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Nazi Ideology and Victims of the Holocaust and Nazi Persecution

Dr. Meinecke spoke to North Carolina teachers at the Museum in November 2002. He presents this material at many of the Museum's teacher training programs on-site and around the nation. In addition to video of the actual workshop session, segments include historical and artifact photographs, text, and links to related sites within the Museum's website.

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The Racial Struggle for Europe

Introduction

Hitler’s ultimate goals were the elimination of Jews and the conquest of living space in the east for Germany. He believed that Germany had to conquer a vast continental empire in the east so as to secure for Germans their place in the world as members of a “master race.”

Soviet Prisoners of War

The German army (Wehrmacht) captured about 5.7 million Soviet military personnel during World War II. 

More than 3 million Soviet POWs died during internment in German camps.

About 1 million joined with the Germans serving in auxiliary forces of the army and also with the SS. 

About 1 million escaped from Germany custody and joined partisan forces fighting behind the front in the East. 

The remaining Soviet POWs survived the war in German custody. 

Workshop Video

  • Poles

    “The Nazi racial vision of the racial value of Poles was very low.”

  • Soviet Prisoners of War

    “There would be no resources wasted on inferior Slavs.”

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Supporting Media

  • The Invasion of the Soviet Union, 1941-1942 —US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • A huge column of Soviet prisoners from the Kharkov front, struggling across a plain. The Germans shot many prisoners who fell along the way. —Etabilissement de Communication et de Production Audiovisuelle de la Defense

  • A train full of Soviet POWs, under German guard, passing through an unidentified rail yard. —Bundesarchiv

  • Soviet prisoners stand among the underground holes that served as their only shelter at the Wietzendorf POW camp. —Staatsanwalt beim Landgericht Hamburg

  • Soviet prisoners of war in the "Russian camp" of the Mauthausen concentration camp. —Dokumentationsarchiv des Oesterreichischen Widerstandes

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