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Jewish Ghettos - Essay Example

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Jewish Ghettos: Deception, Genocide, and Survival Name Instructor Class 19 September 2012 Introduction The ghettoization of the Jews during the Holocaust urges many people to ask a fundamental question: Why did the Jews not immediately resist the oppressive conditions of these ghettos through an uprising?…
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Download file to see previous pages The Nazis were particularly skilled in manipulating the Jews, who believed that they were merely being transported to other concentration camps or ghettos for work.4 This paper aims to describe the Jewish ghettos during the Holocaust and begins with an overview of its purposes and characteristics. It also describes the transportation to the ghettos, the everyday conditions in it, and its effects on the Jews. The ghettos served to deceive the Jews, as it became the first step of dehumanizing and exterminating the Jewish race, but not all Jews succumbed to despair. Instead, Jewish survivors used hope, faith, ingenuity, and creativity to survive inhumane conditions in the ghettos. The ghettoization of the Jews The ghettos are different from concentration camps in several respects: they were used as temporary Jewish settlements that were prepared for work or death in concentration camps; they served to break the spirits of the Jews, so that they could no longer mount a strong resistance against the Germans; they provided free labor for Germans who needed the workforce to sustain the war; and they supported German plan for the dehumanization and extermination of the Jews.5 The ghettos forced Jews to work in squalid conditions, including the middle class and upper-class, who were professionals, thereby defeating their spirit and ensuring better control over them.6 Though the Nazis ordered self-regulation in the form of Jewish councils, the former still controlled details of everyday life in the ghettos, including forcing the Jews to wear six-pointed stars in their clothing, reducing access to food and other essentials, and controlling their mobility, as well as their access to news outside the ghettos.7 Not every ghetto is the same, however, and conditions varied greatly, depending on the nature and efforts of the ghetto leaders and several economic and social factors. Other ghettos lacked access to basic commodities, such as food and clothing, and services, such as hospitals, schools, and churches. Some examples are the Minsk and Lubcz ghettos.8 Other ghettos fared better, in terms of the Jews having opportunities to continue education and the practice of their religion in varying extents. Several examples are the Warsaw ghetto9 and Jewish ghetto in East Upper Silesia.10 Despite some advantages provided in a number of ghettos, the Jews remained slaves to their German captors. Because of their cramped houses and appalling work conditions, many Jews yielded to hopelessness too, especially after witnessing massive deaths, rapes, and plunder of their homes and communities.11 Transportation to the ghettos The Jews were mostly transported to the ghettos by train.12 When transferred to nearby ghettos, they walked on foot.13 The transportation stage triggered the process of dehumanizing the Jews. In Night, Elie Weisel was only fifteen years old, when he experienced several ghettos and concentration camps. He remembers the cramped conditions of the trains that signaled their loss of human rights and liberties. Moreover, the train was a place of violence and despondency: “Anti-Semitic acts take place every day in the streets, on the trains.”14 Even affluent Jews did not escape the hardships of transportation. As they were forced to leave their homes, they were stripped of their properties. Their relocation to the slums held symbolic meaning: they were no longer human ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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