Physical Hardships During the Holocaust

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The Holocaust and Physical Hardships

Research Question

What physical hardships did the Jews undergo before and during the holocaust?

Front Page

Student name: Keren Sorkin

Class: 10

School: Ort Guttmann

Date to be submitted: April 2009

Name of the teacher: Nellie Deutsch



The word Holocaust means widespread destruction. It was the mass murder of European Jews by the Nazis during World War 2.

The Nazis director Adolph Hitler planned to wipe out the entire Jewish population as part of his plan to conquer the world. By the end of the war in 1945, the Nazis had slaughtered more than 6 million Jewish men, women, and children- over two thirds of the Jewish in Europe. They also killed many members of other ethnic groups, especially Gypsies and Poles.

The Nazi persecution of the Jews began after Hitler came to power in 1933. As Germany prepared for war, the government imposed many laws and restriction that deprived Jews of their rights and possession.

For example, the Nazis prohibited Jews from attending universities and seized their property and businesses. Millions of Jews were also imprisoned in concentration camp (camps for political prisoners). These camp included gas chambers in which large numbers of victims were killed with poison gas. The camps also had factories in which prisoners were worked to death. The captives lived under horrible conditions and many died from starvation and disease.

Those who were unable to work- the aged, the sick, many women and mostly children- were gassed. During the holocaust, the Germans kept their actions as much a secret as possible and deceived the victims in many ways to prevent resistance. In our research work we decided to focus on the physical damage that causes to the Jews before and during the holocaust.

Our research question is: What physical hardships did the Jews undergo before and during the holocaust? In this project we want to prove that physical and mental damage occurred before the war started. One of the first steps that Hitler took was for the purpose of strengthening anti-Semitism. This event occurred on 1.4.1993. In this event, it was forbidden for the German people and Jews to buy in Jewish stores. Those who were bought there were beaten and insulted by the S.A people. Kristallnacht were also one of the damages that was caused to the Jewish people.

In this event that occurred on November 9-10, 1938, when hundreds of synagogues and Jewish businesses were vandalized or destroyed by the Nazis. The Jewish people react in violence way and during this events killed 91 Jewish people, 800 store destroyed and 1000 synagogues. 30000 Jews were sent to concentration camps.

Kristallnacht were planned and organized event. It was the signal that physical damage on Jews starts./

The purpose of this event was to cause Jews to escape from Germany with or without their property.

The Holocaust was proven like the disastrous event in history.The details of this tragedy are written in the book Night of Elie Wiesel. Night was set in several concentration camps during the Holocaust, but the most famous of the camps was Auschwitz. Elie Wiesel suffers a lot in the holocaust. He watching his own father die and others executed by the Nazis, during that Elie stays at the concentration camp.

The answers that we want to answer them in our project are:

1.Research question: What physical hardship did the Jews undergo before and during the holocaust?

2.What is Antisemitism?

3.Where were the Jews destroyed?

4.What are the events that were against the Jews before the Holocaust?

We chose to research this topic because it's very important to know what the Jews throw in the holocaust and what event they pass. We think that our research question in one of the best in class and we are happy and interested to do this project. It will expand our knowledge about the holocaust and allow us to know more. It's very important to know, to perpetuate and pass it to the next generation.

The information were taken from "The World Book Encyclopedia"- Volume 9, child craft international INC. 1982 USA.

Supporting Evidence

In the holocaust (1939-1945), Jews were exposed to extreme mental and physical hardships by the Nazi's in Europe.

Before World War 2, Jews were enjoyed from good social life and their economically situation were pleased throughout Europe. Until 1933 Jews live their way of life without any interruption. They celebrate the holidays and Jewish religious festivals. But after the Nazi's came to power in Germany, in 1933, a series of laws be legislated against the Jews.

In these laws ruled that the Jews will be excluded from business, civil service positions, universities, and all facets of professional life. On November 15, 1938-five days after that Nazi's organized the night of violence and vandalism against Jewish synagogues, stores, and businesses that known as Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass)- Jewish children were forbidden go to German schools. In 1938 Germany passes to aggressive policy. It's expressed in foreign relations of Germany and in internal policy.

In the same year, Austria and the Czechoslovakian rope were appended to Germany. In Austria, like in Germany, the Jews expelled from public life, civil service positions, universities, business and suffer from excommunication and humiliation. The German regime in Austria started to implement migration policy, of Jews, in use of degrading violence that never used before. In 1938, 17,000 Jews were expelled brutally to the eastern border between Poland and Germany.

