The Holocaust was a tragic time. There were people who made a positive impact and people who made a negative impact. My topics have both the positive and negative sides to them. They are Adolf Hitler, Anne Frank, Irena Sendler, Daily Life in the Camps, and the Gestapo. You will learn about courageous hearts and hearts made of evil.
Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in a upper Austrian border town. Later he moved to Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. He joined the army for World War 1. During the war Hitler was wounded twice and awarded multiple medals. In 1918, he was partially blinded in a mustard gas attack. In 1919, he joined the Information Office of the Bavarian Military Administration. Hitler joined what would become the Nazi Party in October 1919. He helped make the political party program in 1920. By 1921 Hitler was the leader of the Nazis.
Membership in two years became 55,000 people, supported by more than 4,000 men in paramilitary SA. On November 8-9, 1923, Hitler tries to overthrow the government and is arrested for treason. While in prison he writes “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle). Later in 1932, Hitler loses a run-off election for the German presidency. In 1933, the Nazis come to power with the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor. Next, in 1941, Hitler and other German authorities decide to physically annihilate the Juden “German for Jews” of Europe the plan known as the Final Solution. On December 11, 1941, Germany declares war on the United States. Then, July 20, 1944, Hitler survives an assassination attempt. Finally, on April 30, 1945, Hitler commits suicide in his underground bunker.
Anne Frank and her family fled Germany to the Netherlands after the Nazis became in power in 1933. Anne and her family found out about about the Nazis rounding up jews and sending them to concentration camps, so they went into hiding. For two years they lived in a secret attic apartment behind the office of the family-owned business. Anne kept a diary while they were in hiding and recorded her hopes, fears, and experiences. Anne called the place where she lived at the Secret Annex. On August 4, 1944, the Gestapo found the hiding place. The Franks got arrested, and got sent and experienced deportation on the way to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Anne, her sister Margot, and her mom Edith went through selection and were chosen for labor, so they were sent to Bergen-Belsen. Both sisters died of typhus in March 1945, just a few weeks before it was liberated. Only Anne’s father survived the war and later published her diary. The home where the Franks hid is still standing and now a tourist attraction as a big part of the Holocaust known as Anne Frank House .
Irena Sendler was a social worker in the Warsaw Ghetto and helped stop the spread of disease. At first she smuggled in food to the ghetto to feed starving people. Later, she started sneaking children out of the Ghetto. Irena became a member of Zegota, an underground organization of Poles and Jews. She first snuck out children through the court house, but then had to get more creative with how she snuck them out. She did this by giving the children new names, bleaching their hair, and making them learn the Lord’s prayer. She started hiding them in laundry sacks, coffins, inbacks of carts with bricks around them and covering them with blankets, in ambulances, toolboxes, medical bags, taped underneath stretchers, inside luggage and through sewers. She used jars to keep track of the children. She wrote their name, new name, location, and their parents names on pieces of paper and kept them in the jars to help keep the families together after the war. Then, the Nazi’s took everyone to the train for Treblinka the death camp.
The Gestapo arrested her. They tortured her to get information about the people she was working with. She was about to get killed when the officer shot into the air. The officer had been paid well not to kill her and letting her escape. Irena saved 2,500 children total!!!! When the war was over Irena did her best to reunite the children with their families. Irena lived 63 more years after the war and passed away at the age of 98. The last years of her life were spent in a care facility where one of the babies she had rescued grew up to be her nurse. Others called themselves “Irena’s children” and wrote letters or visited to thank her.
The Nazis used their power in negative ways one example is what an SS officer would do for fun. Murder for an SS officer was considered a sport or a way to get a vacation. The officer would take a prisoner’s cap and throw it away. Then they would order the prisoner to go get it. While they were running they would shoot them and say they were trying to escape and get three days off for foiling it.
The Gestapo was the secret police of the Nazi state. The word “Gestapo” is an acronym from the German Geheimstaatspolizei. The Gestapo was officially established on April 27, 1933 by Hermann Göring. The force was inseparable from the Nazi Party. Their officers targeted mainly political enemies of the Nazis. One of their most effective weapons was the Schutzhaft or “protective custody.” Lower level officers were put on the infamous Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) Which murdered over 1.5 million Jews.
In conclusion, you can now tell who were some of the positive and negative people in the Holocaust. The positive influencers were Anne Frank and Irena Sendler. They taught future generations about fighting against racial discrimination through their writings and actions. The negative were Adolf Hitler, the Gestapo, and all of the things that happened day to day in the camps. We learned from these negative influences how not to treat people because all people have value. The topics I covered are not all of the things that happened in the Holocaust. If you are interested in the Holocaust, then check out more information about it. Be sure to check out my Bibliography if you want more information for the websites and articles used in this research.
- Smith, Harrison “Kazimierz Piechowski, early Auschwitz prisoner who led a risky escape by car, dies at 98” The Washington Post. The Washington Post,18 December 2017. washingtonpost.com. 4 February 2019.
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Adolf Hitler.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust. Accessed on [date].
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Adolf Hitler: key dates.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust. Accessed on [date].
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Anne Frank: Biography” Holocaust Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust. Accessed on [date].
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Anne Frank: Diary.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust. Accessed on [date].
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Gestapo.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust. Accessed on [date]