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Nazi Extermination Methods during World War II

There is probably no greater tragedy in this world than the Holocaust on the Jews during World War II. The gentle Jewish community was deemed unworthy by the Nazis and blamed for the past transgressions that the Germans suffered. The Jewish community suffered much at the hands of the Germans, such that it will never be forgotten. One of the most horrifying aspects of the Holocaust was the extermination methods of the Germans, followed closely by the selection methods of the Nazi Doctors.
Nazi Extermination MethodsThe Final Solution a decision made by Hitler and a Conference of allies to decide what was to be done about the Jews, supplies were running low from the war and it was becoming too costly to keep them alive. According to( A History of the Holocaust,) A Revised Edition, The Final Solution was decided at the Wannsee Conference. The Conference was held to decide to what to do with the Jews, Hitler wanted to move them into Russia, but that was not possible. After only fifteen minutes of discussion, it was decided to exterminate all of the Jews. Not just to exterminate all of the Jews, but to exterminate them as fast as they could leaving no evidence about what was to happen.
The extermination methods started out as a mere Firing squad and became more advanced as the years went on. The firing squad was made up of SS soldiers, infantry men of the Nazi Army. According to the book (The World Must Know), the SS killing squad was also called the Mobile Killing Squad, and one incident of a demonstration of their terrible force where was at Piryatin located in the state of Poltava Oblast in the Ukraine, the Mobile killing squad murdered 1,600 Jews on April 6, 1942. The Jews were led out of the cityand were marched five miles out into the countryside and were forced to dig their own grave a massive pit. They were forced to take off their clothes and valuables, forced into the pit and shot five at a time. In 1942 and 1943 when the Germans began to lose, they returned to these giant pits to dig up these mass graves and to burn the bodies to try to get rid of the evidence.
The firing squad was soon to be found to not be a very good method as the constant shooting of women, children, and the elderly was a constant drain on moral. According to the Adolf Eichman Trail Collection (AETC) the Germans began experimenting with poison gas for the purpose of mass murder in the late nineteen thirties, with the killing of mental patients. It was called euthanasia, a Nazi word referring to the systematic killing of those Germans whom the Nazi’s deemed unworthy of life because of mental illness or physical disability.
There were six gassing installations were established as part of the Euthanasic Program, these were located at; Bernburg, Brandenburg, Grafeneck, Hadannar, Hartheim, and Sonnenstien. These killing centers used pure chemically manufactured carbon monoxide gas; that was dropped into the room through vents in the ceiling and then sealed off. Furthermore, it took only a few minutes of intense suffering before the prisoners were killed. Later on Gas Chambers were used to kill the Jews, Gas Vans were hermetically sealed trucks with engine exhaust diverted to the interior compartment. It took around forty-five minutes for the Jews to die, so the Germans would have a round trip, then the Germans would burn the bodies in a Crematorium. (AETC)
However according to A History of the Holocaust Revised Edition (AHoHRE), the first gassing experiment took place at Auschwitz in September of 1941 on Soviet Prisoners of War and a number of sick inmates. Between April of 1942, and November of 1944 in addition to a number of Soviet Prisoner of War, the gas extinguished the lives of probably up to 6,000 Roma (Gypsies), and around 1.25 million Jews, in that Concentration Camp alone. Zyklon B gas was dropped in a crystalized form into the hermetically sealed form through a small opening in the ceiling and then sealed, it again only took a few minutes for the prisoners to die. In the second and third Crematoriums of the Camp, 2,500 people could be killed in just thirty minutes. (AHoHRE)
These Extermination Camps, or Concentration Camps, were first set up to merely contain the Jews, and to work them till death. However, according to the article “Extermination Camps,” on the website Yad Vasham, (EC) the first Extermination Camp to be established was Chelmo; the camp was established on December 8, 1941. It was located near Lodz, and ceased operation in the summer of 1944. The victims were murdered by gas vans, some 320,000 people were murdered here. Other Extermination Camps located in Poland are; Birkenau (which was known as Auschwitz Birkenau, Auschwitz, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Majdanek. Furthermore, the most famous of concentration camps was Auschwitz, it was both a Concentration Camp, and a Extermination Camp, its Extermination Camp Birkenau was instituted in March of 1942, during its short operation of only two years, its prisoners were murdered by Zykon B Gas, and tens of thousands of Jews were murdered as well as thousands of Gypsies, and Soviet Prisoners. The other camps were set up in late 1942, and early 1943; Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinker. Belzec, muredered 600,000 Jews, Treblinker killed the most Jews out of the three with 870,000 Jews murdered, and Sobibor killed the least amount Jews, with 250,00 Jews murdered. These were only three out of many Concentration camps in Europe; however they were three of the most famous.
One aspect of the Holocaust that always baffles one was how the Germans could decide who could live and could die. When the people were rounded from their homes, they were forced into train cars like cattle, and were taken to the nearest Concentration Camp.According to the book “The World Must Know” (TWMK) once they were at the Extermination Camp, those who did not make the trip were removed from the trains, and the living moved on. However; if then they were also taken away immediately to the crematorium, those who could walk faced their first selection. The German word for selection is Selektion, and during this selection, an SS Officer would point to the left or the right, and the people who were sent to the left to be killed were; old people, young children too young to work, pregnant women, and the infirm. They were not given a chance to work at all, and these people segregated by sex went to the gas chambers, where they were removed of their clothes and their valuables. The Germans deceived these condemned up until the last minute, the Gas Chambers were labeled “showers” and they were told that they were simply going to take a shower. (TWMK)
Those selected for work, they were immediately registered, branded, and sheared of all the hair on their head. The SS Officer in charge of the Selection was usually a physician, and the most famous of all was Dr. Joseph Mengele. In according to the documentary “Forgiving Dr. Mengele,” (FDM) a Holocaust Survivor Eva Moses Kor, was a victim of Dr. Mengele, he was an evil Doctor who performed terrible experiments on twins, simply because he wanted to. He was not a real Dr, however since he was experimenting on Jews; no one was going to stop him. Furthermore, Dr, Mengele, would torture the twins to test how the Jews would react, if one twin would die.
In conclusion the Holocaust will be forever remembered as one of history’s most horrific tragedies. Though we can never truly understand or relate to the tragedies of the Holocaust it should forever be remembered, and never discredited. The suffers that the Jews of Poland,
Germany, Austria-Hungary, and many more will always remain ingrained in our ancestry.

Works Cited

Bauer, Yehuda. A History of the Holocaust Revised Edition. N.p.: Franklin Watts A Division of Scholastic, 2001. Print. The "Final Solution"
Berenbaum, Michael. The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Boston: Little, Brown, 1993. Print.
"Eichman Title." Yad Vashem. Steven Speilberg Jewish Film Archive & Israel State Archives, 23 June 1961. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.
"The Exterminaton Camps." Yad Vashem. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.
Nueburger, Larry, Mr. "Class Notes." Interview. n.d.: n. pag. Print. Ozarks Technical Community College



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