July 4 1926 – the Hitler youth company is established
The Hitler youth was a group of children between the ages of 10 to 14 and only 3600 people were in this youth group. These kids had to be very liberal and patriots to their country. They would go around in the streets cheering for their country and telling propaganda lies about Germany. The youths would always be carrying a Nazi flag where ever they go, some would be trained on how to shoot a rifle.
(A large group of the Hitler youths waiting to meet Adolf Hitler)
Within the introduction of the story “The Cage” Riva had a neighboring friend who was named Harry, Harry had German ancestry. Harry was attacked by other Jewish neighbors because people thought he was working with the Germans, Riva and her family helped Harry and they were trying to get an understanding on why the other people attacked Harry. Within the following day, Germany invaded Poland and everyone was panicking. A knock came from the door and it was Harry, dressed in uniform and supported his fatherland. This is proving that Harry didn’t want any relation with the Jews after the war started and he didn’t want to get in any trouble. Everyone that knew Harry felt betrayed. This shows that Harry is a dynamic character.
September 21 1939: Heydrich issues directives to establish ghettos in German-occupied Poland.
Germany need to force the Jewish and the Gypsies out of their homes into a city filled with poverty. The reason that the Germans needed to do this is because they need to keep the Gypsies and the Jews in one place so when they are in need to find more people to do their labour they can just look in the ghettos. The conditions in the ghettos aren’t the best, people living in the ghetto barley get any food, warmth, and health care. People living in the ghetto contract diseases and since the doctors around can’t help them they will just have to be left there to die.
(The perimeter of Warsaw sealed off to separate the ghettos)
During the evacuation in “The Cage” Riva and her family were being forced out of their homes and they are moving walking to a place that was meant to treat Jews poorly and terribly, while they were walking Riva saw her neighbors and friends being bashed and hit by German soldiers. People arrived at the ghettos with only the clothing they had on their backs and some clothing they brought back from their own house.
November 23, 1939 – Yellow stars required to be worn by Polish Jews over age 10.
Jewish people in Europe had to wear a yellow Star of David sewed on to their clothing, reason being is so the Nazis can find and track Jews much easier. Jewish people caught not wearing a Star of David were usually killed or sent to prison. The Star of David allows the Germans to quickly isolate the Jews from the non-Jews.
(A Jewish couple wearing a sewed on yellow star of David in their coats)
Riva and her family are forced to wear a yellow star sewed on to their clothing; this was to prove that she was a Jew. During the Jew line up, every Jew within the ghetto had to be lined up and a certain amount had to be sent to labor camp. Riva’s mother wasn’t wearing a Yellow star on her shirt so a German soldier quickly pulled her out of the crowd and Riva and her Mother were separated from each other, Riva tried to catch up to her mom but it was hopeless. Riva doesn’t know what is going to happen to her mother but she fears that she will be killed to where ever she is going.
April 30, 1940 – The Lodz Ghetto in occupied Poland is sealed off from the outside world with 230,000 Jews locked inside.
Poland had the largest population of Jews in Europe, 230,000 Jews were sent to Lodz and the Germans sealed off the city with barbed wire around the perimeter. To keep the Jews in their place, Jewish police officers were created to keep the Jews in their homes and to prevent them from escaping Lodz. German police officers and guards would stand by around the perimeter of Lodz while the Jewish Police officers patrol the city. The reason why Jewish were chosen to become police officers rather than the Germans is because the Jewish know the people around the city, if they need to find a specific person they will be easily tracked down by the Jewish police rather than the German police.
(Jewish people entering the ghetto in Lodz)
Riva and her family were sent to the ghetto in Lodz. Within months in Lodz, people around the ghetto have contracted diseases and are suffering without any medical attention and the weather is getting colder and colder. Laibele got tuberculosis and Riva got bladder stones. The family has given very little food from their work, and they don’t have any vitamins to help with their diseases. Riva’s brothers traded weeks worth of bread and traded it for a tangerine and hoping that the tangerine will help Riva and Laibele. Later on houses needed to be torn down to make firewood and Riva’s family had to move out because they are planning to use her house next for firewood.
March 3 1940 Jews are put into concentration camps.
The Germans needed labour work done, but most of the Germans are rather living back in the their own country or fighting in the war against the allies. So the Germans decided to get the Jews and Gypsies to work for them, the working condition in the concentration camp is more different than how people are treated within the ghetto. Food is still limited same with health, but if you don’t have the strength to work anymore you are rather shot by German shoulders or gassed and then cremated within the crematorium.
(Jewish labor workers in a concentration camp)
There was a vicious knocking on the door and Riva and her family hid in the next room, the door opened and it was a long forgotten friend, Shmulek. Shmulek told Riva that he just came back from a concentration camp. Shmulek explained how the concentration camp was like to Riva and it was a camp full of hard labor and terrible living conditions, the workers at the camp were mostly separated families filled with fear and anxiety, wondering what the Germans would do to them next and if you are too weak to work you will be killed and be sent to the chimneys. The German commander felt nice and sent 5 Jews back to the ghettos. The next day there was another vicious knocking on the door and it was the Jewish police. The Jewish police were looking for Shmulek, the police need to find the 5 people that were sent back to the ghetto and if they aren’t found the Nazis will pick out another 5 group of people and send them to the concentration camp.
January 25, 1940 – Nazis choose the town of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) in Poland near Krakow as the site of a new concentration camp.
Auschwitz is a concentration camp built in 1940 and it was one of the largest concentration camps used labor and for mass killings. The Germans would use the Jews for hard labor and if they can’t work anymore they would be killed. A German doctor within Auschwitz named Josef Mengele would use the Jews within the camp for testing medical purposes, some of the Jews would also be used for secret experiments. The Russians invaded Auschwitz which forced the Germans to abandon the camp and forced the Jews to locate another place to stay.
(Auschwitz railroads covered with broken pottery)
Riva and her family were the last few people within the ghettos, so they decided to take the next train to Auschwitz willingly. They were in the train for hours and hours making multiple stops to pick up more Jews. The train finally stopped at Auschwitz, Riva was separate from her family and she wasn’t able to regroup with them since the crowd continued to push everyone forward. The Nazis later put women and men on different sides of the road. They were forced in to the showers and were only given a hospital robe to cover up after they showered. The Jews were forced in to small bunkers in a barrack and it was 3 floors of bunkers with each row filling up 9 people. The bunker is super cramped since 3 people are squishes on to 1 floor. Each day the Jews are forced to wake up and line up in the hot sun while the Nazis do a counting check and The Jews are forced to stand there for hours.