World War II was the most devastating war in the history of humanity. It included one of the most horrible events to ever happen in the history of humanity, the Holocaust.
During the Holocaust, six million Jewish people were tortured and killed at the hands of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Millions of men, women, and children were brutally murdered just because one dictator did not like them. He also did not like Polish people, Serbs, Catholics, or handicapped people, so he tortured and murdered them as well. Before they were defeated in World War II, the Nazis murdered over 17 million innocent people.
Before he became the Chancellor, Hitler wrote a famous book named “Mein Kampf,” which means “My Struggle”. In this book, he wrote about how he hated Jewish people and thought they were less than human. He blamed the Jews for Germany’s loss in World War I and wrote that if and when he comes in power, he would get rid of all the Jews in Germany.
No one ever believed that he would do that in reality, but unfortunately, he did. Once he became the Chancellor, he altered the laws in such a way that Jews did not have any rights. He started ordering attacks on businesses and homes owned by Jews. One night was particularly violent and was known as the Kristallnacht, or “Night of the Broken Glass.” All of this seemed to be very minor compared to how Jewish people were treated by the Nazis during World War II.
Jews suffering during World War II
Jewish people living in European countries that the Nazis invaded saw even worse days. Every city and town the Nazis would come to, they would gather all the Jews in a certain area in the city called the ghetto. The ghetto would be guarded and surrounded by barbed wire. All Jewish people captured by the Nazis would have to live in these small crowded areas with multiple families in one room with little to no food, water, or medicine allowed.
Even at this point, ghettos were not the last of the horrors the Nazis had in store for the Jewish people. After suffering in the ghettos, the Nazis told the Jews that they were going to be transferred to a better place when in fact, they were being transferred to concentration camps.
Concentration camps were supposed to be like prisons, but Jewish people had no rights in the eyes of the Nazis. As a result, they would have to do an unbelievable amount of hard work with almost no food, water, or medicine, which led to many deaths among the Jewish prisoners. As if this was not enough torture for the helpless prisoners, Nazi officers would gather large groups of Jewish people in gas chambers where they poisoned them with gas. Millions of men, women, and children were labored to death or were murdered by gas in the Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust.
The only option is to hide!
Many Jewish people had to hide in non-Jewish homes to survive. Sometimes, they would pretend to be part of the families they were hiding with. Since that did not work for many of them, they had to keep hiding in secret basements or hidden rooms for years on end. Among the most famous Jewish families hiding during this time was the Frank family. Their daughter, Anne Frank, kept a diary to tell her story and experience during the nearly two-year hideout. The Frank family was eventually caught and sent to concentration camps toward the end of the war.
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