Thesis Paper Example on Holocaust Ghettos
Holocaust ghettos were special confinement areas built in the late 1930’s, specifically meant for housing European Jews as they were tortured. Writer Tim Cole explains that on September 21st, 1939, Reinhard Heydrich, head of Nazi Security Police recommended the establishment and placement of Holocaust ghettos near railroads in order to facilitate the transportation of the Jews. The Holocaust ghettos are said to have been first built in Poland in November 1939 after the Nazis invaded Poland. The Polish Jews thus became the first of all European Jews to be confined in these ghettos.
At first, the confined Jews, although denied freedom of movement, were allowed to leave the confinement areas only during the day and under special reasons and when out, they would still be imposed strict curfews. This however did not last for very long. Later on, the privilege of leaving the ghetto was completely scrapped off and the confinement was permanently closed with no person being allowed to leave under any circumstance.
The closing down consisted of tall brick walls being erected, topped with barbed wire all in a bid to ensure no ‘prisoner’ escaped. Anyone caught leaving or trying to leave the confinement was shot dead. Upon closing, conditions inside the holocaust ghettos became unbearable. Firstly, the living conditions became too crowded, with ten to thirty people being forced to share a single room. The major problem inside the ghettos however was the lack of clean piped water for drinking and to make matters worse there was no sewer system. This inevitably led to unsanitary conditions that sparked a serious outbreak of typhoid. At that time, typhoid was a number one killer disease and considering the confined Jews lacked proper treatment, many succumbed to the disease.
Inside the Holocaust ghettos, the Nazis appointed a Jew community leader called a Judenrat, who was tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the Jews inside the ghetto received a fair share of food, medication and water. However, this leadership post came with its fair share of dreaded responsibilities such as choosing which Jewish persons were to be deported to extermination next, a decision which went against all moral disciplines of the Jews.
Many survivors from the holocaust ghettos have narrated their painful ordeal of their so called livelihood inside the brick walls. Whenever Nazi power established a ghetto, death became a given for the trapped Jews, as survival in the ghettos inevitably became more likely than death by disease, starvation or shootings.