The War Against The Jews - äîìçîä ðâã äéäåãéí
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Estimated Time: 45 minutes
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This is the place!
Aims OF Peula:
· For the chanichim to have a better and clearer picture of the history of the Holocaust.
· For them to realise that ALL Jews were persecuted regardless of what country they were in during the Second World War occupation.
· To see that Nazi Germany made special laws against the Jews.
If we were to chart the progression of events that took place before and during the Holocaust, it would look like this:
To the events listed above, the world of the Jew was constantly constricted. First, laws were enacted which limited the Jew's ability to be part of the society in which they lived. The Jew became isolated and a pariah. Second, the Jew's life was physically segregated and constricted, with the ghetto becoming his total world. Third, the narrowing of the life became almost total in the concentration camp. And finally, not only did death take away that life, but then the bodies were burnt to ashes, the final constriction.
The "War" continues. In 1970 Arab terrorists hijacked three airplanes and after landing in
The War Against the Jews continues to this day.
Thou Shalt Not Murder
The Bible records the legend of Cain and Abel to show that murder is to be regarded as a terrible crime. Later, the prohibition is explained to Noah: "He that sheds the blood of a person, for that person his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God has God made man (Genesis 9-6)." This prohibition against murder is repeated in the Ten Commandments, where it is the first of the five commandments which apply to the ways in which people must treat one another. Of course, the Bible distinguishes between accidental murder (manslaughter) and intentional murder (Numbers 35:16-24), but the Jewish tradition clearly abhors any taking of human life.
Even capital punishment, the taking of the murderer's life in exchange for the life he has taken, was to be avoided wherever possible.
Hitler's War Against the Jews, Altshuler & Dawidowicz
While the ultimate goal of the Final Solution was the destruction of all Jews, Hitler consistently singled out certain kinds of individuals for early annihilation on the grounds that they were particularly "unfit." The very young and very old, as well as those suffering from mental or physical illnesses, were regarded by the Nazis as persons of "little value." Against this immoral stance, Jewish tradition affirms the worth of all human beings, since each is created in the image of God.
From the first day of life a child is legal heir to his parents' estate in the eyes of Halachah (Niddah 5:3), and even a dying person's words have legal force in business or inheritance matters (Baba Batra 9:6-7, Ketubot 48a, 103a). The rabbis recognized that newborn infants die of natural causes more often than children who are older, but they rightly say that anyone who kills a child even one day old is to be regarded as a murderer (Niddah 5:3).
100 Year Chronology of Jewish Life in
1881 First pogrom in
1881-1924 Peak of Jewish emigration to the
1905 Jewish workers' mass participation in the revolutionary movement
1921 Polish constitution grants equal rights to Jews
1919-1939 Jewish religious, cultural and political life flourishes in
1935-1937 Pogroms testify to the rise of anti-Semitism
1936 Prime Minister supports economic boycott of Jews
1938 Polish Jews living in
1940 Jews in
1941 Massacre of Jews by
1942 German extermination camps become fully operational; destruction of
1945 More than 90% of Polish Jews perish;
1949 Zionist organizations dissolved
1957 Following liberalization, new mass emigration of Jews
1967 After Six-Days War,
1968 Government-sponsored campaign of anti-Semitism; final emigration of Jews
1981 Reappearance of anti-Semitism, condemned by Solidarity, Church, and intellectuals
· Circle those dates you consider to be important in the rise of anti-Semitism in
· Underline the dates which indicate a better atmosphere in which Jews in
After suffering military defeat in World War I, the German people lost their national pride. To restore
To enforce their doctrine of superiority, the Nazis embarked on a deliberate program of anti-Semitic repression that would eventually lead to violence. The 1935 Nuremberg Laws were directed specifically against the German Jews, who until the 1930's lived life as secure and loyal German citizens. From 1935 on, all social, political and economic rights of German Jews were restricted. Jews were forbidden to enter into any relationships with the German population, and Germans were forbidden, under stiff penalty, to trade or socialize with Jews.
