martedì 21 maggio 2013

THE HOLOCAUST AND NUREMBERG TRIALS

La scritta all'ingresso di Auschwitz "Il lavoro rende liberi"
The Holocaust was the persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews.
When Hitler became chancellor in 1933, the German government began passing laws removing the rights of the Jews as citizens.  Ultimately, in German-occupied Europe, the Jews were forced by law to live in specific zones within the cities, called ghettos.  From there, the Nazis deported many Jews to labor camps and death camps. The Nazis targeted other minority groups including, political dissidents, the disabled and those with genetic diseases, the Gypsies, the Poles,  homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In December of 1942, a single Nazi decree ordered Gypsies from all over Europe to be deported to the death camp in Auschwitz; 16,000 were immediately murdered.  These crimes finally stopped when American troops liberated the camps in 1945 and ended the Nazi regime. Many of the survivors were forced to go to Displaced Persons (DP) camps because their homes and families had been destroyed.
It is estimated that 3 million European Jews survived the Holocaust. The survivors can be grouped into three categories: the over 75,000 people who survived the concentration camps; those who lived in hiding or used false identity papers to cover up their Jewish identity; and those who fought in the woods with partisan groups. When the war ended, the largest number of survivors emigrated to Palestine (Israel in 1948), and over 92,000 survivors emigrated to the United States.

Nuremberg Trials
On November 20, 1945, the Nuremberg Trials were held to bring those  Nazis who committed war crimes during the Holocaust to justice.  The Allied countries (Great Britain, the United States, France, and the Soviet Union) charged 24 Nazi officials with war crimes, conspiracy against peace, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity.  Of the accused individuals, twelve defendants were sentenced to death by hanging, seven received prison terms that lasted from ten years to life, and three were acquitted. Those sentenced to death were executed on October 16, 1946.

After the first Nuremberg trial, a dozen other trials were held by the authority of Control Council Law No. 10.  About 185 individuals were indicted in these cases.  Those indicted included doctors who conducted inhumane medical experiments on concentration camp inmates and prisoners of war, industrialists who looted the occupied countries and created forced-labor programs, and judges who committed murder and crimes hiding behind the judicial process.  Although 35 defendants were acquitted, a number of doctors and officials were condemned to death by hanging; at least 120 others were imprisoned.  The significant message of these trials was that justice must always be sought, no matter how much time has gone by.  

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