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Holocaust term paper

"The invasion of Poland, which started out as a conventional war, was quickly transformed into a genocidal struggle against the entire population. Ostensibly a war to redeem lost territory in the east, the Nazi objective of acquiring lebensraum, or living space, was combined with a racial ideology that viewed the Slavic peoples as inferior to the Aryan race. Once Poland was conquered, a process of "ethnic cleansing" occurred in which Poles were displaced from their homes, and ethnic Germans were resettled in their place. Along with this objective, the Germans anticipated the elimination of all traces of Polish ethnic identity. Heinrich Himmler foresaw the future of Poland as one in which all traces of Polish national consciousness would disappear and be replaced by total obedience to Germany. Polish children would receive severely limited primary education and become a source of cheap labour for the Reich. Not all inhabitants of Poland were subject to this dismal future. Himmler theorized that in times past, ethnic Germans had ruled in the east and had intermarried with the Slavic population, thus creating a population of mixed blood. Over time, this element, and even Germans of pure blood, had come to view themselves as Poles. Himmler believed that the Nordic traits among the Slavs made them dangerous to the Reich, because it was their German blood that gave them their leadership skills. Thus Germany's mission was either to reincorporate this remnant of Aryan blood or eliminate it. Toward this end, Himmler ordered the SS to search for this valued racial stock in Poland, and later in the Soviet Union."

"To supplement their diet, people planted gardens in tenement yards; political party organizations ran soup kitchens, as did the Jewish Councils; and begging and stealing were rampant. Attempts to purchase food from non-Jews, if discovered, were severely punished. Poles caught selling food could be sentenced to months of hard labour, and Jews could be executed. But wholesale smuggling continued. Nazi soldiers could be bribed into allowing cartloads of food, even whole herds of oxen and cows, to be driven into the ghetto. People set up transfer points between two houses that straddled the wall separating the ghetto from the rest of the city, smuggling food between them. Each time the Germans changed the boundaries, the Jews found a new place to operate. Even death carts were used to bring food into the ghetto on their return trip from the cemeteries. The Jewish community as a whole tried to provide for those with no money. Before 1940, residents were able to form house committees whose job was to provide for those in greatest need. Soup kitchens, providing nutritious meals, were set up in each "house" or apartment building. Few people actually starved to death until the end of 1940. By that time even the committees had run out of money, and the cost of food was prohibitive. People then had to turn to community soup kitchens where food was much less nutritional, though cheap."

"""the fate of many Holocaust victims depended heavily on the attitudes and policies of governments allied with or dominated by Nazi Germany. Jews and Gypsies living in Croatia and Slovakia, both German satellites, were treated almost as badly as if they had been under direct German rule. The most notable difference was that both countries were more prepared to except wealthy and well-connected Jews from deportations and killings than would have been true of the Germans. Germany's allies, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Italy, were primarily interested in conquering territory. Bulgaria chose to shield its Jews from deportation, Romania carried out limited genocide on its own in the eastern provinces, and Hungary and Italy avoided the Holocaust until they were taken over by German forces late in the war. Then, as was also true in the conquered countries of Western Europe, varying degrees of support from native police, militia, and government officials made the deportations possible. Especially in Vichy France, the Netherlands, and Norway, where German manpower was stretched very thin, local administrative assistance was essential in registering, arresting, and deporting the Jews and Gypsies. Although it cannot be said with certainty that government officials in all these countries knew that the victims were being sent to their deaths, by 1943 no one could any longer suppose that the process of "relocation" was a benign one. Only Finnish and Danish government officials refused to cooperate at all in the Holocaust."

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