SURVIVING HATRED: WITNESS TO THE HOLOCAUST Study Guide written by Barbara M. Linde and Linda Peck Wendy Juren Video Producer
Lynda Gonsenhauser Interviewer and Creative Consultant
Surviving Hatred: Witness To The Holocaust is a 30-minute, professionally
produced educational video designed to teach middle and high school students the lessons of the Holocaust. The video includes a brief history of the Holocaust, followed by the personal testimonies of four survivors who live in Hampton Roads. The creators and producers wish to honor those who survived along with those who perished by educating present and future generations about the dangers of hatred and prejudice.
The video and study guide were made possible by the support and collaborative efforts of: The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater WVEC-TV (ABC) WHRO-TV (PBS) Tidewater Jewish Foundation 1998
This study guide follows the basic format of the National Teacher Training Institute, with adaptations for the Social Sciences. Related Virginia Standards of Learning are included.
Vocabulary Exercise Present students with the Vocabulary List (See Appendix) related to the Holocaust. Ask students to give a definition of all the words, to the best of their ability. Collect papers. After viewing the video and doing post-viewing activities, ask the students to do the exercise again.
About the KWL A KWL activity helps the teacher find out what concepts need to be taught by determining what the students already know. It also helps students set purposes for their learning. The KWL is typically arranged in a three-column format. The “K” stands for “What I Know.” Students record what they already know about the topic. The “W” stands for “What I Want to Find Out.” Students list several questions they would like to have answered by watching the video. The “L” stands for “What I Learned.” Students first attempt to answer any of their questions from the “W” column, then summarize any other key points. The KWL should be used before watching the video. Students can then revisit the KWL after watching the video to record answers to the questions posed and to identify areas for further research.
Motivating Students to better understand the relevance of the Holocaust to their world today In the weeks prior to showing the video, ask students to bring in articles from newspapers or magazines that relate to prejudice, hate crimes, and genocide so that students understand that these issues are still a challenge in today’s society.
Creating a Frame of Reference Tell students to remember in viewing the video that the survivors were young people like themselves at the time of the Holocaust. Ask them to try to imagine what they might have done in the survivor’s shoes. Note that the teen-agers in the opening scene are reading the names of some of the four survivors’ relatives who were killed in the camps. 2
VIRGINIA STANDARDS of LEARNING HISTORY and SOCIAL SCIENCE The student will be able to: 7.6
analyze and explain the major causes, events, personalities, and effects of World War II with emphasis on • the rise of Fascism, Nazism, and Communism in the 1930’s and 1940’s and the response of Europe and the United States • the Holocaust
analyze major historical events of the 20th century in terms of • causes and effects of World Wars I and II • the Nazi Holocaust and other examples of genocide
11.11 demonstrate an understanding of the origins and effects of World War II Extension activities provide the opportunity to involve the following Standards of Learning. ENGLISH The student will be able to: 6.2
listen critically and express opinions in oral presentations • distinguish between facts and opinions • compare and contrast points of view
6.4 6.7 6.8 6.9
read a variety of fiction and nonfiction write narratives, descriptions, and explanations use writing as a tool for learning in all subjects select the best sources for a given purpose
9.2 9.4 9.6
make planned oral presentations read and analyze a variety of print materials develop narrative, literary, expository, and technical writings to inform, explain, analyze, or entertain credit sources of both quoted and paraphrased ideas use electronic databases to access information
9.7 9.8 11.4 11.7 11.9
read a variety of print material write in a variety of forms with an emphasis on persuasion analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and organize information from a variety of sources into a documented paper dealing with a question, problem or issue 3
KWL Directions: Before reading, think about what you already know about the Holocaust. Write the information in the K column. Think about what you would like to find out from watching and listening to the video. Write your questions in the W column. After you have finished watching, use the L column to write the answers to your questions from the W column, and anything else you learned. K What I Know
W What I Want to Find Out
L What I Learned
Post-Viewing Activities A. Discussion Questions 1. Compare life for David, Hanns, and Esther before Kristallnacht and after. • What are some of the things they lost? • What are some of the freedoms they lost? • What do you think they missed the most and why? • What do you think you would miss the most? Why? 2. Why did David and Kitty have to change their names? • A priest told David, “…the Germans may have taken your parents and your belongings and all of your family…one thing they’ll never be able to take from you, and that’s your Jewish heritage.” What did he mean? • What are some things that no one will be able to take from you? 3. Hanns says that he doesn’t hate Hitler or Goebbels or Goering. • Why do you think this is so? • How are hate and misunderstanding related? • Are their groups today that are hated because they are misunderstood? Give examples. • What can we do to understand each other better? 4. Kitty remarks that a bystander is just as guilty as the one who commits the crime. • What do you think? • What does it mean to speak up? • What would you be willing to speak up for, even if others were against you? 5. Are there situations today similar to what the Jews faced in Germany during WWII? • What can be done to help? • Who should speak up about them? How? 6. What lessons learned from the Holocaust can help us today? 7. What does it mean when a survivor says that during the Holocaust he/she lived a lifetime? 8. Hanns describes the feeling of being “hunted” like an animal. What must happen for a man to feel that it is okay to hunt another man? 9. What connection does music have to Auschwitz? 10. Name five freedoms that we have today that were denied to Jews during the Holocaust? 5
B. Critical Thinking The following is a sample of interactive exercises to do with your class. Select those that are appropriate for your grade and your curriculum. 1. Hanns Loewenbach swam from Germany to Denmark. If you opted to swim to Denmark from Germany, what two points would you pick? How far would you have to swim? Hanns swam approximately 1.5 miles. How many kilometers is this distance? How many meters? How many laps in a 25-meter pool? 2. As a 13 year old, David Katz walked from Limoge, France to the Swiss border in the French Alps fleeing the Nazis. Though exhausted and hungry, his desire to live drove him on. Locate Mr. Katz’s route on a map. How far did he walk through the Alps? How many laps around the track are equivalent to his walk through the mountains? How many miles can you walk in a day? In the mountains? How many days would it take you to walk the distance David Katz went? 3. How can you conceive of the loss of 6 million lives? a) Have everyone in the class bring in stray pennies lying around the house. How many did the class collect? How big would be the pile be if it represented 6 million pennies? How is it possible to imagine 6 million Jews? b) How many students are in your class? How many in your school? How many classes like yours would it take to add up to 6 million students? How many schools your size is 6 million? How many people live in your city or town? How many towns your size does 6 million people represent? 4. Try to imagine yourself as Hanns returning to Germany after the Danish police made him swim back across the Baltic Sea. How would you feel? How would you deal with your frustration, your fear, and your loneliness? Write a poem to express your thoughts. 5. Imagine losing your entire family, including grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles and not having a single picture of them. Esther Goldman, who lost 9 brothers and sisters, her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, has had to live all these years without any pictures of her family. How you would feel if you had no family pictures for forever? Try to express your thoughts in a poem. 6. Write 3 diary entries that Kitty Saks might have made. First, write about her 6year old birthday before the war. Second, imagine her feelings her first night in the convent with her new identity, Rosette Nizolle. Finally, what might she write 3 years later, now accustomed to her new name and religion but wondering if she’ll ever see her family again and if the war will ever end? 6
7. Hanns Loewenbach was sitting illegally on a bench marked, “No Jews or dogs allowed,” when he met an old school friend who ultimately saved his life. What was the purpose of this sign? How do you think Hanns felt as he sat on this bench? Thirty years later there were similar signs in the United States. What was happening in your city at that time? How was this possible after the world had experienced the Holocaust? 8. Act out the scene of Kitty sitting with her family at a weekly Sabbath meal when the Nazis enter and decide they would like her family’s apartment. Have two students act as the intruding Nazis looking over the apartment, another to portray Kitty, a frightened 6-year old, and a fourth student to take the role of the “resistor,” who will act like Kitty and her family wanted to act if resistance wouldn’t have meant certain death for the entire family. 9. Signs played an important role in the Nazi regime. “Arbeit Macht Frei” – Work Makes One Free – was the motto over the gates leading into Auschwitz. What was the purpose of this sign? What do you think it meant to the Jews and other inmates? Why is a sign a powerful weapon? 10. Design and create a memorial for the 6 million Jews and 5 million other people who perished by gas, by torture, by starvation and disease, their lives stolen by hatred and ultimately indifference. What would such a memorial look like? 11. Look up the definition of propaganda and indoctrination. Why is propaganda so powerful? How does it influence a person’s ideas and actions? Do you think propaganda is a part of your life today? How? Give examples of how your attitudes and behavior is influenced by media, the press, government, writers and others. 12. How can we explain the onlookers who allow bad things to happen? What are some of our human failings and why is it important to understand the dark side as well as the bright side of human nature? Read, “The Dying Girl That No One Helped,” and answer the probing questions about the disturbing murder in 1962 of a young woman named Kitty Genovese. (See Appendix) 13. It is often said that those involved in the Holocaust were faced with “choiceless choices.” In other words, no matter what choice a person made, the outcome was unacceptable. Read “Life in Extremis: Moral Action and the Camps,” “Do You Take The Oath?,” and “The Chemist’s Decision” (See Appendix) to understand some of the “choiceless choices” that people had to make during the Holocaust. 14. How do we assess responsibility for the tragedy of the Holocaust? Read over the handout and try the exercise in “Assessing and Defining Responsibility” (See Appendix). Do we have a responsibility to one another? Why or why not? 7
15. At the end of the video, students recited a quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller: “In Germany they came first for the Communists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.” What does this mean to you? Can you think of situations in your own life when you have not spoken up for someone else? What were they? Is silence golden? Why or why not?
