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Transcript
The Holocaust is considered one of the darkest
moments in human history. It is easy to believe that
Adolph Hitler and the Nazis are to blame for this
cataclysmic event, but the roots of this evil vine run far
back in time to the age of the Romans…And Masada.
The Jews defied the Roman attempts to assimilate them into
the Roman Empire, and subsequently lost their homeland as
the Romans wiped Judea off the map…
The remaining Jews scattered across Europe in a
flight to safety known as the Diaspora. In exile,
the Jews maintained their nationality through their
monotheistic religion.
The Jews stuck together, utilizing their rigid faith to
bind themselves together and to keep the world
away…They gained strength through unity, but the rest
of the world despised their isolationist tendencies…The
Jews essentially made themselves leaders in commerce,
eventually controlling banks and other money-lending
institutions.
The Jews willingly
loaned money to other
Jews, but charged
high interest to
others for borrowing.
However…The Jews truly became the hated race after the
crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Jewish priests were
responsible for turning Jesus over to the Romans when they
grew fearful of his rising power and influence. Later, when
Christianity gained popularity as a world religion, the Jews
were blamed for Jesus’ death.
Peter Paul Rubens’ famous
picture of the crucifixion of
Jesus Christ
As time passed, the Jews grew ever more economically
powerful with their isolationist tendencies, eventually
controlling a large portion of the world’s wealth and banking
systems.
Meanwhile, time passed and true world war erupted on the
face of the planet…The Germans utilized unrest in the
Serbian nations as well as indecision in the United States to
launch a bid for European domination in the early 1900’s.
WWI truly showed how technology had outpaced man’s
conscience as face to face warfare was replaced by poison
gas, airplanes, submarines, and long-range artillery. The
United States eventually became embroiled in the war when a
German submarine sank the luxury liner ‘The Lusitania,’ killing
over a thousand civilians.
Now, you might ask, “How does WWI have anything to do
with the Holocaust?” Well, it has everything to do with
the Holocaust…After the Allied Powers (U.S., England,
France, etc.) finally defeated the Germans, they tried to
make sure that Germany could not try something like this
again. In the treaty that ended the first world war,
German industry was greatly restricted and many of their
major businesses were sold. (often to Jewish owners!) The
German economy went into depression.
WWI left the Germans with no way to
rebuild…
Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, an interesting man
fought and was wounded in WWI…He spent his time after
the war studying why the Germans lost and how Germany
could again rise to power…
While in prison, young
Adolph Hitler wrote a
book titled “Mein
Kampf” which is German
for “My Struggle.” In
the book he outlined
why Germany failed in
WWI and what needed
to be done for them to
rise again to greatness.
Slowly but surely, young Adolph Hitler began gathering
people around him who felt as he did, that Germany could
rise again to a position of power. Hitler was a very
persuasive speaker who was unafraid to take extreme
measures to accomplish his goals. He started by giving the
Germans a scapegoat to blame for their problems…He
blamed the Jews for controlling all of Germany’s financial
institutions.
Hitler continued to thumb his nose at other world leaders
as he quietly built a military juggernaut and made himself,
“Fuhrer.” (German word for “Leader.”)
Hitler began finding ways to undermine the Jews’ position
in the German community. As he rose to power, he began to
limit the Jews’ ability to own and run businesses. He
continued to use negative propaganda against the Jews,
blaming all of Germany’s economic and social troubles on the
influence of the Jewish community.
In 1938, carefully organized Pogroms were set in motion by
Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. One of the
most famous of these was “The Night of Broken Glass” in
which 1000 Jewish synagogues were burned, 7000 Jewish
businesses were destroyed, and dozens of Jews were
brutally murdered. Up to this point, the Nazis had been
quite secretive about their plans, but this horrible night
made Hitler’s plans for genocide very apparent…
A pile of
discarded
Jewish shoes
at a German
concentration
camp…
As Hitler gained power, the need for more consumed him,
because as we know… Power corrupts and absolute power
corrupts absolutely. The Fuhrer was no longer happy with
controlling Germany; he now thirsted for world domination.
As part of his plan to conquer and unify the world, Hitler
believed that Aryan supremacy was the key. He considered
the Aryan race better than all the other races, so in his
twisted design for Utopia he ultimately planned for other
races to be systematically exterminated. It was most
convenient for him to start with the Jews.
Ultimately, he
planned to wipe out
or subjugate all
races that didn’t
fit his blonde and
blue-eyed model
for utopia…
Hitler planned to show off his superior athletes at the 1936
Olympics in Berlin, but African American Jesse Owens stole
the show by winning 3 gold medals in the premier track and
field events. Hitler was furious!
World leaders knew that some strange things were going on
in Germany, but no one was willing to get involved… By 1938,
Hitler had already begun moving Jews into concentration
camps where they quickly and quietly began to disappear.
