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Persecution of the Jews
After the Anschluss
of Austria on March 13, 1938, nearly 200,000 Jews were added to the Reich.
Hitler's radical racial point of view was combined with a Social Darwinism
that saw the Jew as a source of danger to Germany and humanity, and as
a central factor in the dynamic development of hostile ideological trends
such as democracy, liberalism, and socialism. Even the Christian sources
of ethnic political thinking in Western society were perceived by Hitler
as manifestations of the penetration of the Jewish spirit into western
European civilization. On January 30, 1939, Hitler declared in the Reichstag
that a new world war would lead to the destruction
of the Jewish race in Europe. When the war began in Poland, on September
1, 1939, the Germans launched the destruction of Jews there, although
for a while this was done occasionally rather than methodically.
It was also at about this time that the systematic killing of the mentally
ill with toxic gas was undertaken, on Hitler's orders. The systematic
killing of Jews began after the German invasion of the Soviet Union on
June 22, 1941. According to Hitler's world view and his political strategy,
the goal of the territorial expansion - to gain living space in the east
- and the destruction of the Jewish people as the central ideological
enemy were connected and were the focal point of the whole struggle. The
first slaughters of Jews in the Soviet Union were started in June 1941;
the killing was then extended to include the rest of the Jews of Europe.
On several occasions Hitler reminded the public about his prophecy concerning
the destruction of the Jews, and on April 2, 1945, he boasted that he
had "exterminated the Jews of Germany and central Europe". His
political testament of April 29, 1945, ended with a call for "merciless
resistance to the universal poisoner of all nations - international Jewry."
The following day he committed suicide in his own bunker
The starting place for exploring Holocaust.
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Picture of Hitler with ruins of the Kaiser Gedaechtniskirche in Berlin
courtesy of Nate Kapel.