The Word "holocaust" actually means a burnt sacrifice. Everyone is aware of the atrocities that were committed against the Jews following the First World War. It has been believed that Jews were always subject to hatred and persecution in Europe. Due to this reason, not many Jews found it a new thing to be discriminated against. They were subject to discrimination yet somehow Jews found way that would keep their culture alive. In 1919, a new political party was founded in Germany that was quite nationalistic and racists to begin. With. This party went on to blame Jews for all the problems including the defeat that the German's had incurred in the Second World War. (Drucker and Block 133)
The Holocaust was started off to wipe out the Jews and to give them as much torture as possible. Due to the propaganda started by Hitler's party, many Christians were made to think that wiping out and killing the Jews is being done in Christ's name (Rodgers 1) Sadly enough, no one saw that these atrocities would never be accepted in Christianity or any religion for that matter. Despite the plethora of Christians who went on with the killings, there were a certain group of people who had the courage to fight for what is right and morally. These people, known as the righteous gentiles, were the Christians in holocaust who went on to save and help the Jews. Thus, these gentiles had the humanity to decipher that what was happening was wrong and they had the courage to go on and assist the Jews.
As part of the anti-Jewish campaign, Adolf Hitler stated that Jews are a race that cannot be called human but rather a devil. This showed that Hitler absolutely hated the Jews and thus wanted them gone from the country. (Drucker and Block 133) the anti-Semitism started pretty quickly after Hitler came into power and spread like wild fire. It was true that many people were upset about the war but it is still quite surprising as to how most of Germany went on to be against the Jews.
It is clear that Hitler's main intention was to drive these people out but he got his message through to other Christians through the law and the media. Jewish rights of education, ownership and employment were taken away. (Drucker and Block 135) Little by little, things got pretty dire for the Jewish population. Amidst this entire crisis, it is often wondered whether all the Christians were against Jews or were there any who helped the Jews as well.
This would lead us into the discussion of why some people were in favor of Jews whereas others were not. There was a lot of propaganda being done against the Jews and a lot of people were convinced by it. Films such as the Eternal Jew and anti-Semitic pamphlets were being spread in the entire community. This caused even the non-Racist Germans to consider that Jews might actually not be part of the society they are living in. It is true that media does have a huge impact on a person. If the majority in the country including the leader and the administration have a certain outlook on a group of people, then convincing the rest is not that hard.
By the time that the final solution was being carried out, no in Germany was capable of resisting what was going on. There was no escape and not even the church was stopping the Nazis from carrying out the atrocities against the Jews. Basically previous prejudice, poverty, technology and national humiliation basically allowed for this mass murder to take place. (Drucker and Block 135) a major reason most of the people just stayed on the side and let the atrocities carry on was because they themselves did not want to be hurt. Hitler was so determined to be against the Jews that he didn't feel any shame or regret about killing families who go in their way. Then again, it is quite clear that the Nazis would have carried out grieving punishments against any person who was known to help the Jews in any way possible. Where the law and the government both were determined to brain wash the entire community, the church was not doing anything different.
The organized church was agreeing to whatever the Nazi government said and even directed their teachings according to what the government wanted. The church was teaching anti-Semitism and actually discouraging the people from helping out or reaching out for their distressed Jew friends and neighbors.
If one really thinks about it, then the pressure of the media, state and church would be sufficient to change the mind of anyone who wants to rescue the Jews. Regardless of these pressures and the dangers, there was a group of people who went out to help the Jews. Members of the opposing political party, Social Democrats, were against the entire anti-Jewish policy. Due to this reason, Fritz Heine and other members of the party helped the Jews flee the country. When the annihilation of the Jews was occurring, the attitudes of the Jews were in different ranges. In other words, where some Christians were actually following and practicing the hostility, there were others who were indifferent to all the happenings around them. The majority of the people just stood there and watched their neighbors being dug out and killed. In other words, there was a moral collapse of the entire country. This moral collapse and indifference was being practiced not only in Germany but in other countries around the world. No country, no organization and no peace keeping body spoke up against the Jews. Even when so much chaos and blind following was taking place, there were a group of people who did speak up and had the courage to uphold their human value. These people were known as the righteous among the nations.
These people stand out because they stood in contract to the entire society. Their values and beliefs were different and they were not hostile towards the Jews being oppressed. Contrary to what the majority believed, these people stood by their values and spoke against them even if they were in small number.
The Gentiles that came about didn't start acting until the apprehension and the violence had reached its limit. Most of the rescuers stared off as bystanders. They stood there and did not say anything when the Jews were being deprived of their basic rights of education and employment. These righteous people stood by and watched as the Jews had their property confiscated as well. Regardless, there was time when they decided to act as the violence and atrocities had reached their limit. As opposed to the majority of the Germans at that time, these people did not follow the same pattern and join in the anti-Jew efforts that were being carried out.
When the atrocities and the violence started against the Jews, there were attempts of resistance made. As mentioned earlier, the Jews were used to being discriminated against and they went on to realize the entire final solution plan when it had reached the climax. A major reason why these righteous people came into being was because the Jews asked them for help. They were put in a complicated situation of whether to assist the Jews or not.
The bystanders had the Jews knocking on their door and asking for help which meant they had to make a fast decision. This process of rescuing the Jews was something that took months and even years. With the strictness that was being practiced by the law and the government, people had to be really careful to go against Hitler's wishes. Seeing how they were indirectly risking themselves and their families, the rescuers were reluctant at first. For instance, if the rescuers did agree to hide someone during a raid or when the Nazis were taking people to the camps, this help was only for a few days. Then this went onto o be weeks, months and even years.
It not only took morals and generosity to be a gentile, but also courage and bravery was required. There were different punishments for the rescuers depending on where they were. For instance, in Eastern Europe, the Nazis went on to execute anyone who sheltered the Jews. This punishment was not only for the head of the house but for the entire family. All the people were warned against their actions and were that any help would cause them to be punishment as well.
The punishment was not as dire in Western Europe as it was in Eastern Europe. There have been reports of non-Jew rescuers being taken to the concentration camps and being killed. Seeing how the Nazis and their helpers were practically in hunt for Jews, they wouldn't have stopped until they got each and every person. The forces were viscous, brutal and more efficient than the average moral…