Jews were utilized
as slave labor on
almost non-existent
food rations until
they were too weak
or sick to move, and
then they were
exterminated…
In 1939, Hitler felt that he had all the necessary pieces in
place and he put his plan into motion by invading Poland.
Britain, France, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and
Canada immediately declared war on Germany. The U.S., still
struggling through the great depression was reluctant to get
involved… Italy, under the control of another maniacal
dictator, Benito Mussolini, jumped in on Germany’s side.
This period in history was an age of
totalitarianism, where vicious
dictators like Hitler, Mussolini, and
Stalin controlled large populations
through fear and military might.
Benito Mussolini
Japan had dreams of continental domination also at this
time…In 1939, the Japanese invaded China yet again with the
desire to control this vast area through military might. The
United States condemned the action and placed an embargo on
metal being shipped to Japan, severely hurting Japan’s ability
to make ships, planes, and weapons. Japan responded in 1940
by signing a pact with Germany and Italy.
The U.S. had still not entered the
war, but they convinced other
countries to put economic pressure
on Japan, hoping Japan would stop
their invasion of China. Japan was
furious with the U.S…
Emperor Hirohito
In 1941, The Japanese planned a sneak attack on the United
States…Foolishly, the United States kept most of their
battleships in one place – Pearl Harbor. The Japanese felt
that if they could surprise the United States by wiping out all
the ships at Pearl Harbor, the United States would be unable
to retaliate against them…They were almost right!
The devastating
attack on
December 7,
1941, nearly
wiped out the
United States’
Pacific Fleet.
The Japanese hoped to shock and surprise the United States
into staying out of the war, but what they did was quite the
opposite—they made us mad… Japanese Admiral Yamamoto said
it best when he wrote in his diary, “I fear that all we have done
is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.”
On December 8, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt and the United
States declared war on Japan after what Franklin Roosevelt
declared to be “A day that shall live in infamy…” Germany in
turn declared war on the United States a few days later.
Franklin Roosevelt signs the
“Declaration of War” with The
Empire of Japan.
Meanwhile, back in Germany, Hitler was increasing the speed of
his operation to eradicate the Jewish Race. Hitler called his
plan, “The Final Solution.” By 1942, over one million Jews had
already been exterminated in the death camps and in open
executions across Poland. Hitler didn’t confine his “Solution” to
just Jews, he also condemned to death the handicapped,
Romanian gypsies, certain religious groups, members of the
intelligentsia, and homosexuals.
The Warsaw Ghettos
Secretly, the Germans were also carrying out horrible
medical experiments on their Jewish prisoners…The man
responsible for overseeing this part of the final solution was
Joseph Mengele, nicknamed “The Angel of Death.” He
injected healthy prisoners with various chemicals just to see
how they reacted. He attempted to change eye color with
chemicals, and did horrible experiments with twins.
Mengele was never captured, and
he fled to South America after
the war posing as a doctor and a
veterinarian. Israeli agents were
constantly on his heels, but
Mengele was never caught. He
died in a drowning accident in
1979.
Jews in the Warsaw Ghettos (areas in Warsaw Poland that
had been fenced off to keep the Jews there in one place) put
up a fierce resistance to the Germans, hiding in underground
tunnels and abandoned buildings. The Germans countered by
sweeping the area with poison gas. Those who surrendered
were lined up and shot.
Selection at the Auschwitz ramp in 1944, where the Nazis
chose whom to kill immediately and whom to use as slave labour
or for medical experimentation. The entrance to the main camp
is in the background. Between 1.1 and 1.6 million people were
killed at Auschwitz; over 90% of the victims were Jews.
In one labor camp there were fifteen thousand Jewish prisoners and on
guards.
Asked why so many Jews did not attack their outnumbered guards,
one survivor answered:
Here we were still working. The Germans had told us they needed man
thought: Who knows? Perhaps? ... It was obvious that if anyone started
opposition, all these armed guards around us would immediately open
dreadful thing to stand opposite a machine gun and to watch a boy bein
... Then there was still the hope that this war was bound to end one d
endanger all fifteen thousand men?
And once we had escaped, where could we go?
On July 18, 1942, there was an armed revolt in the small Jewish
ghetto of Nieswiez. The Jews threw homemade sulphuric acid in
the faces of the German policemen. A machine gun had been stolen,
piece-by-piece, and when more German police came, the Jews
turned the gun on them. They set the ghetto aflame, burning their
own homes. In reprisal the Germans hunted down every last
fighter; then they murdered all the other Jews who had lived in the
ghetto. This was the Nazi answer to resistance: whenever a revolt
occurred in the ghettos, the Nazis would destroy its entire Jewish
population. In many cases the only records we have of these revolts
were kept by the Nazis themselves--not a single Jew escaped to tell
the tale.
The beginning of the end for the Germans came on June 6,
1944, when Allied forces completed what was thought to be
impossible, an amphibious landing at Omaha Beach on the
shores of France. Thousands died, but this strategic location
allowed the Allied forces to create a base of operations from
which they could invade Germany.
