The Holocaust is one of the most heart-wrenching events in history. It was the brutal, state-sanctioned murder of millions of Jews by Nazis who believed that Germans were “racially superior” than Jews. Other minority groups that were deemed inferior to the Germans were also targeted during the Holocaust, including the gypsies and the disabled, while others were persecuted because of their political and socio-cultural beliefs.
In honor of the 11 million victims of the Holocaust, the world observes the International Day of Remembrance every year on January 27. Now, three scores and twelve years later, there are still a lot of people who remain unaware of the dreadful events that occurred back then.
Here is a compilation of ten facts about the Holocaust. Though some stories are tragic, some depict the courage and tenacity of those who fought and of those who survived.
1. Adolf Hitler offered at least 30 countries, including the United States and Great Britain, to take in Jewish refugees but they said no.
President Franklin Roosevelt called for the Évian Conference in France in 1938 to discuss oppression that Jews were experiencing under Hitler’s regime. Representatives from 32 countries attended the said event.
In response, Hitler said,
“We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals [Jews] at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, they can leave on luxury ships.”
Unfortunately, the assembly failed to arrive at a consensus, hence the Jews remained in Germany. Fortunately, some countries, including the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica opened their doors to Jewish refugees back then.
2. Countless Jews and Christians were massacred during the Holocaust.
Apart from the nearly six million Jews that were killed during the Holocaust, three million Christians who condemned the Nazi state were also murdered. Another estimated five million were killed because the Third Reich found them undesirable due to a multitude of reasons, such as homosexuality, physical or mental illness, and religious beliefs.
3. Hitler wanted to open a “Museum of an Extinct Race” after the war.
As the Nazis raided Germany, they seized the possessions of the Jewish people that they murdered, including literary works and pieces of artworks. As sick as it sounds, Hitler wanted to open a “Museum of an Extinct Race” that will feature the seized Jewish articles, believing that it may still be interesting to learn about Jewish culture long after their race is eradicated.
4. Leica Camera Company saved hundreds of Jews by hiring them for jobs abroad.
The Leica Camera is a German-owned optics enterprise and manufacturing company that hired hundreds of Jews for jobs abroad at the beginning of World War II in an attempt to keep them safe from the killings. Ernst Leitz II, the owner, was not a Jew so he felt safe from the persecution. What he did was work incessantly to help save his associates’ lives. Today, this brave act is known as the Leica Freedom Train.
5. In 1945, President Eisenhower encouraged the media to document the Holocaust as he predicted that one day, people would deny that it happened.
As unbelievable as it may sound, there are groups of people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. Such historical revisionism allegedly originated from the Ku Klux Clan and is considered a crime in at least 17 countries, including Germany.
Two Babies Were Exiled on this Abandoned Island as Part of a Bizarre Experiment
In 1443, King James IV approved a language deprivation experiment involving two babies who were exiled to Scotland’s Inchkeith Island.
The abandoned Inchkeith Island is located in the Firth of Forth, which is the estuary of the River Forth in Scotland. According to historical accounts, people lived on the island intermittently many centuries ago. It also happens to be the location of a strange language deprivation experiment.
In her article on Urban Ghosts, Alice McGurran wrote, "It was an important island, strategically and militarily, and therefore suffered many attacks from the 14th century onward, first during the Scottish Wars of Independence, right through until World War Two."
Inchkeith Island might as well be called "Exile Island."
Mao Zedong’s Sparrow Campaign Caused One of the Worst Environmental Disasters in History
Mao made waves across the world when he established the People’s Republic of China, but did you know that he also caused a huge environmental disaster?
Under Mao Zedong's leadership, China underwent a series of changes to improve and modernize life for its citizens. One of these campaigns had to do with eradicating sparrows because they were eating too much grain. This was called the Four Pests Campaign (or Kill a Sparrow Campaign), which was part of the Great Leap Forward, undertaken between 1958 and 1962. The four pests in the campaign were rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows.
Citizens were given the order to do whatever they could to eradicate the birds. This included beating drums to scare them off from landing, which forced them to fly until they died of exhaustion. People also shot down sparrows and tore down their nests. It also gave people something to do with all their free time. Their goal was to push the birds close to extinction in China.
Sparrows were said to eat too much grain, so the Chinese government wanted them eliminated.
6 Strange Historical Objects that Remain Unsolved up to Now
History and strange artifacts never really did mix well. Mysteries are often left unsolved for several millennia.
The thing with history is that it spans thousands of years and people from our time will never really know the exact things that have happened in the past. Historians can only piece together a story based on the data and facts gathered. Artifacts excavated by archaeologists can only confuse us all the more because of questions brought up.
In fact, there have been so many diggings which have made these researches much more interesting and fun. Several historical objects have been unearthed that historians have yet to explain what these were even made for:
1. Giant stone spheres of Costa Rica
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