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Old November 11th, 2012, 01:46 PM   #1

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The Holocaust


Simple question, but not as straightforward as I'd thought:

In what year did it begin?
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Old November 11th, 2012, 02:05 PM   #2

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My purely amateur answer would be that things started hitting the fan when mobs were allowed to attack Jewish businesses etc (ie violence with official approval).

Should it be judged as starting when the organised killing happened?
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Old November 11th, 2012, 02:44 PM   #3

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Quote:
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My purely amateur answer would be that things started hitting the fan when mobs were allowed to attack Jewish businesses etc (ie violence with official approval).

Should it be judged as starting when the organised killing happened?
Well, I'm thinking more in terms of the actual mass killings. You could say that it was being prepared from around 1933, but when and where were the first major executions?
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Old November 11th, 2012, 02:53 PM   #4

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Leni Reifenstahl mention coming across mass executions on the first advance into Poland. They were usually small scale affairs with a few dozen people shot in the town market square and how official and how much due to fanatical nazi soldiers i wouldnt like to say.

Special units of the Waffen SS and other ad hoc groups were assigned to execution groups of Polish leaders as well.

The first mass execution i can find is Czestochowa with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cz%C4%99stochowa_massacre with 1000+ dead.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 03:06 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inc View Post
Well, I'm thinking more in terms of the actual mass killings. You could say that it was being prepared from around 1933, but when and where were the first major executions?
The term "Holocaust" can be defined in different ways. Most people would probably say that the actual mass murder started in the summer of 1941 with the attack on the Soviet Union and the shootings of the Einsatzgruppen behind the front lines. An example of such a shooting is that of Babi Yar, where over 30,000 people were killed on September 29/30, 1941.

Of course, there were murders even before 1941, e.g. during and after the Nazi-organized November pogroms in 1938 or the campaign in Poland in 1939. On the other hand, the Wannsee Conference, another important event in the organization of the mass murder, was held in January 1942.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 03:08 PM   #6

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True but the Wannsee conference was simply a management meeting, the actual killing had been going on for a long time before that.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:01 PM   #7

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Nemowork, Grimald, thanks for those posts, they get to the crux of the matter. On that basis I'm thinking that 1941 could be regarded as a reasonably reliable 'start year' for the Holocaust.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:26 PM   #8

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If it's ok to broaden this question further, I was wondering if anyone had any views as to the ramifications of the Wannsee Conference, as in might the Holocaust death toll be reduced by millions if it hadn't taken place, maybe to the extent that we wouldn't even call it a Holocaust as such?
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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:35 PM   #9

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It might have shaved a few percentage points of the death toll but the point of the Wannsee conference was for middle managers to get together and work out technical standards such as whether they wanted to continue using gas vans or whether Carbon monoxide or Zyklon B was the best method.

The death sentences had already been signed at a higher political level so without Heydrich, eichmann and the others the killing might have been a little less efficient but it was going to happen.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 08:17 PM   #10

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By 1942, the Nazis had constructed 6 major extermination camps. Prior to that, it was more about containment than killing. As Nemowork mentioned, it was going to happen regardless of the Wannsee Conference. The Nazis were experementing with gas (carbon monoxide) as early as 1939 and were perfecting their methods up to the time of the Wannsee Conference through the use of large vans pumping CO into the rear of the vehicle.

Even today there is confusion between extermination camps and concentration camps, the latter being located in Germany as part of forced labor for political enemies.
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