Hitler went into hiding in a
bunker designed and built for
him beneath Berlin. In April
most of the Nazi leaders left
Berlin as it was being
encircled by the Allied troops.
Hitler refused to leave his
bunker. Indeed, he never
again left it alive. On April 30,
broken by his defeats, Adolf
Hitler shot himself. By his
own orders, his body was
taken just outside the bunker
and burned. Hitler was dead,
and with him Nazi Germany
had died.
Liberation of Dachau
THE HANGMAN
By Maurice Ogden
Into our town the hangman came,
smelling of gold and blood and flame.
He paced our bricks with a different air,
and built his frame on the courthouse square.
The scaffold stood by the courthouse side,
only as wide as the door was wide
with a frame as tall, or a little more,
than the capping sill of the courthouse door.
And we wondered whenever we had the time,
Who the criminal? What the crime?
The hangman judged with the yellow twist
of knotted hemp in his busy fist.
And innocent though we were with dread,
we passed those eyes of buckshot lead.
Till one cried, "Hangman, who is he,
for whom you raised the gallows-tree?"
Then a twinkle grew in his buckshot eye
and he gave a riddle instead of reply.
"He who serves me best," said he
"Shall earn the rope on the gallows-tree."
And he stepped down and laid his hand
on a man who came from another land.
And we breathed again, for anothers grief
at the hangmans hand, was our relief.
And the gallows frame on the courthouse lawn
by tomorrow's sun would be struck and gone.
So we gave him way and no one spoke
out of respect for his hangmans cloak.
The next day's sun looked mildly down
on roof and street in our quiet town;
and stark and black in the morning air
the gallows-tree on the courthouse square.
And the hangman stood at his usual stand
with the yellow hemp in his busy hand.
With his buckshot eye and his jaw like a pike,
and his air so knowing and business-like.
And we cried, "Hangman, have you not done,
yesterday with the alien one?"
Then we fell silent and stood amazed.
"Oh, not for him was the gallows raised."
He laughed a laugh as he looked at us,
"Do you think I've gone to all this fuss,
To hang one man? That's the thing I do.
To stretch the rope when the rope is new."
Above our silence a voice cried "Shame!"
and into our midst the hangman came;
to that mans place, "Do you hold," said he,
"With him that was meat for the gallows-tree?"
He laid his hand on that one's arm
and we shrank back in quick alarm.
We gave him way, and no one spoke,
out of fear of the hangmans cloak.
That night we saw with dread surprise
the hangmans scaffold had grown in size.
Fed by the blood beneath the chute,
the gallows-tree had taken root.
Now as wide, or a little more
than the steps that led to the courthouse door.
As tall as the writing, or nearly as tall,
half way up on the courthouse wall.
The third he took, we had all heard tell,
was a usurer..., an infidel.
And "What" said the hangman, "Have you to do
with the gallows-bound..., and he a Jew?"
And we cried out, "Is this one he
who has served you well and faithfully?"
The hangman smiled, "It's a clever scheme
to try the strength of the gallows beam."
The fourth man's dark accusing song
had scratched our comfort hard and long.
"And what concern," he gave us back,
"Have you ... for the doomed and black?"
The fifth, the sixth, and we cried again,
"Hangman, hangman, is this the man?"
"It's a trick", said he, "that we hangman know
for easing the trap when the trap springs slow."
And so we ceased and asked now more
as the hangman tallied his bloody score.
And sun by sun, and night by night
the gallows grew to monstrous height.
The wings of the scaffold opened wide
until they covered the square from side to side.
And the monster cross beam looking down,
cast its shadow across the town.
Then through the town the hangman came
and called through the empy streets...my name.
I looked at the gallows soaring tall
and thought ... there's no one left at all
for hanging ... and so he called to me
to help take down the gallows-tree.
And I went out with right good hope
to the hangmans tree and the hangmans rope.
He smiled at me as I came down
to the courthouse square...through the silent town.
Supple and stretched in his busy hand,
was the yellow twist of hempen strand.
He whistled his tune as he tried the trap
and it sprang down with a ready snap.
Then with a smile of awful command,
He laid his hand upon my hand.
"You tricked me Hangman." I shouted then,
"That your scaffold was built for other men,
and I'm no henchman of yours." I cried.
"You lied to me Hangman, foully lied."
Then a twinkle grew in his buckshot eye,
"Lied to you...tricked you?" He said "Not I...
for I answered straight and told you true.
The scaffold was raised for none but you."
"For who has served more faithfully?
With your coward's hope." said He,
"And where are the others that might have stood
side by your side, in the common good?"
"Dead!" I answered, and amiably
"Murdered," the Hangman corrected me.
"First the alien ... then the Jew.
I did no more than you let me do."
Beneath the beam that blocked the sky
none before stood so alone as I.
The Hangman then strapped me...with no voice there
to cry "Stay!" ... for me in the empty square.