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Hitler wrote a book detailing exactly what he would do if he ever gained power. It included targeting certain populations for forced removal and extermination. The book was, "Mein Kampf". He was in prison at the time it was written. The reason for targeting a race of people, psychologically, was to unite the German people against a common enemy within.

Once he gained power, the rest of the world never thought he would do the things he stated in the book, and pretty much considered them the ravings of an imprisoned lunatic. Hitler was voted into power. Even the people of Austria found his promises alluring. They voted to be annexed by Germany.

While Hitler was socializing and taking over every aspect of the economy, industry, and education, he did cause some improvements for the people. They raved about him, as he sold them the Volkswagen for less than it cost to make--"a car in every home". All the changes were "creeping". People lost their freedom gradually, through small changes. Then, they had no power to stop things once the full effect took hold.

Once war was declared, and while his full plan was being put into effect with "the Final Solution", many of the occupied countries collaborated with the removal of the Jews. When, rumors did escape from inside these countries, many people did not believe it was really happening. It was too unbelievable. When the Red Cross, and other people (inclusive of dignitaries, ambassadors, and press) actually went abroad to investigate the claims, they were shown camps such as DACHAU, which was not for extermination, but to hold political prisoners. It was Propaganda at its best. Photos and tours "showed how well the prisoners were being treated", which prolonged the time before it was actually realized that the Germans were exterminating the Jews. The full horror of the Holocaust was not realized until after Germany fell. I hope this answers the question you asked. How did it happen...? People just didn't realize what was going on, until it was too late.

History books bear this out. I actually was told by my great grandfather, who was a German Jew. He said that no one believed that someone would annihilate an entire race or population of people--and that is how it was gotten away with for so long.

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In WWII many people opposed the Holocaust, or 'Shoah' in a variety of ways, some openly and some very subtlety. While the world community was outraged from early in the 30s at the speeches and legal actions of Hitler and his regime, much of the full extent of the atrocities only began to unfold by 1941-5, and the general public could not be absolutely certain of the degree of the atrocities until the camps were liberated. This however was not true for larger organizations that had knowledge, but did not make it fully public such as the Vatican, the US Government, other Governments, and corporations doing business in Germany and Poland, and watchdog organizations such as the Red Cross, and Human Rights groups and groups which later became the WCO, or World Church Organization.

As the deportations, arrests and imprisonments, torture and killings began to leak out, certain groups in the West, such as World Jewish Congress and other Jewish political and benevolence organizations began to implore organizations such as the US Congress and the Vatican and other world governments for aid to the suffering Jews of Germany, Poland and Europe, and sent relief as often as possible, concurrently lobbying for safe passage and refuge/asylum for Jews fleeing Hitler's persecutions.

A number of groups within Germany and Poland and other countries arose protesting Hitler's actions, including student groups such as the White Rose [Weisse Rose] which lobbied against the T4 Euthanasia program, the Edelweiss Pirates which sought refuge for dissenters, and a number of underground groups, often of sympathetic Christians in Germany, Poland, France, and Amsterdam. Many of the resistance hid Jews seeking refuge in their homes or on farms, until safe passage could be obtained to neutral countries. Most know the stories of Oskar Schindler who employed /purchased Jewish slave labor for the purpose of keeping almost 1500 alive near Brinlitz, or of Corrie Ten Boom whose family was imprisoned for hiding Jewish refugees in the Dutch Resistance. The Huguenots in LeChambon rescued about 5000 children.

The French underground aided in rescue efforts, as did many unnamed persons. Most who stood up against Hitler though did it in subtle ways by letters of opposition, or legislative efforts, although these were largely ineffective. The Vatican, who opposed Hitler on issues of race, nonetheless cooperated with the Reich, publicly starting with the 1933 concordat, but added amends in "With Burning Concern" [Mit Brennender Sorge], a papal edict of slight admonishment. Catholic clergy both helped and hindered Hitler, some active in rescue efforts and vocal about Hitlerian policies, and others throwing gala celebrations for him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Niemoller, and Karl Barth openly defied Hitler over the airways, and actively raising support and starting their own seminaries in order to counter Hitler's takeover of the Church in Germany. They lobbied against the requirement of an oath of loyalty to Hitler and the Nazis in the Deutsche Christen, or the German Christian Church, the nazified version of the church under the censorship and ideological restraint of the Reich. The 'Barmen Decree" authored by Barth in exile declared that there was no Lord but Christ, and that the State had no headship in the church. Bonhoeffer was arrested and died in the last days of the war.

The US chaired a conference to seek refuge for the Jews worldwide, but little came of it as only Costa Rico and Singapore accepted Jews needed asylum, and the US did little more than receive just over 900 at Oswego NY, while turning away hundreds more as the ship the St. Louis attempted to gain harbor in the US from Havana, but was turned back to Europe where most of its passengers were killed.

A few Jewish groups opposed the Holocaust by overt means such as the Bielski Brothers who hid the weak, the elderly, the infirm and the young in the forests. Some resistors blew up railroad tracks keeping prisoners from arriving steadily at camps. The ZOB in the Warsaw Ghetto, a conglomeration of youth groups fought off the Nazis for three weeks in the Ghetto, until arrest, imprisonment and death for all but a few. The Haganah, a group of Jewish young people aided escape through an underground 'railroad' into Israel [then called Palestine]. Sonderkommandos at Auschwitz blew up one major Krema, slowing down deaths, although most met theirs due to their efforts.

The trouble with opposition during the Holocaust, is that the National Socialists Nazis had no boundaries, so unless one was willing to lose their lives in the process of opposition, little could be done. Even standing up and speaking freely, or painting 'Freedom' on the walls leading into the University of Munich, meant death for several students and a professor, Hans and Sophie Scholl, Chris Probst and Prof. Huber. The lack of opposition came from internal fear of violence and retribution, and nationally, it came from fear of a World War, which did indeed take place.

