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Lindsay Smith

Mrs. Wertz-Orbaugh
UWRT 1103-011

Throughout the course of my education I have received a fair amount of information

regarding the Holocaust. Most of the little factoids I have managed to retain mostly pertain to
events that stirred my emotions. All of the following information is from high school teachers or
books, such as The Book Thief.
In a nutshell, the Holocaust was an event that took place in the early 1940s in which
Nazis (German Soldiers) led by Adolf Hitler sent millions of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and
other groups of people that were viewed as imperfect into what was known as concentration
camps. In these camps the captives were made to work an outrageous amount with such little
food that the people became skeletons covered in skin. Each person was tattooed with a number
in order to keep track of everyone. What little food was given consisted of bread and on occasion
soup. The prisoners were made to go on death marches, which were long runs that some
people did not survive due to lack of energy. The most infamous of these concentration camps
was called Auschwitz.
The journey to these camps was no more pleasant than the camps themselves. The soon
to be prisoners were taken from their homes, shoved into very cramped carts, and given no food
or water. The trip could potentially take days. When the carts finally arrived, the people would be

forced out and asked a series of questions such as How old are you? Are you sickly? with the
objective of determining if they would make good workers. If the Nazis found that the prisoner
wouldnt contribute to a productive work force, they were sent to either the oven to be burned
alive, or the gas chamber where they were forced to breath in deadly gas.
If you hadnt already been caught and put in a camp, there was a glimmer of hope for
you. People, such as Anne Frank and her family, were able to evade capture for some amount of
time by hiding in the homes of friends and family. Unfortunately, the Frank family was
discovered and sent to camps. The only person able to survive life inside a concentration camp
was Annes father.
Needless to say, life inside of concentration camps was a horrific tragedy. Outside of the
camps, future generations were being brainwashed. The Nazi regime burned a countless number
of books containing anything that could possibly be seen as opposition to the current
government. In place of those books, children were given books with images such as kids
hugging a smiling Hitler, and stories portraying that Hitler loved them. Also, young boys who
showed qualities of strength, intelligence, and leadership, were sent to what was called the Hitler
Youth program. This program was specially set up for the training of future Nazi soldiers.
Also, prior to capture, some Jews had to endure what was called The Night of Broken
Glass. This was a night in which Nazi soldiers went through towns and destroyed stores and
homes belonging to Jewish people. Another example of the mistreatment Jews received outside
of camps, was a way to identify themselves apart from others. Every Jew was required to sew a
Star of David on their clothing so that people would know who they were.

One question I have always had about the Holocaust is the name of the tragedy itself.
Why do we call it the holocaust? What is the significance of this word? Does it mean
something in another language or was it just a random title?