Human rights position of the Jews

1. How useful is Source A to an historian in explaining how the Nazis tried to turn the German people against the Jews?

This source is a picture from a Nazi Textbook in the 1930’s. This is significant as this was the time when the Nazis used propaganda against the Jews. This shows the indoctrination of children as this portrayal of the Jews was shown in their school textbook.

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The source shows the common ideology that Jews were to be looked down upon, there were known as “Sub-Humans” and in the Nazis eyes were not worthy of anything. This idea was then to be spread across the whole of Germany.

Looking at Source A I have noticed that there is a major contrast between the “true” German people and the Jewish pupils, causing a separation of the students.

The German children are portrayed as well mannered, kind, caring, beautiful children who are perfect in every way. One child is seen jumping happily as if he was happy or excited because the Jews were going out of the school meaning his education would be good again with no distractions.

The Jews, however, are portrayed in the completely opposite way. They are shown to be disruptive, a nuisance, destructive and malicious. They have the commonly repeated stereotypical features of the common “hated” Jew, such as the big noses, the jet black hair and the unattractive facial features to name but a few.

However, this is only one example of German propaganda and indoctrination as there were many more after and before this source.

Therefore, this source would be useful to a historian explaining Nazi propaganda as it conveys a wider propaganda campaign because it gives only some insight into one of the many ways the Nazis tried to indoctrinate German children.

However as I have stated before, this source could also not be very useful for a historian explaining Nazi propaganda as it does not explain or show the whole factors and effects the propaganda campaign had on Germany.

2. Source B suggests that many Germans did not support the Nazi policies towards the Jews. Is there sufficient evidence in Sources B – G support the interpretation?

Source C. This source is written by an American reporter for the New York Times. He was writing at the time of Kristallnacht where a Jew was murdered in Paris and there was a major attack on Jewish shops and synagogues. Propaganda says it was a spontaneous attack but looking back at Kristallnacht with hindsight, we now know that the attack was actually planned by the Nazis. He explains how people were “generally silent and gravely disturbed”. Here is showing that people had different opinions of Kristallnacht. He then goes on to explain that some people made “passages for Jews to leave their stores unmolested”, whereas there were other crowds shouting “Kill the Jews”. This therefore both does and does not support the statement.

Source D. This source was a single German citizen’s view of the Jews. It was written or spoken in 1939 by a member of the Hitler Youth Movement when the Nazis were at the peak of their popularity. He explains that the Jews were a “disliked minority” however, he also says “we did not want them to be killed”. This suggests that some Germans might support some of the Nazi Anti-Semitic policies but they could have opposed others which were more extreme, for example some Germans might have wanted Jews out of Germany but they could have opposed the mass killing of Jews. This therefore both does and does not support the statement.

Source E. This source was written by a Jewish historian in 1996 which was after the time of the Holocaust and it is very biased. The historian has simply picked out pieces of evidence where Germans had been put on trial for killing Jews. He is also still very angry and bitter about the Holocaust as he simply states that “between 100 000 and 500 000 were involved” actively in the killings of Jews. This therefore does not support the statement.

Source F. This source is written by a Jew born in Germany but know lives in England. His father was a Jewish religious leader (Landesrabbiner). He explains that on the Kristallnacht of November 9 1938, “all this changed” he referred to the way that many Jews live peacefully beside Germans in one area of Germany. He then goes on to say about how the Jewish men were put in Nazi Concentration Camps, but if they could prove they had valid papers to enter another country, they were released. However other countries weren’t very willing to allow them into their countries as they thought they would bring trouble, so very few Jews were released. Luckily for this man, he was able to immigrate to England. He has a balanced opinion, as he does not wish to blame, but does agree that there was Anti-Semitism. This therefore both does and does not support the statement.

Source G. Oscar winning film director Steven Spielberg (who is Jewish) produced and directed “Schindlers List” which tells the true story of a man named Oscar Schindler who joined the Nazi Party not for his hatred of the Jews but for financial gain. He first uses the Jews as slaves but ends up sympathising them and saving 6000 Jews. This therefore supports the statement and there were other individuals like him.

3. Explain how the human rights position of the Jews has improves since World War Two…

Even though the human rights position of the Jews has generally improved since World War Two, Anti-Semitism still exists today.

Not all of the Jews had been killed due to the events of the holocaust. Former Nazi victims found themselves among more than 10 million people who had been left homeless after surviving the Holocaust.

As a result, many former Nazi concentration camps where Jews had been captured and tortured were turned into Displaced Persons Camps (where people go with no home or family). Even then, thousands of Jews continued to die as a result of Nazi ill-treatment, but some also died due to diseases within the camps.

After the war, some of those responsible for the crimes committed during the Holocaust were bought to trial. Nuremburg which was in Germany was where the trials took place, thus calling the event The Nuremburg Trials. The trials took place between 1945 and 1946. Judges from Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the US (the Allied Powers) were at the hearing of 22 major Nazi criminals, 12 of these were sentenced to death. Although the individuals directly involved in Jewish killings received the most severe punishments, other people who played hey roles in the Holocaust, including high-level government officials and business executives received short prison sentences or no penalty at all. Crimes against the Jews were labelled “crimes against humanity”. This recognition signalled an improvement in the human rights position of the Jews but many felt that the penalties imposed were not severe enough and this angered many Jews.

The horror of the Holocaust did not bring an end to Anti-Semitism as Jews continued to be attacked in Poland where only a small Jewish community existed after the war. They were hated as Jews and also because they had collaborated with the communists during the war. Today, in present-day Poland, Anti-Semitism can still be found.

When Jews began arriving in Palestine in the late 19th Century, many Arabs were both concerned but angry. The Jews wanted a strong Zionist movement which was the movement of Jews which demanded a homeland in their promised land.

The few that looked to Zionism in the beginning saw the Arab population as small without a nationalist element, so they believed there would be none or very little friction between the two communities. The Jews were attracted to the area because of it’s employment opportunities, higher wages and better living conditions.

When, the Jews realised that their rights were not going to be respected by the Arabs in Palestine either, they decided to retaliate and fight for the land they had. These wars intensified from 1936 to 1947 where both communities became more violent and extreme.

After seeing what was happening between the Jews and Arabs, in 1936, the British decided that Arab-Jewish co-existence would not be an option so they suggested dividing up Palestine to make it a half Jewish, half Arab nation.

Almost immediately, the Jews agreed, but the Arabs rejected it. So from 1936 to 1939, the Arabs in Palestine revolted against British rule.

Once the Creation of Israel came about, the human rights position of the Jews dramatically improved in their new homeland. Their lifestyle and economy also improved due to the American grants.

From then to present day 2004, wars have continued to be waged between countries about land and Anti-Semitic policies still exist in Russia.

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