Further Discussion/Essay Questions 1. Why is it important to make and watch documentaries like this one? 2. How do you think you would feel if you had experienced what these survivors did? 3. How can we keep this from happening again? 4. If you had been a non-Jewish citizen in one of the occupied countries, do you think you would have helped? Why or why not? 5. Is it possible to be prejudiced against a group, but not against individual members of the group? Explain. 6. Why do you think some non-Jewish people helped the Jews while others did not? 7. How does using numbers instead of names affect people?
Extension Activities 1. Write to museums and other organizations for information about the Holocaust 2. Visit a museum or synagogue with a Holocaust related exhibit and report to the class. 3. Set up a Holocaust memorial exhibit in the school media center. 4. Complete a research paper based on some aspect of the Holocaust. Give a report to the class. 5. Have a panel discussion related to the Holocaust. 6. Collect news clippings of current examples of genocide. 7. Write a series of journal entries based on the experiences of one of the survivors in the video. 8. Make a time-line of Hitler’s devastation of Europe and attempted annihilation of the Jews. 9. Draw a series of maps showing Hitler’s progress through Europe. 10. Read a fiction or non-fiction book related to the Holocaust and give a report to the class.
Time Line January 30, 1933
Adolf Hitler, head of the Nazi party is appointed Reichs Chancellor o f G e r m a n yby President von Hindenberg
February 27, 1933
German government curtailed individual freedoms.
April 1, 1933
A Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses began.
May 10, 1933
Books written by Jews and Nazi opponents were burned.
June 30, and July 1, 1934 Summer, 1935
Night of the Long Knives – A purge of political leaders who posed a threat to Hitler's Rule Signs reading “Juden Verboten” – (No Jews) were posted.
September 15, 1935
Nuremberg Laws—Jews declared non-citizens, forbidden to marry Aryans.
March 3, 1936
Jewish doctors were no longer allowed to practice medicine.
July 16, 1937
Buchenwald concentration camp was opened.
April 26, 1938
Jews were forced to register their property.
October 15, 1938
Jewish passports were stamped with a “J”.
November 9, 1938
Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass)—Synagogues were burned, Jewish-owned shops were vandalized.
December 13, 1938
Jewish-owned businesses were taken over.
September 3, 1939
France and Great Britain went to war against Germany.
November 23, 1939
Polish Jews were forced to wear the yellow star.
May 22, 1940
Auschwitz concentration camp was opened.
September 15, 1941
All Jews within the Third Reich were forced to wear the yellow star.
September 23, 1941
Gassing experiments were started at Auschwitz.
October 8, 1941
Birkenau (Auschwitz II) was opened.
December 11, 1941
Germany declared war on the United States.
June 1, 1942
The extermination camp at Treblinka was opened.
April 19, 1943
Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto revolted.
May 16, 1943
The Germans liquidated the Warsaw Ghetto.
August-October, 1943 Prisoners at Treblinka, Bialystock, and Sobibor revolted. May-June, 1944
Nazis sent 380,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.
June 6, 1944
D-Day—Allied Forces invaded Europe.
May 7, 1945
V-E Day—Germany surrendered.
October 1, 1946
Nazi war criminals are convicted at Nuremberg Trials.
BIOGRAPHIES of SURVIVORS Kitty Saks Kitty Friedenbach Saks was born in Vienna, Austria on November 28, 1932. She and her parents, along with her grandparents, lived in a comfortable apartment overlooking a plush, green park bordered by the Danube Canal. She and her friends spent long hours playing in the park and running among its rosebushes. In the dining room of her family’s home, stood a baby grand piano for Kitty’s mother to play. “ Our home was filled with love and the sound of music,” Kitty recalls tearfully. Then came the knock on the door, and Kitty and her parents were forced to flee Austria for Belgium. Her grandparents chose to remain behind. In Belgium, she and her parents shared an apartment building with other refugees anxiously awaiting exit to America. Meanwhile, Kitty attended school, and if not for the courage and compassion of one of her teachers, Fernande Henrard, Kitty would not be here today. Madame Henrard arranged for Kitty, and many other Jewish children, to hide in a series of convents posing as a Catholic. To conceal her Jewish identity, Madame Henrard gave Kitty the name, Rosette Nizolle. She was even given a First Communion and told to never speak German because many Jews spoke German and it might give her away. At the time, Kitty did not know that her parents were hiding in an apartment about one-and-one-half hours away by streetcar. Kitty and her parents survived the war, but her beloved Grandparents did not. They were transported to the Lodz Ghetto in Poland and later taken to Chelmo where they were gassed to death in vans converted into makeshift gas chambers. On September 4, 1944, the very day the British soldiers liberated Brussels, Belgium, Kitty was joyfully reunited with her parents. She was 11 years old. On January 16, 1948, she and her family arrived in Norfolk, Virginia to join cousins who had sponsored them. Kitty is grateful to be an American because, “ You are free. You can walk on the streets and not be afraid of who you are.” Kitty is married to Abbot Saks, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Foreign Languages at Old Dominion University. They have two children, a son, David, and a daughter, Antoni Saks Wilkins. They have two grandchildren, Elliot and Adam.
Esther Goldman Esther Wondolowilcz Goldman was born in Sokoly, Poland on Feb.10, 1924 in a small, orthodox Jewish community. Her father worked as a carpenter, and her mother worked caring for her ten children. The Synagogue was the cornerstone of their lives. When Esther was six or seven years old, her father died unexpectedly, leaving Esther’s mother to rear the family on her own.
