HolocaustExhibition and Hitler
HolocaustExhibition and Hitler
Theworld has seen its fair share of misfortunes and calamities both inthe contemporary and traditional times. Indeed, the human race hasbeen almost wiped out in some parts as a result of these calamities,which may have been natural and, in some instances, man-made. It haswell been acknowledged that, more often than not, there is nothingmuch that can be done about natural calamities except sounding awarning to the potential victims so that they can evacuate the areasthat are likely to be devastated by the same. However, this is notthe case for man-made calamities. Not only would it have been easy totell the likelihood of occurrence, but it is often easy for suchcalamities to have been stopped. One of the most devastatingcalamities in what may be called the “contemporary human society”remains to be the Holocaust.
Derivedfrom the word “holokauston” which is Greek for “Sacrifice byfire”, the term Holocaust underlines the planned slaughter andpersecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi between 1933 and 1945.This was, essentially, the period at which Adolf Hitler was in power.Of particular note is that the Nazis did not only persecute Jews butalso other groups of people including homosexuals, Jehovah’switnesses and even gypsies (Gitlin,2011, pp. 29). It is estimated that about 11 million people perishedin the holocaust, with the Jews amounting to about 6 million.Underlining the immense numbers represented by these figures is thefact that about two thirds of the entire population of Jews who wereliving in Europe was annihilated (Fitzgerald,2011,pp. 27). As at 1933, the total number of Jews in Germany was around525,000, which was about 1% of the entire German population. In thefollowing six years, the Nazis carried out Aryanization of Germanywhere non-Aryans were dismissed from civil service, with Jews havingtheir businesses liquidated or, in the case of lawyers and doctors,their clients taken away (Fitzgerald,2011,pp. 42). The Nuremburg Laws of 1935 postulated that any person whohad three or four Jewish grandparents was a Jew. Other individualswho had two Jewish grandparents were called Mischlinge orhalf-breeds, who were often relegated to the concentration camps. Theroutine persecution and stigmatization of Jews under these lawsculminated in the “night of broken glass” or Kristallnacht in1938, where Jews shops were destroyed, leading to the killing ofhundred of Jews and arrest of thousands (Fitzgerald,2011,pp. 34). Given the fact that the chief architect of this humanannihilation was Adolf Hitler, questions have been raised regardingthe reasons for its occurrence or rather Hitler’s motives forpushing for it.
Oneof the key motivations (and may be the only one) was his desire for apure race in Germany. Indeed, it is well noted that Adolf Hitlerfound the idea of having foreigners in Germany repugnant, in whichcase a large number of women were often treated in an unfair mannerso as to allow for the concentration of all energies in treatingtheir children with the highest standards. Scholars acknowledge thatHitler aimed at creating a “master race” that would have beencomposed of the smartest and most athletic individuals that could beachieved. The main aim of purifying the German race was to come upwith an extremely strong German community. However, it has been notedthat Europe has always been plagued by strong anti-Semitic traditionsthat came well before the rise of Nazis to power (Langbehn&Salama,2011,pp. 45). Indeed, there widespread hatred of Jews has been found ofMartin Luther’s writings and has been considered a fundamentalcomponent of a large number of Christians’ self-perception.However, in a considerably more contemporary form, theracist-biological anti-Semitism came up in which the Jews were seenas deformities of the body politic. Indeed, this group of people waspersistently seen as a problem to the society, which had to be solvedso as to ensure the survival of the nation (Bergen,2009,pp. 37). This is often attributed to the fact that the Jews were seenas antagonistic to the Christian values or rather being the killersof Christ. This perception had pervaded a large part of the Christianhistory. Of particular note is the fact that Germany extended theannihilation of Jews even in other parts of Europe and even theSoviet Union.
