holocaust

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Photo of the gatehouse of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp . Taken from the train ramp inside the camp by Stanisław Mucha , February / March 1945
Corpses cremated by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp Special Command , photographed by Alberto Errera , August 1944

As Holocaust [ ˈhoːlokaʊ̯st, holoˈkaʊ̯st ] (English, from ancient Greek ὁλόκαυστος holókaustos “completely burned”; also Shoah or Shoah , in English transcription Shoah or Shoah ; Hebrew הַשּׁוֹאָה ha'Schoah for "the catastrophe", "the great misfortune / calamity") is mostly used today to describe the National Socialist genocide of 5.6 to 6.3 million European Jews . Germans and their helpers carried it out systematically from 1941 to 1945, and from 1942 also with industrial methods, with the aim of murdering all Jews in the German sphere of influence. This crime against humanity was based on the anti-Semitism propagated by the state and the corresponding racist legislation of the Nazi regime . In the Nazi ideology, the genocide of the Jews since the attack on Poland was justified as "the destruction of life unworthy of life " and placed on the same level as the Nazi murders of the sick of " Aktion T4 " and " child euthanasia ". The final decision to murder all Jews was made in close connection with the war of extermination against the USSR from the summer of 1941.

Designations

The National Socialists officially called their goal of expelling all Jews from Europe since 1940 the “ final solution to the Jewish question ”. Since 1941 this term was used to camouflage their systematic murder of Jews. He is often quoted about it in historical works. The term “resettlement”, which is often used externally, also served to cover up the Nazi crimes.

In the German-speaking area, the genocide (or democide ) has been referred to as the extermination of the Jews , the murder of the Jews or the mass murder of European Jews since May 1945 . As a result of the first Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, Auschwitz , the name of the largest Nazi extermination camp ( Auschwitz-Birkenau ), became a symbolic name for the entire event.

The term commonly used today, the Holocaust, is derived from the Greek adjective ὁλόκαυστον ( holókauston ), which means "completely burned" and denotes an animal sacrifice completely burned on altars . Since around 1600 the English word Holocaust also referred to death by fire, since around 1800 also massacre , since 1895 also ethnic massacres such as the later genocide of the Armenians . The British daily News Chronicle used the word for the first time for Adolf Hitler's plan to exterminate the Jews in December 1942, albeit without any knowledge of the Nazi methods of extermination. Until 1972 it was in the History of the United States for usual. Since 1978, the television series Holocaust - The History of the Weiss Family has spread it in many other countries, including the Federal Republic of Germany. Since then, the term has mostly been limited to the systematic murder of European Jews. Sometimes it also includes the Porajmos , the genocide of several hundred thousand Roma , whom the National Socialists, as " Gypsies ", also declared to be an "inferior foreign race" and wanted to exterminate them. It is seldom related to the entire National Socialist extermination policy.

The designation of the extermination of the Jews as "Holocaust" was often viewed as problematic because of the origin of the word from the religious cult of sacrifice and its earlier use in Christian anti-Judaism . In Israel and Judaism , the crime has been referred to as Shoah ("catastrophe", "great misfortune") since 1948 . Yom HaSho'a has been a reminder of this since 1959 . Since 1985 the Hebrew word has also been used for the Holocaust in Europe. Jewish theologians denote the event sometimes referred to as third Churban (Hebrew "destruction", "destruction") and interpret it in order of how the two destruction Jerusalem temple as an all descendants of the (586 v and AD 70...) Israel , so Great catastrophe affecting all Jews.

“Crimes against humanity”, “war crimes”, “genocide” and “Holocaust” are often used incorrectly as synonyms. The first three terms are legal terms that are also scientific categories.

  • Crimes against humanity ” are widespread or systematic attacks on the civilian population. In international law, they represent an umbrella term under which both “war crimes”, “ crimes against peace ” and “genocide” fall.
  • War crimes are criminal acts that are committed during an armed conflict, most of which violate the Geneva Conventions .
  • As genocide the coordinated and scheduled destruction of a group is referred to by human, which "group" is defined by the perpetrators.

prehistory

One of the historical prerequisites of the Holocaust is modern anti-Semitism , which arose in Europe since around 1870 and which in turn had a long history in Christian anti-Judaism . The first World War 1914–1918 and the Great Depression of 1929–1932 belong to the development and advancement conditions of National Socialism .

Goals of National Socialism

With its 25-point program, the NSDAP , founded in 1919, aimed at the exclusion and expulsion of Jews from the German “ national community ”. As early as 1919, before joining the party, Adolf Hitler had declared the "removal of Jews in general" to be the political goal of such a state. In an interview with a Catalan journalist in November 1923, he said that killing all of Germany's Jews “would of course be the best solution”. Since this is not possible, the only solution is mass displacement. In his two-part program Mein Kampf (1925/1926) and his unpublished Second Book (1928) he carried out his racial anti-Semitism, advocated mass murders of Jews in the event of a new world war and declared the annihilation of “Jewish Bolshevism” to be the main goal of National Socialist foreign policy. What was meant was the military conquest of the Soviet Union , which was ruled by an alleged " World Jewry ", and the subsequent Germanization through mass resettlements and mass murders.

The consistent, fanatical “redemption anti-Semitism” of Hitler and his followers (a term coined by Saul Friedländer ) is considered an essential, but not the sole and sufficient condition for the Holocaust.

Persecution of Jews in the German Reich 1933–1939

Until 1941, the National Socialists sought to expel and dispossess the German Jews . Immediately after Hitler came to power on January 30, 1933, the NSDAP and its sub-organizations SA , SS , NSDStB and Hitler Youth began with partly unplanned and partly organized acts of violence against Jews. A state “Jewish policy” only emerged as a reaction to this. Important milestones were the " Jewish boycott " of April 1, 1933 and the law to restore the civil service of April 7, 1933, which provided for the dismissal of all "non-Aryan" civil servants and thus for the first time introduced a race criterion into a state law. It initiated the social exclusion of Jews from professional associations, companies, clubs, schools and cultural life. This was continued with numerous other anti-Jewish laws and ordinances and continuously tightened until 1945. Concentration camps were also established in 1933 , mostly under the direction of the SA. Political opponents were initially arrested. The Dachau concentration camp operated by the SS became the model for later labor and extermination camps for Jews and other racially persecuted groups. Starvation, torture and arbitrary murders were already part of everyday life in the first concentration camps. Jewish camp inmates were already particularly harassed there and had the highest mortality rates. On April 12, 1933, Jews were also murdered for the first time in the Dachau concentration camp. B. Rudolf Benario , six months later the murder of concentration camp prisoners was legalized by means of the “ duty to post ” .

In the summer of 1935, the party base of the NSDAP again organized boycotts. As a result, the Nazi regime hastily enacted the Nuremberg Laws in September , which severely restricted the civil rights of German Jews. “Full Jews” and “ Jewish mixed race ” were defined in ordinances that were later submitted. Non-Jews who married a Jew or converted to the Jewish religion were declared “ valid Jews ” regardless of their origin . In 1936 and 1937 Hitler hardly talked about Jews and took no further initiatives to expel them completely. But on November 30, 1937, according to Joseph Goebbels , he affirmed : “The Jews have to come out of Germany, yes from all of Europe.” That would take some time, but he was “determined” to do so. In 1938, parallel to the ongoing armament of the Wehrmacht and preparations for war, the Nazi regime intensified the persecution of Jews again. For example, they also had to take “typically Jewish” first and last names (January), were robbed en masse after the Anschluss (March), had to “register” all their assets (April 26), and were no longer given any government contracts or approvals ( September), but a Jewish stamp in their passports (October), which was justified with foreign measures against Jewish emigrants. Jews without a “typical Jewish” name had to adopt the name “ Sara ” for women and “Israel” for men due to the name change ordinance in August 1938 .

German Reich Law to Disarm the Jews (November 12, 1938)

During the “ Poland Action ” of October 27, 1938, around 15,000 Jews were forcibly deported from Germany to Poland. The murder of the person concerned, Herschel Grynszpan , of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath served as a welcome pretext for the nationwide November pogroms of 1938 , in which around 400 people were murdered, over 1,400 synagogues , other assembly rooms and cemeteries were destroyed and up to 36,000 Jews were interned in concentration camps. With the “ Jewish penalty” imposed on November 12, the victims had to pay for the destruction; The state " Aryanization " was accelerated with the ordinance on the elimination of Jews from German economic life and the ordinance on the use of Jewish assets . Even without a “basic plan”, the measures taken by the Nazi regime created essential administrative prerequisites that made the Holocaust possible: including the legal definition of the term “Jew”, expropriation and concentration in special living areas. National Socialist persecution and murder of the Jews are therefore described as a merging, inseparable "extermination policy".

Of the 510,000 German Jews who were affiliated to the Israelite religious communities in 1933, 278,000 to 315,000 emigrated by the beginning of the war in September 1939; by 1940 another 15,000 fled. In October 1941 the National Socialist leadership imposed an emigration ban on Jews. 10,000 to 15,000 of the Jews living in “mixed marriages” or hidden in the Reich escaped the Holocaust. Up to 195,000 German Jews were murdered there. About 6,000 survived the camps. Of around 200,000 Austrian Jews, around 65,500 were killed during the Nazi era; the rest were able to flee after the Anschluss and after the start of the war.

course

escalation

As a "holocaust" or "genocide of the Jews," which refers to Holocaust research those destruction process in the Second World War, Eastern European arrayed mass shootings Jews to the systematic gassing of Jews from all territories occupied by Germany in Europe in specially equipped to extermination camps handed.

For some historians, the Holocaust began in September 1939 because thousands of Jews were murdered during the attack on Poland and afterwards (see also Jews in Poland ) and most of the later methods of extermination were tried: isolation in ghettos and camps, starvation, deportation , mass shootings and murders with poison gas. For many historians, the Holocaust began with the war against the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, when systematic, centrally prepared and ordered mass murders of Jews began in entire regions. In his main work, The Annihilation of European Jews, Raul Hilberg described the beginning of this as early as 1933 with the systematic and quasi-legal exclusion of the population group.

The murders happened regionally at different speeds and at different times. They were expanded to include more and more groups of victims and carried out with increasingly radical methods. While some groups of victims were still being driven out or deported, others have already been destroyed, so that “conception, decision-making and implementation cannot always be clearly delineated”.

Peter Longerich concludes from the information in the Jäger report that an order must have reached the Hamann Roll Command between August 5 and 16, 1941 at the latest , according to which, in principle, no distinction was made between the murder of men and women and the killing of Children was released. From October, German Jews were also deported and the construction of the first extermination camps began. From November 25th, German Jews were also shot. From December 8th, Jews were murdered with exhaust fumes. From February 1942, Western and Southern European Jews were also deported to Eastern Europe. From March, extermination camps with gas chambers were put into operation and Jews deported there were murdered immediately after their arrival. From July onwards, Jews from all occupied European countries were deported to extermination camps. At best, the Nazi regime postponed some of these steps, but set no limits on the murders, never stopped them and did not reverse any decision. The temporarily suspended murder of the Hungarian Jews was continued and accelerated after the defeat of the war had long been established. The survivors of disbanded extermination and labor camps were sent on death marches .

First mass murders and deportations

With the attack on Poland around two million Polish Jews came under the rule of the National Socialists. On September 3, 1939, two days after the start of the war, Germans carried out the first massacre of Polish Jews, which they passed off as revenge for the Bydgoszcz Blood Sunday . By the end of December 1939, German SS, SD and Wehrmacht members murdered around 7,000 Polish Jews, some of them indiscriminately. These murders accompanied the massacres of German task forces of over 60,000 Poles, which the Nazi regime had ordered and prepared with lists of target persons. They were supposed to disempower and intimidate the Polish upper class and drive as many Polish Jews as possible from the German-occupied part of western Poland to eastern Poland .

On September 21, 1939, Adolf Hitler, had Heinrich Himmler , Reinhard Heydrich and Albert Forster in Berlin agreed as short-term objective, within one year, all "Reich Jews" in a monitored, inhospitable "Jewish reservation" in Lublin to bring in Poland, where forced labor afford to let . For this purpose, Adolf Eichmann , then head of the “ Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Prague ”, created the Nisko Plan . From October 18 to 26, 1939, he had around 5,000 Jews from Vienna , Katowice and Ostrava brought to Nisko and forced them to build an alleged transit camp for subsequent “resettlements”. These transports were supposed to test and prepare extensive deportations from the "Altreich", but were discontinued on Himmler's orders. Most of the deportees fled across the border to eastern Poland or died of hunger and cold in the camp.

The German security police in annexed western Poland wanted to expel all Jews from their area to the newly created General Government. From December 1939 to March 1940 around 175,000 Poles, including many Jews, were deported there. In March 1940 these transports were stopped for the time being due to organizational problems without abandoning the “resettlement” plans. This established a pattern for dealing with Jews in the conquered areas: German district administrations pushed for their deportation to neighboring areas, this was organized at short notice and carried out brutally with rail transport without taking human life into account. The SS and the police shot dead some of the deportees on arrival.

The first euthanasia murders with gas vans happened in Poland. From May 1940, Jewish patients in German sanatoriums and nursing homes were singled out and murdered with poison gas as part of Operation T4 , later Operation 14f13 .

Ghettoization

Map of the ghettos in Eastern Europe (1941/1942)

The ghettoization of "Reich Jews" was considered in 1938 and initially implemented in the form of Jewish houses . Since the beginning of the war, the German communes began to separate or deport Jews in special residential areas. Thousands of Polish Jews living in the German Reich were interned in concentration camps and their sub-camps.

Instead of the initially failed “Jewish reservation”, a “Reichsghetto” was planned in Poland. Gauleiter in Wartheland and the city administration of Łódź began to set up the Litzmannstadt ghetto in December 1939 , which existed until 1944. By April 1940 they had forced 157,000 Jews to move there. It was walled in and guarded by the police, and attempts to escape were given a shooting order. In the autumn of 1940, the German city administration in Warsaw divided up a “no-plague area” and turned it into the hermetically sealed Warsaw Ghetto (Jewish residential area) . Around 500,000 Polish Jews were held there until May 1941.

As early as the winter of 1940/41, thousands of ghetto residents, especially children and the elderly, died of hunger, cold, untreated illnesses and exhaustion. The official food rations were extremely low and aimed at mass extinction. In addition, there were arbitrary murders by the Nazi guards on a daily basis. By autumn 1942 around 100,000 Jews died in Warsaw and around 25,000 in Łódź. Almost only the few residents who still had connections outside the ghetto and were in good physical condition had a chance of survival.

