Holocaust

This essay has a total of 2576 words and 11 pages.

Holocaust

The most familiar act of anti-Semitism is the Holocaust, but anti-Semitism goes further
back. The Holocaust began with the ideas of anti-Semitism, stereotypes, sinister cartoons,
and the gradual spread of hate. Anti-Semitism is the prejudice and discrimination against
or harassment of Jewish people. Martin Luther once wrote, "That next to the devil thou
hast no enemy more cruel, more venomous and violent than a true Jew" (Dawidowicz, 23).
Anti-Semitism is just like every other type of prejudice and discrimination, it represents
a denial of human rights. Though violent Anti-Semitism acts are rare, there are still
occurrences of anti-Semitism today.

The roots of anti-Semitism were believed to be started in Ancient Israel. When Ancient
Israel was invaded and destroyed, rulers blamed the Jews for the disaster. "The Jews had
turned to another God and neglected their own ancient laws and Gods, therefore the Gods
punished Israel"(Patterson 3). The Jews were then forced to leave Israel.

After leaving Ancient Israel, many Jews arrived in Ancient Greece and Rome. "It was in
Alexandria where the first anti-Jewish acts were recorded" (Patterson 5). There they had
limits to social and commercial life. "The Syrian emperor Antiochos Epiphanes IV (175-163
BC) even tried to stop them from practicing their religion"(Patterson 4). They were forced
to worship Zeus, but revolted. This gave the Jews political independence and granted them
certain rights. This only led to more tensions within the city.

Greek writers attacked Jews and wrote they were slaves in Egypt and expelled because they
were lepers. "In certain places Jews were tolerated but forced to wear certain clothing or
identification, restricted to certain quarters, and required to pay special taxes" (Patai
74). Apion who was Alexandria's most prominent anti-Semitic writer, held Jews accountable
with every

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offense imaginable. "He accused them of hating people, being traitors, ridiculed their
beliefs, killing human beings and kidnaping" (Patterson 5). Jews were said to have rituals
celebrating their murders and kidnaping's.

With the new faith, Christianity, and the failure to convert Jews, the Catholic Church
charged Jews with the crucifixion of Jesus. Roman Emperors sent officials to rule Judea
directly and convert the Jews to Christianity. Tension exploded and in A.D. 66. A bloody
war between the Jews and Romans would take place for four years. Christians began to bring
a negative picture of Judaism in their writings. John Chrysostom, "Doctor of the Church",
criticized and attacked Jews of his city. He called them ; "lustful, rapacious, greed,
perfidious bandits . . . inveterate murderers, destroyers, men possessed by the devil"
(Patterson, 9). Jews questioned if the Christians forgotten Jesus was a Jew?.

As the Medieval and Middle Ages approached Anti-Semitism did not end. Jews were denied
citizenship and civil rights. The Crusades were a massive murder for the Jews. They were
fighting over the Holy Land. "As many as ten thousand were killed, one third of the Jewish
population in Germany" (Patterson, 12). This only led to the resentment of Jews and more
alarm.

They were denied positions of authority in government and military, membership in guilds
and professions, and from owning any land. After time they were cloistered to ghettos and
had to wear hats or badges for identification purposes. Government restricted Jews to
certain jobs as well. "Popular lore came to depict the Jew as having horns and a tail,
like the devil, and a distinctive smell" (Patai 74). "When the Black Death (1347-1350)
occurred Jews were accused for poisoning wells and food supplies" (Patia 75). This would
put Jews at the lowest group in society and become harassed for every misfortune.

2
During the Enlightenment period, the Jews were given a new freedom. While many
philosophers argued that Jews and Christians were equal and deserved equal rights, there
were the few who disagreed. Voltaire was one who detested the Jews. He wrote that Jews
were the "enemies of mankind" and claimed they were "most obtuse, cruel and absurd"
(Patterson, 18). Voltaire gave others the idea that Jews were the sworn enemy.

Emancipation followed the Enlightenment era. Emancipation abolished special taxes on Jews
and permitted them to leave their ghettos. This angered many. They feared Jews would take
over and punish them, as they had done to them. Due to the Emancipation act, nationalism
and anti-Semitism ideas were spreading quickly. One German philosopher, Johann Fichte, was
very upset with Emancipation. He wrote "The only way I could imagine giving Jews their
rights would be, to cut off all their heads in one night, and to set new ones on their
shoulders, which should contain not a single Jewish idea" (Patterson, 28). With this
anti-Semitism grew and spread.

With the anti-Semitism rising in Germany, it spread to near by countries such as
Austria-Hungary, France, and Russia. Russia refused to allow any Jews from entering
central Russia. With the assassination of Alexander II in 1881, a darkened period arose
for the Jews. "Alexander III saw Jews as instigators of radical and liberal movements"
(Patterson 39). It was Alexander III who came up with the ideas of pogroms. A pogrom was
an organized assault on Jewish communities. He would convert one third of the Jews to
Christianity, one-third emigration and one third starvation.

The first pogrom took place on Easter 1881, with hundreds of villages burned and Jews
murdered, maimed and robbed. The most notable pogroms were in Kishinev Russia. "This

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involved 600 villages and cities and resulted in the slaughter of thousands of Jews and
the looting destruction of their property"( http://encarta.msn.com). With many of the
uprisings of anti-Semitism in Europe, many Jews emigrated to the United States.

With all that had come about in the past years, Europe was raging with nationalism and
hatred. Cf. Peter Gay, a Jewish reporter wrote, "It was a world intoxicated with hate,
drive by a paranoia enemies everywhere, the Jew lurking behind each one" (Dawidowicz, 47).
In the year of 1914, Europe became involved with World War I. As a result, in 1918 when
the war ended, the Central Powers had been defeated. "The most obvious causes of the
Holocaust were German anti-Semitism, nationalism, Hitler, the Nazis, economic problems,
and the humiliations and resentment felt by the recently defeated German people"
(Patterson 55). German military began to blame Jews for the lose, since over
three-quarters of them were fighting at the front.

The first Nazi group was formed in 1920 by Adolf Hitler, after the 120,000 copies were
sold of Protocols of the Elders of Zion. "In 1905, the Russian secret police forged and
published, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It purported to be a secret Jewish plan
for worldwide domination" (Patai, 75). Anti-Semitic propaganda was unrelenting. Children's
books, newspapers, election posters, and magazines were filled with anti-Semitic thoughts.
"One of the most popular children's book was, Trau keinem Fuchs auf gruener Heid und
keinem Jud bein seinem Eid, (Trust No Fox in the Green Meadow and No Jew on his Oath)" (
Zeidman, 2). "Some posters mocked the way a typical Jew would look like" (Dwork & Jan van
Pelt, 34). Propaganda began to influence Germans to hate Jews.

Hate toward the Jews flourished through Germany. "The little people- the farmers peasants
and small shopkeepers- were jealous at the success and prosperity of the assimilated
Continues for 6 more pages >>




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