From the Holocaust to the Copts
national american coptic assembly
Mr. Morris Sadek-ESQ President-The Holocaust was the state-sponsored discrimination, harassment and eventual liquidation of European Jews by Nazi Germany and its Allies from 1933 to1945. The Nazis termed this well-organized murderous policy as ‘The Final Solution’.
Persecution of Jews
The persecution of the Jews began in 1933. They had to wear yellow stars to mark them out from the rest of the populace and they were prohibited from participating in public life. They couldn’t own businesses, ride on public transport, attend German schools and universities, rent apartments from Germans, marry non-Jews and so on. Public signs were put up saying ‘Jews Not Allowed’. Life grew increasingly difficult and a few Jews managed to get out of Europe while it was still possible; for most of those that remained, death was the only way out. Out of the nine million Jews from 21 European countries, close to 6 million were killed in the Holocaust.
In the 1930s, the Nazis began to euthanize mentally and physically disabled Germans and Austrians. Over 5000 children were killed with lethal injections. Their parents had no say in the matter – they had to acquiesce or get arrested and thrown into prison.
- On April 1, 1933, the Nazis instigated their first action against German Jews by announcing a boycott of all Jewish-run businesses.
- The Nuremberg Laws, issued on September 15, 1935, began to exclude Jews from public life. The Nuremberg Laws included a law that stripped German Jews of their citizenship and a law that prohibited marriages and extramarital sex between Jews and Germans. The Nuremberg Laws set the legal precedent for further anti-Jewish legislation.
- Nazis then issued additional anti-Jews laws over the next several years. For example, some of these laws excluded Jews from places like parks, fired them from civil service jobs (i.e. government jobs), made Jews register their property, and prevented Jewish doctors from working on anyone other than Jewish patients.
- During the night of November 9-10, 1938, Nazis incited a pogrom against Jews in Austria and Germany in what has been termed, “Kristallnacht” (”Night of Broken Glass”). This night of violence included the pillaging and burning of synagogues, breaking the windows of Jewish-owned businesses, the looting of these stores, and many Jews were physically attacked. Also, approximately 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
After World War II started in 1939, the Nazis began ordering Jews to wear a yellow Star on their clothing so that Jews could be easily recognized and targeted
After the beginning of World War II, Nazis began ordering all Jews to live within certain, very specific, areas of big cities, called ghettos.
- Jews were forced out of their homes and moved into smaller apartments, often shared with other families.
- Some ghettos started out as “open,” which meant that Jews could leave the area during the daytime but often had to be back within the ghetto by a curfew. Later, all ghettos became “closed,” which meant that Jews were trapped within the confines of the ghetto and not allowed to leave.
- A few of the major ghettos were located in the cities of Bialystok, Kovno, Lodz, Minsk, Riga, Vilna, and Warsaw.
- The largest ghetto was in Warsaw, with its highest population reaching 445,000 in March 1941.
- In most ghettos, Nazis ordered the Jews to establish a Judenrat (a Jewish council) to both administer Nazi demands and to regulate the internal life of the ghetto.
- Nazis would then order deportations from the ghettos. In some of the large ghettos, 1,000 people per day were loaded up in trains and sent to either a concentration camp or a death camp.
- To get them to cooperate, the Nazis told the Jews they were being transported to another place for labor.
- When the Nazis decided to kill the remaining Jews in a ghetto, they would “liquidate” a ghetto by boarding the last Jews in the ghetto on trains.
- When the Nazis attempted to liquidate the Warsaw Ghetto on April 13, 1943, the remaining Jews fought back in what has become known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Jewish resistance fighters held out against the entire Nazi regime for 28 days — longer than many European countries had been able to withstand Nazi conquest.
Concentration and Extermination Camps
- Although many people refer to all Nazi camps as “concentration camps,” there were actually a number of different kinds of camps, including concentration camps, extermination camps, labor camps, prisoner-of-war camps, and transit camps.
- One of the first concentration camps was Dachau, which opened on March 20, 1933.
- From 1933 until 1938, most of the prisoners in the concentration camps were political prisoners (i.e. people who spoke or acted in some way against Hitler or the Nazis) and people the Nazis labeled as “asocial.”
- After Kristallnacht in 1938, the persecution of Jews became more organized. This led to the exponential increase in the number of Jews sent to concentration camps.
