Daily Life during the Holocaust

Daily Life during the Holocaust

Daily Life during the Holocaust

Daily Life during the Holocaust


The Holocaust was a complex and horrifying experience that affected millions of people in Europe. The nearly 13 years of Nazi rule had an enormous influence on the day-to-day existence of people in every walk of life: Jews and non-Jews, perpetrators and rescuers, collaborators and resisters, officials and ordinary citizens. Nearly all of Europe's Jews were victims. Students, teachers, and interested readers can explore how the daily lives of these victims, despite their heroic efforts to survive and maintain a normal existence, became increasingly untenable and for most eventually ended in death. Along with the often harrowing details of life under the Nazis, emphasis is placed on uplifting accounts of resistance and the role of rescuers.


Daily Life During the Holocaust recalls a period unlike any other in history. Mass murder, torture, and incredible suffering have occurred throughout history but never before has an entire state apparatus carefully planned, enthusiastically endorsed, and willingly participated in the deaths of millions of Jews and others deemed unworthy of life.

In 1942, to commemorate this feat for posterity, Adolf Hitler ordered the creation of a Central Jewish Museum in Prague to display thousands of Jewish artifacts--Torah scrolls, Kiddush cups, violins, pianos, wedding rings--of the soon-to-be "Extinct Race." Jewish curators, wearing their yellow stars of David, worked day and night to sort and label the items arriving daily from occupied lands even as they themselves were being regularly dispatched to their deaths in the concentration camps.

Had the museum opened, the exhibition would have included the scrapbook of one Walter Bernhard, an SS (Schutzstaffel) officer, entitled "Memories from Auschwitz." The scrapbook contained 260 photographs, documenting in meticulous detail the process by which countless numbers of innocent men, women, and children were put to death.

Detailed consideration has been given to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist Party's rise to power, demonstrating the horrifying consequences of a government with no checks and balances. In total control of every aspect of life, the Nazi government operated with terror, brutality, and violence, making it both feared and respected by the German people.

To portray this dark world, we turned to the journals, diaries, photos . . .

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