Different Ways That Jews Were Persecuted During Eastern And Western Europe

Different Ways That Jews Were Persecuted During Eastern And Western Europe

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The Jewish people have been discriminated against for much of Europe’s history. Pogroms, ghettos, and a culture separate from Christian society had been a part of their existence for centuries. The Enlightenment of the 16th and 17th centuries and its emphasis on concepts such as egalitarianism and individualism had a modernizing influence on Jewish culture. No longer could Jews be seen simply as Jews but as citizens of the states in which they resided. But in the aftermath of World War One and the rise of Nazism, anti-Semitic policies once again reared their ugly heads. This aim of this paper is to examine the different ways that Jews were persecuted in Eastern and Western Europe.
On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler ascended to the Chancellorship of Germany and the Nazis officially took power in Germany. Legislation was created to segregate Jewish Germans from “Aryan” Germans. These were key in the persecution of the Jews because they established a legal precedent of oppression, making the Nazis’ “Final Solution” that much easier to accomplish later. One of their first declarations was a national boycott of Jewish businesses and Jewish professionals. When the American Jewish Congress announced a counter-boycott of German good, the Nazis used this as “proof” that an international Jewish conspiracy was plotting the downfall of Germany. They stated that, “It would be in their [the German Jews] power to call of the rest of the liars of the world into line. Because they choose not to do so, we will make sure that this crusade of hatred and lies against Germany is no longer directed against the innocent German Volk, but against the responsible agitators themselves.”
On April 7, more decrees were issued. The Law for the Restoration of ...


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...from that in the West. Following closely behind the invading army was the Einsatzgruppen, a special brigade of SS troops whose purpose was to deal with any political dissidents or Jews that they came across. The victims of this initial assault numbered in the thousands. Polish Jewish communities were uprooted from the countryside and moved into crowded ghettos in cities like Warsaw and Lodz. These ghettos were surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by German SD. Jews were at the mercy of their captors in these manufactured slums. Liza Chapnik, a resident of the Grodno ghetto, wrote, “Members of the Gestapo would come to the ghetto – alone or with friends – for entertainment. This entertainment consisted of taking potshots at a child, raping a woman, cutting the beard off an old man, humiliating people in the street, and so on. This was everyday life in the ghetto.”

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