By the end of the War, when the world realized how many had been killed and tortured, and what had occurred in the Lagers, or Concentration camps, many wished they had done more while they still could. While hindsight is 20/20, if more had stood up in Germany and out in the early 30's, and refused to allow the consolidation of power of the chancellorship and presidency, far less lives might have been lost. In the end, even the Wehrmacht was decrying Hitler for ruining not only the Jews but all of Germany and the world as well.


One needs to distinguish between the actual Holocaust (1941-45) and the earlier period of persecution and isolation (1933-40/41). For example, much of the protest by Evangelical church leaders named above dates from the period before 1939. Bonhoeffer continued to resist actively, but as far as I'm aware the Confessing Church never, as a body, condemned the Holocaust.

Moreover, one really needs some definition of opposition and resistance. Usually, a resistance movement implies a popular support base, such as the French resistence had. In Germany, this kind of resistance movement was simply a practical impossibility. So, within Germany resistance meant something different.

The Confessing Church did indeed condemn the shoah, though not as much as some would hope. In terms of the 'shoah' the actual 'holocaust' did begin in the early days. The first Concentration camps, e.g. Flossenberg, Buchenwald, Dachau, were already being built as early as 1933. (See The shoah is the preferable term since it does not only refer to the burning of bodies in the krema, but the deaths and persecutions of all kinds. The distinction between pre- and during is rather artificial; it is best to see it as the same dynamic escalating. The resistance of Bonhoeffer and others continued until their seminaries were closed and ransacked, and even then Bonhoeffer made British broadcasts condemning Hitler till his arrest. Neimoller continued to write and Barth continued in Switzerland: however it became dangerous to people still in Germany which is why some was toned down.

There was a firm, clandestine German resistance. Brave folks, who deserve all the accolades in the world: oppostion vs resistance is nitpicking.


Please have a look at the first two paragraphs of English Wikipedia article on the Holocaust. There you see that the term the Holocaust is generally taken to mean the Nazi genocide of the Jews, but that there is a debate as to whether or not other groups persecuted by the Nazis should be included. Please also look at the first four paragraphs of the German Wikipedia article, too. The latter states much more emphatically that the word applies specifically to the genocide of the Jews. (Obviously, I'm aware that Wikipedia has its problems, but both these articles give references, and the point cannot simply be brushed aside).

As for the Confessing Church, did it ever as a body, condemn the genocide of the Jews? If so, when and where?

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Q: Why was there so little opposition to the Holocaust?
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Why is the Holocaust recalled with such horror?

The Holocaust was so shocking because Hitler and his Nazis shouldn't have done that to Jews. Jew's are the same as other religions and beliefs. It was also so shocking because of how many Jews they killed on a daily basis, it's like they lived for killing them. The final reason it was so shocking is because of how many people now-a-days think that the Holocaust was made up, which brought the topic of it up and it was more and more shocking everytime, there is living, breathing, and historic places to show you that the Holocaust actually happened. That's why the Holocaust was so shocking.

Who took the pictures from the Holocaust?

The Holocaust was the Nazi regime's shameful 'secret', and photography was forbidden in the camps and ghettos. However, some SS men did take a few photos, and there were a few carefully chosen 'official' photos of what the Nazis called 'Resettlement in Eastern Europe'. In the Lodz Ghetto, the head of the Jewish Council had a kind of photographic record kept, but this was most unusual. Many of the negatives have survived.

Are bystanders as guilty as perpetrators in the Holocaust and four reasons why?

Considering most of the world were bystanders to the Holocaust, this would excuse the actions of those who perpetrated the Holocaust and those who enabled it. So no, you cannot say that they were.

Did the holocaust and slavery kill the same amount of people?

There was a lot of slavery in the Holocaust. But slavery has been around for thousands of years and it is still ongoing, so it depends uopn how you which to count.

What did relocation mean during the Holocaust?

well to "relocate" is to move some where else, and during the holocaust they had starvation camps and such so most likely they would be sent to a different camp

Related questions

Why was their so little opposition from Jews in the Holocaust?

because they were going to be killed either way. Because they were being opressed. Their willpower was being taken away from them, and German sodiers patrolled the streets. They were being threatened, and every night friends and family were being taken away from them. They were afraid.

What was reaction of US military toward holocaust?

Disgusted, obviously! This is their opposition that is doing these horrid things to their people!

What role did Nuremberg laws have in the Holocaust?

very little, they were a precursor to the Holocaust.

What is todays equivalent to the Holocaust?

The equivalence of the Holocaust in today's society is that their are still little mini holocaust but they're mostly known as silent holocausts, which is in countries like Iraq and Israel, so middle eastern countries

Why did the US do so little to rescue victims of the Holocaust?

The US had no responsibilities in the Holocaust, it was an event which occurred in Europe and Asia, perpetrated by other nations against people who were not US citizens.

Why was Hitler so mean during the Holocaust?

He was a squalid, nasty, hate-filled, petty-minded little man.

How was holocaust connected to the birth of Israel?

Jewish refugees and many survivors of the Holocaust sought their own homeland and returned to Palestine. They formed the country of Israel in 1948 and have fought opposition from the Arab countries ever since.

What is a sentence using opposition?

The opposition is fierce, so we must persevere.

What was the food like in the holocaust?

There was little food for the Jews. But they were fed.

When touching the thumb to the little finger of the same hand is called?


What did qin face little opposition during most of his time?

the current was fake

Are there any programs for the holocaust?

Not really, little was written down and especially not specifics.