeled in their anti-Semitism movement, Nazi was still able to pursue their anti-Jewish campaigns discreetly and flawlessly under the leadership of Hitler (373).
The political rule of Nazism and anti-Semitism provided Hitler and his campaigns discreet opportunities in influencing other German organizations. According to Merchant, Rubenstein and Roth (2003), tactics of oppressions made by Nazi’s were initially tolerable to maintain their stealth campaigns against German Jews (222). All efforts made to combat the expanding powers of Nazism and anti-Semitism were countered and made futile (Bankier 373). In 1933, Nazi’s expanded powers were able to dissolve the Reichsvertretung organization established by the German Jewish community.
Nazi was able to implement a political notion preventing any establishment of organization against to the ideologies of anti-Semitism and Nazism. As supported by Bankier (2000), any attempts made to counter the existing movements of Nazism and anti-Semitism were, by default, considered as an attack against the dictatorial government (373). German Jewish community was not able to resist the impending threats of Hitler’s campaigns. Incidence of Jewish persecution began to rise and the powers of the Jewish community against the Nazi were eventually oppressed.
According to Herf (2006), Hitler and his Nazi movement were aware of the wide influences of the existing middle- and upper-class German Jews; hence, in order to continue with their plan, they first had to dissolve the powers of German Jewish sect and the community’s political associates (37). Initial attempts made by the Nazis were to strip these German Jews professions from their authorities within the German society. According to Kremer (1989), there were around 300,000 German Jewish professionals immediately terminated from their posts between 1933 and 1934 (93).
Hitler aimed his tactics on the professional denominations of German Jews to reduce the risk of forming potential propaganda or organization against the growing Nazi. Following the great number of terminated professionals was the Nazi’s campaigns of emigration for these German Jews fronting the promise of safety. Most German Jews were emigrated from Germany to nearby nations, while some were threatened and persecuted. The persecution of German Jews became the initial step of Nazi’s threats against the overall Jewish community.
In 1938, approximately 20,000 German Jews, together with 15,000 Austrian Jews, fought against the Nazi regime (Bankier 376). The persecution of German Jews had triggered the hallmark of German Jewish deportation. In November 1938, approximately 10,000 Jews committed massive suicide as a sign of protest to the Nazi regime (Bankier 376). According to Victor (2000), Hitler delegated some of his commandants, such as Chief Security Main Office Reinhard Heydrich and Hitler’s designated successor Hermann Wilhelm Goring, to facilitate the emigration of German Jews first to Great Britain, then smuggling them towards the Palestine lands (195).
According to Rosen and Apfelbaum (2002), German Jews emigrated to Poland were placed under the jurisdictions of Soviet Union and German camps situated within the area. German Jews emigrated to the concentration camps of Siberia known as Gulag had been held as capitalists. The Soviet Union did not murder any single Jew under their jurisdiction and, with Communism being against other religion, anti-Semitism and the Jew’s Zionist movement were collapsed (Rosen and Apfelbaum 12). After the Poland attacks in September 1939, World War II was officially ignited within the Western parts of Europe spreading across other nations.
During the same year, 3. 5 million Jews were placed under totalitarian rule (Rosen and Apfelbaum 12). After the attack on Poland, Goring and Heydrich reported to Hitler stating the closure of emigration for German Jews because Poland had refused accepting the emigrated Jews; hence, a deportation back to Germany was initiated by Heydrich (Victor 195). Emigration of German Jews was halted in Hitler’s order. Instead, these individuals were placed into exile and shipped to different German concentration camps. b. Different Scenarios of Persecution
During the plot establishment of Nazi’s anti-Jewish campaign, the hardest part was defining the coverage of their campaign. According to Cesarani and Kavanaugh (2004), Nazi’s transition from demagogic campaign to anti-Semitism was confused by the issue on whether they need to include German Jewish community in their plot of anti-Jewish activities (239). German Jews community comprised 3,400 registered mixed marriages in 1932 alone, and this population denomination was called German Jewish Mischlinge (Cesarani and Kavanaugh 239).
According to Wyman and Rosenzveig (1996), German Jews had experienced anti-Jewish campaigns as early as 1933 with the implementation of the Nazi’s largest anti-Jewish boycott. After two years, the approved Nuremberg laws deprived Jewish community of their appropriate citizenship, which prohibited most of the Jews social rights, such as marriage, sexual relations and professional affiliations (Shapiro 286). From 1935 up to 1938, German Jews experienced intense persecutions from all sides of German society.
On November 9, 1938, the murderous anti-Jewish campaign began. According to the recovered news report, entitled Nazi Terror Presaged on Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) dated November 9, 1938, approximately twenty thousand German Jews were emigrated to the Polish frontier just to be denied by the Poland government and to be reduced to poverty (cited in Slater and Slater 192). The scope of Hitler’s anti-Jewish campaign included all kinds of Jewish denomination comprising the high population of Mischlinge.