In July, 1937, the
In March 1938, Hitler annexed
In his drive toward the "Aryanization" of
On the night of
The year 1939 marked a period of barbarism unprecedented in all human history - the premeditated, systematic murder of millions of people, and more specifically, the planned total destruction of European Jewry by Nazi Germany. In March, Hitler occupied
To deal with the "Jewish question," special organizational units called "Einsatzgruppen" were formed under the leadership of elite members of the Nazi Party's special police force or "SS." Members included the now infamous Himmler, Heidrich, and Eichmann. By October, 1939, the German General Government for
Proclamations were issued whereby Jews were forced to leave their homes and their belongings and move to restricted areas, so-called "ghettos." The larger ghettos became dangerously overcrowded. Deprived of food and basic sanitation, masses of people died of starvation and sickness. Most of the large ghettos were walled in to prevent any contact with the outside. To distinguish Jews from the rest of the population, Jews were ordered to wear an arm band or badge bearing a Jewish star. Failure to comply was punishable by death. Nazi racist strategy against the Jews included forced labour without pay, rationed food at a very minimum, torture, deportations, and wanton execution without cause or excuse. Jews from throughout
To complete his plan to annihilate all European Jews, Hitler ordered the establishment of death camps. A special conference was convened on
German scientists and engineers were entrusted with designing the crematory ovens and inventing the formula for the deadly gas. Zyklon B would be the gas: One gallon was capable of killing over 1,000 people in minutes. On arriving at the death camps, the men, women and children were told to undress and enter a chamber "showers." Once inside, the doors were closed behind them and not water, but deadly gas sprayed their bodies. Minutes later, the corpses were removed to the ovens for burning. As by-products of this death factory, human bones were crushed to produce fertilizer, hair was used to manufacture military blankets, and soap was made from human fat!
The most notorious death camps in
camps. Under the threat of death, the entire population of a Jewish ghetto was ordered to appear at a public square called the "Umschlagplatz," where Nazi SS officers arbitrarily selected those who would remain and those who would depart on a transport. The SS used trained police dogs to search out those who attempted to hide in houses, bunkers, and sewers. After each such "action," the selected Jews were locked into cattle cars - destination, Death Camp!
Fully aware by now of the Nazi atrocities, Jews organized a network of underground resistance units. With a bare minimum of resources, they developed cells of resistance in the ghettos and camps, and as partisan groups in the forests. The largest and most effective effort at resistance was the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, on
By September 1942, over 300,000 Jews were sent from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka Death Camp. By the end of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, on
The world at large was becoming aware of the German program to make
The Jewish underground fought valiantly in many areas. The revolt at Sobibor, for example, forced the closing of this camp. Yet the Nazis succeeded in killing over 6,000,000 Jews, including 1,500,000 Jewish children. Of the 6,000,000 dead, 2,000,000* Jewish men, women, and children perished in the
At the end of 1944, the German Eastern front collapsed and the Germans retreated through
Germany, where many died of sickness and total debilitation. Those who lived long enough were at last liberated by the allied - American, British, and Russian soldiers, who upon entering the camps, faced a group of people many described as "living corpses."
Although the scourge of fascism and anti-semitism swept many European countries, some decent human beings resisted the evil. Among civilians who had shown decency and humanity in this dehumanizing period were many "Righteous Gentiles" who endangered their own lives to save some of their Jewish friends from certain death. These men and women are honoured by the Jewish people and the State of Israel with a special monument to their heroism: The Avenue of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel's Official National Memorial to the Jewish Victims of the Holocaust.
In their madness, the Nazis wantonly killed many civilians, destroying much of the gypsy population and other people of various nationalities. Yet it was the Jewish people whom the Nazis singled out for total destruction. Although not all victims of the Holocaust were Jews, all Jews were its victims.
Thus, the Nazis almost achieved their goal, having succeeded in annihilating two-thirds of European Jewry, leaving behind millions of corpses,
While the World Watched...
While the World Listened...
& Remained Silent.
· If you know the names of the chanichim that are going to come to your group, then you can get information about a child that was killed in the holocaust with their name or failing that one that had a similar characteristic (blonde hair)to them and ask them to read it out.
· At the start of the meeting you can read out a list of rules that need to be kept to. For example ‘Thou shall not sit with your legs crossed’.
· As a trigger to a discussion you can ask the Chanichim to put the ‘100 year Chronology of Jewish Life in Poland’ in order. You could start by discussing the difference in life before than that of it after.
· Mess up the room with lots of tables and chairs. Then blindfold someone and ask them to make their way from one end to the other. The rest of the group have to watch but not help. The next time around the Chanich/a, should be given help by one of the other chanichim. The world watched and remained silent.
· At the end of the meeting it is very important for the chanichim to understand that although this huge atrocity occurred, the Jewish people survived and we lived through it. So you should do something at the end to symbolise this. A couple of ideas that come to mind. Either, ask them in groups to make a Memorial of what happened in the Holocaust, maybe using tables and chairs or by using themselves. Or you can have some kind of celebration of what the Jewish people have achieved since the Holocaust. This can be done by singing happy songs about Israel or by asking them what makes them proud to be a Jew today.
This is designed to look at several issues that took place and move the focus away from just the death camps. Now as this is quite a sensitive issue there will be different aims for Aleph and Bet.
In general for Aleph chanichim we just want to get a general picture and for them to learn a few new facts and ideas. With Bet a deeper understanding can be developed.
As I always say its up to YOU the roshim and madrichim to decide what you chanichim need and how far you should push the theme. This is a new innovative idea so we need a lot of feedback on it.