In the spring of 1941, the German city and district administrations set up many ghettos in the Generalgouvernement without central orders in order to free up apartments for Wehrmacht soldiers and to prepare for the expected deportation of Polish Jews to conquered Soviet territories. Some officials limited themselves to exit bans in non-walled “Jewish residential areas”. From 1942 the new ghettos were used directly to prepare the transports of the Jews to their murder.

Big ghettos Country interned Jews from until Transports to
Budapest Hungary 120,000 November 1944 January 1945 Auschwitz
Lviv ghetto Ukraine 115,000 November 1941 June 1943 Belzec, Janowska
Litzmannstadt ghetto Poland 200,000 February 1940 August 1944 Chelmno, Auschwitz
Warsaw Ghetto Poland 450,000 October 1940 May 1943 Treblinka, Majdanek

Deportation plans

On October 7, 1939, after the victory in the invasion of Poland, Hitler appointed Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler " Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Ethnicity ". With this, Himmler was given responsibility for all racist " plans to resettle " in the areas of Eastern Europe that were already or will be conquered in the future . Himmler commissioned the General Plan Ost , which was expanded from June 24, 1941 and provided for the deportation of up to 31 million Slavs and their millions of mass deaths. Jews were not mentioned because their "disappearance" was assumed.

In May 1940, when the victory in the Western campaign was becoming apparent, the Foreign Office and the Reich Security Main Office considered the Madagascar Plan : It provided for the island of Madagascar to be taken over from defeated France and up to 5.8 million European Jews to be deported there. Himmler hoped to see the “concept of the Jews” “completely erased” through this “emigration”. He considered the assimilation of “racially valuable elements” from non-Jewish minorities through child kidnapping and disenfranchisement to be the “mildest and best” if one rejects the “Bolshevik method of physical extermination of a people out of inner conviction as un-Germanic and impossible”. Accordingly, people around Himmler were already thinking of genocide, but the idea was still discarded.

On the night of October 21-22, 1940 (the day of the Tabernacle Festival ), the so-called “ Wagner-Bürckel Action ” took place, during which over 6,500 Jews from Baden and the Saar-Palatinate were deported to the Camp de Gurs internment camp in southern France . Adolf Eichmann was responsible for rail transport. The next day Wagner signed a decree by which the entire property of the Jews deported from Baden was "declared forfeited to the country". The Jews had already been deported from the conquered Alsace and Lorraine to occupied France.

In November 1940, after the Battle of Britain , the Madagascar plan became illusory. Nevertheless, some Nazi files mentioned him until the beginning of 1942. From 1941, documents spoke of a “final territorial solution” “in a territory yet to be determined”. After the war against the Soviet Union, which was being prepared at the time, Himmler and Heydrich considered deporting the Jews to inhospitable regions beyond the Urals , the Pripyat Marshes or the Arctic Ocean camps, and allowing them to perish there.

The projects reflect a lack of an overall plan, competence chaos and competition between the Nazi authorities involved, as well as their continuous push for a “final solution”. Since, on the one hand, they were more likely to treat the Jews as internal enemies during the war, and on the other hand, they could no longer simply deport them to unoccupied areas, more radical ideas for solutions gained ground. According to Dieter Pohl , all of these large-scale deportation plans were aimed at creeping genocide because they included poor living conditions, forced labor and forced sterilization : the deportees were supposed to be the last generation of Jews.

Decision making

Adolf Hitler giving a speech to the Reichstag (October 1939)

How the Nazi regime came to the decision not only to remove the Jews from German rule but to kill them all is controversial in historical research. On the one hand, it is not clear whether this decision was the direct result of Hitler's radical anti-Semitic “program”, as the so-called intentionalists assume, or whether it was “improvised” within the National Socialist polycracy between various rival actors in Berlin and on the periphery - this is the view of the so-called functionalists .

It is also controversial when or whether Hitler gave the order for the Holocaust at all. The Nazi regime had as few resolutions as possible on Nazi crimes recorded in writing, treated them as a secret Reich matter and had many files destroyed, since the decision-makers were aware of the extent and scope of these crimes. Written documents often served as subsequent legitimation, i.e. presupposed informal decisions and could have been accompanied by further verbal instructions.

Hitler's speeches were deliberately general, ambiguous and veiled, but served as guidelines for numerous measures taken by the Nazi authorities dealing with Jews, which complied with the “will of the Führer” and which Hitler then approved. On January 30, 1939, in the Reichstag, he threatened the "annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe" in the event of a new world war . He left open whether this was to be understood as a result of deportations or direct murder; a plan of extermination did not yet exist. He often came back to this speech during the Holocaust, four times each in 1941 and 1942, and indicated that it was being carried out: “The Jews in Germany once laughed at my prophecies. [...] Of those who laughed back then, innumerable people no longer laugh today ... ”According to historian Hans Mommsen , Hitler's speech was primarily about providing foreign exchange to the Western powers in connection with the simultaneous negotiations of the Rublee Committee to finance the to extort Jewish emigration and on the other hand - with the Jews as hostages - to compel them to behave politically well towards the German Reich.

A written Holocaust order from Hitler was not found and probably did not exist. Several written and verbal orders from Hitler for individual steps of extermination are documented, however. He had ordered Operation T4 in October 1939 and backdated the written decree to September 1, 1939, the beginning of the attack on Poland . He understood the " destruction of unworthy life " to "keep Aryan blood pure" as part of his war. The decree legitimized the secretly prepared sick murders in order to avoid a public euthanasia law and to dispel fears of criminal consequences among the doctors involved. After church protests had become loud despite the secrecy, Hitler had Aktion T 4 stopped on August 24, 1941, but the murders in the occupied territories of Eastern Europe continued. According to Karl Schleunes, this showed his calculation not to endanger the domestic political approval of his policy in order to carry out the racist extermination unhindered. This attitude also determined his approach to the Holocaust.

From February 1941 the Nazi regime planned the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union with the SS and Wehrmacht generals . Mass killings were discussed at various meetings. On March 3, Hitler gave the OKW guidelines to work with the SS and the police to eliminate the “Jewish-Bolshevik” intelligentsia. As in Poland in 1939, the elites in the state, party and army were to be decimated first. The OKW's martial law decree of May 13, 1941, ordered by Hitler, allowed the Wehrmacht soldiers to shoot suspected resistance civilians immediately without fear of consequences under military law. Hitler's commissioner order of June 6, 1941 ordered prisoners of war political officers of the Red Army to be singled out and shot immediately. In addition, there was the hunger calculation of feeding the German troops on site and delivering millions of Soviet civilians to starvation in return. These orders and plans particularly affected Jews because they were identified with troublemakers and “Bolsheviks” and lived primarily in cities.

In May 1941, on Hitler's orders, Heydrich had four mobile " Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD " (A to D) set up and trained in a few weeks. From July onwards, several task forces “for special use” (e.g. V.) were added. Their official mission was to fight partisans behind the advancing army groups of the Wehrmacht by means of "reprisals", ie massacres in retaliation for alleged or real attacks on German soldiers. The high command of the army allowed them to proceed independently with an agreement and at the same time promised them close cooperation. In addition, there were a few battalions of the Ordnungspolizei and two brigades of the Waffen-SS under the " Command Staff Reichsführer SS " without any special tasks. The three Higher SS and Police Leaders (HSSPF), Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski , Friedrich Jeckeln and Hans-Adolf Prützmann , who were directly subordinate to Himmler , directed and coordinated the murder operations of all these groups.

Forced Shave of a Ukrainian Jew by Wehrmacht Soldiers (July 1941)
Russian Jews captured as alleged "snipers", including a rabbi

In his diary entries and in his Poznan speeches of October 1943, Himmler often referred to Hitler's personal commission to "exterminate" the Jews. According to his personal physician Felix Kersten , he is said to have received this order in the spring of 1941. This is why the thesis has long been widespread that Hitler had given the order for the Holocaust as early as the spring or summer of 1941. On May 21, Himmler put the HSSPF under a "special order from the Führer" to carry out his "special orders" in the territories that were to be occupied in the future. On June 17, Heydrich verbally instructed them in Berlin to initiate “self-purification” - pogroms - against Jews and communists in the soon-to-be-occupied territories. He reminded them of this in his deployment orders of June 29, 1941. On July 2, he listed the groups of people whom they were ordered to murder. He explicitly added “Jews in party and state positions” and, with deliberately vague terms, allowed the perpetrators to expand the groups of victims. Further orders from the RSHA required the Wehrmacht to hand over all Jewish prisoners of war to the SS. Accordingly, the addressees did not yet have a general order to murder Jews from the Reich Chancellery.

On July 16, 1941, Hitler put Himmler in charge of the SS, police and SD in the east as well. Himmler strengthened the task force by the end of the year from 3,000 to 33,000 men, including residents of the occupied territories who were willing to help. On July 31, Hermann Göring Heydrich gave the order to create an “overall draft” for an “overall solution to the Jewish question”. The text was written in the Reich Security Main Office and only submitted to Göring for signature, so it was supposed to authorize ongoing plans. According to Lars Lüdicke, Göring wrote the letter himself, based on a draft commissioned by Heydrich. On August 1, Hitler radioed the task force leaders to keep him informed of their results.

According to later statements by the commanders involved, Jeckeln ordered them in August to expand the executions to include women and children “so as not to allow any avengers.” On August 15, a task force report listed “Jews and Jewish children” as murder victims for the first time. At the end of August, Task Force D reported that their area of ​​operations was now " free of Jews ". At the same time, all Jews in the conquered areas were to be brought to ghettos and registered; the registered Jews were all shot soon afterwards. According to the commando officer Otto Bradfisch , Himmler responded to his request in the presence of all the riflemen at a mass shooting in Minsk : There was a “Führer's order for the shooting of all Jews”, which had the force of law. According to Jeckeln, before the “Riga Blood Sunday” (November 30, 1941), Himmler instructed him to inform Hinrich Lohse : “… it is my order, which is also the wish of the Führer.” These post-war statements are based on the commissioner's order, which was generalized from August. Hans Mommsen, on the other hand, sees the expansion of those to be murdered to include Jewish women and children not motivated by explicit orders, but by a momentum of their own: The leaders of the task forces saw their delegation as an opportunity to prove themselves and therefore saw themselves in a competition with one another for the highest odds; the myth of Jewish Bolshevism caused the perpetrators to repay their resistance with even more murders of Jews.

When the German advance stalled at the end of August, it became clear that hopes for a quick German victory were deceptive. By then, Hitler had scheduled the “final solution to the Jewish question” for the time after the hoped-for victory over the Soviet Union. On September 17, 1941, he gave in to the urging of Alfred Rosenberg and Joseph Goebbels, who wanted to deport the Jews from the German Reich and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to the east during the war. The Swiss historian Philippe Burrin believes that this was the situation in which Hitler made the final decision on genocide: Faced with the failure of his blitzkrieg strategy , he tried to regain the initiative and decided to destroy those he considered The cause of its failure. According to the historian Peter Longerich , the decision to deport the German and Czech Jews had other reasons: The reason given by the National Socialists to retaliate for the deportation of the Volga Germans to Siberia and Kazakhstan was at best the cause of Hitler's change of opinion. More important to him was the threatening entry of the United States into the war: since Hitler firmly believed in a Jewish world conspiracy in which Bolshevism and financial capitalism were two sides of the same coin, he believed that with the deportation he would be able to influence American foreign policy . Added to this is the domestic political motive to present one's own people with a scapegoat for the beginning bombing war .

On October 2, Himmler suggested to Hitler that Jews from Germany and the Reich Protectorate be "relocated" to the ghettos of Riga, Reval and Minsk. In the RSHA on October 10th, Heydrich affirmed Hitler's goal of making the German Reich “free of Jews” by the end of the year, and named not only ghettos but also newly built concentration camps as destinations. In October 1941 a nationwide travel ban for Jews was issued. On October 25, Viktor Brack offered to gas incapacitated Jews from the ghettos in the east with his euthanasia apparatus. On November 1, the SS began to build the Belzec extermination camp , which was to serve to empty overcrowded ghettos.

During these weeks, Hitler's internal hateful statements about Jews, whom he saw as the “world enemy” behind all the warring powers against Germany, increased and increased. The "elimination" of the Jews is a condition for any positive change in the occupied or allied countries, since otherwise they would have a destructive effect through racial mixing. On October 21st he declared: "If we eradicate this plague, we will do an act for humanity, of the importance of which our men outside can not even imagine." On October 25th, he reminded the Nazi leaders of his "Prophecy" of January 30, 1939: "It is good, if horror precedes us, that we exterminate the Jews."

Research suggests a connection between the decision-making process for the Holocaust and the waging of the war of annihilation against the USSR. The British historian and Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw emphasizes that the destruction of "Jewish Bolshevism" was at the center of this war. In the summer and autumn of 1941, Hitler repeatedly expressed himself in the most brutal way about the smashing of the USSR and indulged in barbaric generalizations about the Jews as a whole. In this way, "from the contradictions and the lack of clarity in anti-Jewish politics, a program for the murder of all Jews in Europe conquered by the Germans could take concrete shape". According to the American Holocaust researcher Christopher Browning , “the preparations for the 'Operation Barbarossa' set in motion a chain of fateful events, and the murderous 'war of extermination' then quickly led to systematic mass murder, first of the Soviet and soon after that of the other European Jews ".

List of Jews intended for extermination according to areas; Document from the Wannsee Conference, January 20, 1942

The historian Christian Gerlach, on the other hand, interprets two sources from December 1941 as Hitler's order on the Holocaust: On the one hand, on December 12, one day after his declaration of war on the USA , he declared to the Gauleiters gathered in the Reich Chancellery: Since the world war had now come, the extermination of the Jews must be “the necessary consequence”. On the other hand, Gerlach refers to a note in Himmler's service calendar of December 18, in which, after a conversation with Hitler, it says that the Jews should be "exterminated as partisans".

Heydrich had invited the most important ministerial officials, citing Goering's order, to the Wannsee Conference on December 11th, which was postponed to January 20th, 1942 because of Hitler's declaration of war. There they discussed the further organization of the ongoing Holocaust. According to the only surviving minutes of the conference, 11 million Jews in Europe were scheduled for deportation. All important Nazi spheres of power were to participate, and all participants agreed to its implementation. Heydrich's "Jewish Affairs" Adolf Eichmann , organizer and secretary of the conference,'sagte 1961 during his detention in Israel from, Heydrich had informed personally and literally him a few days before the conference: "The Führer has ordered the physical extermination of the Jews." In Eichmann -Proceedings , he also confirmed what the cover language of the protocol meant: "It was spoken of killing and eliminating and annihilating."