The actions that activated against the Jews called Antisemitism

What is the meaning of Antisemitism and from where its begins?

The Antisemitism its means discriminating because of background pedigree and any violence toward the Jews, along the history.

According to the Hebrew encyclopedia Antisemitism is:

  1. In the broad meaning- any phenomenon of abhorrence or objection to the Jews because of they religion.
  2. In the limited meaning- motivation and discoveries of the anti Jewish organization that come into being in 1870 in Germany and later extend to the most countries in the world.

The hate to the Jewish population is very ancient.

The roots attached in Jews being monotheistic religious minority and in the tension between the Judaism to the early Christianity and the Islam. The abhorrence that aroused by the first Fathers of church drown on deep seal and impression on the culture and the thoughts of Europe nations. From the 19 Th century and till the second war the Anti Semitism add different ideologies and pedigree aspect, which rely on scientific and social developments of the period.

How the Jews were reacting against this Nazi's violence?

In Germany, there were 500,000 Jews that was less than One percent of the population. In 1933, 50,000 Jews emigrated from Germany because they feared the future. The Jews that wanted to leave Germany were dependent on a few things: - European states and United States were not ready to receive Jews because of the world economical crisis. - Those who wanted to emigrant to Israel found it difficult because of the Arabs that were in Israel (they were against Jewish emigration) and the British that dominated Palestine and they didn’t want to receive the Jews from Europe.

The majority of Jews, in Germany, thought that it was not necessary to leave Germany because they thought that anti- Antisemitism is a temporary phenomenon and would probably be over in a few years. In order to come out strongly against Germany, Jews built an organization that help them survive in the war and even help them emigrate to another country and save their lives. Leo Beck and Otto Hirsh build "The national representation of Jews in Germany". This organization helps Jews in a few areas:

  1. Financially help and gave assistance for sick and elderly people.
  2. Aid immigrates to Israel legally with cooperation of the Zionist Federation.
  3. establishing education center for Jewish students. A lot of Jewish teachers were dismissed from their work. The organization wants to return them to work and to the normal life.

The representation didn’t help the Jews with their distress and didn't see itself like a representative body in front of the German government.

After that started the World War 2, the Germans began to concentrate Jewish populations into ghettos, especially in Nazi's lands in Eastern Europe (mainly in Poland). After that the Jews were inserted to the ghetto, the Nazi's started send them to concentration camp. Another part of Jews were sending to work in coercion works (starts in the middle of 1940). All the elderly person were send immediately to extermination camps that there, the Jews, were destroyed with gas- Zyklon B or with another techniques. In 1942 the Nazi's started to send all Jews, that lived in the ghetto to extermination camps.

The most famous extermination camps were:

  1. Auschwitz- Birkenau – Belzetz (build in March 1942) - 1,500,000 Jews were destroyed there.
  2. Sobibor (build in April 1942) - 250,000 Jews were destroyed there.
  3. Treblinka (build in July 1942) - 870,000- 880,000 Jews were destroyed there.
  4. Majdanek – 60,000 Jews were destroyed there.

The Jews Coping with the Antisemitism- The Jews suffer a lot from the rebellion that activated against them. To cope against the Nazis they did a lot of actions.

A few of them:

  1. Establishing support and help institute. It will help them to cope with the Anti Semitism in the Jewish communities.
  2. Culture and education actions.
  3. Devotion in Jewish and Zionistic values, Jewish Bible studies and commandment preserving.
  4. Devotion in the idea of "sanctify of life".

More then physical damage, the Jews in Europe suffer from mental abuse and throw medical experiments by Nazis doctors.

The most famous doctor is Jozef Mengale that causes a lot of dead while at the same time the Jews were tortured a lot. Mengale like the most to do an experiment in Jewish twins. This Physical abuse is not humane. What this doctor did it’s also a hard ship that a lot Jews throw it by the Nazis force. A slaughter pit was the first action that the Nazis did to exterminate the Jews. In this method a lot of Jews from Soviet Union were murdered. In this way murdered 2,500,000 Jewish. The most Known slaughter pits were Bavi Yar and Ponar. The Nazis get to acquaintance that this method to mass destruction is not effective and leave behind the Nazis soldiers mental scars.

In 1941 the Nazis insert, for mass destruction, a new method in use of gas. This method was cheaper and more useful then slaughter pits.


