The Holocaust as a Denial of Individuality

Essay by istealpantsHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2006

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During the time of January 30, 1933 to May 8, 1945 Millions of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, Homosexuals, handicapped and others living in Europe were killed for one reason: They were different. This event is know as the Holocaust, one of the worst genocides in human history. Webster's defines individuality as "The qualities and characteristics that distinguish one person or thing from others; character". This essay will examine how many European Jews and others were denied their individuality in the 1930's and 1940's Nazi Germany, the consequences of it, and a possible remedy of the situation.

The Holocaust was almost the complete destruction of Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. The leadership of Germany's Nazi Party ordered the extermination of approximately 5.6 million to 5.9 million Jews along with other religions, races, and other characteristics. Jews were not the only victims of the Nazis during World War II. The Nazis also imprisoned and killed people who opposed their regime on grounds of ideology, Roma (Gypsies), Germans who were mentally impaired or physically disabled, homosexuals, and captured Soviet soldiers. Hitler's goal during the Holocaust was to create his "super" race of Aryans with blonde hair and blue eyes, so to do so he would kill anyone not fitting his description as a "pure German". Anyone of the Jewish faith in Germany at the time had to wear a yellow star of David on a piece of their clothing at all times so that they were visible to everyone else, this way the Nazis could "keep track" of the Jews. Also, many who were of a different race or religion or ideology were rounded up and put in a concentration camps, a group barracks, huts, or tents, surrounded by watchtowers and barbed wire.

The main consequences of the Holocaust are obvious; the deaths of millions and million of people. Approximately six million Jews were killed, along with millions of Slavs and Poles, hundreds of thousands of Gypsies, and several thousand handicapped and homosexuals. Any person who tried to oppose the Nazi regime was also slaughtered. The consequences can be seen today in WWII veterans and memorials across the U.S., Britain, Russia, and all the other allied countries. Veterans and deceased soldiers who served in WWII all did so to stop the holocaust. Ruins, concentration camps, and battlefields all across Europe still in existence today show another consequence; the destruction of many people's homes, cities, and countries. Another consequence of WWII that can be seen is the Israeli-Palestine conflict in the Middle East. During the Holocaust many Jews fled to Palestine to escape Hitler and the Nazi's, and eventually they formed Israel a few years later, which has been the reason for much of the current conflict in the Middle Eastern region. Another consequence of the Holocaust is much stricter International human rights laws. After the failure to stop Hitler before this all happened, much stricter international human rights laws have been put in place to try and prevent something this horrible from ever happening again.

There were several different remedies which could have stopped this event from happening, remedies that did, and remedies that will prevent anything like this from happening again. One possible remedy for this situation where people were denied, even killed because of, their individuality was of course WWII. This was a costly remedy though, as it was the bloodiest war ever fought. Another remedy that was put in place after this were much more strict international human rights laws. Now, instead of making the mistake of letting something like this go on in a country and hoping it stays in that country, countries have the right to step in and stop something like this from happening if they have proof and just cause. The best remedy of the situation would have been someone along the way to stop it before it all happened. Had enough people seen that this idea of Hitler and the Nazi party's was not the best solution, it all could have been stopped. Even the U.S., before WWII, when it saw all the Jews trying to come over here, refused to let some enter, leaving them no choice but to go back to Europe. But unfortunately, not enough people stood up to them in time, and those who did too late were killed and jailed for it.

This shows how one person's attempt to deny individuality at a huge scale can turn into something so horrible. Individuality, as I defined it, is something that makes someone themselves and makes them different from everyone else. Trying to remove that is the same as trying to remove any other essential part of a person; a person's individuality is something that can't be changed, taken, or repressed.