Psychological Techniques In The Holocaust

Powerful Essays
Psychological Techniques: Effective or Ineffective? Throughout the course of the Holocaust, which lasted from 1933-1945, Nazis used a variety of different psychological techniques to lure, and ultimately exterminate about six million Jewish people. Some of these techniques include the foot-in-the-door technique, public executions, living conditions, emotional fear, among other techniques such as seemingly harmless activities like dancing with joyful music, false hope, and the separation of families. In addition to these psychological effects used on the actual prisoners, Nazis also used propaganda to further instil the anti-semitic ideology into the German citizens; this also led to the Holocaust. Clearly the Nazi propaganda and psychological…show more content…
Often times, the goal of the public exterminations was to make people fear them, and fear the idea of disobeying the SS officers. In the movie Escape From Sobibor, we see how the people who were caught trying to escape the camp, were executed. In addition, the prisoners were forced to view their killing. If the prisoners looked away, they too would have been executed. Elie gives his account of watching the victims of public extermination: “He was still alive when I passed him. His tongue was still red, his eyes not yet extinguished. Behind me, I heard the same man asking: ‘For God's sake, where is God?’” People also lost faith due to the dreadful scenes they had to witness. Those who had once been religious believed their supreme being had turned their backs to them. This made them more emotionally scared since the one thing they relied on, had betrayed them, and so it seemed as there was truly no hope at all for them. Many times, their relatives of loved ones were the ones being executed, creating emotional trauma. Elie Wiesel writes, “Smack in the middle of the road, two cauldrons of soup with no one to guard them….free for the taking. But who would dare? Fear was greater than hunger.” Starvation was another method used by the Nazis, only fear outranked being hungry. Fear was in their bones, traumatizing them, and public executions only made them become even more afraid of them being executed sooner or
Get Access