Recalling those days, Esther says, “Even though we weren’t rich, we loved each other so much that we thought we were rich.” On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, 1940 or 1941, the Germans burned the Jewish homes in her village. Esther and her family fled to the cemetery to hide. Finally, with no place to run, Mrs. Wondolowilcz gave each of her ten children a piece of jewelry or money (to later barter for food and shelter), and begged them to run to the woods to save themselves. Esther would never see her mother again. While hiding in an underground cave, her mother, two sisters, a brother, and baby niece were murdered by the Germans. When she learned of this from a brother she met while in hiding, Esther turned herself in to the German SS. She was sixteen years old. Soon, she was taken to the Bialystok Ghetto and eventually herded onto a cattle car for the nightmarish ride to Auschwitz/Birkenau. For two-and-one-half years, she slaved in the camps and factories, narrowly surviving each of Dr. Mengele’s “selections.” In 1945, as the Allied troops approached, the Germans forced Esther and the remaining prisoners out of the camps for the notorious “Death March” to Ravensbruck. The dying and dead littered the roads. Recalling how the prisoners prayed to God for freedom, Esther asks, “Isn’t it strange that we still believed in God?” Finally, when Esther was liberated, she discovered that she had only one brother alive. Everyone else in her family had been murdered. Today, Esther’s brother and his family live in Israel and Esther is proud to say that she has visited him 22 times for various family celebrations. Esther’s husband, Charles (of blessed memory), was also a Holocaust Survivor. They have two sons and five grandchildren. For many years they owned and operated a grocery store in downtown Norfolk. Currently Esther works as a seamstress. Speaking of her family, Esther says, “They are my life. I can’t explain how much I love them.”
David Katz David Katz was born in Leipzig, Germany, the musical capital of Europe, on February 12, 1930. Both parents were gifted musicians. His father was an orchestra conductor, arranger, and composer. His mother was a concert pianist and teacher. They lived with David’s grandparents in a large apartment where music was their “constant companion.” Religion, too, played an important role in their lives. In 1937, as life for Jews became more difficult, David and his parents made their way out of Germany, “with just a few belongings and my father’s favorite violin.” But his mother longed for her parents, and so they returned to Leipzig. “That decision turned out to be the gravest mistake of our lives.” The morning after Kristallnacht, Gestapo agents came for his grandparents. They were deported to Poland and perished in the Warsaw Ghetto.
While making plans to escape Germany, David and his family stayed in the home of Catholic friends. Eventually, they arrived in Brussels where they lived reasonably well. But in May 1940, the Germans attacked Belgium and, once again, they were on the run. It was not long before they were caught. David and his mother were sent to one camp, and his father to another. Finally, David was helped by O.S.E., a children’s rescue organization, and sent to an orphanage. One day, he and a friend heard motorcycles and trucks approaching. Fearing they would be captured, they jumped out a window and onto the back of a moving truck. David was 13 years old. Alone, penniless, and “scared to death,” David walked across France to Switzerland, wearing only the clothes on his back, and eating whatever food he could pick off the ground or trees. The journey lasted about five months. Unable to get past the guards at the Swiss border, David found refuge with a Catholic priest who fed him, clothed him, and found him safe shelter. During this time, David befriended a leader of a resistance group and became their youngest member, relaying messages among the various groups in the area. Following the German surrender, David lived in an orphanage in Paris. “The year was 1945. I was 15 years old and had seen and suffered enough to last a hundred years.” Soon thereafter, the Red Cross notified him that his parents had been murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. David arrived in America on April 16, 1946, to live with his aunt and uncle and five cousins, who loved him like a son and a brother. David is married to artist, Mary Anne Katz. They have four children and two grandchildren. He is a skilled photographer, and loves to garden, sing, and listen to music.
Hanns Loewenbach Hanns Loewenbach begins his story of wartime experiences stating that he had “the bad luck of being born in Germany in 1915." His survival route took him from his home in Berlin to one of the few safe havens for Jews -- Shanghai. He remembers that his father was one of the first Jews taken forcibly out of his home. This happened in 1934 when, as a German businessman in partnership with two non-Jews, he was asked to sign away his ownership rights to his partners. Since he refused, he was transported to Buchenwald and later to Dachau. But the date was early and this was still the time of paradoxes. So in 1935, despite his being Jewish and the arrest of his father, Hanns was called to serve in the German military. One of the questions they asked him was if he wanted to be a soldier. “I told them ‘No,’ because the German military had issued a particularly vicious report in which Goebbels referred to Jews as lice.” He adds, “At 20 you are very brave.” 13
Although times were erratic, things went reasonably well until 1936 when he and other young Jewish men were put in the back of a truck: destination SS Headquarters and a concentration camp. Hanns jumped from the truck, “and from that moment on I was living illegally – every day in another place... actually I slept with one eye open. I still sleep the same way.” Eventually, he tried a daring escape. In the freezing water of the Baltic Sea he swam two miles to Denmark, but was turned back by the Danish. “I had to swim two miles back”. Once back on German soil, and on the brink of giving up, Hanns experienced a miracle. A tall Gestapo officer, who had been a former schoolmate, approached him and offered to help him escape. Two days later on November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht, or The Night of Broken Glass, Hanns found himself on the streets of Nazi Germany witnessing the destruction of synagogues and Jewish businesses. Helpless and alone, he knew he had to escape. With the false passport his Gestapo friend helped him obtain, and with financial help from the Zionist Youth Organization, he bought a train ticket for Italy. Once there, he learned that the only safe place for him was Shanghai. So, he, along with his mother and father, set sail. Although life in Shanghai was hard, it was life and not death. “I learned to speak Chinese quickly. I was 22 or 23 years old. I went into the country in a rickshaw and bought chicken eggs. My mother sold them to the restaurants.” In 1947, Hanns moved to America with his first wife, Ruth, also a Holocaust survivor, whom he married in Shanghai. He lived and worked in New York until Ruth died. Hanns married his second wife, Jutta, in 1960, in Berlin. Hanns has three children, two daughters and a son. They have four grandchildren. Two attend the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. Even today, Hanns is an avid swimmer and loves to play chess.
ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY MIDDLE SCHOOL (Grade / Reading Levels 5-8) Appleman-Jurman, Alicia. Alicia: My Story. Bantam, 1988. Autobiographical account of an orphaned girl who rescued many Jews. Ayer, Eleanor. Parallel Journeys. Atheneum, 1995. A German Jewish girl is sent to a camp, while a German boy joins Hitler's youth. Boas, Jacob. We Are Witness: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust. 1995. Actual journals of five teenagers. Breecher, Elinor. Schindler's List: True Stories of the List Survivors. 1994. Accounts of the lives of the survivors after the war. Chaikin, Miriam. Nightmare in History: The Holocaust 1933-1945. 1987. A history of anti-Semitism leading to and including the Holocaust. Numerous excerpts from diaries and eyewitness accounts documenting the courage and strength of Jews as well as the individuals and nations that came to their aid. Dillon, Eilis. Children of Bach . 1992. Musical Jewish family escapes from Hungary. Frank, Anne. Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1972. Anne and her family live in hiding in an attic during World War II. Greenfield, Howard. Hidden Children. 1993. Hiding their Jewish identities saved these children from the Holocaust. Innocenti, Roberto. Rose Blanche. 1996. A German girl shares food with Jewish prisoners. Ippich, Hanneke. Sky: A True Story of Resistance During World War II. 1996. A teenager in Holland works in the Resistance. Kerr, Judith. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. 1971. A young Jewish girl and her family are forced to leave Germany for England in the 1930's. Klein, Gerda Weisman. All But My Life. 1995. Autobiographical account of a Polish survivor of a German work camp. Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars. 1989. A Jewish girl masquerades as a member of a Dutch family to survive.
ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY MIDDLE SCHOOL,Cont. (Grade /Reading Levels 5-8) Marks, Jane. Hidden Children: The Secret Survivors of the Holocaust. 1993. Survival stories told by the children themselves. Meltzer, Milton. Never To Forget: The Jews of the Holocaust. 1976. First-person witnesses to the Holocaust. Meltzer, Milton. Rescue: The Story of How Gentiles Saved Jews in the Holocaust. 1988. Nyiszli, Miklow. Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account. 1993. True events as witnessed by the doctor. Orgel, Doris. The Devil in Vienna. 1978. Based on the author’s own experiences, and written in diary form. A novel about the friendship of two 13-year-old girls, one Jewish, the other a Catholic whose father becomes a high-ranking Nazi and the devastating effect on their lives. Orlev, Uri. Island on Bird Street. 1983. A Jewish boy survives alone in the Warsaw Ghetto. Reiss, Johanna. The Upstairs Room. 1972. Recollections of the author’s years in hiding during World War II when she and her older sister lived with humble farm people in order to escape the Nazi Jew-hunt. Newberry honor book. Richter, Hans Peter. Friedrich. Puffin, 1970. A German boy describes the Holocaust in terms of what it does to his Jewish friend, Friedrich, and their friendship. Rochman, Hazel, and McCampbell, Darlend, eds. Bearing Witness: Stories of the Holocaust. 1995. A collection of Holocaust memoirs. Rogasky, Barbara. Smoke and Ashes. 1988. The causes and events of the Holocaust. Roth-Hanno, Renee. Touch Wood: A Girlhood in Occupied France. 1988. A young girl is sheltered by a group of Catholic women in Normandy. Siegal, Ananka. Grace in the Wilderness: After the Liberation. 1994. Sisters survive the Holocaust and move to Sweden. Seigal, Ananka. Upon the Head of a Goat. 1972. Fictionalized story of a Hungarian Jewish family during the Holocaust. Sender, Ruth Minsky. The Cage. Simon and Schuster, 1986. Autobiographical account of survival in Auschwitz. 16
Vos, Ida. Hide and Seek. 1991. Autobiographical account of a Jewish girl in Holland during and after the war. Wiesel, Elie. Night. Bantam, 1960. Autobiographical account of Nobel Peace prize winner, Eli Wiesel's time in the camps. Yolen, Jane. The Devil's Arithmetic. 1988. Time travel sends a girl back to Poland during World War II. Yolen, Jane. Briar Rose. 1993. Interweaves the fairy tale and a woman's story of survival during the Holocaust. Zeinert, Karen. Warsaw Ghetto Uprising . 1993. True account of Jewish resistance activities before the ghetto was destroyed. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY HIGH SCHOOL Aroneau, Eugene. Inside the Concentration Camps: Eyewitness Accounts of Life in Hitler's Death Camps. Praeger Publishers, 1996. Documentation of Nazi atrocities, based on interviews with 100 survivors. This research was used in the Nuremberg war crime trials. Atkinson, Linda. In Kindling Flame: The Story of Hannah Senesh. Beech Tree, 1985. Biographical account of inspirational Jewish resistance worker. Altschuler, David. Hitler’s War Against the Jews. Behrman House, 1978. Adapted for young readers from The War Against The Jews 1933-1945 by Lucy S. Dawidowicz, this concise history is particularly useful in studying propaganda and the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany. Includes 100 photographs and original source readings. Berenbaum, Michael. The World Must Know. Little, Brown, and Co., 1993. Photos and historical information from the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior. Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation, Brookline, MA. 1994. Flender, Harold. Rescue in Denmark. MacFadden-Bartell Books, 1964. Recounts the extraordinary acts of individual heroism and sacrifice that made it possible to save all but a handful of Denmark’s 8000 Jews. “Flender brings out the risks and agonies, the drama and heroism, in straight, professional reporting.” The New York Times Book Review Frankl, Victor. Man's Search for Meaning. 1984. His search for meaning enabled Frankl to survive the concentration camps. Friedman, Ina R. Other Victims: First Person Stories of Non-Jews Persecuted by the Nazis. 1990. Autobiographical accounts by Christians, Gypsies, and others. 17
Gilbert, Martin. Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War. 1987. History and oral testimony from the Holocaust. Gilbert, Martin. Atlas of the Holocaust. William Morrow and Company, 1993. 316 black and white maps showing the destruction of the Jewish communities in Europe. Gross, Leonard. The Last Jews in Berlin. Bantam, 1982. Jews survive in underground Berlin. Holliday, Laurel. Children in the Holocaust and World War II. 1995 Authentic selections from the diaries of children caught in the turmoil of the war. Kennally, Thomas. Schindler's List. 1993. The true story of how German war profiteer and prison camp director Oskar Schindler came to save Jews in his employment from the gas chambers. Testimony of the Schindlerjuden – Schindler’s Jews – depicts the courage and cunning of a man whose goodness becomes extraordinary in the midst of unspeakable evil. Kozinsky, Jersey. Painted Bird. 1976. Autobiographical account of the author's survival during the war. Lengyle, Olga. Five Chimneys. Academy Chicago Publishers, 1995. True account of a survivor's time at Auschwitz and her work with the prisoners' underground resistance. Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz. Simon & Schuster, 1958. A harrowing story of systematic cruelty and miraculous endurance. Remarkable for its simplicity, restraint, compassion, and even wit. Matas, Carol. Lisa's War. 1987. Teenagers in Denmark work with the resistance. Meltzer, Milton. Never To Forget: The Jews of the Holocaust. Harper and Dell, 1976. Brief, well-focused history, with emphasis on personal testimony and documentation of Jews who did not, or could not flee the impending Final solution. Meltzer has captured both the tragedy and the human conflict inherent in the Holocaust. Orlev, Uri. Man From the Other Side. 1991. Germans outside the Warsaw Ghetto hide a Jewish man. Shapiro, Paul. Miracle At Moreaux. 1985. A Catholic school in France gives shelter to Jewish children. Ten Boom, Corrie. Hiding Place. 1971. Two Gentile women are sent to a concentration camp for helping Jews. Wiesel, Elie. Night. Bantam, 1960. Autobiographical account of the Nobel Peace prize winner's time as a teenager in the camps. 18
The authors would like to thank the following people who assisted in the development of the study guide: The survivors-- Esther Goldman, David Katz, Hanns Loewenbach, Kitty Saks -- for sharing their stories. Lynda Gonsenhauser, Interviewer and Creative Consultant. Wendy Juren, producer. Betsy Karotkin, Director of Human Resource Development and Community Relations, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater/Tidewater Jewish Foundation. Mike Nash, Education Coordinator, War Memorial Museum of Virginia. Sandy O'Brien, graphics. Dr. Mark Nataupsky, Holocaust Education Foundation. WVEC-TV (ABC), WHRO-TV (PBS).