Because of the process and the documents received, historians assume that Hitler and the top Nazi representatives decided, planned, ordered or let the Holocaust happen not on a single date, but over a long period of time. They assume that it was only after the killings of the Einsatzgruppen that it was decided to deport and murder the other European Jews as well. There was no express order from Hitler for the “final solution”. The local Nazi groups of perpetrators worked closely with the central authorities to expand the groups of victims. Hans Mommsen sees the Holocaust as the end result of a complex process of increasing radicalization of the persecution of Jews and the conduct of war. The attack on the Soviet Union represented the decisive turning point in the radicalization of the anti-Semitic policy of the Nazi regime. A few months later, the "scenario for the implementation of the Holocaust [...] in October 1941 already existed". Nevertheless, Mommsen does not believe in a specific order from Hitler about the Holocaust: he deliberately avoided formal identification with the murder program, which was unpopular among the German population, and left the initiative to Himmler, Heydrich and Odilo Globocnik .

Systematic mass shootings

The Jews of Storow (Ukraine)
Dig their Graves Before They Are Shooting (July 4, 1941)
Shooting of Jews from Kiev near Ivangorod , Ukraine (1942)

On June 24, 1941, two days after the attack on the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen shot dead the adult male Jews of a locality in Garsden for the first time. In the first six weeks, mass murders of hundreds to thousands of people followed on each deployment.

From July onwards, fascist irregulars in north-eastern Poland, western Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus, in close cooperation with German Einsatzgruppen and the Wehrmacht, carried out pogrom-like mass murders of Jewish men, which they justified as revenge for previous mass murders allegedly directed by Jews by the NKVD . Militias such as the Arājs Command emerged from nationalist and paramilitary movements such as the Lithuanian group “ Iron Wolf ” ( Geležinis vilkas ) and the Latvian “ Thunder Cross ” ( Pērkonkrusts ); There were also several groups like the OUN in Ukraine . Since the spring of 1941, the Reich Security Main Office and German military intelligence had established contact with them and planned to use them to trigger pogroms against “Jewish Bolsheviks” after the attack. Around 40,000 Soviet Jews fell victim to this wave of murders.

On July 15, all Jews in a locality were murdered in Mitau for the first time. Starting on August 15, Einsatzkommando 3 in Lithuania and Latvia in particular also shot Jewish women, children and old men almost every day at assembly points in conquered Soviet locations; several times in Kaunas , Ponar near Vilna , which had a Jewish ghetto. About 1,000 Jews were able to flee in Estonia; 950 were murdered.

At the Kamenets-Podolsk massacre on 29/30 In August 1941, after an agreement between Jeckeln and the Wehrmacht, all Jews in a larger city were murdered for the first time. Of the 23,000 victims, 14,000 were Jews deported from Hungary. On September 15, Einsatzgruppen C and D and the police battalions began to murder all Jews in major cities in Ukraine: first in Zhitomir , in the Babyn Yar gorge near Kiev , then in the Drobyzkyj Yar gorge near Kharkiv . Starting in October, Einsatzgruppen and battalions in western Ukraine murdered all the Jews they had left behind in the first wave of murders. In Belarus, too, the Schutzstaffel, police and the 707th Infantry Division murdered Jews in larger cities such as Vitebsk , Polotsk , Borissow and in rural areas from October . In further eastern areas of Russia, many Jews were able to flee in time; those who remained were also murdered, for example in Smolensk , Rostov and Kalinin . On November 30th and 7th / 8th December, the new Higher SS and Police Leader Friedrich Jeckeln had the majority of the Latvian Jews murdered in Riga with all available police battalions in order to empty the ghetto there for the transport of Jews from the German Reich.

The first transports of deported Berlin Jews arrived in Kaunas from November 25 to 29, 1941. Task forces shot them immediately after their arrival; so also on November 30th in Riga. Himmler forbade the shooting of Berlin Jews on November 30th and reprimanded Friedrich Jeckeln for disregarding his “guidelines”. But it is believed that he only wanted to postpone the assassination a little longer to prevent news of it from leaking through the Reich. In February 1942, German Jews were again deported to Lublin and shot in Riga. From then on, German Jews were involved in the ongoing Holocaust.

While most of the Jews in the Generalgouvernement were already murdered in extermination camps, the mass shootings continued in formerly Soviet, now German-occupied areas. In forests near large cities, the police set up cordoned off execution sites : Ponar near Vilna, the forest of Rumbula , the forest of Biķernieki near Riga, the extermination camp Bronnaja Gora near Brest and others. The victims transported there had to undress and were shot in groups at the edges of dug pits, into which they then fell. The Reserve Police Battalion 101 was involved in the execution of 38,000 Jews and the deportation of 45,000 Jews to extermination camps. These included the Józefów massacre on July 13, 1942. Jews living there were also shot en masse from September 1941 in Serbia , Croatia and Romania .

The following, incomplete table only includes larger and exemplary smaller mass shootings. Abbreviations for Einsatzgruppe = EG, Einsatzkommando = EK, Lithuanian Activist Front = LAF, Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists = OUN, Police Battalion = PB, Sonderkommando = SK, Security and Order Police = OP.

location date Offender unit Victim
Garsden June 24, 1941 EK Tilsit 200 men, one woman
Białystok June 27, 1941 PB 309 2,000 men and women
Lviv June 30 to July 2, 1941 OUN 4,000 men
Daugavpils 1./2. July 1941 EK 1a 1,150 men
Riga Early July 1941 EG A, Lithuanian auxiliary police 400
Zolochiv Early July 1941 SK 4b, OUN, SS Vikings 2,000
Ternopoly July 7, 1941 SK 4b, OUN 800
Lutsk July 2, 1941 SK 4a 1,160 men
Lviv 2-6 July 1941 EK 5, 6, e.g. b. V. 2,500 men
Kaunas 4th-6th July 1941 EK 3 2,977 men
Brest July 6, 1941 PB 307 4,000 men
Białystok July 8, 1941 PB 316, 322 3,000 men
Mitau July 15, 1941 EK 2 1,550
Kaunas 25.-28. July 1941 LAF 3,800
Lviv 29.-31. July 1941 OUN 2,000
Pinsk 7th / 8th August 1941 SS cavalry brigade 9,000
Kamenets-Podolsk 27.-29. August 1941 PB 320, pp 26,500
Zhitomir September 19, 1941 EG C, D 3,145
Kiev , Babyn Yar 29./30. September 1941 SK 4a, PB 45, 314 33,771
Belarus from October 1941 707th Infantry Division 19,000
Dnepropetrovsk 13./14. October 1941 PB 314 11,000
Rovno 5th / 6th November 1941 EK 5, PB 320 15,000
Riga November 30th, 7th / 8th December 1941 all PB, command of Arājs 26,000
Simferopol 13.-15. December 1941 EG D, Wehrmacht 12,000
Kharkov from January 1, 1942 PB 314 12,000
Minsk 28-30 July 1942 OP 10,000
Lutsk 19.-23. August 1942 OP 14,700
Vladimir Volynsk 1st - 3rd September 1942 OP 13,500
Brest 15./16. October 1942 OP, PB 310 19,000
Pinsk October 28, 1942 PB 306, 310 18,000

On December 31, 1941, Himmler reported 363,000 Jews murdered as "partisans" to Hitler between August and November. By the end of the year, the perpetrator units had murdered at least 500,000 of the approximately 2.5 million Soviet Jews who lived in the areas occupied by Germans. By the Wannsee Conference on January 20, around 900,000 Jews had been murdered. The Einsatzgruppen and police battalions shot a total of at least 1.3 million Jews.

Extermination camp

Map of the labor and extermination camps and deportation routes in Germany-occupied Europe around 1942
Announcement on the "Downsizing" of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto (August 22, 1944)

In the spring of 1941, when planning the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, Hitler had promised Hans Frank that the Government General would be the first to be “Jew-free”, that is, to deport the Jews living there to the conquered territories. When it became clear that the course of the war would thwart this, the Gauleiter in occupied Poland demanded that the Jews of the local ghettos be massacred. Epidemics spread in the ghettos as a result of the deliberate overcrowding and complete closure. Alleged incapacity for work, risk of infection and stress for the Germans and the Wehrmacht from “useless eaters” were some of the excuses to demand “radical solutions” for the ghetto residents.

Mass shootings were soon seen as "inefficient". What was meant was not only the slow pace of the murder, but also the perpetrators' problems with the murder work, which was too time-consuming, stressful for their nerves and, above all, too conspicuous. Anonymized killing methods should lower or eliminate the psychological inhibition threshold of the perpetrator.

In October 1941 the Gauleiter of the Wartheland , Arthur Greiser, in consultation with Viktor Brack , one of the organizers of the Nazi euthanasia , managed to allow the murder method of gassing with carbon monoxide used in Action T4 to be used in his Gau. To this end, an SS special command, whose members were involved in the murders of the sick in 1939/40, set up the Kulmhof extermination camp (Chelmno) in just a few weeks . On December 8, 1941, the first group of Jews from Prague were gassed there.

Children from the Łódź ghetto are waiting to be deported to the Kulmhof extermination camp

In order to empty the large German ghettos in occupied Poland as planned by killing their residents, the Belzec , Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps were built between November 1941 and July 1942 . The doctors, administration and transport specialists there mostly came from Aktion T4 and some of them rose in the SS hierarchy. On September 26, 1941, Himmler commissioned the camp commandant Rudolf Höß to convert the forced labor camp that had existed since 1940 into an extermination camp. Other extermination camps were the Majdanek and Maly Trostinez concentration camps near Minsk in Belarus.

On March 16, 1942, in consultation with the military administration, the SS and police began emptying the ghettos of Lemberg and Lublin, from May those in the Krakow district and transporting the residents to Belzec. Jewish councils were forced to select the victims, who were murdered immediately upon arrival. As of May 1942, Jews from the surrounding area who were classified as “unable to work” were murdered in Sobibor. The civil administration in Poland classified all Jews in the three categories of “fit for war”, “fit for work” and “unfit for work”. At the end of May there was consensus among all of these agencies to murder all “unfit for work”. Jewish ghettos were also set up in smaller towns. The preparations were organized centrally in Lublin; the entire murder project was named Aktion Reinhardt after Reinhard Heydrich, who had been murdered shortly before . Engine exhaust fumes were mostly used as a murder method. Almost all of the newcomers were killed regardless of their ability to work and only spared in exceptional cases in order to be integrated into an internal detainee detachment.

From August 1942, on orders of the military administrations who wanted to save food contingents, the remaining ghettos in Belarus and the Ukraine were "evacuated": This meant the complete murder of their residents, especially in Volhynia, Lutsk, Vladimir Volynsk, Brest-Litovsk and Pinsk. Gas trucks were also used in Maly Trostinez. Wehrmacht units, three police battalions, the stationary protection police, the gendarmerie and foreign helpers were directly involved in many of these massacres.

The Theresienstadt concentration camp in Terezín near Prague , known as the Theresienstadt ghetto, served to camouflage the planned murder for a group of privileged Jews . In 1941 it was set up as a transit camp for later transport to the extermination camps. Jews from Germany were even able to “shop” there with the alleged promise that they would be looked after. In the concentration camp, more than 140,000 Jews lived in a confined space with minimal “Jewish self-administration”. This concentration camp was shown to a delegation of the Red Cross in July 1944 as a place of a supposedly “normal life” of the prisoners.

Deported in Birkenau on the way to the “death barracks” of the sick
Jews from Carpathian Ukraine wait at the Auschwitz ramp for their selection (May 1944)
Incineration ovens in the crematorium in Buchenwald concentration camp ; Image taken on April 16, 1945 after the liberation by the American Army

The main destination of the transports from all parts of Europe in 1942 was the largest of all extermination camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau II . Individual murders by security guards were part of everyday life there. For example, between August 31 and September 5, 1941 , Karl Fritzsch had 850 Soviet prisoners of war and sick inmates murdered for the first time on his own initiative to test the toxic gas-containing product Zyklon B. Six large crematoria were planned for the additional camp . It is uncertain whether they were intended for murders when construction began. At the end of June 1942, the selection of employable Jews to be murdered immediately began on the ramp where the trains arrived. From July 1942 two gas chambers ("bunkers") were completed, where the murders took place until February 1943. In March 1943, the crematoria, each with a gas chamber, were completed and were then used for the daily murder and immediate cremation of thousands of newcomers.

From Europe occupied by German troops, the National Socialists had masses of people deported by rail to the extermination camps. Quite a few deportees died while being transported by train in unheated cattle wagons . On arrival at the camp, the SS selected some of the prisoners into those who were able to work and those who were unable to work. Immediately after the selection, children, their mothers, the elderly and the sick were taken to gas chambers camouflaged as shower rooms. In Auschwitz, the SS used Zyklon B for the murder. The vast majority of the deportees were immediately gassed without receiving a tattooed prisoner number. The hydrogen cyanide gas caused cyanide poisoning , which, depending on the strength of the inhalation, could cause excruciating internal asphyxiation for up to 20 minutes . The SS had the victims' hair, gold teeth and private goods, such as clothes, shoes, glasses, suitcases, financially exploited. Inmates then had to burn the bodies in crematoria and cremation pits.

The SS had human experiments carried out for military, medical and other purposes in various concentration camps . For example, the victims were exposed to extremely high or low air pressure in pressure chambers, supercooled in ice water, infected with bacteria and abused for surgical experiments. The perpetrators, such as the SS doctor Josef Mengele , consciously and without any scruples accepted the death or lifelong damage to the health of the test subjects. Until recently, many German and Swiss research institutions still found human body parts that had once been requested and delivered by the National Socialists for "research purposes".