Inaddition, some scholars have pointed to the fact that Hitler, and theNazi party by extension, may have been motivated by the need forenhanced economic growth. As a result of the immense suffering thatemanated from the Great Depression, the socioeconomic and politicalclimate in Germany was, undoubtedly, ripe for a new politicaldispensation that would rebuild the power of the state. It has wellbeen acknowledged that people were already looking for a scapegoat orsomeone to put the blame on, as well as a way for recovery andextricate themselves from the reigning economic crisis. In this case,a large proportion of blame was heaped on Jews, which case they hadto be sacrificed (Langbehn&Salama,2011,pp. 47). This was compounded by the Nazi party’s promise forimmense wealth in response to the demands of the people. A largenumber of them saw the need to extend their capabilities too otherterritories all in an effort to attain world domination. Scholarsacknowledge that a large number or proportion of people had beenblinded by the economic apparent economic incentive pertaining toaffiliation of oneself with the rising power of Nazis, whichessentially caused their adoption of these strategies. Scholars haveacknowledged that a large proportion of Jews were envious of theeconomic well-being of Jews (Bauman,2013,pp. 56). Indeed, a large proportion of Jews were uprighteconomically, a factor that made them seem to be a threat to Nazi’srule. This economic envy came to the fore during the depression, inwhich case a large proportion of non-Jews saw the need to exterminatethem so as to take over their businesses and other financialresources.
Further,there may have been a racial edge to this issue in the middle andlater component of the 19thcentury’s distinctions between groups. Jews were seen as a negativeforce after the First World War. There was a widespread perceptionthat they had triggered the almighty conflagration after bringing theFirst World War but had gone ahead to reap immense benefits from thesame (Langbehn&Salama,2011,pp. 67). This was in spite of the fact that they had been responsiblefor the unrest that had cost Germany the victory in 1918, as well asthe revolution and every other thing that had befallen the country.In essence, there was immense disquiet over their apparent benefitingfrom the fall of Germany that they themselves had engineered.
Asone of the most horrific times for the human race in recent times,the holocaust has been immensely documented, all in an effort toeducate the future generations about where the country has come fromand the need for more peaceful existence. One of the ways for keepingthe memories of Holocaust vivid is in the Holocaust Exhibition in theimperial war museum. The Holocaust exhibition aimed at tracing backthe murder and persecution of Jews in Europe from 1933 to 1945(Godfrey,2007,pp. 44s). This exhibition starts with the politically turbulentscenes in Europe after the end of First World War, right through therise of the Nazi Party and the manner in which Europe-wideanti-Semitism created a fertile seedbed for the anti-Jewish beliefsthat Hitler propagated in the long-term and the short-term. Inaddition, the exhibition extensively outlines the perversion ofscience in an effort to support the race theory propagated by theNazi party, the German Jews isolation, the subsequent refugee crisis,as well as the advent of the euthanasia policies that were enacted in1939 (Arad,2013,pp. 34). To get to the Holocaust Exhibition, one has to go throughthe atrium, which displays the enormous weapons that the two sides ofused during the Second World War. This represents a n ideological andphysical passage that points to the increased obsession withtechnology which plagued the war in the popular imagination of theBritish, alongside the mythologized defiant optimism andtriumphalism. It informs the audience the reasons why the British hastaken so long to undertake a national historical display of theHolocaust. This exhibition goes through the subject without theevasion of the contentious issues pertaining to the same. Theexhibition takes up two floors with the upper one dealing with thetime between 1933 and 1939, while the lower one deals with the waryears. On the way to the upper floor, the Goebbels newsreel soundthat demands that the cultural and artistic life exterminate itselfof Jews so that Germany can be restored is played. As much as theexhibition presents debate regarding holocaust’s specificityalongside the experiences pertaining to other persecuted groups likegays, gypsies and the disabled, the fundamental focus unequivocallyremains the European Jews’ persecution (Arad,2013,pp. 45). Also presented in this exhibition are artifacts such as thechilling phrenological instruments that “race scientists” used soas to measure the disabled, gypsies and Jews’ heads so as to provehow far they were from the Aryan ideal. Brutal exhibits are carefullydisplayed, including the book press that would be used in crashingthe limbs of prisoners in Janowski camp, carts that were used incollecting the dead individuals in Warsaw ghetto or even the Zyklon Bgas pellets canisters. It is inevitable that the exhibition wasfundamentally artifact-based. On the same note, the complicated ideaof bureaucracy of murder is presented by the use of an immenseorganization chart that shows the complex and extensive web of Nazigovernment agencies, as well as private firms that propagated thegenocide (Bauer,2001,pp. 53). In addition, the exhibition incorporated a woodenamphitheater that doubled up as the reflective space where survivorswould recount the different experiences of the holocaust.
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