Rise of Anti-Semitism in Europe
When you listen to Holocaust survivor stories in the form of journals, letters and memoirs, you will better understand some of the root causative factors leading to the genocide of European Jews. People who survived the brutal concentration camps usually emphasize the slow but steady rise of antisemitism before World War II. When the Nazis seized power in Germany, they quickly enacted unjust and harsh laws against all citizens with Jewish heritage. Holocaust survivor stories provide valuable insight into the kinds of pogroms and other attacks against Jews in Germany and other neighboring countries that in retrospect were an ominous warning of things to come. For example, Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of the Broken Glass, was a horrific event of anti-Jewish violence that culminated in the destruction of many Jewish-owned businesses and synagogues within Germany. Holocaust survivors often reflect on the rapid rise of antisemitic sentiments through much of Europe in the 1930s that planted the seeds for future violence against European Jews.
The Nazi regime proposed and enacted a program of mass extermination and genocide that they termed the “Final Solution.” This plan, developed and executed at the highest levels of the Nazi regime involved the construction of massive concentration camps designed with the express intent of carrying out mass murder on an industrial scale. Holocaust survivor stories often focus on the cruel and inhumane conditions experienced by inmates at these camps. The survivors typically share their memories of life before the war, their arrest and imprisonment and the day-to-day experience of life at these facilities. They often also describe the experience and aftermath of the liberation of the camps by allied forces, and the post war experience of survivors, many of whom would go on to form the foundation of vibrant and flourishing Jewish communities in places like Israel and the US.
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