Raul Hilberg gives an exemplary description of Auschwitz-Birkenau in his standard work: After the unloading of the deportation trains, the selection took place ; Old, sick and occasionally small children were sorted out on the ramp. In the main camp in Auschwitz, the elderly and the sick were taken to the gas chambers on trucks, and strong people were first put to work. The selection was superficial, the newcomers were driven past the doctor, who pointed in one of two directions: either to work or immediately to the gas chamber. There were also regular selections in the camps themselves (for example on the roll call area and in the camp hospital). The men and women assigned to the gas chamber had to undress, giving the impression that the clothes would be returned after the announced showering together. To deceive, to avoid panic and to speed up the process, the guards claimed, for example, that one should hurry, otherwise the water in the showers or the soup after showering would get cold. Occasionally, even in winter, the stripped people had to stand barefoot for hours in the open air before their turn, in some cases hearing the screams of those who had gone into the gas chambers before them. The victims discovered in the gas chambers that the supposed showers were not working. After the doors were closed, the guards switched off the electrical lighting, as the poison gas is highly flammable in high concentrations. An SS man with a special gas mask opened the cover of the slot in the ceiling and poured Zyklon B pellets onto the floor of the gas chamber. The volatile hydrocyanic acid outgassed from the granulate and spread throughout the room. In a panic, the stronger people pushed the weaker people down, pushed away from the throw-in point, stood on top of those who had fallen and lay in order to reach layers of air that were free of toxic gases. The first victims near the throw-in point either lost consciousness or died after about two minutes. The screaming stopped and the dying fell on top of each other if there was enough space. After fifteen minutes everyone in the gas chamber was dead. The SS let the gas escape and after about half an hour the prisoner special command opened the door. The corpses were found piled up like a tower, some in a sitting and semi-sitting position, children and the elderly at the bottom. There was a free space at the point where the gas had been thrown in, as people had backed away from there. A crowd of people was pressed against the front door that they had tried to open. The skin of the corpses was pink, sometimes there was foam on the lips or there had been nosebleeds. Some bodies were covered with feces and urine, and some pregnant women had given birth. Jewish special commandos with gas masks first had to clear away the bodies at the door in order to clear their way. Then they had to hose down the corpses and pull them apart. If the women's hair had not yet been shaved, they now had to cut it and wash it in ammonia solution before packing it. In all camps, the body cavities were searched for hidden valuables, and the gold teeth were pulled. Finally, the corpses were transported to the crematoria.

Secretly photographed cremation of the corpses, Auschwitz-Birkenau, August 1944

Over three million people were killed by poison gas; a third of them through Zyklon B, most through engine exhaust.

warehouse start of building Beginning of the murder End of the mass killings Murdered
Auschwitz-Birkenau II October 1941 March 1942 November 1944 900,000-1,100,000
Kulmhof October 1941 December 1941 July 1944 more than 150,000
Belzec November 1941 March 1942 December 1942 435,000
Sobibor February 1942 April 1942 October 1943 150,000-250,000
Treblinka June 1942 July 1942 August 1943 more than 900,000
Majdanek October 1941 February 1943 July 1944 at least 78,000
Maly Trostinez November 1941 May 1942 June 1944 60,000

Europe-wide extermination of Jews

Systematic deportations begin

date County town goal
October 15, 1941 Vienna Lodz ghetto
October 16, 1941 Luxembourg, Trier Lodz ghetto
October 16, 1941 Prague Lodz ghetto
October 18, 1941 Berlin Lodz ghetto
November 24, 1941 Prague Theresienstadt
November 25, 1941 Berlin Kaunas, Riga
March 16, 1942 Lublin Belzec
June 30, 1942 Vienna Sobibor
July 17, 1942 France, Belgium, the Netherlands Auschwitz
July 22, 1942 Warsaw Auschwitz
March 4, 1943 Thrace, Macedonia, Pirot Treblinka
March 15, 1943 Greece Auschwitz
October 2, 1943 Denmark Theresienstadt
October 17, 1943 Italy Auschwitz
May 15, 1944 Hungary Auschwitz

Benelux countries

Emigrated Jews Captured in Amsterdam (June 4, 1940)

The deportation of Jews from Luxembourg began as early as October 16, 1941, because Luxembourg was treated tacitly as belonging to the Reich on the Jewish question . By June 17, 1943, 683 Jews of various nationalities had been deported from Luxembourg.

In July 1942 the deportations of around 25,000 Jews from Belgium and around 107,000 Jews from the Netherlands began .

Of the 140,000 Dutch Jews, over 110,000 were deported. Over 100,000 were killed; about 6,000 survived. The Netherlands has by far the highest deportation rate in all of Western Europe. For comparison: the carryover rate was 40% in Belgium and Norway, 25% in France, 20% in Italy and 2% in Denmark. The persecution of Jews began in 1940, following the German model, with the dismissal of Jews from the public service, led to the registration of all Jews in 1941 in social ostracism and a ban on entering public institutions. The deportations finally began in the summer of 1942, and by 1943 the Netherlands was practically “Jew-free”. The trains rolled into the extermination camps via the Westerbork police transit camp near the German border. The Dutch-born historian Rémy Limpach published a paper in 2007 on the question of how the Netherlands, a country known for its liberal and tolerant traditions, managed to achieve such a high deportation rate.

Bulgaria

In Bulgaria , in January 1941, the government introduced the Nation Protection Act as a racial law against the Jewish population. In the spring of 1943, at the request of the Germans , she released the Jewish population of the Greek areas of Eastern Macedonia and Western Thrace , which she had occupied in the Balkan campaign in 1941, for deportation. At least 11,343 Jewish Greeks were rounded up and extradited by the Bulgarian army and police. Almost all of them were killed in the German concentration camps Auschwitz and Treblinka. Bulgaria did not follow the German request to extradite the Jewish Bulgarians. King Boris III , Metropolitan Stefan of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church of Sofia , the Bulgarian Parliament and the Bulgarian population unanimously rejected this.

Germany

On September 17, 1941, Hitler decided to begin the post-war deportation of all German and European Jews from areas occupied by Germany to Eastern Europe during the war. Now the first transport trains from Berlin, Munich, Vienna, and Prague drove to Łódź , initially to lock 19,000 Jews in the already completely overcrowded ghetto there. For this purpose, from January 1942, non-German ghetto residents were brought to Kulmhof for gassing. From March onwards, Jews over the age of 65, who had been spared until then, had to board the deportation trains. The press was no longer allowed to report anything about it. In May, large groups of German Jews were murdered in Minsk and Kulmhof. From June the first direct transports from the Reich to extermination camps such as Sobibor and Belzec are recorded.

France

Capture of Jews in Paris (August 1941)

French Jews were also deported for the first time on March 27, 1942: a train transported 1,112 people from Compiègne to Auschwitz . Heydrich visited Paris in May to discuss a major deportation program with the Vichy regime . This included the introduction of the Jewish star . On July 16 and 17, police arrested around 13,000 Jews without valid passports in a major raid in Paris . Regular trains took them from the Drancy assembly camp to Auschwitz, where they were usually murdered immediately. From August 17, 1942, immigrant Jews and their children, who actually enjoyed legal protection as French citizens, were also deported from the unoccupied zone of France to an Eastern European extermination camp. After the Wehrmacht marched into the previously unoccupied part of France on November 11, 1942 (" Company Anton "), these transports were organized by Eichmann's followers. French and Italian authorities in the Italian-occupied zone around Nice up to September 1943 often refused to extradite them; more than half of all French Jews escaped deportation. Around 75,000 of them were deported, around 3,000 of whom survived.

Italy

According to the Italian race laws , Jews were discriminated against from 1938 onwards with the aim of persuading them to emigrate. When Italy entered the war in June 1940, foreign Jews and domestic Jews, who were considered dangerous, were treated and interned like members of enemy states. Until the armistice of Cassibile in September 1943, the Jews lived better under the hardships of internment and racial laws in the Italian sphere of influence than Jews anywhere in the Nazi sphere of influence. Italy did not extradite Jews. Officers and diplomats in the Italian-occupied areas of Croatia, Greece and southern France also protected the Jews there from demands for deportation by the Germans.

After the fall of Mussolini and the armistice of Cassibile, Wehrmacht troops occupied large parts of Italy in September 1943 ( fall of the axis ). About a month after the occupation, a mobile unit under SS-Hauptsturmführer Theodor Dannecker was charged with the arrest and deportation by Eichmann. The unit carried out several raids, including that of Rome on October 16 with 1,259 Jews captured. Meanwhile, the Italian Social Republic was constituted with German help and declared the Italian Jews to be hostile foreigners in the Charter of Verona. On November 30, 1943, Interior Minister Guido Buffarini-Guidi ordered the arrest and delivery of all Jews to Italian concentration camps. Dannecker was then replaced on the German side and Friedrich Boßhammer organized the final solution to the Jewish question at the BdS Italy in Verona. German transit and transit camp for deportations to Italy were Polizeihaftlager Borgo San Dalmazzo , Fossoli di Carpi , Risiera di San Sabba and Bolzano Transit Camp . Over 9,000 Jews were deported between October 1943 and December 1944, most of them to Auschwitz. In the Trieste area until the end of the war, the personnel of "Aktion Reinhard" were active as a special department, Einsatz R , which moved from Poland to Italy in September 1943. Murders occurred there on April 26, 1945.

The involvement of the Italian police, the fascist militia and the municipal administrations in the kidnapping was for a long time hardly noticed in public awareness, research and legal appraisal due to the Brava-Gente myth .

Greece

Woman weeping during the deportation from Ioannina , northwestern Greece (March 25, 1944)

In Greece , Jews were treated very differently depending on the country of occupation. In the Italian-occupied western part of the country, the authorities protected her until September 1943; In the German and Bulgarian-occupied eastern parts, the Jews from several assembly camps were transported from Saloniki in 19 freight trains, mainly to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, to be murdered from March 1943 onwards. After Italy surrendered to the Western Allies (September 1943), the Germans also sent thousands of other Jews from Corfu and the then Italian Rhodes to extermination camps with great logistical effort . At least 58,885 Jews from Greece were murdered. There were some rescue operations, for example the rescuing of almost all Jews on the island of Zakynthos by the island's population or the issue of false identity cards and birth certificates for Jews by the Athens authorities.

Croatia

Entrance to the Jasenovac concentration camp

In the former Independent State of Croatia (NDH), the fascist issued Ustasha regime under Ante Pavelić already in April 1941 racial laws against Serbs , Jews and Roma, which soon dress code for Jews in the form of a round, yellow emblem with a "Z" for Židov (= Jude) followed. In addition, around 40 concentration and internment camps were set up on the territory of the state . After belonging to the Serbian minority, from August 1941 they also murdered thousands of Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Jews in camps set up for this purpose. From August 1942, at the insistence of the Germans, they deported 5,500 interned Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In May 1943, the transports, which had been suspended due to Italian pressure, were resumed. In order to protect the Jews in the Italian-occupied part of Yugoslavia from being murdered, the Italian military had them interned on orders from Marshall Cavallero in the autumn of 1942 and in the summer of 1943 brought them to the island of Rab in the Kampor concentration camp , where they resided after the armistice of Cassibile liberated itself in September 1943 and mostly joined Tito's Yugoslav partisans .

According to Yad Vashem , a total of 30,000 Jews were murdered in the NDH state, around 40% in the Jasenovac concentration camp alone .

Romania

Deportation of Jewish women, supervised by a Romanian soldier (July 17, 1941)

The Romanian government under Antonescu had around 350,000 Romanian Jews almost completely exterminated in the areas it occupied in large-scale mass murders. Only the Jews of Transylvania remained under the protection of Hungary until March 1944, when they too were deported directly to Auschwitz with the Hungarian Jews . The head of state had the already planned deportation of the Jews of Old Romania surprisingly stopped in October 1942. However, they continued to face persecution and pogroms .

See also: Curăţirea terenului (Cleansing of the Land)

Serbia

After the Balkan campaign , the German military administration set up camps for opponents, partisans and Jews in Serbia . From September 1941 she initiated the mass murders of male Jews in the localities. From October 16, hundreds of interned Jews were murdered after every partisan attack. From December 1941, Jewish women, children and old people from Serbia were interned in the Sajmište concentration camp . In May 1942, the Gestapo there murdered 6,000 of them with a gas truck. The Serbian Nedić collaboration regime enacted racial laws and was involved in the detention of Jews. The Serbian Volunteer Corps under Dimitrije Ljotić supported the SS in this regard .

Scandinavia

Denmark was occupied by the Wehrmacht on April 9, 1940. His democratically elected government was initially allowed to continue working under German occupation. It successfully prevented the introduction of the Star of David and race laws. When the Danish resistance increased in the summer of 1943, the German military administration decided to deport the Danish Jews. Because the 1st / 2nd October 1943, when the date of arrest leaked, 7,200 of them were able to flee in time by fishing boats to neutral Sweden . 483 Danish Jews were deported to Theresienstadt, where all but 50 survived (see Rescue of Danish Jews ).

In Norway , the collaboration government under Vidkun Quisling, supervised by Reich Commissioner Josef Terboven, initially did not take open action against the Jews. From October 1942 to February 1943, the deportations and the Aryanization of the property were carried out in rapid, systematic steps by Norwegian and German forces. Unlike in the other occupied Western European countries, a Jewish star was not introduced. 734 Norwegian Jews were killed in Auschwitz.

Finland refused to extradite the Finnish Jews. Some of these fought on the German side against the Soviet Union.

Slovakia

The puppet regime of Slovakia formed in March 1939 under Jozef Tiso had already begun in November 1938 with its own deportations of Slovak Jews to Hungary and to labor camps. At the urging of the Slovak Prime Minister Vojtech Tuka , around 58,000 Slovak Jews were deported to the Lublin district , to Auschwitz and Majdanek from March 1942 under Eichmann's direction . Most died there of starvation, forced labor and epidemics. In August 1942 these transports were temporarily stopped after church protests. Two years later the Wehrmacht occupied Slovakia; its own task force imprisoned and deported around 12,000 Slovak Jews who had gone into hiding .

Czech Republic

The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, which was established on March 16, 1939 immediately after the defeat of Czechoslovakia , was immediately part of the Reich and had only extremely limited self-government. In July the SS set up the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Prague , which from 1941 carried out the systematic deportation of Czech Jews to extermination camps. In October 1941 Reinhard Heydrich gave the order to deport all Jews in the Protectorate to the Theresienstadt concentration camp , which was set up as a collective and transit camp. From December 1941, Jews were generally prohibited from leaving the country. A total of 81,000 Jews from the Czech lands were deported to concentration and extermination camps. Around 10,500 of them survived the war.

Hungary

Capture of Jews in Budapest for deportation to the Auschwitz extermination camp (October 1944)

Hungary was officially allied with Nazi Germany from late 1940 to October 1944 by joining the three-power pact . It had occupied the Carpathian Ukraine and in 1940 Hitler granted it the northern part of Transylvania .

