Posts Tagged : WWII

Civilian Massacre during WWII

On August 20th, 2013, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor at the time, visited the Dachau concentration camp, marking the first visit of a concentration camp by a German leader. There, she offered flowers and bowed to the victims of the Second World War. This was her sincere apology to the Jewish people for the ethnic cleansing of German Nazism and the unforgivable cruelty of the Nazis.

During World War II, German Nazis confined 6 million Jews into concentration camps and slaughtered them in order to create justification for their power. In the camps and during transportation, many innocent people, including children and the disabled, were killed in inhumane ways, such as amputation of their sexual organs. Moreover, nearly 3000 people were murdered in gas chambers daily for human experimentation.

These kinds of civilian massacres do not apply only to German Nazism, however. Japan’s imperialists, also mainly responsible for World War II, performed similar acts that could be referred to as the “Asian Holocaust.” Though it is not as widely known as the German Holocaust, Japanese militarists also brutally exterminated many civilians in Asian countries. As an act of revenge against Koreans who opposed Japan’s colonization through the March 1st Movement, the Japanese government massacred people in Jeamri, indiscriminately slaughtering numerous Korean civilians. Japan’s Unit 731 conducted medical experiments on more than three thousand Asians. During the comparably well-known ‘Rape of Nanking,’ Japanese troops massacred and raped thousands of civilians in Nanking, China. As these examples show, damages caused by Japanese imperialism were devastating.

References

GSBC. (2013, March 13). Forgive but Never Forget – at Jeamni 3.1 Independence Movement Memorial Hall. In Gyeonggi Small Business Center. Retrieved from http://en.gsbc.or.kr/category/sub3/sub3_2_view.asp?sn=152

Furtado, P. (2012). 1001 Days That Shaped the World. New York, NY: Barrons Educational Series.

Rosenberg, J. Auschwitz Concentration and Death Camp. In About.com. Retrieved from http://history1900s.about.com/od/holocaust/a/auschwitz.htm

Untied States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2013, June 10). Einsatzgruppen (Mobile Killing Units). In Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005130

Einsatzgruppen

Einsatzgruppen, the Nazi’s paramilitary death squads, played a major role in the Holocaust that killed more than 6 million Jews. Einsatzgruppen means “deployment groups” in German, and it was the unit comprised of the German SS (Schutzstaffel; protection squadrons) and police squads. They undertook assignments to murder ethnical enemies, such as Jews, and political enemy forces in German-occupied territories. The “Final Solution,” the Nazi’s attempt to kill all the Jews in Europe, was the pretext for these massacres. Germans killed all those who defied them – not only Jews but also gypsies, Russians, disabled and the mentally insane in hospitals.

The Einsatzgruppen massacred civilians in extreme and brutal ways. When Germany invaded Russia in June, 1941, they mobilized the local police to shoot all the civilians who lived in the occupied areas. Einsatzgruppen’s way of decimating the Jews was different from the Nazi’s in that they went to their homes to murder them on the spot, instead of transporting them to concentration camps. Targets of murder gradually expanded, from mostly Jewish men in the beginning to all Jews regardless of age and gender, even children and women. As the number of their targets increased, Einsatzgruppen realized the inefficiency of shooting and began to use poisonous gas for mass murder. They killed millions of Jews by putting them in gas trucks and suffocating them to death with carbon monoxide gas. Furthermore, they forced the victims into buildings and then burned or exploded the buildings as another way of mass killing. This case is similar to the Japanese imperialists’ “Jeamri Massacre” which occurred during similar time frame.

References

Untied States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2013, June 10). Einsatzgruppen (Mobile Killing Units). In Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005130

Zen, E., & Lewis, Ken. (1998, April 17). The Einsatzgruppen. In The Nizkor Project. Retrieved from http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/orgs/german/einsatzgruppen/esg/

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

The Auschwitz is the most widely known concentration camp of the Holocaust. It is the symbol of the Nazi’s imprisonment and murder of the Jews. The Nazis built nearly 20,000 concentration camps from 1933 to 1945, and when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, they started building concentration camps in Polish territory in order to put prisoners to work. The Auschwitz concentration camp, built as a labor camp, kept millions of Jews and even Poles and Soviets who weren’t Jews. In such poor working conditions, many died horrible deaths from overwork and sunstroke.

