Period 9 Time of world wars

The German occupation and persecution of jews

Why do you think we're celebrating on May 5th? We were liberated from the Germans that day. It's history by now, but it's too important to forget.

The Jewish Anne Frank was born in Germany in 1929. She is an important person in Dutch history. Shortly after Anne's birth, the Frank family discovered that life for German Jews was becoming increasingly unbearable during this period. The Germans wanted an explanation and a solution to their financial problems. The Jews were blamed.

The Jews had only relatively recently been given many rights that they never had before. A few centuries ago, all the Jews lived in isolation from the rest of the population. They lived in ghettos. They were not allowed to practice many professions and were not allowed to call themselves citizens. Thanks to various emancipation movements, the Jews were eventually recognized as citizens and allowed to live among the rest of the population. They were allowed to pursue all the professions they wanted and became very influential. After all these years in seclusion, they went out of their way to take all the opportunities they got. Many Jews studied at university and founded companies that made a lot of profit.

During this period, many Germans thought that the emancipation of the Jews was the cause of the financial crisis. They also thought they could solve the problems by taking back the rights of the Jews. Jews were no longer allowed to go everywhere. Their citizenship was revoked and they were no longer allowed to trade with non-Jews. There were voices to build new ghettos so that they could live in complete isolation. More and more people started hating the Jews. This Hatred of Jews is called anti-Semitism.

This was the reason otto Frank took his family to the Netherlands. They moved to Amsterdam in 1933 and he was able to continue his business here in the Netherlands. They were happy to have been able to flee Germany. Germany had chosen the anti-Semitic Hitler as its leader. Hitler didn't just hate Jews. He also wanted to conquer territory to make Germany bigger. By 1939, the Germans had conquered Poland. Here they opened the first ghetto. Many Jews were removed from their homes and moved to a small, enclosed area of the city.

Abroad, Poland came to the rescue. The United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany. Germany made friends with Italy and Japan. But when they wanted to conquer Norway, they got into a fight with the British. They won this fight and thought they could now conquer the rest of Europe. On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. The Netherlands surrendered when they bombed Rotterdam on 14 May.

Now the Jews were persecuted in the Netherlands as well. The Frank family could no longer flee to safe territory. They had to hide. They hid in the back house, behind the office of Otto Frank's company. However, they were found in 1944 and taken to a concentration camp. Here the Jews were not only imprisoned, but also murdered. Only Father Frank survived.

World War II ended with America's help. They attacked the Germans in France and fought the Japanese. Europe was fairly easy to recapture. The Americans, British and Russians worked well together and were far too strong for the Germans. The Japanese, however, did not win so easily. That's why America tried out a new invention. It was the most terrible invention in history. They threw nukes at Heroshima and Nagasaki. The cities were completely destroyed and Japan surrendered. Peace was signed in 1945.


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