According to Wyman and Rosenzveig (1996), the night of November 9 marked the murder of ninety-one Jews living in Germany, three-hundred were arrested unconditionally, and seventy-five Jewish-owned businesses burned and vandalized (400). The year of 1938 became the marked starting year of the German Jews’ intensive persecution implemented by the Nazi Germans. After the incidents of 1938’s Crystal Night, the German Jews did not receive any justice or support from the dictatorial Germany.
Under the influence of Nazi’s anti-Jewish campaigns, German Jews were banned from many public establishments and various social rights (e. g. obtaining driver’s license, owning business permits, etc. ). In 1939, after Germany’s attacks on Western Europe and Poland invasion, Hitler announced his Final Solution for freeing Germany from the Jewish population. According to Victor (2000), the final solution of Hitler was to kill and/or deport German Jews and the existing Jewish community (195). This was the formal inauguration of Hitler’s worldwide plot of Jewish annihilation.
Prominent German Jews, such as politicians, scientists, journalists, composers, actors, religious leaders and teachers were forced into exile in the Nazi’s effort of destroying the Jewish culture existing in Germany (Wright, Ager and Hantrais et al. 17). By September 1939, mass killings on Polish Jews and exile of German Jews by death squads had increased its number. Immediately in 1940, the killings were followed by annihilation of German Jews and Jewish patients in all German hospitals (Victor 196).
According to Rosen and Apfelbaum (2002), in 1940, the Nazis implemented their ghettoization scheme wherein Jews present in German concentration camps were placed tightly inside the Nazi-established Ghetto gathering them around prior to massive execution (12). During this time, Nazi was also gathering all the riches and properties left by the German Jews. By November 1940, all collections of Jews from Germany and Poland were starved to death as ordered by Hitler himself (Victor 196).
Killing campaigns against the Jewish community had reached the extreme extent of murdering Jews on a daily basis (Rosen and Apfelbaum 12). Small Jewish villages found by the Nazis were immediately dissolved, while captivated dues were immediately sent to concentration camps to participate in the Nazi’s ghettoization scheme. According to Wyman and Rosenzveig (1996), German Jews shipped in one of the famous Nazi concentration camps – Auschwitz – reached the count of 43,103 from the overall Jewish demographics of 139,606 present in the said area (401).
Within the concentration camps and Nazi ghettos, Jews were sorted accordingly depending on their field of profession and capacity to work. Some of the famed Nazi machines used by the Nazi to annihilate Jewish communities were their automotive exhaust vans fillies with Zyklon B (cyanide) and man-made death camps with installed human incarcerations and cyanide showers (Victor 197). Since elderly and female population were less active and functional compared to the males, they were gathered inside the ghettos and suffered extermination from the Nazi machines (Wyman and Rosenzveig 401).
Meanwhile, according to Rosen and Apfelbaum (2002), there were around 15,000 Jewish children from German emigrants incarcerated at Auschwitz concentration camp, and from this number, only 100 survived (14). The efforts of the Nazi to wipe out the entire Jewish lineage had brutally affected the Jews living in the Germany from elders to children of every gender. Fortunately, with the early emigration campaigns of Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Himmler (the proponents of Anti-Jewish campaign – Final Solution); majority of the German Jews had escaped the claws of Hitler.
However, the German Jewish community established for 1600 years was greatly damaged to the brink of extinction. c. Post-War Conditions After the implementations of war and anti-Jewish campaigns, Jews from around the world delighted due to their survival from the raging chaos brought by Hitler. According to Geller (2005), the German Jews first enjoyed the emancipation of Jewish community from Nazi’s and German society’s persecutions (2). However, the casualties resulted by the Nazi’s campaigns were intense and almost annihilated the entire community.
From the three noted cities of Germany namely (a) Cologne, (b) Dusseldorf and (c) Hanover, the persecutions of Nazis against the German Jews had indeed resulted to a dramatic decline of German Jewish population nationwide. According to 1925 census, there are about 16,000 German Jews living in Cologne, 5,130 living in Dusseldorf – Westphalia and 423,000 in Hanover. However, after the census in August 1945, German Jews survivor from these areas decreased to 40 to 50 Jews hiding at Cologne, 638 Jews from Dusseldorf and 1,200 from Hanover (Lavsky 82).
According to Wyman and Rosenzveig (1996), World War II had led to the closure of all Jewish establishments within Germany and almost all on the nearby European countries, while the approximated 3000 Jewish religious organizations were closed and absorbed by the German Imperial Association (401). Casualties of the war involved 160,000 to 180,000 murdered German Jews, while an estimated 8,000 survived the transports, camps and death marches (Wyman and Rosenzveig 401). Jewish survivors found hidden in slaughtered communities and concentration camps were immediately brought to Allied Group’s medical attention.