Starting in September, 1941, the Germans began their first mass murder of the prisoners of Auschwitz concentration camp. The Nazis used gas chambers full of poisonous gas as a way to exterminate the elderly, women, and children who weren’t capable of manual labor. Gas chambers were built in similar structures to shower rooms. Ordering the victims into the gas chambers, the Nazis told them to take off their clothes under the pretense that they were going to take a shower – and then pumped the chambers full of Zyklon B, a deadly gas. About 2000 Jews were murdered in this way every day, and those killed were cremated in furnaces. Historical evidence that the Nazis used Jews’ hairs to make blankets and carpets clearly displays their extreme brutality. The amount of hair left in furnaces after the incineration of bodies weighed more than 7 tons. Some Jews were killed not by forced labor or mass murder but due to medical experiments.

Prisoners who spent day after day in brutal Nazi concentration camps were finally liberated when the Red Army of the USSR invaded Poland. According to an article that was released during the 60th Anniversary of Auschwitz\’s Liberation, the death toll of Jews was estimated in the millions. Of the 150,000 non-Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz, over half died.

References

Rosenberg, J. Auschwitz Concentration and Death Camp. In About.com. Retrieved from http://history1900s.about.com/od/holocaust/a/auschwitz.htm

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2013, June 10). Nazi Camps. In Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005144

Maruta Experiments

During World War II, Nazi doctors performed human experiments on Jews, such as injecting poisons in their bodies or removing their sexual organs. Likewise, the Japan also performed barbarous experiments on Asian prisoners of war.

During World War II, Unit 731 used prisoners captured in China, Russia, Korea and Mongol as guinea pigs to develop bacteriological weapons. These prisoners were called “Maruta,” meaning “logs” in Japanese, revealing Japanese sentiments that such prisoners were not even human.

The various types of experiments performed by Unit 731 were shocking. Experiments and dissections on “marutas” were done without anesthesia to increase the precision of experiments. Such experiments included cutting off parts of the human body and attaching it elsewhere or cutting pregnant women’s stomachs open and removing the undeveloped fetuses. In addition, human experiments to build weapons such as bacteriological weapons were common – they would inject germs “for vaccination” in the subjects’ bodies, or simply peg them down to burn them with a flamethrower. Approximately 600 Asian men and women fell victim to these inhumane crimes, and it was confirmed that at least 3000 “marutas” were killed during the Second World War.

References

McNaught, A. (2002, February 3). Unit 731: Japan’s biological force. BBC News World Edition. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/correspondent/1796044.stm

Mitchell, J. (2013, June 3).  Code Name: Maruta – The Horrors of Unit 731. In What Culture. Retrieved from http://whatculture.com/history/code-name-maruta-the-horrors-of-unit-731.php

Nanking Massacre (1937-1938)

During World War II, Nazis indiscriminatingly massacred tens of thousands of non-Jewish Europeans. Similarly, victims of Japan’s mass murder were not limited to citizens of Korea.

The Nanking Massacre, the murder of more than 300,000 Chinese civilians during the Japanese invasion of China, is considered one of the worst events committed by Japan during the 20th century. It occurred during the six weeks, from December 1937 to January 1938. In order to threaten China, the Japanese army invaded Nanking without notice and immediately began performing cruel acts on civilians. Japanese soldiers tossed infants and young children into the air and pierced them with spears as they fell to the ground. This was considered as “sport” and enjoyed by many soldiers. Up to 80,000 Chinese women of all ages were raped. Soldiers also forced incest among family members before killing them. Japanese acts of cruelty during the Nanking massacre were beyond imagination.

The key figures of the Nanking Massacre were hung after World War II, but no additional reparations or apologies were made to the Chinese government. China has consistently demanded formal apologies from the Japanese government, but Japan has yet to acknowledge its past and has even denied the Nanking Massacre on national TV networks such as NHK.

References

Choo, J. (2014, February 6). ‘Nanjing Dae hak sal Bu jeong ha neun Il bon’ …. Joong guk Jeon Bang Oui Dae Eung [‘Japan denying the Rape of Nanking’ …. China takes action]. The Asia Today. Retrieved from http://www.asiatoday.co.kr/view.php?key=935451

Furtado, P. (2012). 1001 Days That Shaped the World. New York, NY: Barrons Educational Series.

Jung, J. (1999). It chu jin Holocaust [Forgotten Holocaust]. [Review of the book The Rape of Nanking, by I. Chang]. Saenggak –eh Namu [Tree of Thinking]. Retrieved from http://www.dbpia.co.kr/Article/402915

Nam, J. (2012). Joong guk sa Digest 100 [The Chinese History Digest 100]. Seoul: Garam.