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Should it take 50 years for a country to understand the magnitude of the Holocaust? It is said that people are denying that the Holocaust ever happened. With all the evidence that has been presented, it is hard to refute that this event in history did not happen. There are many conspiracy theories and one is thought that the Jews exaggerated or made-up events for their own political and economic gain. Some believe the Nazis did everything in their power to hide the existence of the concentration camps. They accused Jews of being liars and that they manipulated the entire population rather than accounting for the brutality of the Germans. Many believe that the number of Jews that were killed was a lot less than what was documented. This theory is supported due to the Germans destroying the physical remains of the Jews and hiding the number of victims. The Germans destroyed much of the evidence at many of the concentration camps and gas chambers and these sites are known as mass murder sites. People believe there is little documentation to support that the Holocaust took place and one theory may be that the Germans documented as little as possible. Most of the directories or killing orders were done by verbal commands and the Nazi leaders avoided recording any details. The Germans destroyed the documents that did exist before the end of the war. The Germans also used secret codes or language for their killing process as a way to hide the evidence. Deniers ignore the evidence that the Holocaust is one of the best-documented genocides in all of history and this has been discredited over and over by academics.
Many concentration officers were put on trial and the outcome of these trials put many men in prison including serving life sentences. They gave many statements to state what they did to the Jews. Many of the Germans realized what they had done but had no remorse for their actions. An example of an officer’s account shows the lack of remorse these officers had towards the actions they had done. “We beat her t**s with a stick, clobbered her on a** with a pistol, then all eight of us f***** her, then we threw her outside and shot at her. And as she lay there, we threw grenades at her. Every time one of them landed near her body, she screamed.” In the recordings, one junior German officer boasted in October 1944 about what he and his men did to a woman they thought was a Russian spy. This seems unimaginable. Other guards were there and didn’t say much as they kept their heads low and did what they were told. This statement is showing that some guards didn’t even know what was going on until they had been stationed there for a long time. “Nobody talked to us about it in the first days there, but if someone, like me, was there for a long time, then one learned what was going on,” his lawyer read from a statement from Hanning. “People were shot, gassed, and burned. I could see how corpses were taken back and forth or moved out. I could smell the burning bodies.” Reinhold Hanning, a former Nazi SS guard stated. This shows that not many people were informed about what Hitler was doing to the Jews. It’s hard to imagine that some of the guards didn’t even know what was going on in this situation and just moving through the motions of dictatorship. Although we did not live through this time in history, one would think that it would’ve been hard to not smell the bodies burning and the gases in the air.
Although there are many confessions made by Nazi soldiers and guards, there were also many memoirs of those who survived the Holocaust. There is a famous story of a woman who had experienced the horrific brutality of the Holocaust with her life ending at a concentration camp at Bergen- Belsen in February 1945. Ann’s diary gives a first heart account of eight people who were in hiding for two years from the Nazis. When the Germans occupied Holland, Hilter put an anti-Jewish program in place. Ann Frank wrote, “Jews must wear a yellow star, Jew must hand in their bicycles, Jew are banned from trains and are forbidden to drive.” This shows that the Nazis didn’t view Jews are “People/lesser than”. Adolf Hitler declared the Germans as the “Master race” and that they would one day rule the world. He believed that he had to eradicate the Jews and Hitler’s attacks were violent, racial, and directed at the Jews and lower classes. Over the years, details of Anne Frank’s life became known. In January 1966, the Nazi police chief in the Netherlands, Wilhelm Harster was charged with the deportation of nearly 10, 000 Jews to Auschwitz, and Anne Frank was one of the victims. The police chief was sentenced to 15 years in prison. We can’t even right the surface of the pain and grove of the pain these Jews experienced and what they went through, Anne Frank’s wish was that “ I want to go on living even after my death.” Her account provides clear evidence of the horrific brutality the Jews faced by the Nazis. How could one disregard her account and deny that the Holocaust didn’t happen?
There were many survivors of the Holocaust and their story was published by the Azrieli Foundation. Each survivor has a story to tell but millions of individual Jewish stories are gone forever, as they did not survive the horrifying brutality of the Nazis. The accounts of the survivors define strength and courage. John Freund was a survivor and wrote a memoir of his story of survival. John was transported by the Germans on April 18, 1942, along with his parents and brother. They were taken to a transit camp known as Theresienstadt. There were masses of people taken to this camp and the condition of the camp was poor, overcrowded, and had many diseases. They were deported to Auschwitz camp on December 16, 1943. The effects of the camp were horrendous and John Freund said “ We were brutally shaved all over our bodies and our arms tattooed. We stood in a line with our left sleeves rolled up. A man came in and with a quick, sharp object, pricked are skin to tattoo your left arm. I received a six-digit number that I still have today, after forty-six years. I became concentration camp number 168329.” Many in these camps were starved, sick, and full of diseases. Some thought “ we will not last long enough to see the next day?” This is another horrifying experience John had to witness. John describes the process of flogging when “The two men had blood on their faces. First, they were flogged one at a time. They were held, bent over the sea horse, their arms and legs tied to it. With their pants down, each commander man was flagged and had a loud count each blow as it came down on him. Each blow was administered with a log and each time they were hit, it looks like an electrical shock hitting their entire body. After 15 blows their flesh became raw and after twenty-five, blood was flowing. Each man received seventy-five whippings…..weapons. This was no longer a man, but a bloody rag. Inhumane sounds were admitted from his torn lungs. We stood there, unable to think.”
This is something that one could never bare to imagine. The pain that these men and women faced is beyond comprehensible and there are no words to describe this event’s history. With all the evidence that has been presented by survivors, the confessions of German officers, and documented memoirs like the diary of Anne Frank, it is hard to refute that this event in history did not happen. Deniers ignore the evidence that the Holocaust is one of the best-documented genocides in all of history. We have to look at the proof and see that this event happened and that there is evidence to prove it. Through the accounts of the survivors, we get a glimpse of the sheer pain, grief, brutality, and lack of respect for a human can have on another race. Due to these facts and statements, testimonies, and evidence. Origins of the Holocaust denial, How did the holocaust happen, Confessions of Nazi perpetrators and the victims/survivors we can see and know for a fact that the Holocaust happened and it tore many Jews apart. We can’t imagine what they went through but we can know that they did and that this was a historical event.
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