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The Holocaust and the African-American Slaves

This compares and contrasts the many points of the Holocaust and the big slave trade.

As our world progresses on throughout history, major wide problems are bound to show up. Many of them would be remembered and in each, there is a lesson to be learned. The Jews were a targeted victim of a big event called The Holocaust. Masses of people of the Jewish decent were imported to camps. They were overworked and killed by the millions. This made it widely known all around the world. The Holocaust is a unique word and only should be used to describe this genocide for the word “Holocaust” comes from a Greek word meaning “whole burnt”. Slaves were sold and imported by the thousands; also they were worked to the edge of their death, yet, it isn’t known as the Holocaust. The Holocaust should be a unique word describing the doings of Hitler and the Nazis and not just any mass genocide.

Though it seemed that the Jews were helpless and being controlled, some of the Jews went against the Nazis and did very small or big things to resist against them. Some Jews used a form of resistance called unarmed resistance and it was much more common than armed resistance. For example, Jews practiced their own religion in hideouts. (Teacher’s Guide to The Holocaust, 2005) This showed that the Jews were determined to not let the Nazi’s control them in every way and also, it says that the Jews have not completely given up. This was one of the small things that the Jews did to injure the Nazi’s control. Even though it was small and harmed the Nazi’s less than armed resistance, it was still never less more important in the process of resistance. Sabotage was also common; sabotage usually was done to slow down the Nazi’s plans and sometimes communication. Sometimes the Jews that worked in factories would secretly destroy machines and some others would interfere with communication by cutting down telephone lines or destroying power stations. (Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust, 05) This was yet another act to show that the Jews were determined to do whatever they can to bring down Hitler’s reign. These acts proved that the Jews were in fact not helpless and did whatever they could to keep their morals high.

The Jews did many things to resist against the Nazis and some, went further than others. They took the next step in resistance and used more forceful ways that were called armed resistances. This usually contained more violence that unarmed resistance since in armed resistance, most of the time, weapons are used hence the word “armed”. For example, a group of Jews that were captured would sometimes plan a break out and once they escaped, they would find guns they found and fight the Nazis that were following them. (Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust, 05) In Eastern Europe, where most Jews were held, forests and vegetation covered miles of land. Due to that fact, run away Jews would use a tactic called guerilla warfare for fighting. One particular person who went against the Nazis was Mordechai Anielewicz and he did many things such as organizing underground groups and starting armed resistance groups. He also used unarmed resistance by setting up newspapers against the Nazis. Armed resistance was a useful way to resist against the Nazis but obviously, there weren’t much forms of armed resistance other than fighting with weapons.

Slave resistance was much like the Jews in many ways. They both had the same ideas on resistance. In unarmed resistance, slaves also deliberately broke machines to slow down the work process. To go against the slave owners, slaves pretended to be sick or purposely broke their arms or legs to avoid work. (Lucent Books, 98) This was form of unarmed resistance and it shows that the slaves were overworked and were desperate to get out of work so much that they were willing to break their own bodies. Also, the fact that the slaves could get a whipping if they were caught breaking objects only backs up the idea that they were desperate to avoid work.
Armed resistance was also less common in slaves. As always, armed resistance comes with more risks and dangers but one time when armed resistance was used was during Nat Turner’s rebellion in August 22, 1831. (Lucent Books, 98) It was when about when 100 slaves took their weapons and went to white houses killing or seriously injuring anyone inside. 58 white people were killed and most of them being children. With most of them being children, it showed that Nat and his group didn’t care who they killed. That says that killing mostly innocent white people seemed fit for his revenge, which is wrong. The slaves and the Jews had similar ways of resistance since they both were captured by a group and worked almost to their deaths. Their efforts of resistance has certainly put them one step closer to freedom.

Many Jews and slaves were imported and there were way more Jews or slaves than Nazis or slave owners. That means there must be a way of controlling all of them or the major group will get out of control or easily overpower the owners. Millions of Jews were being imported into camps and there were millions of other Jews that lived in cities or towns, the Nazis have found ways to control almost all of them. One way was that some Jews were walled of from non-Jews. (Enslow Publishers, 98) This prevented Jews from getting help escaping or communicating. Absolute control was almost necessary for if one Jew escaped, a lot more would try too and it would be a chain reaction. Another way the Nazis kept control was by having the Jews wear a yellow star on their chest. (Yad Vachem/ Jewish Virtual Library, 09) Along with the star, documents that identify them will also be provided. This was necessary for control and keeping track of every Jew out there. What this says is that the Nazis were really organized and had a really good system of control. Due to the fact that that there were millions of Jews, a good way of control was needed to keep track of such a major group.

