Responses to Persecution

3911 Words16 Pages
Responses to Persecution

Jews are no strangers to suffering. Throughout the ages, many others have also been victims to unspeakable cruelty, but the judgement of Winston Churchill is almost certainly the definitive description of the uniqueness of the Holocaust: "The Final Solution is probably the greatest, most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world."

Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt points out two reasons why the German program of genocide remains in a class by itself as an example of evil: "It was the only time in recorded history that a state tried to destroy an entire people, regardless of an individual's age, sex, location, profession, or belief. And it is the only instance in which the perpetrators conducted this genocide for no ostensible material, territorial, or political gain." In fact, the Holocaust remains incomprehensible. But that is all the more reason why it must at the very least be remembered.

Hitler played heavily on the anti-Semitism already rooted within his people. He resurrected ideas that a previous king of Germany, Frederick the Great, had introduced. There were distinct categories of human beings. Essentially, the Germans were Aryans, and everyone else was sub-human. Hitler took these ideas and embellished them. He blamed the Jews for "two great wounds upon humanity: "Circumcision of the Body and for the conscience of the soul.”

As Hitler gained popularity, his hatred of Jews spread and became a rallying cry.

The Nazi propaganda paper, Der Sturmer, revived the "Blood Libels." The church would warn their constituents: "Watch your children 6-7 weeks before Passover… Everyone knows that just before Passover Jews need the blood of a Christian child, maybe, to mix in with their Matzah."

The attitude taught to the children was, "Just as one poisonous mushroom can poison a whole family, one Jew can poison a whole town or a whole country!"

Der Sturmer was running contests encouraging German children to write in. One little girl wrote, "People are so bothered by the way we’re treating the Jews. They can’t understand it, because they are God’s creatures. But cockroaches are also God’s creatures, and we destroy them."

Words can create an attitude. If a person says something loud enough and often enough, he creates a climate. And under that climate, all sorts of things can happen. This was one of the was the Jews where terribly and horrifically persecuted.

The German scientific community got on the bandwagon with scientific presentations.

More about Responses to Persecution

Open Document