The Holocaust

The Holocaust

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When I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I was sickened to learn of horrifying Nazi activities intended to improve the Aryan race and to learn about the human body.� While many people are aware that the Nazis had these goals, most are uninformed of the means used to reach them.� I was also ignorant of the extent of their attempts to establish themselves as ideal specimens of the human race.� They used many unforgivable methods to accomplish these aims, some of which were revealed to me during my visit to the museum.

The Nazis attempted to create a master race through both vicious and less cruel means.� Before my visit to the museum, I was unaware that the Nazis had a program for forced sterilization for those who had genetic disorders or any traits that were undesirable to be passed down hereditarily (Holocaust Museum).� These included the mentally ill, the blind, the deaf, those with severe physical abnormalities, serious alcoholics, and Germans that were half-African (Holocaust Museum).� The sterilization of these people was legalized by the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring, which took effect in 1933 (�Deadly Medicine�).� Cases were heard by courts, but the vast majority of cases ended in the order to sterilize (�Deadly Medicine�).� It is estimated that 300,000 Germans were forcibly sterilized by Nazi demand (Holocaust Museum).� Similar programs were in effect elsewhere in the world, including the United States (�Deadly Medicine�).� A law was implemented in Virginia allowing forced sterilization of �feebleminded� people, and it was judged legal by the Supreme Court (�Deadly Medicine�).� Euthanasia was also used by the Nazis to eliminate these people, even children (�Deadly Medicine�).� Parents of the euthanized children were told that they had died from other causes, even though the children were murdered in hospitals (�Deadly Medicine�).� Less severe methods of creating a perfect race included the Nuremberg Laws, which outlawed marriages between Jews and Germans, and the encouragement of large Aryan families with the �Honor Cross of German Motherhood,� where mothers of four or more were given medals (�Deadly Medicine�).� I was stunned to learn the extent of the Nazis� actions that were intended to create a perfect race, and I was sickened to think that the Nazis might have committed further crimes such as these that are still unknown to the public.

The Nazis also performed cruel medical experiments on Jewish prisoners, both living and dead.

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� One researcher requested the murder of nearly ninety Jews so that he could use their bodies for experiments (Holocaust Museum).� Their bodies were dismembered with saws, and limbs and entire bodies were preserved in vats (Holocaust Museum).� Live test subjects were exposed to extreme cold or pressure in order to determine what extremes the human body could handle (Holocaust Museum).� This was obviously extremely painful, and pictures and videos were taken of these atrocities and exhibited at the museum.� Twins were used for genetic experiments, including children (Holocaust Museum).� Further details of the experiments were not given, presumably because they were too sadistic to be publicly displayed.� However, I feel that is necessary to educate the public about these atrocities, even though they are completely appalling.

��������� Although my visit to the museum could not be considered pleasant, I did learn a great deal about the Nazis� attempts to establish themselves as the quintessential humans and their abuse of prisoners in the name of science.� Their acts should be studied so that people can realize that the crimes committed by the Nazis extended far beyond the murder of Jews alone.� For some, the Holocaust means only the atrocities committed by Hitler and his thugs.� The museum helps those people realize that many groups were ruthlessly slaughtered by doctors, nurses, scientists, and others as well.� Thus the museum helps the extent of the horror of the Holocaust to become more fully understood.

Works Cited

�Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.�� Washington, D.C.: United States Holocaust
��������� Memorial Museum, 2004.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.� Wall Plaques.� The Holocaust.� 15 Sep 2004.
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