Slave control was different compared to the way Jews were controlled. Slaves were treated more like property. The first way of control was using items to control the slaves. Items like chains, yokes, iron-handcuffs, shackles, thumbscrews and mouth openers all kept the slaves obedient and under control. (Garrard Publishing Company, 72) Chains and yokes were used when transporting slaves from one location to another. Iron- cuffs and shackles prevented the slaves from running away and thumbscrews and mouth openers were used for torture if a slave did something bad. Physical control wasn’t the only way of control for slaves; mental thoughts put fear in the slaves and made them obedient. (Coral Gables, 09) Slaves feared that they would be beaten to death if they did something wrong so they usually did what they were told and not anything else. Whips were commonly used to place pain and fear in slaves. The Nazis and the slave owners had slightly different ways of control but both of their ways got the job done.

Control between the Jews and the Nazis were different and similar due to the oppressor’s goal. For example Hitler wanted to kill all the Jews so there was no need to keep them in good health or feed them enough to keep them alive.

There were many laws made to restrict the groups and keep them from doing things that the oppressors would otherwise think are illegitimate. The Nazis has made many laws that restricted many freedoms that the Jews once had. A group of laws in particular was called the Nuremburg Laws. (Anti-Defamation League, 09) These laws severely limited the freedom of the Jews and these laws could be compared to the rights that the African American had before they earned their rights. For example, a law that is called “Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor,” it made marriage between Germans and Jews unlawful. It also stated that the Jewish cannot display colors of Germany and a Jew cannot be a citizen on Germany. These laws were somewhat similar to what the African American had to abide by. Another way that Jews were treated unjustly was that the Nuremburg Laws stated that anyone who had 3 or 4 grandparents of the Jewish religion was a Jew. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 09) This law was really unjust due to the fact that some people weren’t Jews and they were arrested any ways. This showed that the Nazis were researching almost everybody even if they are a Jew or not and that Hitler was determined to exterminate all the Jews. These were some of the laws that made it possible so that Jews could be persecuted and there were many more laws out there that Hitler made just for the sole purpose of exterminating the Jews.

Slaves were limited many of their rights by certain laws that the U.S have passed. One law that was passed was called the Fugitive Slave Acts. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 09) This law was made in 1793 and later amended in 1850. It was later repealed in 1864. This law allowed the capture of runaway slaves and the return of the slave to the owner. Later in 1850 the Southerners decided that the former law was not strict enough and amended the law so that slaves could not demand a trial. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 09) This says that the U.S government in some way supported slavery because as much as the Northerners are protesting against slavery, the government is going with the South and making more laws to limit slave rights such as slave codes. Many laws were made that limited slave rights as the U.S government labeled them as property.

The laws passed for the Jews and the slaves were similar in many ways. Almost all the laws were made for a main purpose and that purpose was to limit and control the rights of the two groups. To gain control over a group, laws had to be made to tell them what to do and what not to do. To control these two groups, the government and Hitler made many laws restricting freedom and rights.

The Holocaust has made an everlasting impact on the world and there have been memorials made in this event. One particular memorial is The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It is located in Washington and was opened on April 1993. Inside the museum are photographs, artifacts, artwork, film and many more items on the Holocaust. As much as 12 million people have visited this memorial and that includes 8.6 non- million Jews. (Publication International, 00) This says that many people cared about the Holocaust and wants to learn more. Especially with 8.6 million non- Jews visiting a memorial that documents on what happened to the Jews a long time ago. The Holocaust has made a big impact on the people of today and people will remember the Holocaust for a long time.

Slavery has made people put out many thoughts about it. Most Northerners protested against slavery and did many things to abolish it. Southerners however went along with slavery since slaves made money for many plantation owners. Northerners started taking action and the first antislavery society was started in 1775. The Quakers had started this society in Philadelphia and by 1788, at least 13 clubs were known to exist. (US History.org/ Independence Hall Association, 09) This showed that many people were determined to abolish slavery. Slavery was a horrible thing and will be remembered by people and looked on with shame.

The human impacts of these two groups were different in some ways. Slavery could have been controlled and stopped any moment if the government or the people wanted it stopped but the Jews and the Nazis couldn’t have been stopped. The Nazis took over and we had to fight for the Jew’s freedom. It is arguable that the outcome of slavery could have been controllable but the Nazis reign couldn’t.

The times of the Nazis and slavery are over but there is a lesson to be learned from these two groups. In the future we have to learn from these groups and try to prevent it from happening again. The Holocaust was in fact in some ways different than the slaves and that is why Holocaust should be a unique name and only used for one purpose and that is to describe the doings of the Nazis. Many people now have learned that the Holocaust belongs to an event during World War 2 and to change it now to mean a different thing would just be pointless. If we keep the meaning of the Holocaust the same as it is, children generations from now will learn it as the doings of Nazis and not as a general thing such as the mass genocide of a certain group.

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