The following have graciously extended permission to use maps, articles, and photos: Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith and New Jersey Department of Education. Map of the concentration and death camps. From The Holocaust and Genocide, 1983. Gilbert, Martin. Atlas of the Holocaust. Copyright notice 1998, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, by permission of William Morrow and Company, publishers. Maps. Karp, Reba: "Her Memories: A Panorama of Horror: Esther Goldman, Survivor." "A Story of Courage, Cunning and Intrigue: Kitty Saks, Survivor." "Holocaust Survivor Feels He Must Speak 'For Those Who Cannot Speak for Themselves.' " UJF News Supplement, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater/Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Inc. Virginia Beach, VA 23462. Biographical information on the survivors. Katz, David. "Testimony: Survivor recalls life on the run from Nazis.' Southeastern Virginia Jewish News, March 27, 1998. UJF News Supplement, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater/Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Inc. Virginia Beach, VA 23462. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D. C. Photographs.
RESOURCES / MUSEUMS Simon Wiesenthal Center Multimedia Learning Center http:/www.motlc.wiesenthal.com/pages/questions.html 310-553-9036 (Los Angeles) United Jewish Federation of Tidewater / Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Inc. 5029 Corporate Woods Drive Suite 225 Virginia Beach, VA 23462-4376 Telephone: 757-671-1600 Facsimile: 757-671-7613 E-Mail: [email protected]
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, S. W. Washington, D. C. 800-400-9373 War Memorial Museum of Virginia 285 Warwick Boulevard / Huntington Park, Newport News, VA 23607 757-247- 8523 This study guide is also available on the following web sites: www.learninglink.org (WHRO) www.Holocaust-trc.org (Holocaust Education Foundation) www.holocaustcommission.org
"The Dying Girl That No One Helped,” Loudon Wainwright
"The Chemist’s Decision: What Would You Do?”
Nazi Language (Vocabulary)
Assessing and Defining Responsibility
Concentration and Death Camps
Life in Extremis: Moral Action and the Camps
“Do You Take the Oath?”
Map: Jews Murdered Between 1 September 1939 and 8 May 1945:
AUSCHWITZ Concentration and extermination camp in upper Silesia, Poland, 37 miles west of Krakow. Established in 1940 as a concentration camp, it became an extermination camp in early 1942. Eventually, it consisted of three sections: Auschwitz I, the main camp; Auschwitz II (Birkenau), an extermination camp; Auschwitz III (Monowitz), the I.G. Farben labor camp, also known as Buna. In addition, Auschwitz had numerous sub-camps. CONCENTRATION CAMPS Immediately upon their assumption of power on January 30, 1933, the Nazis established concentration camps for the imprisonment of all “enemies” of their regime: actual and potential political opponents (e.g. communists, socialists, monarchists), Jehovah’s Witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals, and other “asocials.” Beginning in 1938, Jews were targeted for internment solely because they were Jews. The first three concentration camps established were Dachau (near Munich), Buchenwald (near Weimar) and Sachsenhausen (near Berlin). These camps provided slave labor for Germany. CONVENT A local community or house of a religious order; an establishment for nuns. Many Jews were hidden in convents during the Holocaust. CREMATORIUM A building with five ovens capable of incinerating more than 9000 bodies in 24 hours. The crematory at Auschwitz-Birkenau had five gas chambers next to it where people were first killed. Six crematory sites were chosen because of their closeness to rail lines and their location in semi-rural areas. The sites were located at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. DEATH CAMPS /EXTERMINATION CAMPS Nazi camps for the mass killing of Jews and others (e.g. Gypsies, Russian prisoners-of-war, ill prisoners). Known as “death camps,” these included: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno (first camp in which mass executions were carried out by gas), Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. All were located in semirural areas of occupied Poland. FINAL SOLUTION The cover name for the plan to destroy the Jews of Europe the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” Beginning in December 1941, Jews were rounded up and sent to extermination camps in the East. The program was disguised as “resettlement in the East.” -
GHETTO The Nazis revived the medieval ghetto in creating the compulsory “Jewish Quarter.” The ghetto was a section of a city where all Jews from the surrounding areas were forced to reside. Surrounded by barbed wire or walls, the ghettos were often sealed so that people were prevented from leaving or entering. Established mostly in Eastern Europe (e.g. Lodz, Warsaw, Vilna, Riga, Minsk), the ghettos were characterized by overcrowding, starvation, exposure to the cold, contagious diseases and forced labor. Many of the forced laborers worked on road gangs, in construction, or other hard labor related to the German war effort. Many died from exhaustion or maltreatment. All the ghettos were eventually “liquidated” as the Jews were deported to death camps. HOLOCAUST The destruction of some 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their followers in Europe between the years 1933 and 1945. Other individuals and groups were persecuted and suffered grievously during this period as well, but only the Jews were marked for complete and utter annihilation. The term “Holocaust” literally meaning “a completely burned sacrifice” has a sacrificial connotation. The word Shoah, originally a Biblical term meaning widespread disaster, is the modern Hebrew equivalent. --
KRISTALLNACHT (German) Night of the Broken Glass: a pogrom (government sponsored violence) unleashed by the Nazis on November 9-10, 1938. Throughout Germany and Austria, synagogues and other Jewish institutions were burned, Jewish stores were destroyed, and their contents looted. At the same time, approximately 35,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps. The “excuse” for this action was the assassination of Ernst von Rath in Paris by a Jewish teenager whose parents had been deported from Germany because they were Polish by birth. MASTER RACE (ARYAN) In 1933, the Nazis put into practice their racial ideology. The Nazis believed that the Germans were racially superior” and that there was a struggle between them and “inferior races.” They saw Jews. Gypsies, and the handicapped as a serious threat to the purity of the “German (Aryan) Race, what they called the ‘master race.” To the Nazis, the typical Aryan was blond, blue-eyed, and tall. NAZI “Nazi” is a short term for the National Socialist German Party, a right-wing political party formed in 1919 primarily by unemployed German veterans of World War I. Adolph Hitler became head of the party in 1921. The Nazi party ideology was strongly anti-Communist, anti-Semitic, racist, nationalistic and militaristic. RESISTANCE Resistance movements were underground organizations engaged in sabotage and secret operation against their enemy. The resistance movement also existed in almost every concentration camp and ghetto of Europe. Rescue and aid to Holocaust victims was not a priority of resistance organizations whose principal goal was to fight the war against the Germans. However, such groups and Jewish partisans 23
(resistance fighters) sometimes cooperated with each other to save Jews. On April 19, 1943, members of the National Committee for the Defense of Jews in cooperation with Christian railroad workers and the general underground in Belgium attacked a train leaving a Belgian camp headed for Auschwitz and succeeded in assisting several hundred Jews to escape. SS An Abbreviation usually written with two lightning symbols for Schutzstaffel (Defense Protective Units) was an elite corps that was put iii charge of the concentration camps. Originally organized as Hitler’s personal bodyguard, the SS was transformed into a giant organization by Heinrich Himmler. Although various SS units fought on the battlefield, the organization is best known for carrying out the destruction of European Jewry.
WARSAW GHETTO Established in November 1940, the ghetto, surrounded by a wall, confined nearly 500,000 Jews. Almost 45,000 Jews died there in 1941 alone due to overcrowding, forced labor, lack of sanitation, starvation, and disease. From April 19 to May 16, 1943, a revolt took place in the ghetto when the Germans, commanded by General Jürgen Stroop, attempted to raze the ghetto and deport the remaining inhabitants to Treblinka. The uprising, led by Mordecai Anielewicz, was the first instance in occupied Europe of an uprising by an urban population. Of the 400,000 Jews living in the Warsaw ghetto, only 2000 survived.
