During the years between 1914 and 1918 the world was at war in what is infamously known as the World War 1. During this time, countries took sides and in fact there seemed to be unions in blocks. Germany was among the ones involved in the fight and belonged to the eastern bloc. Other countries supporting it included Austria Hungary.
The Germans involved the Jews in the fight as well .Unfortunately Germany lost the war and was subjected to giving in to the demands of the organization that was formed to resolve the battle in the Treaty of Versailles. Germany was very bitter at the loss and started blaming the Jews for their failure that led to their loss in the war. This was dabbed Anti-Semitism. It was basically a movement against the Semites. It did not really start with Hitler but it is a movement that started way before.
After the war in the year 1918, Hitler- a German who rose from nowhere, who was an army man during the war got his way into another army movement in Germany. He was an activist and soon he was found guilty of treason, he was arrested and jailed. In jail it is when he wrote a memoir addressing the issue of the Jews contributing greatly to the loss of German in the world war. He was a member of the NAZI movement. In his memoir he suggested that all the Jews should be wiped out from Germany and the whole of Europe. He was of the idea that Germans were by far superiors and was not supposed to interact with the impure Germans in the country and he labeled them Aryan. As at that point a movement was started that was against the Jews in Germany. Soon Hitler was released from prison and it is then that he put a lot of energy in discriminating the Jews. This was not the best move.
When he was released from prison he became very vocal and vibrant in his quest to ensure the extradition of the impure Germans especially the Jews. In 1933, he was made the chancellor of Germany and after Paul Hindenburg who was the president then died in 1934, Hitler proclaimed himself the highest authority in Germany. He was so focused on ensuring that he purified Germany and that Germany expanded its boundaries. It was in his quest that there emerged the Holocaust.
The Holocaust from a dictionary definition means a hole. However during this reign, it meant the period when people that were not pure Germans were put in central places and massacred from there. These people all opponents to the ideals of the German rule were done away with. They were first put into concentration camps before being executed. Within the first seven month since Hitler got into power in January 1933, Germany was holding custody of 27000 people.
This people were among the lot that was considered not to adhere to the German policies as at that time. Alongside that, the Jews were killed publicly and others even burnt mercilessly. Between 1933 and 1939, the Jews in Germany were around 525,000 and since they were impure Germans, they faced a lot of challenges. At first the impure Germans were dismissed from public service, the Germans took over the businesses belonging to the Jews and professionals were denied their clients and the licenses. In 1938, there was a mass violent action against the Jews and synagogues in Germany were burnt and Jewish jobs and businesses were vandalized.
It later emerged that the Germans increased their violent activities and maximized their operations in ensuring that the Jews suffered and were wiped out of Germany. They even put marks on them for easy identification from the rest and it indeed was fatal using what was referred to as the Star of David. Most of them were secluded around one area-concentration camps and from there they were killed. The Germans grabbed the land they owned in Poland and gave it out to some other pure Germans and decided to give them some poor lands that were sort of an encasement of the Jews. This was the major event that is referred to as Holocaust. However, despite all these factors, there were some few Jewish survivors who lived to tell their account of stories later.
Among them is Karl Lyon. In an interview by Howard Kelvin on May 1, 2003, Karl Lyon gave an account of experience of what he felt having witnessed the holocaust and the rough and violent treatment Jews faced in Germany. He was of Jewish origin and lived in Germany. He was born in 1922 at Baden, Germany. He lost his mother when he was 6 years old but later his father remarried and thereby got him a step mum. He got a step brother soon in 1931.
He explains about his childhood, how he attended school and visited his granny during the holidays. He gives an account of where the grannies lived and how the state of affairs was in Ettenheim. He explains that it was where most of his Jewish relatives and ancestors lived. He even explains that there was a cemetery just around there where the Jews were buried. Some Germans took it upon themselves to control the cemetery yet it did not belong to them. A group as well appeared to conduct investigations and find a lot of background data about the Jews that were buried in the said grave. They conducted investigations and it was through this that Lyon was able to access the research and with time he was able to read about the history for all the bodies that were laid to rest there. He was able to establish the connections between the many souls lying there. He was even able to understand his lineage. The point that he feels he does not quite understand well is the reason as to why it had to be the Germans to take control even of the Jewish graveyards and even go further and establish the connections and family ties among them.
