It is inaccurate to suggest that Operation Barbarossa was the peak of Hitler’s cruelty, bearing in mind the treatment of Jews under Nazi rule. The persecution of the Jewish people during the Holocaust conveyed to the world Hitler’s most cruel and evil endeavours when acting against a particular group of people. Although millions of deaths occurred during the German invasion of Russia, which began in 1941 with Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s merciless cruelty was centred around his Anti-Semitic view on Jewish people.
Many believe that Hitler’s strong hatred towards the Jewish people stemmed from his belief that all Jews belonged to an inferior race of people that needed to be exterminated. Others believe Hitler’s yearning desire to create a German Aryan race triggered his need for mass extermination of Jewish people. Regardless of the reasons, 6 million Jews were killed under his command, but those who survived were able to share their stories. Slave labourer and camp survivor, Eugene Black dodged his fate and was able to share his story of how he survived the Holocaust. Although “religion played little part in Eugene’s upbringing” his Jewish blood didn’t allow him to be pardoned from the horrors of Hitler’s treatment of Hungarian or Czechoslovakian Jews. Hitler’s Nazi officers expressed less than a shrivel of humanity when “Eugene was swiftly separated from his mother and sisters, then also from his father”. This cruelty and lack of compassion conveys Hitler’s brutality towards Jewish families. He separated, then tortured and then killed. When Eugene Black “was given his number 55546, and a striped uniform” his identity was stripped from him. Eugene Black’s story has conveyed how Hitler’s cruelty towards Jews was extremely inhumane and unjust in comparison to the German invasion of Russia during 1941. In Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, he expresses his need for a pure German race. He believes it is necessary to exterminate all those that threaten to destroy or dilute the Aryan bloodline. “According to this racial doctrine, Jews were an inferior race that was poisoning Germany and so did not belong in the community”, this suggests Hitler’s desire for mass extermination of all Jews stemmed from his passionate need to achieve a superior German race. When Hitler came to power in 1933, his radical ideas to annihilate all inferior races became a reality for the 6 million Jewish people who perished. Hitler’s obsession with a pure German race as well as first hand accounts of Jews who survived the Holocaust such as Eugene Black, draws a clear decision that Operation Barbarossa cannot compare to the horrors of the mass extermination of Jews during the third Reich.
Hitler’s torture techniques proved to be the most unjustified of any leader in history. He used starvation, medical experiments, overcrowding, gas chambers and forced intense labour in order to bring the same miserable fate to his victims during the Holocaust. Railcars were used to transport millions of Jewish mothers, fathers, children and elders during the second world war. In these railcars, the individuals inside suffered from extremely bad and inhumane conditions. “The stench of urine and excrement added to the humiliation and suffering of the deportees”, this suggests that human beings were fated to use the bathroom publicly in a bucket. The unsanitary and harsh conditions people faced in the railcars often left many deportees dead before they even arrived at their destination. Under Hitler’s orders these horrific events took place in the railcars whereby the Jews were stripped of every shred of humanity left suggesting Hitler’s cruelty transpired through the revolting conditions he allowed in the railcars during WW2. Jewish lives of any age or gender suffered the same fate by Hitler’s hand however some of the more extremely painful methods of torture or death lied in the medical experiments that took place under Hitler’s watchful eye. When twins came into Auschwitz they were immediately taken to laboratories and were tested upon. Josef Mengele was an SS captain who was intrigued by twins Vera and Olga Grossman. “He described her mother’s perfect Aryan features and blue eyes while Vera and her sisters were brown.”.
Thus suggesting that the medical experiments were somehow able to justify the way the Nazis stripped Jewish people of every part of humanity and rights they had as human beings. Vera Grossman survived and was able to tell the world how fearful she was for her life and that she thought gas chambers would have been a better alternative to the excruciating experiments that were done on her and her sister Olga at the tender age of five years old. The way Hitler conducted his transportation of Jews in the dreadful railcars as well as the harsh medical experiments done on Jews unique from others, all proves how Hitler’s immense cruelty lay in his treatment of the people he hated the most, the Jews.
Most people today shudder at the thought of the millions of lives taken during the Holocaust. The most uncomfortable feeling placed on those who study it, is that those Jewish individuals who were destined to suffer the same fate, were treated like inferior numbers. In the days, weeks or months leading to the millions of deaths, the Jewish person was obligated and instructed to wear a yellow star on the clothing allowing all those around them to identify them as Jewish. Children, mothers, fathers and the elderly were among all those Jews who had their basic human rights taken away from them when ordered to wear the yellow star of David. If you were a Jew found not to be wearing the star you would be jailed, tortured or sentenced to death. The Jews had to go through unspeakable humiliation before encountering a merciless death therefore suggesting Hitler’s cruelty reached new heights when dealing with Jewish lives compered to Russians.
Contradictory to popular beliefs that the Jewish people endured Hitler’s cruelty more than any other group during WW2, some historians believe Hitler’s hatred for Russians allowed him to torture and kill many citizens and soldiers during Operation Barbarossa. In August of 1941, well into the operation Stalin voiced his opinion on the German invasion of Russia. Stalin admitted that “a grave danger hangs over our country.”, suggesting that he feared Hitler’s fury when conducting his troops in Russia. Stalin acknowledged Hitler’s successes in “capturing Lithuania” as well as his techniques in “hurling fresh forces into the attack”, showing Hitler’s determination to devastate the Red armies forces through any means necessary. Even though Stalin addresses Hitler’s political aims in invading Russia, he does not express what has been brought to light by many historians, which is Hitler’s personal vendetta towards Russians. Hitler believed Russian people belonged to an inferior race and therefore he had no problem in capturing parts of Russian territory to create more ‘living space’ for his so called ‘superior German race’. An adequate example of Hitlers cruelty was presented in the Nazi policy of mass starvation. The Soviet prisoners of war were the first group of people to witness this awful policy. Many Soviet captives eventually died from starvation. Historians suggests that the Soviet prisoners of war were so desperate they “tried to ease their hunger by eating grass and leaves”. Due to malnutrition and a lack of sanitation or shelter, in October of 1941 “almost 5000 soviets POWs died each day”. Thus conveying Hitler’s undeniable cruelty towards Russian soldiers whose only crime was to defend their country. During Operation Barbarossa in early 1941, Nazi troops bombed Soviet tanks and bases in order to weaken the Red army. Hitler’s German army would spare no lives when invading the Soviet Union (source E). Even though Hitler acted cruelty and used inhumane methods of torture and killing of Russian people, there is no doubt the the Jewish people were Hitler’s largest target and suffered the most under Nazi rule during WW2.
Thus, it is evidently clear that the jewish people suffered far greater during the Holocaust than the Soviets during Operation Barbarossa. Hitler’s hatred towards the jewish people proved his cruelty reached new heights during WW2. Even though some historians believe Hitler acted with the intention to kill millions of Russians during his invasion of Russia, it is clear that the Jews were the main group of people who were persecuted during WW2 due to Hitler’s every-growing Anti-Semitic view.
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