Hello In previous lessons, we focused on policy, state, and society at large. Yet today, in our last meeting of the first part of the course, I want us to focus on individuals and human interactions. How did the various Jewish societies react to their situation constantly getting worse? And what were their major concerns? Moreover, if previously we have set wit within the context of Nazi German ideology and local conditions, this session will be dedicated to Jewish experiences, Jewish hopes and fears, understandings, and illusions. Yet, as noble an aspiration of detecting Jewish life during the Holocaust is, we must ask ourselves, isn't it too ambitious. Is it really possible to describe and understand human experiences in such extreme conditions? Can we trace today, decades after the tragic events, what Jews knew, felt, or understood during those terrifying days? And what are the sources that can expose those internal worlds? Well, first and foremost, though not only, Jewish accounts. That is to say, documents written by Jews during the Holocaust or after it ended. Despite radically difficult conditions, Jews throughout Europe wrote quite extensively during the Holocaust. We have official Jewish documents such as protocols or newspapers as well as private ones, diaries, letters, paintings and some unique Jewish photograph collections. There were even a few projects designed during the war for this purpose only-- documentation of Jewish lives. The extent of Jewish writing in the midst of the horror is not only impressive, but also quite exceptional. Moreover, after the Holocaust ended, all over Europe Jews were questioned about their experiences. Tens of thousands of survivor testimonies were collected. And many survivors were writing their memoirs. All of this Jewish documentation served as an important tool for us, historians. Yet, just as any other historical source, Jewish documentation also imposes some challenges and problems. One of the most basic questions asked regarding documents composed immediately after the Holocaust, and even those written during the event itself, is what significance can there be to something written by this or that Jew who knew nothing about the big picture and of the steps planned to be taken against him. Other questions are raised regarding memories of Holocaust survivors, especially those written decades after the events, such as, do they remember correctly. Do they really recall each and every day detail, which occurred 50, 60, 70 years ago? Those are good methodological questions, questions which examine not the historical reality of a given event, but the way we historians use our sources in order to establish it. But before challenging those sources, let's experience their usage. Thus, first we will examine different aspects of Jewish experience by using Jewish sources, as well as German or local ones. Only towards the end of our meeting today, we will return to those methodological questions and assess the value of wartime accounts or later documents written by Jews to our understanding of the Holocaust. Though it took the national regime time to build up the broad variety of means for the physical removal of the Jews from human society-- I mean, mass murder-- the goal of their elimination from the public sphere was rooted very well in Nazi ideology. Marking of the Jews and their segregation were essential steps on the way, although in different places, one came before the other. Stressing Jewish foreigners in the greater German Reich was carried out even before the outbreak of the Second World War. Though in The '30s, German Jews were not physically marked, many still felt very much singled out. In 1938, this feeling was extremely intensified due to the imposition of obligatory Jewish names and the stamping of Jewish documents. Yet German Jews would be forced to wear a yellow Jewish star on their clothes and not only on their souls only in September 1941, a month before their deportations to the east started. As in many other steps taken against the Jews, this policy of physically marking them was implemented in occupied Poland much earlier. Days after the occupation of Lodz, Jews were ordered to mark their businesses with a yellow star. Later on, Jews in the annexed areas were demanded to wear a yellow star and those of the [INAUDIBLE] were forced to wear a white armband with a blue Star of David on it. As soon as the USSR would be occupied, the physical marking of the Jews will be rapidly enforced. In the west, it took more time, mainly out of policy consideration vis-a-vis the local populations. The Dutch Jews were forced to wear a yellow badge at the end of April 1942, the Belgian Jews and the French Jews of the occupied zone at the beginning of June 1942, and in November 1942 with occupation of all of France by the Germans, as a reaction to the Allies landing in North Africa, this decree, first declined by Vichy France, was imposed on all Jews. Marking of the Jews in the west, as in Germany, always preceded the deadly deportation by weeks or months. Meanwhile, puppet states such as Croatia, July 1941, and Slovakia, September 1941, also marked their Jews, as well as allies of the Germans, such as Romania in August 1941 or Bulgaria in August 1942. Though the badge of shame differed in its forms, an armband, a button, or a badge, as well as the ages forced to wear it, it always had the same purpose, marking of the Jews. How did Jews feel when demanded to identify themselves for all to see with this badge of shame? When those orders were issued, even those who were proud of their Jewishness felt humiliated and terrified, humiliated since they were not seen anymore for what they were personally or professionally. They were not observed as parents or people, lawyers or workers, but as Jews. And all of their past achievements were dissolved, leaving only their Jewishness. Moreover, Jews were very worried about the local reactions to their Jewish mark. Will their neighbours mock them, will their friends turn their backs on them, or will they show compassion and empathy? Some Jews tried to avoid wearing the badge of shame, as Janusz Korczak, the famous Polish Jewish educator, writer, and doctor. He saw himself as Polish and not only Jewish and despised the German orders. Yet Korczak was imprisoned by the Nazis for disobeying the order. Others tried to use a German marking as a protest, such as Helene Berr, a French student in her 20s who attached with a yellow star the French tricolour. Berr encountered different reactions, carefully documented in her diary. "My God, I never thought it would be so hard. I was very courageous all day long. I held my head high, and I stared at other people so hard that it made them avert their eyes. But it's difficult. In any case most people don't even look. In the street two boys pointed at us and said 'Eh? you see that? Jew.' Otherwise things were normal. There was a woman on the bus, probably a maid, who had smiled at me in the queue, and she turned round several times to smile at me again; a well groomed gentlemen stared at me. I couldn't make out the meaning of his stare, but I returned it with pride. Another working class woman smiled at me on the metro. It brought tears to my eye, I don't know why." Less than two weeks later, her father, Raymond Berr, a scientist and a First World War French hero, one of the 16 French Jews protected due to their "outstanding contribution to the French state in the field of literature, science, and art" was arrested by the French police and transferred to German hands. He was murdered in Auschwitz. His offence was that his yellow star was not sewn to his suit, as demanded by the decree. The marking of the Jews made them a visible target for abuse not only for the Germans, which could now easily distinguish between Jews and non-Jews, but also for the local population. And as Bill mentioned, throughout Europe, west and east, mixed reactions were noted. In the Netherlands, some non-Jewish Dutch were the Jewish symbol as a sign of solidarity, yet the story of the Danish king or other European nobles wearing the marking of the Jews as a protest against Nazi Germany decree is nothing more than a legend. Some non-Jewish European citizen gloated, "Others expressed sorrow at the tragedy of the Jews, yet most turned a blind eye." Were they ashamed? Were they afraid? Were they too occupied with their own problems? All these answers might be true, but Jews understood it as a difference. While they were forced to wear the badge of shame by threat of death, daily life throughout Europe continued.