The book Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder is an educational eye-opening read. It really goes into the small details of the Holocaust time period including everyone from the important people that played a role to an average civilians personal story. Snyder portrays the Holocaust in a different way than most people do. In the common Holocaust thesis, Hitler is to blame for everything and is seen as the biggest villain however he wasn’t the only one to blame. In fact, countless people are to blame for the horrific events that occurred before, after, and during the Holocaust but one in particular is somehow forgotten about, and that is Stalin. Under Stalin’s rule, the Soviet Union was the only state in the whole continent of Europe to be carrying out mass killings in the 1930’s. The Soviet Union had killed and starved millions of civilians before the Nazi regime had even come to the peak of their power. It was a gruesome time period all across Europe. But the worst of events happened in an area called the “bloodlands”. The bloodlines was a stretch of land from central Poland to western Russia including Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States. It occurred in these places due to the USSR and Germany’s battle over the land.
Another common misconception is that the Jews were the only victims of the Holocaust. The Nazi regime targeted Jews, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles, Russians, Balts. Specifically also, the mentally unstable, homosexuals, gypsies (Roma), the disabled, and people thought to have been addicted to drugs or alcohol. “The Germans murdered about as many non-Jews as Jews during the war” (Snyder x).
Twins were also among the targets of Nazi’s, most of which were children. In my own personal research I found that there was a specific doctor that performed many of the experiments done on twins. His name was Dr. Josef Mengele, nicknamed “Angel of Death.” Dr. Mengele was sent to Auschwitz where he was the chief provider of the gas chambers and the leader of torture of many children. Injecting chemicals into the eyes of children to change eye color, sex change operations, and removal or organs and limbs were only a few of the gruesome acts performed by Mengele.
“German soldiers had been instructed that Poland was not a real country, and that its army was not a real army. Thus the men resisting the invasion could not be real soldiers.” This quote from chapter 4 stood out to me because it was a connection to my previous reading of Killing Civilians by Hugo Slim. In Killing Civilians, Slim discussed anti-civilian ideologies, one being dehumanization. When I read this quote the first thing that popped into my head was that it was a clear example of this ideologue used during the Holocaust time period.