Nazism and The Holocaust -Shoah
How do we write poetry after Auschwitz and Hiroshima? - Adorno

  1. Uniqueness of the Holocaust

    1. A. Industrialization and Bureaucratization of death

    2. Genocidal imperative

      1. lebensraum - the desire for land

      2. survival of humanity/Aryans - Hitler's belief that humanities survival depended on the survival of the "Arayans"

  2. Election of Adolph Hitler - November 6, 1932

    1. Democracy doomed by divisions spawned by WWI defeat

    2. Economic instability - reparations, hyperinflation, depression

    3. Stab in the Back

      1. As no foreign soldier ever made it to Germany, many believed that some kind of betrayal had caused the  loss World War I

      2. Hitler latches on to this, makes Jews a prime target of this myth

    4. Lack of a democratic tradition with an accompanying  mistrust of democratic/republican institutions.

    5. Weimar, the inter-war democratic government, seen by many as forced on Germans from without

    6. Nazis got 1/3 of vote - able to put together right-wing nationalist coalition

    7. January 30, 1933 - Hitler sworn in as Chancellor

  3. Nazis in Power

    1. Reichstag fire led to Enabling Act, March 23, 1933

    2. Hitler's program

      1. Lebensraum - "living room" - space in the east for the Germans to expand

      2. Drang nach Osten - "Storm in the East" - this land would come from eastern Europe

      3. Supremacy and survival of the Volk

      4. All this lead to and was part of racism, anti-Semitism, Holocaust

  4. Racial Purity and Anti-Semitism

    1. Anti-Semitism has long history

      1. Position as financiers in medieval Europe led to mistrust and many stereotypes

      2. Many Christians had long held them responsible for the death of Jesus

      3. Blood libel - the belief that Jews carried on horrifying secret rituals

      4. Protocols of the Elders of Zion

        1. forgery fabricated in Russia, appears in 1905

        2. purports to reveal secret Jewish plot to take over the world

        3. widely accepted by anti-Semites, including Hitler

    2. Nazi Anti-Semitism

      1. Based on extreme Social Darwinism

      2. Nordic Aryan race must take natural place of dominance

      3. Competing inferior races must be destroyed/enslaved if Aryans will do this

      4.  Jews were the worst race - subhuman parasites - held responsible for defeat

      5. Why the Jews? Mostly because of tradition and because different, available

      6. While Germany was not exceptionally anti-Semitic, there was a long history of German hatred for the Jews (see Martin Luther)

  5. Prelude to the Holocaust

    1. Holocaust happened in stages

    2. Nuremburg Laws (September 15, 1935)

      1. Restriction of civil liberties (Jews became subjects, not citizens)

      2. Racial purity laws

    3. Kristallnacht November 9-10, 1935 D.

    4. Restriction of professional opportunities

    5. Boycotting of Jewish businesses

    6. Impoverishment through confiscation

    7. Expulsion of foreign Jews

    8. Arousal of public feeling against Jews designed to force emigration

    9. Outside world largely complicit - no serious complaints

  6. The Holocaust

    1. Invasion of Poland September 1, 1939

    2. At first, Nazis sought to expel Jews - but this was impractical

    3. Chelmno, Poland - first extermination camp. December 1941

    4. Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek, Dachau, Auschwitz

    5. Auschwitz the largest and most efficient - Zyklon B (hydrogen cyanide)

    6. Final Solution was almost that - 90% of Polish Jews killed.

    7. Even those selected for survival were mostly "slaves headed for death"

    8. There was resistance - Warsaw, April 1943.               I

    9. The survivors - for most, it was a matter of chance

    10. Genocide/racism was central to Nazism, not a sidelight (Lebensraum/survival)

  7. Read the Elie Wiesel selection from Night (268-69, 273)

  8. Rescuers - The authors suggest that people are more amazed by the rescuers than by the murders and the passive. That we expect evil, and are surprised by good. True?