One of the many important and most memorable incidents of World War Two would be the Holocaust. During the Holocaust, the Germans who were known as the Nazis, considered the Jews to be “enemy aliens”. As part of this, the Nazis thought that “Aryans” were a master race. Therefore, they decided to destroy the Jewish race, and created genocide. The Jews were put into unbearable torture at many concentration and death camps. In fact, 6 million Jews were killed in this incident; however, there were many victims who survived this anguish. One of the many survivors was Simon Wiesenthal, who survived the Nazi death camps and began his career as a Nazi hunter.
Simon Wiesenthal was born on December 31, 1908 in Buczacz (Lvov Oblast, Ukraine) and died on September 20, 2005. Unfortunately, Wiesenthal’s father was murdered in World War One, which forced him and his family to vacate Lvov Oblast and arrive to Vienna. Simon Wiesenthal graduated from the Gymnasium in 1928, and was ambitious to apply for an admission at Polytechnic Institute, located in Lvov. Due to the discrimination towards Jewish students, his admission was rejected and he attended the Technical University of Prague instead, where he earned a degree in architectural engineering. Later on, in 1936, Simon married Cyla Mueller and worked in an architectural office. Everything went smoothly, until Germany and Russia signed an agreement to share Poland. At this time, the Russian army invaded Lvov and began the Red Purge of the Jewish merchants, factory owners and many other workers.
In addition, his stepfather was arrested and eventually died, and his stepbrother was shot. With no options available, Simon Wiesenthal worked as a mechanic in a factory. During the time where the Russians were banished by the Germans in 1941, a former employee of Wiesenthal helped him and his family escape from the Nazis. Unfortunately, the escape failed and he and his family were separated into labour concentration or death camps. In October 1943, Wiesenthal escaped the Ostbahn camp, but was recaptured at the Janowska camp. Actually, during the time in the Janowska camp, Wiesenthal could’ve been killed if the German Eastern Front hadn’t collapsed due to the Red Army. After many struggle, Wiesenthal finally escaped, weighing only 99 pounds and in a very fragile state. Simon Wiesenthal was not only an honorable survivor, but also a contributor the Holocaust, that happened in World War Two. After his horrible incident at the concentration camps, Wiesenthal’s health was back to normal and he began research on possible evidences to prove the Nazi’s atrocious behaviours toward the Jews.
Wiesenthal worked in many legal and corporate offices, to gain his status, along with conducting his research. After leaving the United States Army in 1947, Wiesenthal and other volunteers opened the Jewish Historical Documentation Centre, which assisted with the evidence for war crime trials. Yet, as the Cold War began, the association collapsed. All of the documents and research evidence were given away, except for one important document about Adolf Eichmann, who was the one that supervised the “Final Solution” technique during the war. Eichmann was never heard of after the war and he remained incognito. At last, in 1959, Germany informed that Eichmann was in Buenos Aires, and was found guilty for mass destruction of the Jews. This brought more and more successes to Wiesenthal. He later organized another Jewish Documentation Centre and hunted war criminals such as Karl Silberbauer, who arrested an innocent Jewish girl.
Wiesenthal also found ways to arrest commandants of certain concentration camps. He proved that not only can one survive such a severe incident, but also be able to stand up for civil rights, rather than doing absolutely nothing. People such as Simon Wiesenthal are great contributors to our community. Even though the Holocaust was finished, he felt the need to take action and punish those, who tortured innocent souls. The story behind any victim is always significant, because it gives an understanding of harsh situations and helps the new generation, be able to redevelop and not make the mistakes from the past. Also, when survivors share their stories, they attain a sense of relief and are able to forget their memories.
Therefore, we know that the Holocaust had a huge impact on Jewish people, particularly Simon Wiesenthal, who was able to stand up for his race. The Holocaust not only blamed the Jews for something that they didn’t do, but also decided to kill each and every one of them too! This is what is known as pure hatred, or in other words, anti-Semitism. Due to the Holocaust, many regrettable events have occurred. For example, since the Holocaust wiped out the entire Jewish race, Russia’s economy decreased because they lost tons of educated and experienced citizens. Furthermore, if those citizens had been alive today, we could have had brilliant scientists or doctors who found cure for diseases and other medical experiments.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 14 October 2016
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