The Dying Girl That No One Helped Loudon Wainwright In the 1960s, folksinger Phil Ochs wrote a song called “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends” with these lyrics: “O look outside the window There’s a woman being grabbed They’ve dragged her to the bushes And now she’s being stabbed Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain But Monopoly is so much fun I’d hate to blow the game And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody Outside of a small circle of friends” The lyrics were a reminder of the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964, an incident that began a national debate about the responsibility of the average citizen to come to the aid of people in danger. A young woman was brutally murdered in a New York residential area while at least 38 people watched. Ever since, professional students of human behavior and amateurs alike have attempted to explain why no one was willing to become involved. In this selection, London Wainwright briefly records the feelings of some of those who saw Kitty Genovese killed.
To judge from the bitter example given us by the good folks of a respectable New York residential area, Samaritans are very scarce these days. ...if the reactions of the 38 witnesses to the murder of Catherine Genovese provide any true reflection of a national attitude toward our neighbors, we are becoming a callous, chickenhearted and immoral people. . . An examination of the pitiful facts of Miss Genovese’s terminal experience makes very necessary the ugly personal question each of us must ask: What would I have done? The story is simple and brutal. As she arrived home in the early morning darkness, Kitty Genovese, a decent, pretty young woman of 28, was stalked through the streets close to her Kew Gardens apartment and stabbed again and again by a man who had followed her home and who took almost a half hour to kill her. During that bloody little eternity, . . Kitty screamed and cried repeatedly for help Oh, my God!” she cried out at one point. “He stabbed me! Please help me! Someone help me!” Minutes later, before the murderer came back and attacked her for the final time, she screamed, “I’m dying! I’m dying!” The reason the murderer’s actions and his victim’s calls are so well documented is that police were able to find 38 of Kitty’s neighbors who admitted they witnessed the awful event. They heard the screams and most understood her cry for help. Peeking out their windows, many saw enough of the killer to provide a good description of his appearance and clothing. A few saw him strike Kitty, and more saw her staggering down the sidewalk after she had been stabbed twice and was looking for a place to hide. One especially sharp-eyed person was able to report that the murderer was sucking his finger as he left the scene; he had cut himself during the attack. Another witness has the awful distinction of being the only person Kitty Genovese recognized in the audience taking in her final moments. She looked at him and called to him by name. He did not reply. No one really helped Kitty at all. Only one person shouted at the killer (“Let that girl alone!”), and the one phone call that was finally made to the police was placed after the murderer had got in his car and driven off. For the most part the witnesses, crouching in darkened windows like watchers of a Late Show, looked on until the play had passed beyond their view. Then they went back to bed. . . . . 25
On the scene a few days after the killer had been caught and confessed, Police Lieutenant Bernard Jacobs discussed the investigation. “The word we kept hearing from the witnesses later was ‘involved,’” Jacobs said. ... “People told us they just didn’t want to get involved,” Jacobs said to me. “They don’t want to be questioned or have to go to court.” He pointed to an apartment house directly across the quiet street. “They looked down at this thing,” he went on, “from four different floors of that building.” . . . ."It’s a nice neighborhood, isn’t it?” he went on. “Doesn’t look like a jungle. Good, solid people. We don’t expect anybody to come out into the street and fight this kind of bum. All we want is a phone call. We don’t even need to know who’s making it. “You know what this man told us after we caught him?” Jacobs asked. “He said he figured nobody would do anything to help. He heard the windows go up and saw the lights go on. He just retreated for a while and when things quieted down, he came back to finish the job.” Later, in one of the apartment houses, a witness to part of Kitty Genovese’s murder talked. His comments... indicate the price in bad conscience he and his neighbors are now paying. “I feel terrible about it,” he said. “The thing keeps coming back in my mind. You just don’t want to get involved. They might have picked me up as a suspect if I’d bounced right out there. I was getting ready, but my wife stopped me. She didn’t want to be a hero’s widow. I woke up about the third scream. I pulled the blind so hard it came off the window. The girl was on her knees struggling to get up. I didn’t know if she was drunk or what. I never saw the man. She staggered a little when she walked, like she had a few drinks in her. I forgot the screen was there and I almost put my head through it trying to get a better look. I could see people with their heads out and hear windows going up and down all along the street.” . . . .“Every time I look out here now,” he said, “it’s like looking out at a nightmare. How could so many of us have had the same idea that we didn’t need to do anything? But that’s not all that’s wrong.” Now he sounded betrayed and he told what was really eating him. Those 38 witnesses had, at least, talked to the police after the murder. The man pointed to a nearby building. “There are people over there who saw everything,” he said. “And there hasn’t been a peep out of them yet. Not one peep.” Questions for Discussion 1. What were some of the reasons given by the spectators for not becoming involved? Do you blame the spectators for what they did not do? 2. Does this incident tell us anything about human nature? 3. Do you feel that there should be laws requiring citizens to come to another person’s aid? 4. Does thinking that everybody would act as did these thirty-eight people make it easier for the rest of us to be indifferent to pain and danger experienced by others? Why? Definition Samaritan—someone who comes to the aid of a person in need
The Chemist’s Decision What Would You Do? Every decision has consequences. Some consequences are inevitable. Often we must choose between two less than desirable options. Ludwig Steiner is a chemist for a company that manufacturers various chemical compounds for domestic and industrial use in Germany during World War II. Word has leaked out in the plant that one of the company’s products, Zyklon B, an insecticide, is being shipped to the “death camps” to kill people. Steiner is 50 years old, married, and the father of three children, all of whom are under 20 years old. He is his family’s sole source of support. Steiner has been an employee of this company for twenty years, is a respected chemist, and is well liked by his fellow employees. Steiner is opposed to the use of Zyklon B to kill people. Yet he realizes the consequences to himself and his family if he protests or refuses to work on this chemical.
Questions for Discussion 1. 2. 3. 4.
What should Steiner do? Are there options other than refusing or protesting? What is the extent of Steiner’s responsibility for what was happening in the “death camps”? What was the responsibility of others who worked in German factories that manufactured materials used in the “death camps”? What was Steiner’s responsibility to his family? Government? Camp victims? His own conscience? Which responsibility was greatest? Why? Would it make a difference if be was the only one in the factory who refused to work on the chemical?
Nazi Language During the twentieth century, we have learned that words need not serve the purpose of honest communication. In fact, words are often used to hide truth and become a means of deceiving people. During the Holocaust, Nazi language not only shielded reality from their victims but also softened the truth of the Nazi involvement in mass murder. This manipulation of language is still practiced in the modern world. German Word 1. Ausgemerzt 2. Liquidiert 3. Erledigt 4. Aktionen
Literal Meaning exterminated (insects) liquidated finished (off) actions
5. Sonderaktionen 6. Sonderbehandlung
special actions special treatment
7. Sonderbehandelt 8. Sauberung 9. Ausschaltung 10. Aussiedlung 11. Umsiedlung 12. Exekutivemassnahme 13. Entsprechend behandelt 14. Der Sondermassnalime zügefuhrt 15. Sicherhistspoilzeilich durchgearbeitet 16. Lösung der Judenfrage 17. Bereinigung der Judenfrage 18. Judenfrei gemacht 19. Spezialeinrichtunger 20. Badeanstalten 21. Leichenkelier 22. Hechenholt Foundation
specially treated cleansing elimination evacuation resettlement executive measure treated appropriately conveyed to special measure
23. Durekgeschleusst 24. Endlosung 25. Hilfsmittel
dragged through the Final Solution auxiliary equipment
worked over in security police measure solution of the Jewish question cleaning up the Jewish question made free of Jews special installations bath houses corpse cellars
Real Meaning murdered murdered murdered mission to seek out Jews and kill them special mission to kill Jews Jews taken through death process in camp sent through the death process sent through the death process murder of Jews murder of Jews murder of Jews order for murder murdered killed murdered murder of Jewish people murder all Jews in an area killed gas chambers and crematorium. gas chambers crematorium diesel engine located in shack at Belzec used to gas Jews sent through killing process in camp the decision to murder all Jews gas vans for murder
Question for Discussion 1. Are you aware of any use of language in American culture that also serves to hide real meaning? Do advertisers often use words deceptively? How do politicians sometimes use language to mask their real values? Give some examples from daily life.