He seems to have some faded memories of his childhood and how he enjoyed his childhood just like any other child. Together with other children they went to a certain incomplete building and had their fun games there. He expressed the comfortability he had in living with his father who was the Jew and owned a shoe shop and after the death of his mother he got closer to his step family and they lived well. He remembers her instilling some good manners in him and the little change in terms of culture that she brought with her. He recalls how strictly they followed the Jewish customs and practices. He subscribed fully to the Jewish religion and customs and particularly adhered to the worship days rule which demanded that it should be running all the way from Friday evening to Saturday evening. He used to go to the synagogue to carry out the rituals as prescribed by the religion. He celebrated the Sabbath by having some unleavened bread and some wine which both had their significance.
The wine was to make the heart glad while the bread represented the most basic foods in the religion and the Jewish culture as a whole. Still on his background, when asked about a role model, he talked of an uncle who was a very prominent Jewish lawyer in Germany. He was also a custodian of the Jewish laws and in fact chaired some activities by the Jewish community in Germany especially in the area that they lived in. Unfortunately his dreams as a child were shuttered with the coming into power of the Nazi governance. He could no longer wish to emulate his uncle. In 1932 when Nazi came into power under the leadership of Hitler, things started changing for him. This was when he suffered some lonely childhood as everyone avoided him for being a Jew on German land. Even his closest friends except one abandoned him and he had to stay at some corner alone and nurse his loneliness. He was teased by other children and matters got worse when the other two Jewish students were no longer in the school.
One actually died in the attacks by the Germans while the other one left the country with his parents to another country. This situation worsened things especially during the time around his fourth grade. He expresses the many difficulties that he faced during the schooling years and how he was actually bullied just because he was a Jew. That showed the far that the anti-sematic movement had got- being deep rooted even in young children who ought to be very innocent and not get involved in some practices. He particularly remembers a time when he was always afraid of knowing how to swim since he always feared being drowned by other German children, something that he is very bitter about. He avoided almost every activity that would deem risky and posed the danger of him being attacked by his rival German children. He remembers the back biting that he had to deal with each and every day. His fellow students mocked him calling him dirty. However, he always took pride in being a Jew.
Others could feel and give in to the intimidation but he used to feel he should be proud. The epitome of his pride was when he visited the park around his home and sat on the public benches. What made him feel so good was the fact that that particular park was donated by some Jews and the bench in particular was donated by a certain Jewish family. He as well remembers the few time he heard the voice of Hitler and how rough he sounded even from the voice one could feel the brutality in him. He remembers in 1933 when the Germans declared war against the Jews in the country. Lyon gives an account of what he experienced on a certain day that the Germans meant to destroy and boycott the shops and businesses belonging to the Jews. He remembers that day and how they were ordered to close all shops by Hitler and his sympathizers.
That particular day he went out to witness what was really happening in the country. He went to check on their shop only to find the rebels soldiers outside the door that was properly closed as instructed. He saw a man drawing some graffiti on the walls of the shop which were a mock to the Jews and also a self-declaration of the Germans as the superior humans at that particular time. There was even the formation of a certain militia like group whose mandate was to ensure that the Jews had no place in the German society. The rebel group was made up of even the small and young people as young as those that he attended school with. They wore some brown uniforms and the boys carried daggers attached to their belts and were well labelled with what he refers to as the motto of the group. This group was referred to as the Hitler Youth and was mandated to scare of the Jews was always maiming and mocking the Jewish community just to provoke them into war so that they may deal with them.
These boys were not as rough but at times they were so determined to mock and maim him. As an intelligent boy, he avoided any confrontations since he would never win against them. All this was aimed at instilling fear in the Jews as it happened all over Germany where the Jews were seen to reside or stay. Hitler Youth was specifically mandated to make the Jews recognize the superiority of the Germans in their own country. The most unfortunate thing was the fact that despite the hard conditions of living, there was little he could do as not even the authorities including teachers would save him. In fact, the teachers too seemed to be on the side of the German brutality but either way they were Germans as well so it was expected. He expresses concern about how the teacher once wanted to deny him some marks just because he was Jewish. Even though he had gotten the concepts right, he still had to prove more than the exam had provided for so him to gain the marks and grade that he deserved.