- Life within Nazi concentration camps was horrible. Prisoners were forced to do hard physical labor and yet given tiny rations. Prisoners slept three or more people per crowded wooden bunk (no mattress or pillow). Torture within the concentration camps was common and deaths were frequent.
- At a number of Nazi concentration camps, Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on prisoners against their will.
- While concentration camps were meant to work and starve prisoners to death, extermination camps (also known as death camps) were built for the sole purpose of killing large groups of people quickly and efficiently.
- The Nazis built six extermination camps: Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz, and Majdanek. (Auschwitz and Majdanek were both concentration and extermination camps)
- Prisoners transported to these extermination camps were told to undress to take a shower. Rather than a shower, the prisoners were herded into gas chambers and killed. (At Chelmno, the prisoners were herded into gas vans instead of gas chambers.)
- Auschwitz was the largest concentration and extermination camp built. It is estimated that 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz.
Holocaust to Copts
Christians in Egypt, are exposed to holocaust by the Muslim Arabs who occupied our country, Egypt, for 1400 years and since that date, they have killed many Copts and continue in the kidnapping of Christian girls and have not approved the building of churches, but attack churches and burned them. We live in this persecution.
The 21st century, security and equality for Christians in Egypt is still a dream
What kinds of discrimination face Copts living in Egypt?
1. Prevention of church construction, thereby suppressing Coptic worship and expression.
2. The absence of justice for persecuted Copts. Hundreds have been killed, injured or made victims of vandalized property in wide-scale attacks following Friday Muslim prayers. No one has ever been recognized, held accountable, or punished for these heinous acts against Copts.
3. The kidnapping, drugging and raping of Coptic girls as young as 14-years-old. Just in case, the aforementioned torture was not sufficient, they are forced to convert to Islam with the blessing and sponsorship of Al-Azhar (the largest Islamic institution in Egypt).
4. The publication of offensive, degrading anti-Christian material by publicly owned newspapers and television channels. Copts who demand the right to religious freedom in Egypt have been labeled traitors and infidels in public media outlets.
5. The unjustly withheld salaries of the Christian clergy by the regime, whereas mosques, Islamic institutions and universities are funded by taxpayers. Churches and Christian institutions are denied access to any government fund.
6. The fact that Copts are denied high profile jobs in the police, army, legal system, local authorities, etc. Additionally, since Muslims mostly own private businesses, Copts are denied occupations within the private sector as well.
7. Courts impose unfair sentences, along with enhanced penalties against Copts because of their Christian faith
Red Priest Sawiris Copts do not feel secure in their own country Egypt! Condemn the Archbishop Salib Matta Sawiris “President of the International Peace Center for Human Rights in Egypt” and the heinous attacks carried out by a large group of Muslims to the Copts (Christians) in Forshat city of Qena, “south of the capital Cairo, Egypt,” which resulted in the destruction of homes, cars and shops and pharmacies in the village owned by Christians, Christians of the two villages and the deportation of two of the city, namely “Red Mound Manor Alcdev” which Talthma sectarian violence. He added that the Christians in Egypt do not feel secure and protected by the failure of the Egyptian security apparatus to prosecute the aggressors on Christians in sectarian violence, which increased in intensity strongly in these days, and said that the Egyptian security should be based, in turn fully Egyptian Christians to feel safe in their homeland. Sawiris also criticized the failure of the Egyptian government and local authorities in solving the problems of Christians in Egypt.
He said: “Christians are Egyptian citizens and the State must preserve their dignity in their homeland, and should not be punished because of all the Copts isolated incident on one end of the Muslims, demanding the enforcement of the prestige of the law to everyone.” The work of sectarian violence and to the extent of aggression broke out Saturday in the city Forshat in the Qena Governorate because of the rumors about a young Christian raping a Muslim woman. Bishop Cyril, “the Bishop of Nag Hammadi” has said in statements published by Coptic sites, that the dean of Al-Azhar is the instigator of the violence that occurred against the Copts.
My opinion is if the discrimination continues and the Coptic community loses all types of protection from the Egyptian government and the global community, it will cause individuals to leave the country. In addition to leaving, there will be a lot of violence against Copts; so many people will become victims. These two factors will cause the future to fade away for the Coptic community in Egypt.