Immediately after the attack on the Soviet Union (from June 22, 1941), in which Hungary was involved, the government of Miklós Horthy began to drive the Jews from the Hungarian-occupied territories across the eastern borders and deport them to Eastern Galicia . This was one of the causes of the Kamenets-Podolsk massacre , where 14,000 deported Hungarian Jews had gathered. After that, Horthy refrained from further deportations, but created battalions of Jewish forced laborers who had to fight the Red Army with the Hungarian troops. Of these, around 42,000 died, many of them from the murders of German police officers.

Because Horthy had not yet deported the rest of the Hungarian Jews, despite the proximity of the Red Army, the Wehrmacht occupied Hungary in March 1944 ( Operation Margarethe ). An SS task force dispatched on Hitler's orders, the Eichmann Command (named after its head Adolf Eichmann ), set up ghettos for the Jews with the help of German-friendly Hungarian officials and police. From May 15, 1944, a total of 437,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz, initially from the peripheral provinces, and from July 1944 also from Budapest ; 320,000 of them were gassed there directly. Many bodies were burned in the open air because the crematoria did not work fast enough. 15,000 Jews were deported to Strasshof on the northern railway in Lower Austria , contrary to Hitler's 1941 principle not to bring any more Jews into the German Reich .

After massive protests by the Western powers and the Vatican , Horthy had the transports interrupted on July 6th. Eichmann was then able to carry out a few more transports.

On October 15, the right-wing succeeded Arrow Cross with German help a coup against Horthy. They murdered around 9,000 Jews from the Budapest ghetto. Many ghetto residents were able to survive temporarily with Swedish or Swiss protective passports. About 78,000 of the remaining Jews in Hungary were caught and sent by Eichmann on death marches towards Austria. Jews had to do forced labor in camps on the southeast wall . The general of the Waffen SS, Hans Jüttner, was so shocked by what he saw during an inspection trip that he complained to the Higher SS and Police Leader in Hungary, Otto Winkelmann .

Final phase

Participants in special campaign 1005 next to a bone mill in the Janowska concentration camp (summer / autumn 1943)

As early as the end of 1941, after the lost battle in front of Moscow , the Holocaust perpetrators in the RSHA were planning to remove the traces of Nazi mass murders before the Red Army could discover them. From autumn 1942, corpses were first exhumed and cremated in Kulmhof and Belzec . The camp was closed. The buildings and fences of the Treblinka camp had to be demolished by “working Jews”; then they were shot. The area was plowed and trees were planted on it.

After Wehrmacht soldiers discovered mass graves of victims of the Soviet massacre in Katyn in April 1943 , the RSHA initiated “Sonderaktion 1005”: Several special commandos forced Jews and Soviet prisoners of war to dig up the mass graves of Jews and burn their corpses, for example in Babyn Yar near Kiev . They had to grind the bones of the murder victims and scatter them in the woods along with the ashes of the corpses. In March 1944, these forced laborers were also murdered as unwelcome witnesses. Such attempts at cover-up followed in Poland and the Balkans. Since mass shootings and camp locations could hardly be kept secret, almost all mass graves of Nazi crimes were discovered after the end of the war.

Since the lost battle for Stalingrad in March 1943, the Wehrmacht gradually withdrew from Eastern Europe. German prisoners should on no account fall into the hands of the Red Army. When they withdrew, guards, Gestapo and security police carried out many massacres of tens of thousands of prisoners and camp inmates, partly on their own initiative, partly on central orders. On July 20, 1944, the chief of the security police in the Generalgouvernement ordered the “total evacuation” of all prisons there, the “liquidation” of the inmates if transports were impossible, the burning of the corpses and the detonation of the buildings.

Accordingly, the camp administrations and regional police leaders had organized the first transports to the west since December 1943, selecting people who were “unfit for transport” and murdering them directly. In January 1945 the "evacuation" of all concentration camps in the east began, which continued until the last days of the war in April. 17,000 people from the Stutthof concentration camp and 58,000 people from Auschwitz had to march west on foot. Anyone who did not come along or fell was shot by guards, some of them also locals, while passing through a town. Thousands died even when they were transported on in completely overcrowded trains, as well as in reception centers. Only about 1500 people of these two death marches reached the Altreich alive.

During these measures, the approximately 200,000 Jews who had survived the forced labor and extermination camps were again treated particularly brutally. It is estimated that around 100,000 people were killed in death marches, and a total of 300,000 in prisoner murders.

From February 1945, Nazi authorities also had files burned. Gauleiter issued a circular order to destroy “secret orders from the Führer” and other secret documents pertaining to orders for murder and extermination.

Total numbers of Jewish victims

The number of victims of the Holocaust up to 1990 could only be estimated approximately. In the course of time, Nazi newspapers had often quoted realistic numbers of victims: For example, Der Danziger Vorposten wrote on May 13, 1944 about the "heavy losses" suffered by Judaism in Eastern Europe. In Poland and Hungary alone five million Jews were "turned off", and another 1½ million were exposed to corresponding "legal measures". In the Nuremberg trial of the major war criminals in 1946, the approximate number of six million murdered Jews was given for the first time. In an affidavit, Wilhelm Höttl , who worked at the Reich Security Main Office until 1945 , said Eichmann had reported to him:

"About four million Jews were killed in the various extermination camps, while another two million were killed in other ways, the greater part of them being shot dead by the Einsatzkommandos of the security police during the campaign against Russia."

However, Holocaust researchers initially assumed that fewer Jews had been murdered between 1939 and 1945: Gerald Reitlinger estimated them at 4.2 to 4.7 million in 1953, Raul Hilberg at 5.1 million in 1961. Martin Gilbert came to 5.7 million in 1982. In 1987, the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust , written by an international collective of authors, compiled the most accurate estimates possible at the time from many individual countries and came to around 5.6 million.

Since the Soviet archives have been released since 1990, the previously uncertain number of victims for Poland and the Soviet Union could be checked using deportation lists, train timetables and lists of members of Jewish communities before and after the Holocaust. It turned out that the number of victims in the Auschwitz concentration camps was lower than previously assumed, but that 1.1 million people, including at least 900,000 Jews, had been murdered there alone.

Wolfgang Benz dealt in the dimension of genocide (published 1991, 2nd edition 1996) with all sources accessible since 1990, evaluation and calculation methods of the number of victims. Burkhard Asmuss published a list in 2002 with partly coarser estimates. Overall, this confirmed a total of at least 5.6 to 6.3 million murdered Jewish people. There are also figures for injured and displaced persons.

In December 2010, the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem named over four million victims in their personal files, i.e. identified them. 2.2 million of these names were contributed by relatives or friends, the others come from archives or research.

country Genocide dimension (2/1996) Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (4/2002) Burkhard Asmuss (1/2002)
Albania 3 4 591 - - 3
Belgium 28,518 28,900 25,000
Bulgaria 1 11,393 - -
Denmark 3 116 60 - 3
Germany 2 160,000 134,500 165,000
Estonia - - 1,000
France 76.134 77,320 75,000
Greece 59,185 60,000 59,000
Italy 6,513 7,680 7,000
Yugoslavia 60,000 56,200 65,000
Latvia - - 67,000
Lithuania - - 160,000
Luxembourg 3 1,200 1,950 - 3
Netherlands 102,000 100,000 102,000
Norway 3 758 762 - 3
Austria 65,900 50,000 65,000
Poland 2,700,000 2,900,000 3,000,000
Romania 211.214 271,000 350,000
Soviet Union 2,100,000 1,211,500 1,000,000
Czechoslovakia 143,000 146.150 260,000
Hungary 550,000 550,000 270,000
other countries 3 - - 2,800
Tension 5 6,276,522-6,316,522 5,596,022-5,863,122 5,673,800

Notes :
No information: -

1After Asmuss ( Holocaust ) the numbers refer to Jews from Bulgarian occupied territories; all Bulgarian Jews were saved.
2Benz ( dimension of genocide ) gives 165,000 as a realistic estimate.
3 Asmuss summarizes the victims from Albania, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and North Africa in a number under “other countries”.
4th Deported to Asmuss
5 guaranteed minimum number and probable maximum number.

perpetrator

The Holocaust was not a project of a single authority and was not only carried out by certain perpetrators commissioned to do so, but made possible, supported, planned, organized and carried out by many institutions from all areas of German society. Since Raul Hilberg's research , bureaucratic decision-making processes, division of labor, responsibilities and their interaction have been examined, but also common interests, ideological consensus and practical alliances between old and new elites, leadership and populations.

Today, historians assume up to 500,000 “at the desks and in the scenes” involved in the murder of the Jews, mostly male, Germans and Austrians, as well as several hundred thousand collaborators from the states occupied by Germany or allied with it. The main perpetrators were members of all pillars of power in the Nazi state:

  • Hitler and the closer leadership circle of the Nazi regime, who determined the guidelines of the extermination policy and implemented them in general orders and ordinances,
  • the mass party NSDAP, which developed the propaganda, which prepared and accompanied the Holocaust, whose Gauleiter and local group leaders promoted the disenfranchisement and deportation of Jews and other victim groups in their area, whose SA and Hitler Youth directly involved in persecution and murder actions in the pre-war period (for example Jewish boycotts 1933ff., November pogroms 1938) and towards the end of the war (final phase crimes against concentration camp prisoners on death marches, etc.);
  • the SS as an elitist terrorist organization personally committed to the “Führer”, whose widespread subdivisions carried out the racist population and extermination policy in the conquered and annexed areas and organized the corresponding camp and ghetto system there. Here, not only the Einsatzgruppen, but also the police battalions and their respective superiors, the higher SS and police leaders, and the main SS offices - especially the Reich Security Main Office - are assigned main responsibility for the mass murders.
  • the Gestapo, order, security and criminal police : they were supposed to track down, monitor and “eliminate” all “enemies of the Reich and the people” and cooperated with the SS in doing so.
  • The Wehrmacht: Their high command and generals supported the extermination goals of the war against the Soviet Union, implemented them into orders contrary to international law and helped in a variety of ways in the extermination of the Jews, for example by providing soldiers for mass shootings, forcing Jews to be labeled in occupied territories, and sorting out Jewish prisoners of war and murdered Jews as partisans or murdered them themselves.
  • Many business and industrial associations and companies that benefited from and contributed to the Aryanization, forced labor and the development of the extermination industry in the camps
  • the civil and military occupation administrations, especially in Eastern Europe, which organized the economic exploitation and racist population policy in their areas, carried out some of them in a race to “de-Jewize” them and put pressure on the Berlin central authorities for this purpose. The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories under Alfred Rosenberg in Berlin, the so-called East Ministry, to which, for example, the Reich Commissariat Ostland was also subordinate, was responsible.
  • the staff of many state and administrative authorities who participated in the persecution, exclusion, deportation and extermination of Jews with laws, ordinances, administrative acts and specific measures: "There was hardly an authority [...] that did not 'ex officio' was responsible for the 'solution' of a 'Jewish affair'. "

The following are considered to be indirect, but no less responsible groups of perpetrators:

  • Scientific institutes, universities and faculties that - e.g. B. in medicine, ethnology and spatial planning - provided ideological reasons with interest-led research, created plans, awarded contracts and participated in murders - for example by removing corpses for "anatomical race studies" or of living prisoners for human experiments.
  • the churches, which made their baptismal and marriage registers available to record the "non- Aryans ", created " Aryan records " themselves and largely exonerated the perpetrators morally.
  • Sections of the population in the German Reich and in the occupied territories who supported the persecution of the Jews.

Knowledge of the Holocaust during the Nazi era

Deutsches Reich

The Nazi propaganda pursued a double strategy in public: on the one hand, the spokesmen of the Nazi dictatorship spoke openly about "the Jewish question", about the extermination and extermination of the Jews, on the other hand they deliberately left open when and how this would happen. Ambiguous rhetoric was intended to keep the Germans in the dark about what was going on. The increasing persecution of Jews in Europe happened before everyone's eyes. The deportations took place in public places and train stations, but were presented as “resettlements” in labor camps. With regard to the extermination operations, the regime ordered the strictest secrecy, and members of the SS were forbidden to report on them under penalty of death .

The isolation, disenfranchisement, impoverishment and the gradual disappearance of the Jews from social life in the German Reich were obvious. Most of the Germans accepted the deportations. As the Holocaust progressed, more and more details leaked out; secrecy could not be closely monitored at times and violations were sometimes not punished. Some Germans learned that “resettlement” actually meant mass murder from soldiers on home leave, by listening to enemy broadcasts and by “ whispering propaganda ” ( Hannah Arendt ). The resistance fighter Helmuth James Graf von Moltke wrote in 1943: “At least nine tenths of the population do not know that we killed hundreds of thousands of Jews.” But even the tenth that received more information did nothing against it - with a few exceptions. Not knowing and not wanting to know about the Holocaust merged.

Allies

Since 1933, foreign states criticized the National Socialist domestic policy, especially the persecution of Jews and other minorities. However, the immigration quotas for the Jewish refugees to the USA remained unchanged. At the Évian Conference initiated by US President Roosevelt in July 1938, almost no participating state was willing to accept Jewish refugees or increase its immigration quotas.

After the start of the war, criticism from the Allies increased ; however, the European Jews were not evacuated from the advancing Axis forces in a comprehensive preventive manner. Since 1941, the Allies became aware of the Nazi regime's systematic extermination policy by deciphering the codes for the regular police reports to Berlin. They condemned this extremely sharply and thus also justified their war strategy. In mid-December 1942 the USA, Great Britain and ten other governments warned the German government that “those responsible would not escape retaliation” ( Inter-Allied Declaration on the Extermination of the Jews of December 17, 1942). However, they did not take specific measures to end or stop the Holocaust. Since the USA entered the war, their warfare has been aimed at the complete surrender of the Nazi regime.

When the first news of the mass extermination, such as an article written by Szmul Zygielbojm in the Daily Telegraph about the gassing of Jews, was published, the US State Department tried to suppress its publication. Under pressure from public opinion, another international conference convened in Bermuda in April 1943 to discuss solutions for refugees. Like the pre-war conference in Évian, it was inconclusive. Only after the intervention of Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau did Roosevelt announce the establishment of the War Refugee Board on January 22, 1944 . This body contributed to the rescue of several thousand Jews.

The British government obstructed and in individual cases failed to provide assistance. When in December 1942 some British MPs demanded that Jewish refugees be promised safe refuge, the British Foreign Secretary refused on the grounds that there were "security concerns" and "geographic problems". At the beginning of 1943 it was announced that 70,000 Romanian Jews could have been saved in Switzerland if a certain sum had been deposited. However, the government blocked the plan because it feared it would weaken its own position and strengthen the German position.

