Holocaust Teacher Resource Center

HOLOCAUST TEACHER RESOURCE CENTER
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Lebensraum: Living Space for the German Race

Page 15

The main reason for the Nazi expansion into its neighboring western countries was built upon the principle of lebensraum. Even though it translates literally to mean only “living space,” lebensraum carried with it the desire for the Nazis to expand into other countries to provide living space for the growing German race.

During this time, the “inferior” races, such as the Jews and Gypsies, who occupied the new Nazi territories, were stripped of their possessions, jobs, and “resettled” in ghettos or concentration camps. This helped break the people’s will, asserted the strong power of the Nazis, and gave direct benefits to the Nazi regime.

When the Nazi Army successfully overtook and conquered the surrounding lands of France, Alsace, and Lorraine, the Reich immediately began its policy of racial restructuring. The German bureaucracy began by issuing orders for Jews in a particular town or city to submit an announcement of their possessions. This property was then gathered and confiscated, and the money was used directly by the bureaucracy.

The Nazis basic intent was to make survival for the Jews more difficult and to create a loss of identity for the Jews. For the most part, the Nazis were successful in accomplishing their two goals as well as devastating the lives of the for letters stating that their jobs no longer existed or that their possessions were to be handed over to the German Reich. The Nazis occupying the towns asserted that the consequence of dissension was severe punishment or death.

As the Jews were stripped of their belongings, they also were stripped of their purpose and their identity. By taking their positions at work, their personal possessions, and their money, the Nazis ensured a supreme hold on the Jewish population that allowed them to expand and exploit the Nazi’s power.

After the possessions of the Jews were taken and sold, the Nazis continued their plans of “resettlement.” During World War II, 70,000 individuals were deported in France and the Alsace-Lorraine region with the help of the French government in power, 3,300 of which were Jews.

Most of the deportees were shipped to concentration camps throughout Europe for slave labor or to be put to death. The Nazis maintained their clear purpose of cleansing Europe of the Jews, Gypsies, criminals, and foreign nationalists, and they carried these goals into the occupied territories for implementation. Through the goals of lebeusraum and “resettlement,” the Nazis tried to restructure the racial content of Europe and deeply scarred the lives of many Jews living in the occupied regions. The Nazis stripped away their lives and their identities in an effort to expand their own race at the expense and exploitation of the Jewish race.