History in the Making

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Holocaust Ghettos

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In Nazi Germany, the Jewish people were forced into segregated areas that would ultimately evolve into “Holocaust ghettos.” Thousands of these ghettos were built across Europe, and within these ghettos Jews were under complete control and forced to follow severe regulations. These ghettos soon became overpopulated, and resources became scarce. By the end of WorldWar II, thousands of Jews had died within the walls of the ghettos. Causes of death ranged from starvation to disease, and even murder. It is evident that as the war progressed, the Nazis began to use the ghettos as a tool in the Final Solution. The ghettos, however, were not initially intended as a stage in the Final Solution; rather, as they evolved, the Nazis began to use them as another tool to solve the Jewish Question. At the start of war, Jews were forced into areas, primarily slums, in order to expel Jews from German communities which created a “Jewish Absence.” The slums usually consisted of older districts that harbored rundown warehouses and buildings; they became a “Jewish Place.” The Jews, under extreme stress, utilized the area by implementing highly organized communities which aided in the adjustment of life within the ghettos. Then, as a means to further control and concentrate the Jews, the Nazis decided to build walls around the cities with the purpose of segregating them from the German population. The walls completely isolated the Jews and contributed to the formation of a Jewish community within the ghettos. The intent of this research will be to examine the Lodz and Warsaw ghettos by focusing on their construction, geography, and transition from a Jewish community into a Holocaust ghetto.