In 1930 the Nazi party appealed to the people of Germany to get them out of the 12 year state of confusion which was left by the signing of the Versailles Treaty. When they elected Hitler their current problems were solved, but only to be followed by a whole different chaos. The Nazi Party used fear to rule Germany using the Gestapo, Anti-Semitism and the concentration camps.
One way the Nazis filled their victims with fear was the used of the Geheim Staats Polizei or the Gestapo, for they could do anything they wanted to, to terrorize their victims. One of the ways they did this was to shadow, torture, imprison, and dispose of the ‘opponents’ of the Nazis. Anyone who was Jewish, o said anything against the Nazis or Hitler was a threat and had to be disposed of, either by sending them to the camps or by being murdered by the Gestapo. Secondly, the Gestapo supervised the seizing of property and the ‘mobile killing units’. Anybody opposing the Nazis or anybody Jewish could lose their property. Also the Gestapo police made people to unload the mobile killing units after the people inside of them were dead. The people unloading the bodies usually followed close behind. Thirdly, thanks to Geoffrey Wigoder, the Gestapo could do anything they wanted with their victims. They could torture them however they wanted; starve them, beat them and they could not be punished because it was all outside of the law. Another way the Gestapo helped the terror was being in charge of the deportation of Jewish people to the concentration camps. Sometimes they even made the Jews buy tickets for the train, with their own money - to convince them that they were going somewhere good- for the ride to the camps. Lastly, by the 1940 s the Geheim Staats Polizei had essentially taken over Germany. They were the police force and by being outside the law they were basically unstoppable because of their status and power and the fact that the other people of the Gestapo would punish the German population if they tried to top them. In conclusion, a huge part of the terror of Nazi Germany was the Gestapo because of their ability to do anything they wanted and get a way with it.
Nazi Germany was a terrible place to live if you were a ‘threat’ to the Nazis, or even if you weren’t a threat but it was even more terrible for the Jewish population. The first act against the Jews by Hitler was the enactment of many laws that restricted them. They had to give everything. They lost their jobs, houses and businesses and their children were forced out of public schools and into special Jewish schools. When they were able to keep there homes or stores, the Nazis marked them with the yellow Star of David to warn away other Germans. Secondly, it didn’t matter to the Nazis how old their Jewish blood was it still made them Jewish. Even if they only had one Jewish parent, grandparent or great-grandparent they were still a Jew. Jewish blood was the worst kind of blood and to keep Germany ‘pure’, Jewish Germans had to be eliminated and could not marry non-Jewish people. Thirdly 90% of the Jews that were sent to camps were sent straight to death camps, they weren’t even given the chance to live. Their death was preceded by slow starvation, typhus and hours of roll call. When they were killed it was usually by one of the following methods; beaten, hung, shot, by phenol injections or by being gassed, which was probably the most merciful way, for there was no pain. A fourth example of Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany was in the work camps. The few Jews that were sent there were treated more brutally than the rest of the prisoners. Hey didn’t get any rewards for good behaviour, and they got the hardest jobs in the camps. Jewish people were seen as a threat to the ‘purity’ of the German race and therefore they were in the worst danger during Hitler’s rule on Germany.
The Nazis also used the concentration camps to make people afraid because they could be taken to the camps for any reason at all. The camps were set up more mass production, death, and to use as little money as possible everyone who ‘opposed’ to Nazis was sent to a camp. To begin with, when the first camps were built they included at least one crematorium in each, which showed that they knew people were going to die in large numbers. They were equipped for mass murder from the start. Secondly, many people didn’t even have a chance to live. 1.7 million people arrived at Aushuwitz, and many didn’t even make it that far. Of that 1.7 million people only 400 000 entered the Aushuwitz camp registers which meant that 1.3 million people were sent straight to the gas chambers. A third example that the camps were set up to save money was the conditions and space of the living quarters and the transportation to the camps, which were not set up for survival or comfort. One hut was about 30 yards by 7 yards and it housed about four hundred sixty women. Some of the trucks they were shipped to the camps in were only 2 meters by 1 ½ meters, they piled 30 men into that small space for hours or days, while the other half of the truck contained one or two S.S. officers. A fourth example of the way the camps aimed for as much work as possible to be done, was the hours they worked. Oswald Pohl wrote on May 15, 1943 the camp commandment:
‘The extent and urgency of the work carried out by prisoners needs every prisoner working to the highest standard, present results must be improved. Prisoners who work hard and behave well will be granted privileges, including more freedom of movement; extra food; money; tobacco; permission to grow their hair.’
The highest standard meant long hours of work and very little time for food and sleep. Oswald Pohl also wrote on another day that the camp officers were responsible for max productivity. The exhausting work hours were limitless; the full production had to be met. Things like roll calls, sleep and long marches for meals shortened work time had to be kept a minimum. Pohl set up the system of rewards fro hard working prisoners as long as they weren’t Jewish. Fifthly the reward system set up Pohl rewarded them with things they should have had and the punishments were cruel. If they were not Jewish and they worked hard they rewarded with, more freedom of movement, food, money, tobacco, and permission to grow their hair. If they were ill behaved they were punished by being whipped, hung with their arms behind their back by their wrists for long periods of time, isolation for days at a time, which also meant less food or sometimes they were punished with death. Any reason was a good reason to be taken to the camps from your dog barking at an SS officer to openly opposing the Nazis or Hitler to being Jewish.
By electing Hitler to save them from the problems caused by the Versailles Treaty, the Germans had to suffer through the holocaust. Hitler and the Nazis were power hungry and used fear caused by the Gestapo, Anti-Semitism and from the camps to gain power and rule Germany and the surrounding countries.
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