As Germany and the Soviet Union occupied Poland in , the country ceased to exist by name, as the Nazis intended to use the land for German settlement Lebensraum. While a few Polish people were among the perpetrators, around three million Polish Jews and two million other Poles were killed in the Holocaust. In contrast to the German prison camps, the sites in Poland were typically extermination camps Vernichtungslager , where prisoners mostly Jews from all parts of Europe, but also non-Jewish Poles and other perceived enemies of the German state were sent to die, either in gas chambers, or through forced labour, weakened by starvation and epidemics.
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The extermination policy makes the notorious slogan Arbeit macht frei — "Work makes you free" which was displayed on many camp gates — bitterly ironic. For the death camps, the word "camp" was a misnomer, since nearly all prisoners were killed in gas chambers on arrival; the only inhabitants were guards and Sonderkommandos — prisoners assigned for disposal of bodies. The Sonderkommandos were regularly killed and replaced; some camps had more of a dozen "generations" of them.
The very few who survived were valuable as witnesses to the final stage of the Holocaust.
Some of these sites have both a German and a Polish name. Ukraine is often considered to be the place where the Holocaust started in earnest.
In Ukraine, Jews were rounded up and shot, then buried in pits, as gas chambers had not yet been set up at this early stage of Nazi genocide. The United States is home to the world's largest or second-largest Jewish community, depending on what figures you trust, and many Holocaust survivors migrated here after their liberation.
Many American Jews lost family members to the Holocaust, so the topic is especially sensitive there. While the heritage of the Holocaust, and the political and cultural forces behind it, are serious matters, they can appear very different between the countries where it happened. Especially in Germany and Austria, the events are thoroughly gone through in the school curriculum. In Poland, the government makes clear that the Polish people were victims, not perpetrators, of the Holocaust. In many parts of Europe, anti-Semitism, antiziganism and other kinds of racism are common, and usually entangled with current events.
Denial of the Holocaust has been a political issue to the extent that it is criminalized in Germany and several other European countries. Visiting Holocaust museums and sites can be emotional, upsetting, and sometimes surreal. You'll see and learn things that are difficult to grapple with, and it's hard to anticipate exactly how you'll react. You may find yourself hurrying to get away from the site as quickly as you can, morose and weary as you physically feel the weight of what you're seeing, or unexpectedly detached and distant—or some combination of these.
Given the evil nature of the crimes committed in the Holocaust, you would be forgiven for thinking the places where the crimes were perpetrated would look in some way evil too, or be in isolated locations tucked out of sight. This is not always the case, and the surroundings may often be positively mundane, and be in close proximity to roads, homes and workplaces filled with people going about their daily lives. The sun may be shining.
Shanghai Escape (Holocaust Remembrance) by Kathy Kacer
Even this barely kept up with the mounting demands. By late , more than half of the refugee population required financial help for food or housing.
The Committee for Assistance established five group shelters for a minority of totally impoverished German and Austrian Jews. The Ward Road Heim that opened in January was hastily converted from a former barracks and outfitted with hard, narrow bunk beds under which the residents stored their few belongings.
By the end of , about 2, people lived in the Heime , sleeping anywhere from six to to a room. An additional 4, individuals ate in soup kitchens set up in the Heime but lived elsewhere in rented rooms. Many of them received relief help to pay for all or part of their housing costs.
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For Teachers Recommended resources and topics if you have limited time to teach about the Holocaust. Browse A-Z Find articles, photos, maps, films, and more listed alphabetically. About This Site. The design allows for immediate integration into the language arts block. Among other strategies that we have used, the Holocaust Curriculum written by Shawntelle Nesbitt has been a significant part of our strategy for teaching tolerance and understanding and reducing bullying at Harmony Heights.
I cannot say categorically that the growth in safety and security as perceived by the children is solely due to the curriculum but I can say that it has played an important part in changing the culture at our school. In fact when I came to Harmony Heights three years ago the principal told me the school was a tough school.
Any teacher in Ontario, for that matter the world, is able to take this guide and begin to create the learning environments allowing for academic success and the development of the emotional intelligence needed to live in peace and love.