Chapter Five, From Political Antisemitism to Shoah
Two murders, two years apart, two Jews falsely accused. Welcome to the 20th century. In 1911 Mendel Beilis, Russian Jewish manager of a brick factory in Kiev was charged with the ritual murder of a local boy on evidence fabricated by the police and prosecuting attorneys. In 1913 Leo Frank, American Jewish manager of a pencil factory in Atlanta, Georgia was charged with the rape and murder of a local girl employee at the factory, again on evidence fabricated by the police and prosecuting attorneys. Beilis was found innocent and released by a Russian jury. Frank was found guilty by an American jury and lynched by a gang consisting of lawyers, a sheriff and an ex-governor. The case of Leo Frank will be discussed in detail in a later chapter.
1878, Adolf Stoecker, German anti-Semitic preacher and politician, founds the Social Workers' Party, which marks the beginning of the political anti-Semitic movement in Germany.
1879, Wilhelm Marr, German agitator, coins the term anti-Semitism.
1882, First International Anti-Jewish Congress convened at Dresden, Germany.
1920, Adolf Hitler becomes Fuehrer, of the National-Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP), (NAZIs)
1933, Adolf Hitler appointed chancellor of Germany. Anti-Jewish economic boycott: first concentration camps (Dachau, Oranienburg, Esterwegen and Sachsenburg).
1935, Nuremberg Laws introduced.
1938, Kristallnacht, Nazi anti-Jewish outrage in Germany and Austria (Nov. 9-10, 1938): Jewish businesses attacked, synagogues burnt, Jews sent to concentration camps.
1941, Germany invades Russia and the Baltic states. Majdanek extermination camp established. Chelmno and Treblinka extermination camps established. Anti-Jewish laws in Slovakia. Pogroms in Jassy, Rumania. Pogroms and massacres by the Einsatzgruppen and native population in Baltic states and the part of Russia occupied by Germany. Expulsions of Jews from the German Reich to Poland. Beginning of deportation and murder of Jews in France.
1941, Severe riots against Jews in Iraq in consequence of Rashid Ali al-Jilani's coup d'יtat. Nazi Germany introduces gassing in extermination camps.
1942, Conference in Wannsee, Berlin, to carry out the "Final Solution" (Jan. 20, 1942). Beginning of mass transports of Jews of Belgium and Holland to Auschwitz. Massacres 'In occupied Russia continue. Death camps of Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka begin to function at full capacity: transports from ghettos to death camps. Sobibor extermination camp established.
1943, Germany declared Judenrein. Transports of Jews from all over Europe to death camps. Final liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto (May 16, 1943). Annihilation of most of the ghettos. Transport of Italian Jews to death camps.
1944, Extermination of Hungarian Jewry.
1945, Germany surrenders (May 8, 1945) estimated Jewish victims in the Holocaust 5,820,960.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
“All in all, the picture that emerges of the average mass killer in the middle and lower echelons [of the extermination camps] is that of a man from the respectable middle classes, reasonably well educated, quite decent, moral, and law –abiding in his personal life, a good family man, but thoroughly indoctrinated, systematically hardened against any feelings of pity for the “inferior races… He could spend the day killing thousands of helpless people and (as a character witness in German court trial testified) could still be “a man with a sense for everything good and beautiful…,” or he could be an SS officer “who, after a hard day’s work at the gas chambers, relaxes by playing the violin.” This may essentially be what Hannah Arendt meant by ‘the banality of evil.’”