This showed how brutal the Germans could get. Later in 1936, there was an order to ensure that all Jewish children were kicked out of the schools. This was aimed at making the Jews not be able to access education not be able to interact with the German students. The order was well implemented and all the Jewish students in the various schools had no option but to leave the education they had gained at that point. With this move some who were abled, resolved to migrate to other countries at least for the sake of their childrens education. It even dawned on the Jewish parents that there was no future in education for the Jewish child in Germany. For those that were not able then it means that their children had to remain uneducated. This in particular was never good at all. Karl Lyon was among the lucky few who after the fourth grade moved to the US to continue with his studies. In fact the stories about the Jews being banned from getting to schools was being given to him by that special German friend of his who really was not that primitive to discriminate ad dissociate with people just because they were Jews.
There was also brutality in how the Jewish religion was perceived. He gives an illustration of how one day just before a religious ceremony a certain German walked into the synagogue and vandalized materials. Fortunately, he was brought to book and justice was served as he served a jail term of 10 months though it is what it was said but it was not believed to be the case since it seemed all Germans were energized to be brutal against the Jews.. Unfortunately, some years later, Germans who went ahead and vandalized the Jewish places of worship were taken for heroes. The same man who had been arrested earlier repeated what he did and this time he was taken for a hero, praised and was never brought to book. This raised suspicion if whether the jail sentence that had been rumored was really true. Karl Lyon explains how his father was arrested and taken to Dachau, where the Jews were placed before being executed. During this time Lyon was already in the US pursuing his studies. Dachau was located in the state of Bavaria just around Munich. It was used as a concentration camp. In fact it was the first concentration camp in the camp for Jews in Germany. The camp was run by a commandant who lived in the vicinity and was in charge of the whole population in the camp.
Though he lived in the camp, the lifestyle was quite different. The population in Dachau consisted of prisoners who were accused of having committed offences against the Germans and the policies of the government such as politically opposing of the Nazi regime, subscribing to communist ideas, being a vocal social democrat among others. Social offenders of the religion for example those that believed in Jehovah witness, gays, Romans and criminals who offended the law severally were all demarcated in this area. Also criminals after completing their jail terms were brought here to avoid them mixing up with the rest of the pure population. Non- German occupants of these areas were subjected to prisoner labor which they did not have a choice but perform.
The working conditions also were extremely poor and hazardous. At least for them, unlike in some ghettos, there was presence of some few social amenities for example a hospital and a school were just around. There was even a medical school whose learners were never known but it was known that it existed. Despite the poor working conditions this camp was also used as a training camp. Also the prisoners were used as guinea pigs whereby medical experiments were done on human life. In the setting and the planning of the camp, there was even an area for execution of prisoners. It is said that at one point, the prisoners were used as test for the effectiveness of euthanasia gas as a fast killing gas agent, though for this claim there exists no evidence. Dachau is later seen to be a prison camp even for women and the Christian religious prisoners whereby a lot of Christians were martyred.
The Catholic Church for example gives a figure of its members who were subjected to the poor lifestyle in the camp. As the world war came close to an end, there was a massive liberation of prisoners. They really wanted to be free. In spite of this situation, the Germans gathered more prisoners into the camp just to ensure that the other regions were free from the impure Jewish interference. The Americans later would take over the camp and before they did it, the Germans learnt about their plans and intentions and actually start mobilizing the prisoners into the camp. They literary drove some of the most vulnerable people out of the camp and were taken to unknown destinations. The Germans were killing them aimlessly by shooting.
This vulnerable group included the sick, the elderly and the generally weak. The number of prisoners that were again added to the camp was so large compared to the few vulnerable that left yet the social amenities remained constant. Therefore, there was an autonomous exaggerated population outburst that led to a disease outbreak which was hygiene related.
The conditions at this camp were better off as compared to some other areas referred to as Ghettos. Ghettos were the areas that were designated for Jewish settlement. With time the Jews were never allowed to settle in any other areas apart from here and there was even restricted movement out of the ghettos. Among the ghettos was Bochnia. Here, the Jews even had an organization for themselves and all other people considered as impure Germans. These ghettos to some extent seemed to be off the Greek rule as they even formed a Jewish police force. At around 1941, the ghetto was enclosed with some wooden fencing.
