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Kelly Atkinson

Wertz-Orbaugh
UWRT 1102-003
31 August 2015

Holocaust Background Knowledge


The Holocaust had a gradual but violent upbringing, and took place during World War II
in Germany. It began after the invasion of Poland, which then imprisoned a lot of Jews into
overcrowded, disease ridden ghettos. They had horrible living conditions and millions were
killed off before the survivors were then sent to concentration camps. The Holocaust, and the
Nazi party was led by a German- Nazi leader named Adolf Hitler. Germany was in an economic
depression, and had been since their humiliating defeat in World War I. Due to the solemn mood
in the country, Hitler saw an opportunity to make his way to the top.
Hitler was a powerful speaker who attracted a large following of Germans; especially
people who were unemployed, young, or members of the lower middle class. Germany was
desperate for a leader, and Hitler soon became a dictator far worse than the country would have
ever imagined. Hitler rose to power rapidly, and in 1933 he was appointed Chancellor of the
German government. Despite his underlying goals to separate and kill off anyone who was not
apart of the dominant race, he led Germany to a better economic state.
The plan Hitler created was to construct a pure Aryan race. He believed that citizens of
Germany and the world needed to be pure, and it began with having blonde hair, blue eyes, and
light skin. Others who did not meet the requirements were punished or imprisoned. Hitler
believed he could take over the world with the creation of a master race, therefore he began

human breeding. He forbid people to partake in mixed marriages between an Aryan and a
member of a lower ranked race. These beginning steps in Hitlers reign should have been a
sign to the country that conditions would get worse.
Hitler began capturing millions of Jews and placing them in concentration camps where
he immediately killed the women and children. He used gas chambers and tricked the Jews into
taking a shower, but in reality it was a shower to their death. The men and the older of the
young boys were immediately put to work; they had gruesome, hard labor jobs intended to wear
them down. They lived in cramped, dirty rooms in bunk beds with hundreds of people shoved
into one room. On top of horrifying living conditions, the Jews were starved to death. There
were many different forms of execution that Hitler and his Nazi party used against the Jews in
concentration camps.
The Holocaust was a horrifying event in history and I have enjoyed learning about it
since middle school. I have watched numerous documentaries, short films, and interviews about
the Holocaust. Having read a couple of books about Hitler and the events that encompassed
World War II and the Holocaust, I gained knowledge and perspective about how gruesome events
were and how Hitlers dictatorship could have been prevented.
One of the first facts I ever learned about Hitler that sparked my interested to continue
learning about the Holocaust, was an event that took place during World War I. Hitler was in his
early-mid twenties fighting for Germany against the United States and came in contact with a
U.S. soldier. The two soldiers were alone in the middle of the forest and terrified to lose their
lives, so they agreed to not kill one another and secretly passed by to the other side. This amazed
me because if Hitler was killed during World War I he would not have had the opportunity to

take over Germany. Millions of innocent lives would have been saved if the American soldier
had overlooked his fear and stood up to his responsibility to fight for his country.
In my opinion, I have a good foundation of knowledge about the Holocaust. There is a
lot to learn about such a large event in history, and I am really looking forward to focusing my
studies on the Holocaust this semester.