1). Examine the German and Jewish societies prior to the World War I. What type of social and religious activities and celebrations did they create or embrace? How were the employment stats prior to World War I?
Before World War I, the Jews of Germany lived in peace and prosperity in Germany with their neighbors. They were generally accepted by German society, and made great contributions to science, philosophy and the arts advancing German culture greatly, though they were only 1% of Germany’s population. Coming from a culture that greatly values education, when there was no restriction placed on Jews, they made themselves known in the most varied professions like medicine, law and engineering at the highest levels. Jews lives centered in the synagogues and many social organizations as found on an entire wall of happy and devout looking Jews gathered together, proudly proclaiming their Jewishness, completely unaware of what would befall them as a community. Yet there was in the museum, near the depiction of Jewish life in all its positive aspect, a long account of previous persecution of Jews, stretching back to the Middle Ages. There was in this society an anti-Semitic component that would destroy the safety and happiness of this community and take their lives under Adolf Hitler. The fact that in a small community Jews served and played a heroic role fighting for their country in World War I made no difference.
2). Trace Adolph Hitler’s rise to power, and why was he so successful?
There were many reasons for Hitler’s rise to power after World War I. This was a period called the Weimar Republic, a democratic period with many parties. The Nazis were one of the smallest. Germany had to pay a penalty for losing the war. This was called war reparation which was imposed by the winners like England and France on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler and the Nazi Party would not admit their country’s defeat in World War I, arguing that “backstabbing” and defeatism by Jews caused the front to collapse. In 1923, led by Hitler, the Nazis tried to seize power in Munich, Germany, but failed. Hitler went to jail during which he expressed his idea in his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle). When his revolt failed, Hitler employed democratic elections only to destroy democracy. Most Germans never voted for him, but he declared himself dictator after burning his parliament building down and blaming the Jews. It helped that there was after 1929 a desperate economic crisis when some people turned to extremists like Hitler and his followers. He was successful because people were desperate.
3). What types events happened to the Jewish community after 1932( such as the night of the broken glass)?
Horrible persecution of the Jewish Community started as soon as Hitler came to power. Jewish teachers were dismissed from German schools and universities. Jewish children were at first humiliated, in one picture mocked before their whole class. The new textbooks in schools were full of terrible prejudice. Then Jews were humiliated on the streets made to clean streets on hands and knees with tooth brushes, or had their stored boycotted with a brown shirt Nazi outside each store to chase away its customers. Jews were not allowed to practice their professions, work as civil servants or form social and cultural organizations which thrived before World War I. Inter-racial marriage, indeed any relationship between Jews and non-Jews were forbidden. Only those of pure Aryan blood in Nazi racial ideas were granted citizenship. The citizenship of German Jews were now vastly reduced in the process of being excluded altogether. Then came Kristallnacht, or the Night of Crystals (broken glass) in 1938 when under the organization of the state, hoodlums burned synagogues, Jewish homes and physically abused Jews who now began to see what lay ahead and tried desperately, usually without success, to flee.
4).What was the final solution and how was it achieved?
The “final solution” was always Hitler’s plan to commit genocide against the Jews. The seemingly innocent term was used for a carefully devised plan which was put into terrible effect on those trains like the one displayed at the Holocaust Museum which took Jews from all over Europe to the death camps. Of course, the final solution, the genocide, didn’t happen all at once. After they took over Poland, the Nazis set up sections of the city as ghettos where Jews lived in crowded and terrible conditions. The biggest ghetto was in Warsaw and was the place where there was a revolt and heavy fighting against the German soldiers after the Jews learned what their fate would be— the death camps. By that time, Germany had invaded Russia which was then Communist and called the Soviet Union. At first, mobile gas vans were used to kill Jews on the spot or else they were told to dig their own graves and were shot, one by one. Later, killing centers were established with Auschwitz the foremost among them accounting for one million deaths of fully six millions of Jews who had dies. No wonder, given these horrible pictures in the Holocaust Museum, the survivors wanted their own state of Israel and never forgot the Holocaust.