The Soviet authorities extradited German Jews - including many Communists who had sought refuge in the Soviet Union - to the Nazis after the Hitler-Stalin Pact was concluded in August 1939. After the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the special threat to Soviet Jews was not taken into account. The Soviet reporting withheld the German policy of extermination. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 Jews were active in partisan groups across Europe. In Germany-occupied Poland and the Soviet Union, thousands fled into the swamps or forests and joined the partisans, although not all partisan groups welcomed Jews.

Resistance and rescue attempts

Jews

Jewish partisan group in Belarus (1943)

On December 31, 1941, Abba Kovner called Jews all over the world to resist with a leaflet and criticized the victims for allowing themselves to be led "like sheep to the slaughter". This gave rise to the stubborn cliché that all victims behaved without resistance. Research has only differentiated and corrected this picture since the 1980s.

Few Jews suspected the extent of what was happening. Many believed that information about mass extermination camps that were increasingly circulating in the ghettos of Poland , Lithuania and Belarus around 1942/43 was just rumors. An extermination plan against all Jews initially seemed unbelievable to most because of its dimensions. Many believed that they could at least survive as slave labor until the Germans were defeated.

A counterexample and an impetus for the Jewish resistance as a whole was the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto from April 19 to May 16, 1943. This was organized by the Jewish fighting organization "ZOB" when the National Socialists completely dissolved the ghetto and all remaining Jews moved into the Wanted to deport extermination camps, especially to Treblinka . Couriers had smuggled weapons into the sealed off Jewish ghetto at the risk of their lives. This enabled the underground organization to inflict heavy losses on the invading evacuation commandos of the SS and to drive them to flight. When the SS returned with tanks and artillery pieces , the Jewish resistance groups held out for about four weeks, despite the overwhelming odds . In the end they had to give up and were mostly shot. Only a few participants were able to save themselves through sewers.

The photo of the boy from the Warsaw Ghetto , which is considered to be one of the most famous photographs of the Holocaust, was probably taken during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising

Resistance groups were also formed in other Jewish ghettos, helping ghetto residents to escape and starting individual revolts, for example in Białystok and Vilnius . Furthermore, there were uprisings by Jewish prisoners in some camps, such as the Treblinka uprising of around 400 prisoners on August 2, 1943, which led to a mass flight of Jewish camp inmates and was intended to destroy the camp. On October 14, 1943, Soviet Jewish prisoners of war led the Sobibór uprising in eastern Poland. Those involved killed nine members of the guards , which caused a mass uprising among the inmates. 65 Jewish prisoners managed to escape. At the end of 1943 the National Socialists gave up the camp.

There were around 700 escape attempts in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, around 300 of which were successful. On October 7, 1944, there was an uprising by the Jewish Sonderkommando , which was deployed at the cremation ovens for the gassed corpses. Part of Crematorium IV was destroyed with explosives smuggled in by women. 250 prisoners tried to escape but were soon caught and killed.

Throughout Europe, thousands of Jews in hiding were involved in the partisan war against the German occupiers, especially in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, the Balkans, the Soviet Union and Greece. In Eastern Europe, especially in predominantly Catholic Poland, Jews who had escaped from concentration camps and ghettos were only rarely able to join existing partisan groups, as some Nazi opponents were anti-Semites there. That is why their own Jewish partisan units formed there, which, despite their initial inexperience, were soon seen as particularly determined and motivated fighters against the Germans. The advancing Red Army then supplied them with preferential weapons, especially for the " rail war " with attacks and sabotage actions against rail transports of the Wehrmacht to the Eastern Front. During “ Operation Torch ”, Jewish resistance fighters stormed the fortress of Algiers, which was considered impregnable, from the inside and thus made a decisive contribution to the landing of the Allies and their subsequent successful campaign against the German armed forces in North Africa.

Many Jews who were able to emigrate to safe countries abroad in the 1930s and at the beginning of the war joined the Allied troops there. "Hundreds of thousands of Jews managed to flee into the interior of the Soviet Union." Of the Jews who remained under the National Socialist occupation, around 1.5 million were victims of mass murder. Many armies had their own Jewish units, such as the Jewish Brigade in the British Army . 10,000 German-speaking Jews fought there, around 9,500 in the US armed forces. 350,000 to 500,000 Jews fought in various, often leading positions in the Red Army in the German-Soviet war, including many women. This means that every fourth soldier in the Red Army was of Jewish background. Her magazine published by the "Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee" wrote, in Yiddish, that the war was Far zayn foterland un zayn yidishn folk . Towards the end of the war, the Jewish refugee aid movement Beriha (Hebrew "escape") was founded, with the help of which around 250,000 Jews were able to flee from Eastern European countries between 1944 and 1948. After the war, German Jews who emigrated often served the Allies as translators in occupied Germany. It is estimated that up to 1.5 million Jews across Europe took part in the regular military struggle and partisan struggle against Nazi rule.

The Zionist group Chug Chaluzi tried in Berlin to find escape routes abroad or to organize the lives of Jewish people in illegality by procuring and distributing ration cards, forged identity papers and money.

Gentile Germans

Occasionally, non-Jewish Germans also defended themselves against the planned and ongoing genocide of the Jews. Such rescue acts were associated with constant mortal danger and were rare.

The German industrialist Oskar Schindler saved 1,200 Jewish forced laborers in the German Reich from annihilation by declaring them essential for his operations until the end of the war and personally paying for their upkeep.

The Berlin group known as the Red Orchestra also hid Jews and helped them to obtain false passports with which they could leave the country. The Grüber office of the Confessing Church has been helping Christians of Jewish origin , but also Jews, to leave the country since 1938 . There was a similar contact point on the Catholic side.

On February 27, 1943, the spouses and relatives of "mixed Jews" who were employed as forced labor in Berlin armaments factories and were now to be deported, gathered in front of the Gestapo headquarters in Berlin's Rosenstrasse. This was the only public protest demonstration during the war against a deportation that was also successful: the detainees were released.

The hiding of Jewish residents during the Nazi era to save them from deportation led to the phrase “live as a submarine”. In some cases, the people concerned tried to make this disappearance plausible by faking suicide or by announcing a trip. The disappearance from the list of residents could have serious consequences for the person referred to as a submarine and for their helpers.

In the event of discovery, the person was arrested without a valid residence permit. However, she could not count on a judicial process, but as a rule became a prisoner in a concentration camp. Before that, however, came a time of interrogation and torture by the Gestapo , which was looking for more "submarines" in this way. Should the connection to other helpers become known, these were also massively endangered. The legal or factual threats could differ according to Reich territory or occupation statute and according to the position of the respective person in relation to the occupying power, the police or the NSDAP agencies.

In Germany there were relatively many local covert networks of helpers who helped people in need (refugees, especially Jews). The refugees often had addresses of people with them that they did not know, but who they knew through others that they would help them on their escape. Often the refugees then got another address from these helpers as a new contact point on their way. As a rule, they were private individuals who, out of their conscience, hid people on the run or helped them in some other way and did not take into account that if they were discovered, they and their family would have bad things to expect. Such networks arose partly from the persecuted political parties and organizations, and partly from Christian groups. In many cases, people acted in favor of these escape networks because members had already died as a result of the NSDAP or Gestapo agencies and they therefore may have disregarded their own lives or out of a deep, inner humanism that the propaganda of the meanwhile has continued for years National Socialists had not shaken: more in-depth scientific studies are still required.

One person's hiding in a war economy country was difficult. Groceries were not available on the free market, but only against sections of grocery cards that required authorization and verification. Carrying luggage with you could immediately arouse suspicion during checks. Staying longer than usual in a restaurant, library or cinema could trigger questions about identity. The Gestapo tried to smuggle informers into networks - a well-known example of this is Stella Goldschlag .

Occupied or Allied States

A small number of Jews were saved because the governments of their home countries did not give in to the demands of the German Reich for their extradition.

Finland , Germany's ally in the war against the Soviet Union since 1941 , did not extradite most of its Jews, although Himmler had asked the Finnish government to do so in the summer of 1942 when he was in Finland. Prime Minister Rangell is said to have replied that Finland's Jews are citizens like everyone else and also served as soldiers in the war against the Soviet Union. This practice was discontinued in December 1942 after newspapers and some politicians protested against it. Jewish refugees were temporarily refused entry to Finland; but the approximately 1,800 Finnish Jews escaped the Germans' grasp. Some foreign Jews were extradited because they were communists. Recent research has shown that Finland extradited a total of 129 refugees to the German Reich between 1941 and 1944, plus over 2,800 Soviet prisoners of war, 78 of whom were Jews.

Boat with Jews crossing from Falster to Ystad in Sweden, September / October 1943

In Denmark , King Christian X sided with the Jews when the German occupation authorities tried to force them to wear the Star of David. The German Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz warned the Danish resistance of impending raids by the SS . Thereupon, with the help of large parts of the population, in September and October 1943, most of the approx. 6,000 Jews living in the country succeeded in smuggling into neutral Sweden, which was ready to take in. Under diplomatic pressure from the Danes, Adolf Eichmann received a life-saving promise on November 2, 1943 that the deported Jews from Denmark should not be transported from Theresienstadt to the extermination camps .

In Italy, the Jewish Delegazione per l'Assistenta degli Emigrant Ebrei ( DELASEM ) initially supported foreign and Italian Jews in the internment camps and when they emigrated to safe countries. After the occupation of Italy in September 1943, she had to go underground and, with the support of priests, partisans and police officers, provided the persecuted Jews with forged papers, money and accommodation. While the attitude of the Church and Pope Pius XII. is viewed critically in the Holocaust, individual clergymen, cardinals, fraternities and convents unselfishly helped the Jews.

The example of Bulgaria - also an ally of Germany - proves that resolute resistance could successfully thwart German plans. Thanks to the firm stance of the government and the population, around 50,000 Jews were saved here.

In Poland there were not only people who extradited Jews - many of them to survive themselves - but also some (including Catholic) groups such as the Żegota who helped the Jews, although, unlike in Western Europe, not only the death penalty for the individual helper , but also regularly threatened his family or the entire village. More than half a million Polish Jews survived the Holocaust, many through help from the population. Many Poles were appalled by the murder of Jewish children and hid them, for example, in the country, with the partisans or in Catholic monasteries. The Poles represent more than a third of all those honored as Righteous Among the Nations in Yad Vashem .

Switzerland

Neutral Switzerland , surrounded by the Axis powers , did not extradite any Jews with Swiss citizenship. During the war it took in tens of thousands of refugees, including many Jews, legally, many more managed to cross the border illegally and were kept in the country by the authorities (tolerated) or by private individuals (illegally). A total of 275,000 refugees survived in Switzerland - 26,000 of them were Jews who fled to Switzerland from abroad. However, a large unknown number of refugees were also turned away at the border or those who had entered illegally were handed over to the National Socialists.

Switzerland has been asked several times by Germany not to accept any further Jews and to extradite Jews who have fled. At least the latter requirement was not met. During the war, Switzerland tried to strike a balance between its humanitarian principles (taking in refugees) and military self-protection interests (keeping down the Nazis' intention to invade).

Liberation of the camps by allies and confrontation of the population

A Train Compartment of the
Death Train from Buchenwald (April 29, 1945)

As the Allied attacks on the Hitler coalition progressed, survivors in the camps were liberated at very different times . The examples given here are concentration camps which one of the Allies was the first to reach in his section of the front.

1944

  • July 23: The Red Army liberated the Majdanek concentration camp as the first of the large concentration camps or extermination camps in Germany-occupied Poland.
  • Western journalists were also able to report from the Majdanek concentration camp for the first time in August 1944 (cover stories in Life magazine on August 28 and in the New York Times on August 30, 1944).

1945

In the East:

In the West:

In the months that followed, most of the former concentration camp prisoners who were still alive were returned to their hometowns / countries (key words: Displaced Persons - DP camps). After the harsh winter of 1945/1946, groups of DPs remained homeless in Germany for a variety of reasons and were no longer repatriated.

Almost everywhere in the liberated camps, prisoners' associations were formed , which initially performed important social (survival) functions for their fellow prisoners.

In some cases, the Allied troops confronted the population of the surrounding areas with the acts in concentration camps, and documentaries such as Nazi Concentration Camps (1945) were also made.

consequences

Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem, Hall of Remembrance

Survivors traumatized

Many survivors of the extermination camps and people who were able to avoid the threat of murder by fleeing or other circumstances suffered and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The psychiatrist and psychoanalyst William NL coined the term survivor syndrome for this in the 1960s . Some Holocaust survivors were and are still partially unable to speak about their experiences in the death camps, while others reported and reported as contemporary witnesses in the Auschwitz trials. The consequences of trauma are known to the second and third generation within the framework of the transgenerational transmission , so they can affect the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the survivors.

Legal processing

The full extent of the National Socialist crimes only came to light when Allied troops liberated the areas in which the concentration and extermination camps were located. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Allies had agreed not only on demilitarization but also on continuous “ denazification ” of Germany for the period after their victory, and confirmed this decision at the Potsdam Conference at the end of July 1945.

The punishment of National Socialist crimes began with the Nuremberg Trials opened by the Allied Powers and the subsequent trials between 1945 and 1948, in particular with the Nuremberg Trial against the main war criminals .

Since 1945, a total of 912 legal proceedings have been carried out in West Germany against 1,875 people for Nazi homicide crimes committed during the Second World War. Of the defendants, 14 were sentenced to death, 150 to life and 842 to temporary imprisonment.

From 1949, after the two German states were founded, criminal prosecution became their responsibility. But it soon came to a standstill as a result of the Cold War . At the same time, however, the repeal of unjust Nazi judgments and the German reparation policy, particularly with regard to expropriated victims, were pursued.

In the GDR, there were several show trials against subordinate officials of the Nazi regime, in which the focus was less on their individual responsibility than on the assignment of blame to the West German side. Former NSDAP members could make a career in the GDR as long as they recognized the sole rule of the SED.

In the Federal Republic of Germany , the lack of emphatic prosecution is often explained with a lack of interest in the population or the influence of former NSDAP members in the state and administration. The initiative to track down Holocaust perpetrators was largely left to private individuals such as Simon Wiesenthal and Beate Klarsfeld .

