Summary of the articles
Article 1: Heinrich Himmler Speech to the SS
This article is a speech presentation by Heinrich Himmler, an army leader and a commander of the Schetzstaffel also known as the “SS” group of Nazi Germany. This particular speech was a motivational talk made to the members of the group to empower them for future preparations concerning their activities towards the implementation of what they called the “final solution of the Jewish question” (Reilly 943).
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The main theme of the entire speech made by SS in which we shall be analyzing in this section of the paper is about this group’s mission and strategies towards the implementation of orders handed to them by their chief commander, Hitler which expressly required the total destruction of the Jewish community living in the country.
According to this speech it is clear that the SS unit were unanimous in their agreement of killing all Jewish as it states that “the Jewish people are going to be annihilated” (Reilly 944).
In a nutshell the main idea that this speech intended to communicate is that extermination of the entire Jewish people should be hastily undertaken and concluded through means which the speech details and describes as historical and necessary if the SS group is to achieve its mark of “integrity” and bring grandeur to them (Reilly 945).
In order to maintain their integrity, the SS group demands that orders must be strictly followed after they have been approved by the commander and in particular addresses the issue of Jewish wealth that they intend to confiscate and acquire in the process of persecuting the Jews.
In this speech the SS commander categorically warns of the consequences of soldiers hoarding wealth confiscated from the Jew by stating the punishment that will be meted out in what would appear to be orders the orders given by Hitler. As a matter of fact, the commander is very specific on this issue as he states in the speech “whoever takes so much as a mark of it for himself is a dead man” (Reilly 945).
In the same speech the commander finishes by justifying the reasons of wanting to have all the Jews annihilated by stating that it is not so much for their wealth but for the fact that the Jews at one time also wanted to have them exterminated.
It is in this regard that we encounter one of the major classic propaganda that Hitler had architecture during this period in order to whip Germans towards hating Jews and therefore supporting his devilish campaign.
In fact during this speech the commander states that accomplishment of this task is a mark of love “towards our people” which is one of the principal duties and responsibilities they can ever achieve and a present to themselves, their relatives, and to their country (Reilly 946).
This is not only propaganda but a clear indication of strategies used by Hitler to brainwash the masses as well by thinking that extermination of Jews is their patriotic duty that will enrich them.
Article 2: Steiner, François Jean. Treblinka
This article describes in detail and depicts the process that was put in place by Hitler implemented by the SS group in the extermination of the Jews, Romans and prisoners. The author describes a series of events which are followed during the killing process in a camp known as Treblinka in Poland; the activities of this particular camp are under the supervision of the commandant Kurt Franz who has been nick-named Lalka (Reilly 956).
First the process starts with people being deported from different places and ferried by trains to this camp of death which Lalka himself has cleverly designed in order to dupe those arriving into thinking that it was an ordinary train station instead of what you will call a human slaughter house and thereby achieve what he describes as “restore a minimum hope” (Reilly 956).
This article gives a detailed account of the actual process that was used in this camp when exterminating people; first, men and women are instructed to enter what was described in the camp as the “production line” (Reilly 957).
The men and women are then separated and they go through each stage one at a time while they get offloaded of their personal belongings and even their clothes. In the fourth and fifth stage for instance there is a sign that requires the people to leave their “trousers and in the fifth his shirt and underwear” (Reilly 957).
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All the processes are meant to reduce the burden of the personal belongings before they can be brutally murdered in cold blood.
The process leading to death as described appears to have been planned in detail with utilization of great “innovations” by commander Lalka, where they are literally hacked off just before they become aware that they are about to die (Reilly 957). After they die they are disposed in another place where the oncoming people would not be able to see them before they too get to face the same fate.
Reading this article I felt a surge of emotions, rage, sadness, pity, fear and disbelief all at once since this article gives a depiction of the actual events that took place during that time.
This was cold blood murder with so much inhumanity even worse than how animals are killed in a slaughter; in fact at some point the victims appears to have already known that death was imminent as captured in this statement by one of the women just before she was killed “a young lady admitted in small brave voice that she was little afraid and wished it were all over” (Reilly, 957).
Comparison of the two documents
It is clear that both articles have a common theme of extermination of the Jews; the first article details the background events orchestrated by Hitler to jumpstart this process while the second article describes the actual events of the holocaust itself. In both articles also, we see how propaganda is used for the purpose of killing the Jews since in both cases lies are used to achieve the intended goals.
The articles are also similar in that they describe a common event of destruction of the Jewish community by the Nazi that was taking place in Germany. Finally, in both articles we can also see that the two commanders Heinrich Himmler and Kurt Franz diligently discharge their responsibilities as instructed by Hitler. Thus, they are acting as representatives of the Hitler administration with a single mandate to destroy the Jewish race.
Contrast between the documents
There is a difference between the two articles in the way they focus on the events that took place in Germany at the time. In the first article, “speech to SS” the focus is on brainwashing the soldiers and advancing Hitler’s propaganda of hate against the Jews while the second article focus is on the actual events of the holocaust that took place.
As such the second article describes the killing process of the victims, how they are deported and actually killed. Another difference is that the first article is entirely focused on Jews alone while the second one describes a range of other communities that were being targeted by Hitler during this time for annihilation such as Romans and prisoners in addition to Jews.
Finally, the first article is a speech directed towards the SS soldiers meant to motivate them and brainwash them while the second article is a general discussion of the annihilation events that were taking place at the time. Conclusion
The two documents describe a common event of persecuting Jews in Germany during the reign of Hitler. Based on the historical accounts of these two articles one is able to gain a better insight into the activities that were taking place in Germany, the central players in those activities and the real planners behind such actions who are Hitler and his commanders.
It is evidently clear that human rights abuses and great loss of life took place and this is certainly the only recorded holocaust that has ever taken place in the world history where it is estimated 6 million Jews perished.
Reilly, Kevin. “Worlds of History, Volume Two: Since 1400: A Comparative Reader.” New York. Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2010. Print.