An Unfinished Jigsaw Puzzle, The Holocaust
The Holocaust, translated to “burnt offerings” was a horrendous execution of mass murders, extreme racism, and feelings of malice towards Jews, Gypsies, and others deemed “tainted” or “asocial” by Hitler’s standards of the “Master Race”. Millions of people were killed, permanently scarred, mentally and/or physically, or persecuted by the German Nazi party.
A single group that is not commonly mentioned in many historical reports on the Holocaust is the Roma or also known as Gypsies. The “Master Race” was primarily supported by the Nazi program Lebensborn to breed and populate the Third Reich with “racially pure” beings. Numerous are the pieces of this dark and atrocious time in history that people are still putting together like a jigsaw puzzle of World History. First of all, the beginning piece of the dark puzzle of the Holocaust is the “Night of Broken Glass” or more commonly known “Kristallnacht”. Kristallnacht was an abhorrent display of anti-Semitism and racism towards Jews.
Also serving as the “spark” to the 12 yearlong massive “firestorm” called the Holocaust. Riots were orchestrated and organized by the SS Nazis, plainly leaving bare the nation’s intense discrimination of Jews. Jews were beaten in the streets while other Jews were forced to watch. During this some Germans watched not wanting the riots and killings while some went as far as to help the Jews either escape or hide. Over two hundred synagogues, several thousand Jewish shops, twenty-nine department stores, and multiple Jewish cemeteries were damaged, or in the majority of the cases, destroyed down to rubble and/or ashes.
While amongst the riots more than thirty thousand Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Treatment of the Jewish men was excruciatingly brutal but most were let free on the condition that they permanently leave Germany. The response that the world had was, to say the least, almost unanimous, America and Non-Nazi occupied Europe countries previously had had Pro-Nazi feeling until Kristallnacht causing a worldwide response, many breaking off diplomatic ties to Nazi Germany. While America not breaking off ties did recall their overseas ambassador from Germany. Furthermore, another piece to the puzzle that not all people know about is the persecution of the Roma otherwise “Gypsies”. When most people think of the Holocaust their main focus turns to the 6 million Jews that were killed in concentration camp, not many thinking about the Gypsies who also suffered under the Nazi Regime.
To the Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler, the Gypsies were a contradiction to their discriminatory laws. Technically they were of Aryan blood but the way that they lived was what caused mass condemnation of the Roma people. Nazi scientists created a scientific reason to justify the killing and arresting of Roma which was that the Roma are of Aryan blood but over past centuries in their wandering they have absorbed the blood of other foreign cultures, therefore tainting their Aryan blood. Heinrich Himmler thought of the Gypsies as “interesting specimens” that should be studied, who which after the forceful transport of Roma to concentration camps, decided to conduct agonizingly painful medical experimentation on them. He was for sometime interested in two specific tribes of Gypsies but signed the law calling for the extermination of the entire Roma population.
Examples of such tortures were sterilization of the male and attempts to make seawater potable. Not much is known about the number of Roma that were killed, but most estimates go from 250,000 to 600,000 their group suffering more than all other groups except the Jews. I pray, as part Romani Gypsy, someday that the Gypsies people will get their rightful place in Holocaust history. Another subject not commonly known in Holocaust history is the Lebensborn program which was to promote the growth of the “superior’ Aryan race with exceptional healthcare and food. Heinrich Himmler was the leader of this program who also led another similar program that was sort of tied to the Lebenborn programme. Lebensborn translated roughly means “Fountain of Life.
” The sole purpose of these programs was to create a genetically pure race of Germans with blond hair and blue eyes which were deemed by Hitler to be perfect. Lebensborn was also for the wives of SS soldiers who were pregnant and those who needed help with family matters. The children of SS wives could be selected for the Lebensborn program if they had the strict specifications to qualify for the program. During the Lebensborn program there was mass kidnappings of children from Norway of blond and blue-eyed children, as the Nazis viewed Norway as a perfect breeding ground for Lebensborn children. The kidnapped children were placed in concentration camp and then examined to see if they qualified for “Germanization” and then placed in Nazi family homes or placed in orphanages till they could be put in homes. Older children who were kidnapped were taken to concentration camps created for the specific purpose of “Germanization” and were brutally punished if caught speaking in their native tongue.
For example, a girl who was put in such a camp before being adopted was taken from Poland and whenever she was caught speaking her native Polish she would be beaten, locked in a dark room, or temporarily starved. SS.soldiers were encouraged to mate with pure Norwegian women as blond hair and blue-eyes were common in their heritage. After the war, the privileged Lebensborn children were despised and hated as a symbol of the Nazi attempt to wipe out the Jews, Roma, and other groups. Nowadays, the remaining Lebensborn children are still scorned for being “possible future Nazis”.
Some are even spit upon in their old age in their native countries. Also, the mothers in Norway are called “German prostitutes” for sleeping with German SS soldiers while some were even still married. Most Lebensborn children are now elderly and wish for their stories to be known. In piecing together some of the jigsaw puzzle reveals only a small fraction of the large picture of what the Holocaust was like. The breeding of people like livestock is a sick twisted idea that in all rational logic should have never been executed in the first place to save at least some pain for a few people during this terrible time. Focusing on one group of people that was killed by genocide is not the right thing to do while their were other groups that also suffered under the Third Reich.
This dark chapter of Germany’s history still haunts many people today, especially those who are still alive that remember it clearly. All in all if more people knew about the atrocities committed by humans during this time period maybe another Holocaust can be avoided.