It was not until 1958 that the West German judiciary began to prosecute Nazi crimes on a larger scale in the wake of the Ulm Einsatzgruppen trial and the establishment of the Central Office of the State Judicial Administrations to investigate National Socialist crimes . At that time, the President of the International Auschwitz Committee Hermann Langbein and the Hessian Attorney General Fritz Bauer succeeded in pursuing a criminal complaint from Adolf Rögner . It led to the arrest of the former SS man and torturer Wilhelm Boger .

After the Israeli secret service abducted Mossad Adolf Eichmann from his country of refuge Argentina to Jerusalem in 1960, the internationally acclaimed Eichmann trial took place there in 1961 . The trial observer Hannah Arendt described Eichmann's shown bureaucratic coldness in her book “ Eichmann in Jerusalem ” as the “banality of evil” and thus promoted the discussion about the perpetrator's motives in the Federal Republic. Eichmann was sentenced to death and hanged in 1962.

After many years of investigations by Bauer, the main proceedings of the Auschwitz trials opened in Frankfurt am Main in 1963 . The witness reports and the large media response to these processes made the Nazi crimes many Germans realize it, but also increased public demands for a " final stroke ". The defendants in the Auschwitz trials showed no remorse and always invoked the so-called " order of emergency ". Their defense lawyers and part of the media tried to discredit the trials as " show trials ".

Since the Nazi crimes were originally supposed to expire 20 years from the time of the offense in 1945, there was a statute of limitations debate in the German Bundestag in 1965 . First of all, the limitation period was postponed to 1969, based on the founding year of the Federal Republic of 1949. In 1969 the limitation period was extended by ten years, and in 1979 it was lifted for murder and genocide.

In the following trials, mostly (as in many major crimes) only the perpetrators of the lower ranks in the chain of command who carried out the action were prosecuted. The last major proceedings against Nazi perpetrators were the Majdanek trials from 1975 to 1981 before the Düsseldorf Regional Court . Of the original 15 defendants, eight were sentenced, seven of them to terms of between three and twelve years and one to life. The verdict sparked protests around the world.

In Austria, war crimes during the Nazi era were hardly prosecuted. Only 20 people have been convicted in Austria since 1955, 23 acquitted. A critical memorandum by Simon Wiesenthal on how Austrian authorities dealt with Nazi crimes had no consequences.

Compensation

The Allied military administrations for occupied Germany and Austria - like the later governments of the Federal Republic, the GDR and Austria - issued regulations that suspended all measures of the Hitler regime for the disenfranchisement and expropriation of the Jews. Full compensation, at least for the material losses suffered by those affected, did not take place. Numerous survivors of the extermination camps and their legal heirs had to sue before German and Austrian courts for the restitution of property or for compensation payments for decades.

The GDR government declared itself to be part of an anti-fascist tradition. Until shortly before the fall of the Wall, it rejected all claims that could result from the actions of the German Reich. According to the Federal German view, however, the Federal Republic is the legal successor to the Reich. Already under the first Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, this led to a policy of reparation which at least partially provided for collective compensation.

In negotiations with David Ben-Gurion , Adenauer agreed on support payments for the State of Israel, which was regarded as the legal successor to the murdered Jews. These payments were not least in the interests of the Federal Republic, which wanted to be a respected member of the international community. The so-called reparation payments have been refused by German right-wing extremists to this day. But they also met with severe criticism in Israel (“blood money”).

According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, by the end of 2010 the Federal Republic had provided around 68 billion euros in compensation for Nazi injustice, including lifelong pensions for around 29,000 survivors of Nazi persecution.

Church reappraisal

Initial statements in the EKD after the end of the war, such as the Stuttgart Confession of Guilt (October 1945) and the Darmstädter Wort (1947), did not mention the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism, but spoke of Christians complicit in the World War, the rise and crimes of National Socialism. Even these general statements triggered widespread public outrage and violent opposition in West Germany and met with little approval. In a word on the Jewish question (1948), the EKD leadership even interpreted the “Jewish fate” as God's punishment as a warning for Jews and as a warning to them to become Christians. It was not until 1950 that the EKD distanced itself from this view and from anti-Semitism. In the 1960s, an intensive discussion began, which since the Rhenish Synodal Declaration of 1980 has been reflected in numerous regional church confessions to the "uncancelled covenant" of God with the people of Israel and in constitutional changes in the regional churches: Being a Christian is itself called into question without Jewish life.

Inside and outside the Catholic Church is the behavior of Pope Pius XII. controversial during the Holocaust to this day. On the one hand he had campaigned for the rescue of the Roman Jews, on the other hand he had remained silent about the Holocaust, although the facts had become known to him. The critical examination of one's own guilt for anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism and the responsibility of Catholics for the Holocaust only began after Pius' death in 1958. His successor John XXIII. addressed the Jews as "brothers" for the first time in the history of the papacy. The Second Vatican Council initiated by him passed the declaration Nostra aetate in 1965 , which rejects the god murder theory , recognizes the independence of Judaism and declares the fight against anti-Semitism to be a Christian duty.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum , Washington, DC, since 1993

Root cause research

Denial and belittlement

Immediately after the end of the war, anti-Semites and history revisionists began either to deny the Holocaust or to relativize it, sometimes even to glorify it. Holocaust denial is a basic tendency in right-wing extremism , is also represented by parts of the New Right , Islamism and anti-Zionism and has developed into an internationally networked current. Research into anti-Semitism classifies denial and relativization as secondary anti-Semitism .

In the Federal Republic of Germany, denying the Holocaust is punishable as sedition according to Section 130 (3) of the Criminal Code and as a disparagement of the memory of the deceased according to Section 189 of the Criminal Code. Similar laws against Holocaust denial also apply in some other states.

Reminder and reminder

Memorial stone for Margot and Anne Frank in the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

Various Holocaust memorial days are celebrated around the world every year , e. B. In mid-April in Israel as the national holiday of Yom HaScho'a on Nissan 27 of the Jewish calendar : the sirens wail throughout the country and the nation stands still for a minute. There were around 179,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021.

Today, numerous memorials and museums around the world commemorate the Holocaust (see list of memorials for the victims of National Socialism ). In addition, initiatives and organizations make their contribution to remembering and coming to terms with the Holocaust on a wide variety of levels and with a wide variety of means. Some of such initiatives for reconciliation work are, for example, the Action Reconciliation and the Austrian Memorial Services .

The most important Holocaust memorial is Yad Vashem in Jerusalem , where, among other things, the Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations is located. In Germany and the formerly German-occupied areas, the memorials on the grounds of the former concentration camps are of particular importance, especially the Polish State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau . Important institutions include the Documentation Center of the Association of Jews Persecuted by the Nazi Regime in Vienna, the US Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC, the Hungarian Documentation Center in Budapest, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, which was inaugurated in 2005 . The JewishGen database provides genealogical insights. In many European cities there are also so-called stumbling blocks , which individually remind of victims of the National Socialists.

In May 2021, the first public documentation on the Holocaust on the Arabian Peninsula was opened in Dubai ( United Arab Emirates ) with the permanent exhibition “We Remember” in the Museum Crossroads of Civilization.

In Germany, January 27th has been the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism since 1996 . “On January 27, 1945, the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Russian soldiers. Auschwitz is symbolic of millions of murders - especially of Jews, but also of other ethnic groups. It stands for brutality and inhumanity of persecution and oppression, organized for the perversely perfection destruction 'of people. "On November 1, 2005, declared the UN General Assembly 27 January by a resolution of the International Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust victim . It has been celebrated around the world since 2006.

The A Letter To The Stars project was initiated in spring 2002 and is an important contemporary history project in schools in the Republic of Austria. In 2008 contemporary witnesses and survivors from Israel were invited to many school locations. In Serbia , on April 22nd, a national day of remembrance of the genocide of the Serbs, the Holocaust and the other victims of fascism will be celebrated.

Gravestone on the Jewish cemetery in Hagen im Bremischen with an inscription referring to the Holocaust

Since 2006 (France) and 2008 (Germany), the traveling exhibition Special Trains into Death has been remembering the deportations of hundreds of thousands of people with the former Reichsbahn to the National Socialist concentration and extermination camps, especially in train stations.

The Memorial Book - Victims of the Persecution of Jews under the National Socialist Tyranny 1933–1945 is a list of names published by the German Federal Archives that lists people who fell victim to the Nazi persecution of Jews because of their real or supposed Jewish religion or origin. In addition to the printed edition, there has also been an online edition since 2007.

Artistic processing

"The ramp" memorial by ER Nele in Kassel
  • The sculptor ER Nele dealt with the Holocaust theme several times in her work . The memorial “Die Rampe” (K 18 during Documenta VII) is in Kassel.

Movies

The main article list names a great many titles; of approx. 70 documentaries and even more feature films and series, in chronological order of their creation. Most films deal with individual aspects. André Singers and Claude Lanzmann's documentaries attempt to depict the overall event with very different stylistic devices. Often the situation of the Russian population and Russian prisoners of war in Germany is hidden, so here is a title. So here is only a short selection from the list:

literature

Overall representations

Persecution of Jews from 1933

Concentration and extermination camps

Single regions

Decision making process

Perpetrators and followers

  • Rainer C. Baum: The Holocaust and the German Elite. Genocide and National Suicide in Germany, 1871-1945. Rowman and Littlefield, Totowa, London 1981, ISBN 0-7099-0656-0 .
  • Daniel Goldhagen : Hitler's willing executors. Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Goldmann, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-442-15088-4 .
  • Raul Hilberg: perpetrator, victim, spectator. The extermination of the Jews 1933–1945. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-596-13216-9 .
  • Richard Rhodes: The German Murderers. The SS Einsatzgruppen and the Holocaust. Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 2004, ISBN 3-7857-2183-8 .
  • Karin Orth : The concentration camp SS. Social structural analyzes and biographical studies. DTV, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-423-34085-1 .
  • Peter Longerich: “We didn't know anything about it.” The Germans and the persecution of the Jews 1933–1945. Siedler, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-88680-843-2 .
  • Bernward Dörner : The Germans and the Holocaust. What nobody wanted to know, but everyone could know. Propylaea, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-549-07315-5 .
  • Michael Wildt : Volksgemeinschaft as self-empowerment. Violence against Jews in the German provinces 1919 to 1939. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-936096-74-3 .
  • Klaus Kellmann: Dimensions of complicity. The European collaboration with the Third Reich. Böhlau, Vienna 2019, ISBN 978-3-205-20053-6 .

Victim

  • Wolfgang Benz (ed.): Dimension of the genocide. The number of Jewish victims of National Socialism. DTV, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-423-04690-2 .
  • Alexandra Rossberg, Johan Lansen (ed.): Breaking the silence. Berlin lessons on the long-term consequences of the Shoah. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997, ISBN 3-518-39231-X .
  • Claude Lanzmann : Shoah. Nevertheless, Grafenau 1999, ISBN 3-922209-87-4 (interviews with survivors; book accompanying Lanzmann's film documentation on DVD).
  • Martin Doerry (Ed.): Monika Zucht (photographs): Nowhere and everywhere at home. Conversations with survivors of the Holocaust. DVA, 2006, ISBN 3-421-04207-1 ( photo examples ; PDF; 1.5 MB).

Resistance and relief actions

Jews as groups of people

  • Michael Berger , Gideon Römer-Hillebrecht (ed.): Jewish soldiers - Jewish resistance in Germany and France. Schöningh Verlag, Paderborn 2012, ISBN 978-3-506-77177-3 .
  • Arno Lustiger : To the struggle to the life and death. The book on the resistance of the Jews 1933–1945. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-89996-269-9 .
  • Wilfried Löhken, Werner Vathke (Hrsg.): Jews in the resistance. Three groups between the struggle for survival and political action, Berlin 1939–1945. Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-89468-068-7 .

Gentile Germans

  • Kurt R. Grossmann : The unsung heroes. People in Germany's dark days. arani Verlags-Gesellschaft, Berlin 1961 (new edition: Ullstein, 1984, ISBN 3-548-33040-1 ).
  • Anton M. Keim (ed.): Benyamin Z. Barslai: Yad Vashem: Die Judenretter aus Deutschland. 2nd edition, Matthias-Grünewald, 1984, ISBN 3-7867-1085-6 .
  • Wolfram Wette (Ed.): Civil courage. Outraged, helpers and rescuers from the Wehrmacht, police and SS. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-596-15852-4 .
  • Center for anti-Semitism research at the TU Berlin (ed.): Solidarity and help for Jews during the Nazi era. Metropol, Berlin 1996 ff. (Seven volumes so far).

Other

  • Carol Rittner, Sondra Myers: The Courage to Care: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust. New York University Press, 1986, ISBN 0-8147-7397-4 .
  • Nechama Tec: When light pierced the darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1986, ISBN 0-19-503643-3 .
  • Alexander Bronowski: There were so few. Savior in the Holocaust. (1991) Hänssler, 2002, ISBN 3-7751-3811-0 .
  • Wolfram Wette (Ed.): Silent Heroes. Rescuers of Jews in the triangle during the Second World War. Herder-Taschenbuch, Freiburg 2005, ISBN 3-451-05461-2 .
  • Franz Severin Berger, Christiane Holler, Holly Elder: Survival in hiding. Fates in the Nazi Era. Ueberreuter, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-8000-3836-6 .

Legal processing

  • The trial of the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal. Nuremberg November 14, 1945 - October 1, 1946. 23 volumes. Nuremberg 1947.
  • Hermann Langbein : The Auschwitz Trial. A documentation. 2 volumes. Europe, Vienna 1965.

Commemoration

  • Stefanie Endlich: ways to remember. Memorial sites and locations for the victims of National Socialism in Berlin and Brandenburg. Metropol, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-938690-45-1 .
  • Claudia Bruns, Asal Dardan, Anette Dietrich (eds.): “Which of the stones you lift.” Cinematic memory of the Holocaust. Series: Medien-Kultur 3. Bertz + Fischer Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86505-397-8 ( content ).
  • S. Lillian Kremer: Holocaust Literature. An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work. Routledge, New York 2002. Volume 1: ISBN 0-415-92983-0 , Volume 2: ISBN 0-415-92984-9 (English).
  • Mirjam Schmid: Representability of the Shoah in novels and films. Sonnenberg, Annweiler 2012, ISBN 978-3-933264-70-1 .
  • Günther Jikeli et al. (Ed.): Views on the Holocaust among Muslims in international comparison. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2013, ISBN 978-3-593-39855-6 ( introduction )
  • Alvin H. Rosenfeld: The end of the Holocaust (Original title: The End of the Holocaust. Translated by Manford Hanowell). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-525-54042-8 .
  • James E. Young : Forms of Remembrance: Holocaust Memorials. Passagen-Verlag, Vienna 1997, ISBN 3-85165-174-X (English 1993).
  • Nora Sternfeld : Contact zones for conveying history. Transnational learning about the Holocaust in the post-Nazi migration society, Zaglossus, Vienna 2013, ISBN 978-3-902902-02-3 .

