EARLY TARGETS of nazi persecution

The Early Targets

The first concentration camp in Germany opened in Dachau in 1933, at a time when the Nazi government was still consolidating its power. Accordingly, it focused on political prisoners—communists, social democrats, and dissidents who posed a threat to the new regime and were unpopular with most other Germans.

Soon Nazi authorities and the police began to consign members of other groups to the new camps: homosexual men arrested as criminal offenders; Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused to obey demands to cease their activities; women accused of prostitution; people labeled “asocial” because they were homeless, begged, or for some other reason did not fit into Nazi society.

In 1936, in preparation for the Olympic Games in Berlin, German police “cleaned up” the city, arresting people deemed inappropriate—prostitutes, street people, petty thieves—and forcing hundreds of Gypsies (Sinti and Roma) into makeshift camps.

All of these early victims were easy targets, people whom other Germans did little or nothing to protect, and whose disappearance from the public scene they often welcomed.

Nazis Increase Power and Targeted Populations

Mass attacks on Nazi targets that included widely respected members of German society did not start until 1938, five years after Hitler was named chancellor. By then Nazis had firm control of all the instruments of state power—the police, courts, laws, civil service, military and press—so they could afford to be less cautious.

The “Euthanasia” Program

During the following year, 1939, Nazi authorities began deadly attacks on one of their major targets: people considered handicapped. Rather than sending them to concentration camps where they would have to be housed and fed along with people who were being held and then sometimes released, disabled people were taken from hospitals and other institutions and sent to designated locations for “special treatment.” That “special treatment” was killing. In just a few years, with the cooperation of scores of doctors, social workers, hospital administrators, and others, Nazi officials organized and carried out the murder of at least 70,000 Germans deemed “unfit for life.” To the extent possible, the authorities tried to hide these killings from the rest of the population, so that family members would not protest.
http://www.pbs.org/auschwitz/40-45/background/ideology.html

All of these early victims were easy targets, people whom other Germans did little or nothing to protect, and whose disappearance from the public scene they often welcomed.
http://www.pbs.org/auschwitz/40-45/background/ideology.html

“Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure!”
from the first leaflet of the “White Rose.” The White Rose began distributing anti-government leaflets in mid 1942 protesting against the brutality and evil of the nazi government, and against the extermination of the Jews, which was beginning to become known to more and more people at this time.
http://www.jlrweb.com/whiterose/leafoneeng.html

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