Assessing and Defining Responsibility As best you can, define what the term responsibility” means to you. Now list ten responsibilities” you see yourself having. If you were a judge, how would you assess the “responsibility” of these people for what happened in the world between 1933 and 1945? Indicate one of the following: 1. Not responsible 2. Minimally responsible 3. Responsible 4. Very responsible What penalty, if any, could you foresee yourself giving to each of them?
1. Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany 2. One of Hitler’s direct subordinates, such as Heinrich Himmler or Joseph Goebbels 3. A German who voluntarily joined Hitler’s special elite, the SS 4. A German industrialist who financially supported Hitler’s rise to power and continued to support him verbally 5. A judge who carried out Hitler’s decrees for sterilization of the “mentally incompetent” and internment of “traitors” 6. A doctor who participated in sterilizations of Jews 7. A worker in a plant producing Zyklon B gas 8. The Pope who made no public statement against Nazi policy 9. An industrialist who made enormous profits by producing Zyklon B gas 10. A manufacturer who used concentration camp inmates as slave labor in his plants 11. American industrialists who helped arm Hitler in the 1930s for their own profit 12. A person who voluntarily joined the Nazis in the 1930s 13. A person who agreed to publicly take the Civil Servant Loyalty Oath (swearing eternal allegiance to Adolf Hitler in 1934) 14. A person who complied with the law excluding Jews from economic and social life
15. A person who regularly and enthusiastically attended Hitler rallies 16. A person who always respectfully gave the “Heil Hitler” salute 17. A person who served as a concentration camp guard 18. A person who turned the lever to allow the gas into the chambers 19. A driver of the trains that went to the concentration camps 20. A diplomat for the Nazi government .21. The American Government which limited emigration of Jews to the United States in the 1930s 22. The “little guy” who claimed “he doesn’t get involved in politics” and thus went about his business as quietly as he could in the Hitler regime 23. The soldier who carried out orders to roust Jews from their homes for “evacuation and resettlement” 24. The German couple who took up residence in a home evacuated by Jews 25. The Christian who took over a store just abandoned by Jews 26. The German who refused all pleas to participate in hiding and smuggling of Jews 27. The policemen who helped round up escaping Jews 28. A teacher who taught Nazi propaganda in the schools.. __29. Children who joined the Hitler Youth _____
__ 30. Parents who sent or allowed their children to attend Hitler Youth meetings 29
Concentration and Death Camps In an effort to deal with groups of people whom the Nazis considered to be “subhuman,” a variety of concentration camps were established throughout Europe from 1933 until the end of World War II. The early camps began as detention centers in the mid-1930s for Communists, homosexuals, and political dissidents. With the onset of the war in 1939, the need for laborers resulted in the creation of forced labor camps in which prisoners became virtual slaves. Here, Jews and others were subjected to the most inhuman treatment, often resulting in death through illness, starvation, beatings, or execution. In 1942, with the adoption of the “Final Solution,” the Nazi plan to murder all European Jews, the emphasis shifted from concentration camps to death camps. The sole purpose of those camps was to murder millions of Jews by gassing them and burning their remains. In December 1941, Chelmno, the first death camp, was established. The camp consisted of little more than a garage and several trucks in which carbon monoxide was the killing tool for about one thousand Jews a day. By July 1942, the camps at Beizec, Sobibor, and Treblinka were created. By the fall of 1943, these camps in northern Poland had already accomplished their tasks and ceased to function. The locations of the hundreds of concentration camps and death camps reveal much about the Nazi mentality and raise some significant questions for discussion.
Ebensee, Gusen, Mauthausen
Belgium Bulgaria Czechoslovakia
Breendonck, Malines Somovit Novaky, Patronka, Petrzalka, Terezin, Zilina Aigali, Ereda, Goldfield, Kalevi, Klooga, Lagedi. Liiva, Vaivara Borislav, Buchach, Lvov, Plaszow
Agde, Argeles-sur-mer, Barcares, Beaune la Rodande, Camp du Richard, Compiegne, Drancy, Fort-Barraux, Gurs, Les Milles, Natzweiler-Struthof, Nexon, Pithiviers, Saint-Cyprien
Jesau, Karciew, Kelbasin. Kielce. Kosaki, Lackie. Wielkie. Majdanek.* Mie~dzyrzec Podaiski, Mielec. Mlyniewo, Nisko, Peikinia. Plew, Pomiechowek, Praust. Radornsko, Sasoy, Schippenbeil. Seerapen, SkarzyskoKamienna, Sobibor.* Stoip. Stutthof, Thorn. Trebiinka,* Tyszowce, Zaglebia. Zaprudy, Zaslaw, Zawarnice, Zbaszyn Caracal, Markulesci
Arbeitsdorf, Bergen-Belsen, Rumania Bochum, Brunswick, Buchenwald, Cottbus, Dachau, Dora, Esterwegen, Flossenburg, Grossrosen, Lichtenburg, Nevengamme, Niederhagen. Oranienburg, Ravensbruck. Sachsenhausen, Wells Haidon Russia
Ada, Djakovo, Jadovna, Jasenovac, Loborgrad, Saymishte
Boizano, Fossoli, Mantua, Raab Kaiserwald, Salaspils
Giado, Horns Lichtenburg
Amersfoort, Vught, Westerbork Auschwitz, Belzec,* Beizyce, Birkenau,~’ Bogusze, Bronna Gora, Budzyn, Burggrabben, Chelmno,* Chodosy, Chryzanow, Ciezanow, Elbing, Gerdaven, Heiligenbeil, Jaktorow,
Akmechetka, Bogdanovka. Bratslav. Domanevka, Golta, Kamenka-Bugskaya, Koldychevo, Maly Trostinek, Odessa. Paczara, Sekiryani, Targu-Jiu, Tiraspol, Vapnyarka, Volkoysk, Yedintsy, Zborov
____________ *Death Camps
Questions for Discussion 1. Where were most of the concentration and death camps located? How can their location be explained? Were there any economic or other advantages for the Nazis in the placement of these camps? 2. Do you believe it was possible for millions of people to have been tortured and murdered in the death camps without the local population being aware of what was happening? Explain. 3. Historian Raul Hilberg has written on the role of Europe’s railways in transporting victims to the camps. Thousands of written orders were sent from office to office, from railway depot to railway depot listing the number of ‘passengers” and the cost of shipping them. How do you think the railroad workers involved in forwarding these orders rationalized their actions?
4. What is the term extermination” most associated with? Are we adopting the language of the Nazis when we refer to "extermination camps”?
Life in Extremis: Moral Action and the Camps You may feel uncomfortable responding to each of these situations; they all actually happened. In each of the following situations, indicate with either a Yes or No how you would answer the question.
individuals are essential to maintaining the underground. Several katzetniks have the power to replace their numbers on the death list with others who are already very sick. Should this switch be made?
No. 1. A chance for escape from Auschwitz appears for one inmate. But he must accept leaving his younger son who is simply too weak to travel The father and son have shielded each other during their camp experience. Knowing this, should the father attempt the escape?