Web links

Commons : Holocaust  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Holocaust  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Shoah  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Victim
Commemoration
Movies
music

Individual evidence

  1. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 116.
  2. Ulrich Wyrwa: "Holocaust". Conceptual history notes. In: Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung 8 (1999), pp. 300-311.
  3. James E. Young: The Names of the Holocaust. In: James E. Young: Describing the Holocaust. Presentation and consequences of the interpretation. Frankfurt am Main 1992, pp. 139-163.
  4. Holocaust and Other Genocides , International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  5. Michael Wildt : "Volksgemeinschaft". Version 1.0. In: Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte , June 3, 2014, accessed May 18, 2019.
  6. Quoted from Christian Hartmann , Thomas Vordermayer, Othmar Plöckinger, Roman Töppel (eds.): Hitler, Mein Kampf. A critical edition . Institute for Contemporary History Munich - Berlin, Munich 2016, vol. 1, p. 208.
  7. Saul Friedländer: The Third Reich and the Jews: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939. Munich 2000, pp. 87–128.
  8. ^ Yaacov Lozowick : Hitler's bureaucrats. Eichmann, his willing executors and the banality of evil. Pendo, Zurich 2000, p. 85.
  9. Heinz Höhne : "Give me four years". Hitler and the beginnings of the Third Reich. Ullstein, Berlin 1996, pp. 96-116; Hans-Ulrich Wehler : German history of society , Vol. 4: From the beginning of the First World War to the founding of the two German states 1914-1949. Beck, Munich 2003, p. 653; Hans Mommsen : The Nazi Regime and the Extinction of Judaism in Europe . Wallstein, Göttingen 2014, pp. 37–43.
  10. Ian Kershaw: The Nazi State. Hamburg 1999, p. 171.
  11. The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels , Part 2 / Volume 3, November 30, 1937, p. 351.
  12. ^ Raul Hilberg: The Destruction of European Jews , Volume 1. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1990, ISBN 3-596-24417-X , p. 56 f.
  13. Peter Longerich: Politics of extermination: An overall representation of the National Socialist persecution of the Jews. ISBN 3-492-03755-0 , p. 16.
  14. a b Austrian Commission of Historians: Final report of the Commission of Historians of the Republic of Austria. Volume 1. Oldenbourg Verlag, Vienna 2003, pp. 291-293; Wolfgang Benz: History of the Third Reich. Beck, Munich 2000, p. 228 .
  15. Gerd Blumberg, Flight of German Jews across the border . In: Katharina Stengel, Before the Destruction: The State Expropriation of Jews in National Socialism , Campus Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-593-38371-2 , pp. 94–113. P. 105 .
  16. Eberhard Jäckel, Jürgen Rohwer (ed.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Fischer TB, Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 10.
  17. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2003, ISBN 3-534-15158-5 , p. 70.
  18. ^ Christopher Browning: The Final Solution and the German Foreign Office. Holmes & Meier Publishers, New York / London 1978, ISBN 0-8419-0403-0 , p. 8.
  19. Peter Longerich (1998): Politics of extermination: An overall representation of the National Socialist persecution of the Jews. P. 16.
  20. Peter Longerich: Politics of Destruction - An overall representation of the National Socialist persecution of the Jews . P. 392.
  21. z. B. First train from France to Auschwitz March 27, 1942, details in the article Chronology of the collaboration of the Vichy government in the Holocaust
  22. Martin Broszat , in: Eberhard Jäckel, Jürgen Rohwer (ed.): The murder of the Jews in World War II. Fischer TB, Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 66.
  23. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 49 f.
  24. Christopher Browning: The Unleashing of the 'Final Solution' - National Socialist Jewish Policy 1939-1942 , Munich 2003, ISBN 3-549-07187-6 , p. 73 ..
  25. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 64 f.
  26. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 32 and 69.
  27. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 32 and 69.
  28. Götz Aly: Final Solution: Displacement of Nations and the Murder of the European Jews. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1998, ISBN 3-596-14067-6 , pp. 127-131.
  29. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, pp. 65-68.
  30. Markus Leniger: National Socialist “Volkstumsarbeit” and resettlement policy 1933–1945: From the care of minorities to the selection of settlers. 2nd edition, Frank & Timme, 2010, ISBN 978-3-86596-082-5 , p. 11.
  31. Dieter Pohl: National Socialist Persecution of Jews in East Galicia 1941–1944. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-486-56233-9 , p. 97.
  32. Quoted from Katharina Meng: Russlanddeutsche Sprachbiografien. Narr, 2001, ISBN 3-8233-5151-6 , p. 491 .
  33. Peter Longerich: Politics of Destruction. Munich 1998, ISBN 3-492-03755-0 , p. 273.
  34. Cf. Die Zeit 2r. 42, October 15, 2015, p. 19.
  35. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, pp. 65 and 80.
  36. See, for example, the essays by Andreas Hillgruber : The “Final Solution” and the German Eastern Empire as the core of the racial ideological program of National Socialism , and by Hans Mommsen : The Realization of the Utopian: The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in the Third Reich , both in: Wolfgang Wippermann (Ed.): Controversies about Hitler . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1986, pp. 219-298; Klaus Hildebrand : The Third Reich (= Oldenbourg floor plan of history , vol. 17), 4th edition, Oldenbourg, Munich 1991, pp. 202-206.
  37. Eberhard Jäckel : The formation of decisions as a historical problem. In: the same and Jürgen Rohwer (eds.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Decision making and realization Fischer TB, Frankfurt am Main 1987, pp. 14-17.
  38. Eberhard Jäckel: Hitler's Weltanschauung. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1981, ISBN 3-421-06083-5 , pp. 72-75.
  39. Hans Mommsen: The Nazi regime and the extinction of Judaism in Europe. Wallstein, Göttingen 2014, p. 107 f.
  40. Eberhard Jäckel: The formation of decisions as a historical problem. In: the same and Jürgen Rohwer (eds.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Decision making and realization Fischer TB, Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 15.
  41. ^ Karl A. Schleunes: National Socialist Decision Making and Action T 4. In: Eberhard Jäckel, Jürgen Rohwer (ed.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1987, pp. 70-78.
  42. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, pp. 31 f., 55 f. And 71.
  43. Rolf-Dieter Müller, Hans-Erich Volkmann: The Wehrmacht: Myth and Reality. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-486-56383-1 , p. 841 .
  44. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 71 f.
  45. ^ Dossier Kersten in the Center de Documentation Juive or Felix Kersten: The Kersten Memoirs, 1940–1945. Time Life Education, 1992, ISBN 0-8094-8737-3 .
  46. For example Andreas Hillgruber: The historical place of the annihilation of the Jews . In: Eberhard Jäckel, Jürgen Rohwer (ed.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Decision making and realization Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 221; Hermann Graml : On the genesis of the “final solution” . In: Walter H. Pehle (Ed.): From the “Reichskristallnacht” to genocide . Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 173 f .; Klaus Hildebrand: The Third Reich (= Oldenbourg floor plan of history, vol. 17), 4th edition, Oldenbourg, Munich 1991, p. 200 f; Hans-Ulrich Thamer : Seduction and Violence. Germany 1933–1945. Siedler, Berlin 1994, p. 700 ff.
  47. ^ Alfred Streim : On the opening of the general order to exterminate the Jews. In: Eberhard Jäckel, Jürgen Rohwer (ed.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 112.
  48. Ian Kershaw: Turning Points. Key decisions in World War II. 2nd edition, Munich 2008, p. 570.
  49. Jonathan C. Friedman : The Routledge History of the Holocaust. Taylor & Francis, 2011, ISBN 978-0-415-77956-2 , p. 159 .
  50. Eberhard Jäckel, Jürgen Rohwer (ed.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 15.
  51. Lars Lüdicke: Hitler's worldview. From "Mein Kampf" to the "Nero command". Schöningh, Paderborn 2016, ISBN 978-3-506-78575-6 , p. 121.
  52. ^ Alfred Streim: On the opening of the general order to exterminate the Jews. In: Eberhard Jäckel, Jürgen Rohwer (ed.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Frankfurt am Main 1987, pp. 114-116.
  53. Gerald Fleming: Hitler and the Final Solution. Limes, 1982, ISBN 3-8090-2196-2 , pp. 57 and 62.
  54. Ian Kershaw: The Nazi State. Frankfurt am Main 1994, p. 157.
  55. Hans Mommsen: The Nazi regime and the extinction of Judaism in Europe. Wallstein, Göttingen 2014, pp. 135–144.
  56. ^ Philippe Burrin: Hitler and the Jews. The decision to commit genocide . S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1993, p. 154, p. 175 ff. And ö.
  57. ^ Peter Longerich: Heinrich Himmler. Biography. Siedler, Munich 2008, p. 560 ff.
  58. ^ Raul Hilberg: The Reinhard Action. In: Eberhard Jäckel, Jürgen Rohwer (ed.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Frankfurt am Main 1987, pp. 125-128.
  59. Saul Friedländer: The Third Reich and the Jews Volume 2: The Years of Destruction 1939–1945. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-54966-7 , p. 301 .
  60. Ian Kershaw: Hitler 1936-1945. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 978-3-421-05131-8 , p. 617.
  61. Christopher Browning: Unleashing the "Final Solution". National Socialist Jewish Policy 1939–1942. With a contribution by Jürgen Matthäus. List Taschenbuch, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-548-60637-7 , p. 318.
  62. Christian Gerlach: War, Nutrition, Genocide. Research on German extermination policy in World War II. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 1998, p. 117 f., Based on Hans Mommsen: The Nazi regime and the extinction of Judaism in Europe . Wallstein, Göttingen 2014, p. 185 f.
  63. Jochen von Lang , Avner W. Less (ed.): The Eichmann protocol: tape recordings of the Israeli interrogations. P. Zsolnay, 1991, ISBN 3-552-04308-X , p. 70.
  64. Gideon Botsch (ed.): The Wannsee Conference and the Genocide of the European Jews: Catalog of the permanent exhibition. Verlag Haus der Wannsee Conference, Memorial and Educational Center, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-9808517-4-5 , p. 121.
  65. Eberhard Kolb : Discussion. In: Eberhard Jäckel, Jürgen Rohwer (ed.): The murder of the Jews in the Second World War. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1987, pp. 61-64; Peter Longerich: Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 259 .
  66. Hans Mommsen: The Nazi regime and the extinction of Judaism in Europe. Wallstein, Göttingen 2014, p. 148 (here the quote) and 185.
  67. Joachim Tauber : Report on the events in Gargždai / Garsden in June 1941 (PDF; 91 kB). In: annaberger-annalen.de, accessed on May 2, 2019.
  68. Peter Longerich: Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. 2010, p. 192 f.
  69. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 74.
  70. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, pp. 73-77.
  71. ^ Dieter Pohl: Holocaust. Herder, Freiburg 2000, p. 78 ff.
  72. Christopher R. Browning: Ordinary Men. Reserve Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. Frankfurt a. M. 1999, p. 189.
  73. compiled from Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, pp. 73 and 96; Peter Longerich: Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. 2010, pp. 196-198.
  74. Christian Zentner: Illustrated history of the Third Reich. Bechtermünz, 1990, p. 331.
  75. Richard J. Evans : How unique was the murder of the Jews ... In: Günter Morsch , Bertrand Perz : New studies on National Socialist mass killings by poison gas. Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-940938-99-2 , p. 9.
  76. Gunnar Heinsohn: Lexicon of Genocides. Reinbek 1999, p. 344.
  77. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 87 f.
  78. Barbara Distel: Sobibor. In: Wolfgang Benz, Wolfgang, Barbara Distel: The place of terror. History of the National Socialist Concentration Camps. Volume 8: Riga. Warsaw. Kaunas. Vaivara. Plaszów. Klooga. Chelmo. Belzec. Treblinka. Sobibor. Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57237-1 , pp. 384-385.
  79. ^ Robert Jan van Pelt: Auschwitz. In: Günther Morsch, Bertrand Perz: New studies on National Socialist mass killings by poison gas. Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-940938-99-2 , p. 201 with note 14.
  80. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 99 f.
  81. ^ Raul Hilberg: The annihilation of the European Jews. Volume 2. Frankfurt am Main 1990, pp. 1037-1043.
  82. Achim Trunk: The deadly gases. In: Günther Morsch, Bertrand Perz: New studies on National Socialist mass killings by poison gas. Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-940938-99-2 , p. 24.
  83. Estimates for Kulmhof, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka in Wolfgang Benz, Barbara Distel: The Place of Terror - History of the National Socialist Concentration Camps. Volume 8, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57237-1 , pp. 301, 357–359, 385, 408. Estimates for Majdanek in Thomasz Kranz: The recording of deaths and prisoner mortality in the Lublin concentration camp. In: Journal of History . Vol. 55, 2007, no. 3, p. 243. Estimates for Maly Trostinez in Petra Rentrop: Maly Trostinez. In: Wolfgang Benz, Barbara Distel (eds.): Der Ort des Terrors… Vol. 9, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-57238-8 , p. 577.
  84. ^ Danuta Czech: Calendar of events in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp 1939–1945. Reinbek near Hamburg 1989, ISBN 3-498-00884-6 , p. 921.
  85. Source: Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murder in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 63.
  86. ^ Ino Arndt: Luxemburg - German occupation and exclusion of Jews. In: Dimension of Genocide. Verlag Oldenbourg, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-486-54631-7 , p. 103
  87. ^ Federal Archives : Chronology of the deportations from Belgium . First transport August 4, 1942, last July 31, 1944. All of them started in Mechelen , almost all of them ended in Auschwitz.
  88. ^ Federal Archives : Chronology of the deportations from the Netherlands
  89. ^ Rémy Limpach: The "unimaginable". The persecution of the Dutch Jews 1940–1945. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-639-07280-8 . ( Summary online )
  90. ^ Martin Gilbert : The Routledge Atlas of the Holocaust , London 2002, ISBN 0-415-28146-6 , p. 153.
  91. ^ Rossen Vassilev: The Rescue of Bulgaria's Jews in World War II , New Politics XII: 4, 2010, pp. 114-121 online
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