Unfortunately, German Jews found in other areas except for concentration camps were treated discriminately as well due to their German lineage (Kochavi 56). With the help of United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and established Allied forces, Jews from these camps were immediately provided with rations and supplies (Wyman and Rosenzveig 401). Discriminations and public conflict against German Jews did not last long. Allied forces had facilitated the return of properties and reestablishment of Jewish communities on areas affected by war.
According to Kochavi (2001), western Allies suspended all the passed legislations that discriminated Jews of any denomination in Germany (56). The suspension was for the purpose of remigration and re-establishment of Jewish settlement within the German premises. However, the ideology of anti-Semitism did not end even after the death of Hitler or the war. According to Wyman and Rosenzveig (1996), “Semitic excesses continued, especially in Poland, where Europe witnessed its last full-scale pogrom against Jews in the town of Kielce in the summer of 1946, forcing thousands to flee to the (Displaced Person) DP camps of Germany” (402).
Despite of the existing conflicts in Germany, the Berlin Allied administration aided in the return of the Eastern European refugees, which comprised mostly of German Jews emigrated during post-war, to reestablish Jewish community within Germany (Wyman and Rosenzveig 401). On April 30, 1946, approximately 74,000 German Jews remigrated back to their post-war German community. During this time, the Jewish community started establishing different organizations to help rebuild their community as well as to strengthen the legal and civil rights of Jews of all denominations within Germany.
Despite the massive murders, removal of Jewish properties, destruction of their established communities and brutal persecutions, German Jews were able to reestablish their lost heritage within post-war Germany. d. International Relations of Germany during World War II On the other hand, Germany had suffered tremendous notoriety impression worldwide due to the inhumane campaigns brought by Nazi and its leader- Hitler. After the incident of Krisallnacht in November 9, 1938, the United States was immediately alarmed by the chaos caused by the pre-warring activities of Germany.
According to the German ambassador in Washington, Hans Dickhoff, American people at that time were indeed incensed against Germany without any single exception (Slater and Slater 194). November 23 of 1938, few days after the Krisallnacht incident, New York protestors conducted a massive demonstration protesting on the massive violence brought by Germany to the Jews. Activities of the Joint Boycott Council were then followed up by Chicago’s protests that led to the burning of the German flag (Slater and Slater 194).
During the post-war era, German citizens initially did not acknowledge their committed crimes against the community of Jews. The ideology of anti-Semitism continued from 1946 to 1948 until the election of Konrad Adenauer – the first chancellor of the newly formed Federal Republic (Wyman and Rosenzveig 401). With the leading of Adenauer, policies and regulations were passed to ensure the protection of Jews from possible German persecution, especially from those still in-lines with the anti-Semitic ideology.
According to Wyman and Rosenzveig (1996), Denazification began with the Nuremberg tribunal established on November 20, 1945, which was presided by the Allied victors (404). Denazification was initiated by German society with the help of United States, which aimed at fostering the restitution process between the citizens of Germany and the crimes they had committed against the Jewish community. ). III. Conclusion In conclusion, German Jews had indeed suffered their tremendous faith from the hands of the Nazis and Hitler’s direction from 1933 up to 1945 post-war.
The persecution against German Jews was due to their increasing participation within the German society, and the extensive riches and powers possessed by this Jewish denomination. With the rise of Nazi in 1933, German Jews became the initial targets of Hitler and his campaigns in order to prevent any establishment of organization oriented against his campaigns. Persecution against German Jews and all other Jewish denominations continued more tolerable Nazi strategies (e. g. massive boycott, vandalism, decline of social rights, etc. ) up to aggressive activities (e. g. murder, decline of Jewish major rights, etc.
). In 1938, German Jewish was emigrated from Germany to Poland, Russia and other nearby European nations. The program of German Jews emigration was facilitated by Reinhard Heydrich and Hermann Wilhelm Goring. However, during the eruption of war in September 1939, emigration of Jews was stopped and, instead of being illegally smuggled into Palestinian countries, German Jews were brought to concentration camps to participate in the extermination activities of German Nazis. After the war, German Jews and other Jewish denominations were reduced to a very small population.
Allied forces and United Nations helped in the reestablishment of Jewish community within the German estates by suspending the discriminative legislations approved during the Nazi era. Currently, the population German Jews living in Germany is considered the third largest Jewish denomination existing across the European countries. IV.
References Bankier, David. Probing the Depths of German Antisemitism: German Society and the Persecution of the Jews, 1933-1941. Germany, London: Berghahn Books, 2000. Cesarani, David, and Sarah Kavanaugh. Holocaust: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies. New York, London: Routledge, 2004.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 18 December 2016
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