7. In many camps, women who gave birth were automatically sent with their newborn children to the ovens. A decision can be made to save the mothers by making the newborn infants “stillborn.” Should the decision to kill the children to save the mothers be made?
2. A young man breaks down when told of the death of his family. He decides that in the morning he will commit suicide by attacking an SS officer. Because of the Nazi practice of mass reprisal, his act will cost the lives of all 400 men in the barracks. If the young man cannot be convinced to change his mind, should he be killed by the underground to protect the interest of the larger group? 3. An inmate desperately needs certain medicines to survive. Medicines can be obtained by giving in to the sexual desires of a particular SS officer who has access to medicines. Should a friend of the man
try to obtain the medicines if this is the only way he can get them? 4. An inmate in the barracks is caught stealing bread during the night from a fellow katzetnik. Should the inmate be beaten severely as a lesson to all that certain behavior cannot be tolerated? 5. An inmate in the barracks has been found to be an informer for the SS. He acts the role of a cooperative katzetnik, but several inmates know he is a spy for the Germans. Should the informer be killed? 6. A number of inmates have been placed on the death list for the coming week. These
FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES, HOLOCAUST AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR 1994, Facing History and ourselves National foundation, Inc. pp 198-200 READING 20
Do You Take the Oath?
oldiers were not the only ones required to take the new oath. A German recalled the day he was asked to pledge loyalty to the regime. I was employed in a defense plant (a war plant, of course, but they were always called defense plants). That was the year of the National Defense Law, the law of “total conscription.” Under the law I was required to take the oath of fidelity. I said I would not; I opposed it in conscience. I was given twenty-four hours to “think it over.” In those twenty-four hours I lost the world.... You see, refusal would have meant the loss of my job, of course, not prison or anything like that. (Later on, the penalty was worse, but this was only 1935.) But losing my job would have meant that I could not get another. Wherever I went I should be asked why I left the job I had, and when I said why, I should certainly have been refused employment. Nobody would hire a “Bolshevik.” Of course, I was not a Bolshevik, but you understand what I mean. I tried not to think of myself or my family. We might have got out of the country, in any case, and I could have got a job in industry or education somewhere else. What I tried to think of was the people to whom I might be of some help later on, if things got worse (as I believed they would). I had a wide friendship in scientific and academic circles, including many Jews, and “Aryans,” too, who might be in trouble. If I took the oath and held my job, I might be of help, somehow, as things went on. If I refused to take the oath, I would certainly be useless to my friends, even if I remained in the country. I myself would be in their situation.
The next day, after “thinking it over,” I said I would take the oath with the mental reservation, that, by the words with which the oath began, “ich schwoere bei Gott,” “I swear by God,” I understood that no human being and no government had the right to override my conscience. My mental reservations did not interest the official who administered the oath. He said, “Do you take the oath?” and I took it. That day the world was lost, and it was I who lost The fact that I was it. not prepared to resist, in 1935, First of all, there is the problem of the lesser evil. Taking the oath was not so evil as meant that all the being unable to help my friends later on would hay been. But the evil of the oath thousands, was certain and immediate, and the helping of my friends was in the future and hundreds of therefore uncertain. I had to commit a positive evil there and then, in the hope of a thousands, like me possible goo later on. The good outweighed the evil; but the good was only a hope in Germany were the evil a fact.. . . The hope might not have been realized—either for reasons beyond also unprepared, my control or because I became afraid later on or even because I was afraid all the and each one of time and was simply fooling myself when took the oath in the first place. these hundreds of But that is not the important point. The problem of the lesser evil we all know thousands was, like about; in Germany we took Hindenburg as less evil than Hitler, and in the end, we me, a man of great got them both. But that is not why I say that Americans cannot understand. No, the influence or of great important point is—how many innocent people were killed by the Nazis, would you potential influence. say?. . . Shall we say, just to be safe, that three million innocent people were killed Thus the world was all together?. . . And how many innocent lives would you like to say I saved?.. . lost. Perhaps five, or ten, one doesn’t know. But shall we say a hundred, or a thousand, just to be safe?.. . And it would be better to have saved all three million, instead of 35
only a hundred, or a thousand There, then, is my point. If I had refused to take the oath of fidelity, I would have saved all three million There I was, in 1935, a perfect example of the kind of person who, with all his advantages in birth, in education, and in position, rules (or might easily rule) in any country. If I had refused to take the oath in 1935, it would have meant that thousands and thousands like me, all over Germany, were refusing to take it. Their refusal would have heartened millions. Thus the regime would have been overthrown, or, indeed, would never have come to power in the first place. The fact that I was not prepared to resist, in 1935, meant that all the thousands, hundreds of thousands, like me in Germany were also unprepared, an each one of these hundreds of thousands was, like me, a man of great influence or of great potential influence. Thus the world was lost. These hundred lives I saved—or a thousand or ten as you will— what do they represent? A little something out of the whole terrible evil, when, if my faith had been strong enough in 1935, I could have prevented the whole evil.... .. My faith, I did not believe that I could “remove mountains.” The day I said, “No,” I had faith. In the process of “thinking it over,” in the next twenty-four hours, my faith failed me So, in the next ten years, I was able to remove only anthills, not . . . .
My education did not help me, and I had a broader and better education than most men have had or ever will have. All it did, in the end, was to enable me to rationalize my failure of faith more easily than I might have done if I had been ignorant. And so it was, I think, among educated men generally, in that time in Germany. Their resistance was no greater than other men’s.41 Not everyone was willing to take the oath. Among those who refused was Ricarda Huch, a poet and writer. She resigned from the prestigious Prussian Academy of Arts with this letter. That a German should feel German, I should take almost for granted. But there are different opinions about what is German and how German-ness is to be expressed. What the present regime prescribes as national sentiment, is not my German-ness. The centralization, the compulsion, the brutal methods, the defamation of people who think differently, the boastful self-praise I regard as un-German and unhealthy. Possessing a philosophy that varies so radically from that prescribed by the state I find it impossible to remain one of its academicians. You say that the declaration submitted to me by the Academy would not hinder me in the free expression of my opinion. Apart from the fact that “loyal collaboration in the national cultural tasks assigned in accordance with the Academy’s statutes and in the light of the changed historical circumstances” requires an agreement with the government’s programme that I do not feel, I would find no journal or newspaper that would print an oppositional view. Therefore, the right to express one’s opinions freely remains mired in theory.. . . I herewith declare my resignation from the Academy. 42 Huch sent the letter but could not publicize her stand by publishing it. She lived in Germany throughout the Nazi era as a silent dissenter in “internal exile.”
CONNECTIONS What did the man mean when he said his education failed him? That “no human being and no government had the right to override my conscience?” Did he have a conscience—that is, did he know right from wrong? If so, did his conscience also fail him? Milton Mayer wrote that there was a time in Nazi Germany when teachers could have made different decisions. Why was the decision of most teachers to take and obey the new oath to Hitler a crucial step toward totalitarianism? What is the “problem of the lesser evil”? Find examples of it in this reading and in other readings in this chapter. Look for examples in your own Compare the decisions described in this reading with those detailed in earlier readings. What issues influenced each decision? What values and beliefs? The man quoted in this reading states, “I had to commit positive evil there and then, in the hope of a possible good later on.” Do you agree? Is it possible to distinguish among evils? Who today face similar dilemmas? How are those dilemmas resolved? What is “silent dissenter”? “Internal exile?” How meaningful is either?