Explain how the Nazis dealt with Jews in occupied territories

Essay by nattiev April 2004

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On January 30th 1933, Hitler became chancellor of Germany. He was the official Nazi leader. To the Nazis, the root cause of all Germany's problems were the Jews, whom they thought were carrying on a racial war against the German nation. Once the Nazis were in power, they undertook their policies against German Jews with vigour. Under Nazi control consistently, Jews were deprived of human rights, their property confiscated, most of them were herded into ghettos and concentration camps.

Germany occupied western Poland in fall 1939. Much of this territory was taken over by the German Reich. At the Wannsee Conference in Berlin in January 1942, the SS and representatives of German government ministries estimated that the "Final Solution," the Nazi plan to kill the Jews of Europe, would involve 11 million European Jews, including those from non-occupied countries such as Ireland, Sweden, Turkey, and Great Britain. Jews from Germany and German-occupied Europe were deported by rail to the extermination camps in occupied Poland, where they were killed.

The Germans attempted to disguise their intentions, referring to deportations as "resettlement to the east." The victims were told they were to be taken to labor camps, but in reality, from 1942 onward, deportation for most Jews meant transit to killing centers and then death. Through two and a half years the Nazis prepared the work of exterminating the three and a half million Jews of Poland. Extermination camps were killing centers designed to carry out genocide. Between 1941 and 1945, the Nazis established six extermination camps in Polish territories. The overwhelming majority of the victims of the extermination camps were Jews. They rendered the Jewish masses helpless with the aid of individual killings, oppression and starvation, with the aid of ghettos and deportations yet most were killed in new gas chambers...