The Jews and other impure Germans were forced to settle there. They were restricted to movement and it could only be allowed with a pass. There were established laws about the going against of these laws of movement. The law suggested death upon the law offenders and this led to the death of very many Jews. The issue of having a special permit to leave the ghetto was prominent and was not to be compromised at whatever costs. By the end of that year there was an established hospital in Bochnia which was to serve the growing Jewish population in the area. There was also growth and development of some few industries here and there as there was ready human labor from the camp. There was a concerning the rapid growth in population of the Jews. This necessitated some forced reduction of the Jews living in the said area. The deportation process soon started. It was purely on the basis of just being a Jew. These Jews that were deported were taken to labor camps to provide some free forced labor. The Jews living just around the town of Bochnia were never spared as on the morning of 21st august 1942, they were all surrounded and forced back to the ghetto.
This was not a good sign as the Nazi regime was notorious with concentrating people to one area and mercilessly executing them. Later it emerged that there was another movement that targeted the elderly, the sick and the most weak in the society. The Germans said that they were taking them to better their lives but this was never lived up to as they were mercilessly shot one by one in the forest. The rest of the detainees were not as lucky. Those that lacked the work pass were never spared. They were targeted for liquidation. This involved marching the Jews to train stations just to execute them. They were packed to capacity with very poor living conditions. In the wagons, there was limited air supply and they were crowded. Despite all these, they were given a bucket of water to be drunk by more than 50 people for more than three days. And another bucket was provided to be used as a toilet. Many died during the journey due to the unbearable conditions but still others committed suicide. The few that survived the journey were subjected to mistreatment upon arrival at the labor fields. The liquidation process remains the worst experience of mistreatment by the Germans on the Jews.
There is a replica of this same situation in history. This is best seen in the the recording of the movie “Escape from Sobibor” which is an acted out film based on the true events that happened in the ghetto of Sobibor just as it had happened in Bochnia. The only difference being that in the case of Sobibor over 600 Jews tried to escape and 300 made it through but around 70 of them were caught and killed instantly by the German forces. The escapees were running away from the forced labor and the mistreatment by the German soldiers in the ghettos and the concentration camps. It is basically another version of the holocaust with the main actor being the survivor. After all the struggles, there was indeed the part of facing the consequences. The consequences of the holocaust and the brutal German rule in general included ” massive loss of lives, improper use of resources as military, increased political beef between Germans and the Jews.
These two groups seem to have never come into terms with each other until now. There were also cases of disease outbreak in the various ghettos due to poor sanitation and overcrowding. Later, Karl Lyon when in the US, life and opportunities favor him. He faces major challenges in terms of how to introduce himself bearing in mind he was a Jew from German. The world at that time was against the Jews and the Germans as well therefore it was double trouble for him.
However, with time he was able to complete his studies excellently and even joined the US army. In 1944, he was sent as a soldier to Germany during the Second World War and the most amazing thing is that he was particularly stationed at Baden, the exact place where he lived. He was really proud to go back to Germany, the same country that demeaned his potential and discriminated against him. He loved the fact that he was now fighting against the same regime that made life unbearable for him.[bookmark: _GoBack] In conclusion, from all the above illustrations and descriptions about the brutal German rule and the concept of the holocaust, it is indeed correct to say it should was uncalled for and did not bear any good product.
It was indeed uncalled for and was a waste of resources among other things. From, the survivors themselves, they were never considered as worth living a respected life which was not good at all. Segregating people just to execute them should ever be tolerated.
- Fischer, Fritz.В Germany’s aims in the First World War. WW Norton, 1967.
- Keegan, John.В The first world war. Random House, 2014.
- Lower, Wendy. “From Berlin to Babi Yar: The Nazi War Against the Jews, 1941-1944.” (2007).
- Extracted from http://vhaonline.usc.edu/login.aspxFrum, David, and Richard N. Perle.В An end to evil: How to win the war on terror. Random House Digital, Inc., 2004.