Like sheep to slaughter- is the most famous phrase that used in Israel and all over the world. This phrase means that the Jewish people considered like flock that the German lead to butchery. The lives of the Jews were so cheap that the Nazis destroyed us like animals. A lot of people ask them selves:

where was god in the holocaust? Why did god allow the holocaust? These questions no have an answer.

During the Holocaust, on average 3,000 people were murdered every single day, 365 days of the year, for 5.5 years.

We can find a few conclusions:

  1. The Jews pass a lot hardships- Physical abuse, unsafe working conditions, disease and starvation.
  2. Physical abuse during the Holocaust was monstrous.
  3. These hardships constitute irreversible damage to the Jews population and for the whole world.
  4. Were a few ways of eradication:
  • Concentration and labor camps (1933–1945) - in these years the Nazis began encourage acts of violence to against the Jewish population. In the labor camps the Jewish worked to death or frequently worked until they could no longer perform work tasks.
  • Death squads (1941–1943) - is an armed squad that kills civilians, terrorists or guerrillas.
  • Extermination camps- During 1942, in addition to Auschwitz, five other camps were designated as extermination camps) for the carrying out of the Reinhard plan.
  • Gas chambers- At the extermination camps with gas chambers all the prisoners arrived by train. Sometimes entire trainloads were sent straight to the gas chambers, but usually the camp doctor on duty subjected individuals to selections, where a small percentage were deemed fit to work in the slave labor camps.
  • Death marches (1944–1945) - By mid 1944, the Final Solution had largely run its course.
  • Slaughter pits - the first method of extermination especially in the territory of Russia. The Jews stand in the pit and the Nazis shoot them. This pit was used, to the Jews, mass grave.

The Jews that survived the war did come to Israel and here they fight with the Arabs in the War of Independence and a lot of the survivors have been died.

This war has a lot of consequences. One of them is that whole Jewish nation has been destroyed by the Nazis and Adolf Hitler and a little peace of them survives. The Nazis destroyed 6 million of Jews! This is the number of Jews that exists now in Israel.

Creative Part



The holocaust was an event that never will be forgotten in the Jewish history. The Second World War was ended in 1945 but, the Anti Semitism and the pogroms against the Jewish nation continue, even in the 21 st century. This work was very educational for me. I knew a lot of things about the holocaust but in this project I delve into the root of the holocaust and obtain intensive knowledge.

This event perpetuate in Israel and even in the whole world. The date of the perpetuate is a Jewish date is the 27 of Nissan (seventh month in Hebrew calendar). In this day the Jewish television screens different movies about the holocaust.

The most famous is: The Pianist, Schindler's List, Janusz Korczak films (about orphan kids that he takes care of them) and The Diary of Anne Frank. All those movies express the most painful side in the holocaust, but in the same time so real and important to know.

The holocaust was so powerful event to the Jewish nation and to the whole world. Therefore, we need to remember and not to forget. This whole work exposes me to the real things that happened in the holocaust and even more than I expected to.

How to do the project?

What will the project look like when it is finished?

The project will include ALL of the following elements: attractive cover page

2.a table of contents introduction (about a page) which will include, why you chose the topic you chose, and WHAT ARE THE QUESTIONS THAT YOU PLAN TO ANSWER IN THE PAPER

4.the main body of the project - which will essentially be the answers to the questions presented in the introduction. (3-5 pages - based on at least 4 sources for 5 pointers, and 3 sources for 4 pointers)

5.Conclusions/Reflection (about ½ - 1 page)

6.A Bibliography. (a list of the sources you used for your paper)

7.An Appendix, which will include:

8.photocopies/printouts of all the sources used for the paper. You must show that you have read the sources, by using highlighting, margin notes, and a list of main points of each source

9.the rough drafts of the introduction, body, conclusions, and (where relevant) the creative section

10.the log and checklist

Students will make a short oral presentation about their projects to the class. (More on this later).




1938 Interior of Berlin synagogue after Kristallnacht.jpg

Interior of Berlin synagogue after Kristallnacht 1938‎


Death marche of Dachau champ


Crematoriums in Majdanek


Extermination Camp

Where was god in the holocaust?


The holocaust

Extermination camp- **Translated to English from Hebrew

Anti- Semitism**Translated to English from Hebrew

Anti- Semitism**Translated to English from Hebrew

The Holocaust **Translated to English from Hebrew

slaughter pits