Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust


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The Nazis first focused on changing what students learned. In , sport was taught for a minimum of two to three hours every school day. By , this had been increased to five hours every day. Subjects such as religion became less important, and were eventually removed from the curriculum altogether.

The Nazis also adapted where the students learned from. They introduced new textbooks which were often racist, and promoted ideas such the need for Lebensraum. Any textbooks used to educate students had to be approved by the party. The Nazis also placed great emphasis on who the teachers were. Under the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service Act of 7 April , just three months after Hitler became chancellor, all Jewish teachers, and teachers with undesirable political beliefs such as communists , were dismissed.

The National Socialist Teachers League, creation in , became responsible for the control and education of teachers following the Nazi rise to power.

In universities, all Jewish professors were dismissed. This had a large impact, as these professors made up twelve percent of all German professors. In , in addition to the dismissal of teachers, a quota was imposed on schools and universities, so that they could only accept a certain number of Jewish students. In , these students were banned from attending public schools and universities entirely.

In addition to these changes, the Nazis also created several new schools which aimed to train the future Nazi elite. The Nazis also created another school called Order Castles. Order Castles were the pinnacle of Nazi education, aimed at young adults who aspired to the highest ranks of the Nazi party. To be considered for entry, applicants had to have attended an Adolf Hitler School for six years, undertaken state labour for two and a half years, and spent four years in full-time work. Only four Order Castles were ever established.

All three of these new types of schools focused on indoctrinating pupils in Nazi policies and beliefs to the highest possible degree. When the Nazis rose to power in , there was an unemployment crisis with over six million people unemployed.

In their election campaign the Nazis had promised to reduce unemployment. After in year in power, by , unemployment had dropped to 3. By , the Nazis claimed to have no unemployment. On the surface, these figures suggest that the Nazis were able to successfully control and boost the employment for workers in the Third Reich. This was called the German Labour Front. This programme aimed to give opportunities to working class people for leisure activities usually reserved for the middle classes, such as sports facilities or holidays.

The programme was relatively popular, and some groups, such as the 28, workers from Siemens in Berlin, were able to take a holiday. However, smaller incentives such as free theatre tickets or subsidized day trips were much more common.

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The Reich Labour Service was an organisation that used unskilled or unemployed workers to complete large-scale government projects. Examples of these projects include the building of the Autobahn , and the Olympic stadium. The service primarily employed men between the ages of In , the service became compulsory for men, as Germany adopted a rearmament policy. Whilst most people were now employed, wages were fixed at a lower level than they had been prior to the Wall Street Crash and were not up for negotiation.

The maximum working hours per week were increased from 60 to The schemes also limited the choice of profession open to workers in Germany. Many were forced to work as laborers or in factories for the war effort. The Nazis soon broke their Concordat agreement with the Vatican and interfered with the practice and activities of Catholics in Germany. This poster, likely used by the Nazis in the late s, aimed to persuade Catholic boys and girls to leave their Catholic youth clubs and join the Hitler Youth. The Confessing Church opposed the Nazi regime, its activities, and specifically its interference in religion.

Germany, like the rest of Europe, was primarily Christian when the Nazis rose to power. Hitler and the Nazis oppressed and persecuted all Jews. Whilst the Nazis believed that Christianity and Nazism were ideologically incompatible, they were not initially openly hostile to the Protestant and Catholic Churches. However, this approach did not last long. Catholics made up a smaller faction of the population than Protestants, but still made up approximately one third of the population. As Catholics had a single, central leader in the Pope, infiltrating and taking control of the religion was extremely difficult.

Instead, Hitler opted for a policy of conciliation towards Catholics. The Concordat agreed that the Nazis would not interfere in the Catholic Church.

Jewish And Free: Archive Of Holocaust Survivors' Stories Personalizes A Historic Tragedy

In return, the Vatican would diplomatically recognise the Nazi regime. The Nazis soon broke their Concordat with the Vatican. The Ministry for Church Affairs was established in with a range of anti-religious policies aimed at undermining the influence of religion on the German people.

Catholic schools were gradually shut. Protestantism was the primary religion in Germany and the Protestant Church was viewed as one of the main pillars of society. These different factions, and lack of a single central leader, made Protestantism easier for the Nazis to infiltrate than Catholicism. Some Protestants supported the Nazis during their rise to power. They had been hostile to the Weimar Republic, and agreed with some of the Nazis policies.

The Reich Church aimed to be a new national church which advocated a form of Nazi Christianity. It instructed preachers to exclude any teaching from the Old Testament, as this was considered a Jewish document. However, not everyone was willing to accept this new church. A copy of Das Kapital by Karl Marx, published in In July, they were ordered into a closed ghetto, behind barbed wire, under watch of guards, with more than 20, other Jews. Zygmunt had begun working with the local resistance, and he managed a few days later to spirit Renia and Ariana out of the ghetto before an Aktion when the Nazis deported Jews to the death camps.

Zygmunt installed Renia, along with his parents, in the attic of a tenement house where his uncle lived. The following day, Zygmunt took year-old Ariana to the father of her Christian friend. Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots. Ariana escaped. Her mother, Roza, was one of those astonishingly resourceful people who was marshaling every skill and connection to survive the war. The woman now going by the name Maria was fearful of drawing attention to herself.

Daily Life in the Concentration Camps — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

When Ariana was spirited out of the ghetto and back to Warsaw in , Maria turned in desperation to a close friend with connections to the archbishop of Poland. Soon the girl was baptized with her own fake name, Elzbieta, and dispatched to a convent school. Taking catechism, praying the rosary, attending classes with the Ursuline sisters—never breathing a word about her true identity—the child actress played the most demanding role of her life.


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By the end of the war, through a series of bold and fantastical moves—including a romance with a Wehrmacht officer—Maria found herself working for the Americans in Austria. Almost every Jew she knew was dead: Renia, her parents, her husband, her friends and neighbors. One of her sole surviving relatives was a brother who had settled in France and married a socialite.

He invited Maria and Elzbieta to join him there—and even sent a car to fetch them. Instead, Maria procured visas for herself and her child to have a fresh start in the United States. After burying so much of their identities, it was difficult to know which pieces to resurrect. Maria felt Catholicism had saved her life, and she clung to it. Ariana-cum-Elzbieta, now known as Elizabeth, enrolled in a Polish convent boarding school in Pennsylvania, where she told none of her many friends that she was born a Jew.

Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust
Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust
Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust
Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust
Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust
Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust Jewish Experiences of the Holocaust
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