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Monday, March 7, 2011

Was Apartheid A Holocaust by N Smith

The word Apartheid is an Afrikaans word directly translated into the concept of 'separateness'. Apartheid can be defined as a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. This is similar to ehd iscrimination that happened against the Jews, homosexuals and other discriminated parties in the Holocaust.

The National Party in the 1948 election adopted "Apartheid" as a slogan. A slogan is a phrase used in advertising to catch attention, like the Nazi's used propaganda to sell their ideas to the German nation and divert the mindset of the public. Is this not similar to what happened in South Africa?

Human rights commission reported to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission submitted in 1977 that 7 000 people of colour died during Apartheid. From 1990 to 1994 14 000 people of colour died. A fruther 17 4220 died in relation to Apartheid from 1994 to 2000. Even though Apartheid had ended.

Juliette Pieres found similarities between the Holocaust and Apartheid in her new book. A few examples of the Apartheid legislations that are parallel to the Nuremburg laws are as follows:

Marriages between Jews and Germans were forbidden as it was in South Africa with the mixed marraiges act that stated that white people were not allowed to marry people of other races.

Although the NP did not envisage a specific hair and eye colour and physique as the perfect race like Hitler envisaged the Aryans, it is apparent that this law expressed the NP's feelings that they felt that white people were the perfect race and that people of colour were inferiour.

The group areas act brought about physical separation between races by creating the homelands whereas the Nazis placed Jews and other discriminated groups in concentration camps.

People of colour and Jews were both exempt from public beaches, benches and voting. They were not allowed to go to the same schools and unviersities as Aryans or white people. People of colour were only seen as fit for labour that does not require any skill. The same was principle was applied to the Jews, as they were exempt from the workforce.

Juliette Peires states that ther was no attempt "to impose anything like a final soclution" during Apartheid. One can say that less people were killed in the Apartheid than in the Holocaust but is that not all due to the leader? A strong leader like Hitler was able to get the public rearing for action with his strong speeches whereas the NPs leader was not as strong as Hitler and not get as far as quickly. The mere fact that Apartheid took so much longer to bring down that the Holocaust and that Hitler went so much further than the NP shows that Hitler had the support of nations to put his laws into place and murder 6 million Jews.

Although more people were killed in the Holocaust it does not mean that this even in History was more devastating than Apartheid. The principle of both Apartheid and the Holocaust remains the same; two government bodies desperate for power and recognition from the public.

Think of all the people who didn't die in Apartheid. Do you think life was easy for them? And what about the generations to follow? To this day we still suffer from the effects of Apartheid. Mass deaths may sound a lot more threatening but surely living in torture is far worse? Because of one decision gnerations to come will pay for the mistakes that were made.


  1. I'm Russian-Jewish and I've had Holocaust deaths in my family. This is an interesting argument, but I disagree with many of your points.

    Yes, there were similarities between the two. But the main distinguishing factor, is that there really were no attempts to impose a final solution during Apartheid. For all their suffering, people of colour were never put into concentration camps like cattle, gassed and burned alive in staggering numbers, or used as laboratory rats on a mass scale.

    And it's questionable who 'lived in torture' more, people of colour or Jews. Were those Jews who weren't killed, not treated worse than animals? And I've had to deal with open anti-Semitism, 70 years after the Holocaust.

    I'm not denying the suffering of people of colour during Apartheid. What they went through was truly tragic, and something like that should never be repeated. It just saddens me that the suffering of the Jews during the Holocaust is so often glossed over.

  2. Thank you for taking time to read and comment on my essay. I agree that Holocaust was in most aspects more severe than Apartheid and this article was not meant to make the Holocaust seem any less devastating than it was; merely raise awareness to the parallels between the two.
    Although similarities are few and not always distinct Apartheid could have easily gotten out of control had it not been abolished in 1994.

    "One can say that less people were killed in the Apartheid than in the Holocaust but is that not all due to the leader?". In this paragraph I debate how the final solution may have become a part of Apartheid history if the leader was as compelled as Hitler was and had the same quantity of support that he had.

  3. all aspects of apartheid paralleled the aspects of the holocaust. if world war two had not taken place the final solution would have never been able to have taken place. if there was a war in south africa which would have allowed the south african government to impose a law such as the final solution there is not to say that they wouldn't. the south african government didn't have the chance to implement the law. i am not undermining either tragic events, but maybe it was better dying than living on the brink of death. both jews and blacks were sent to 'concentration camp' like conditions. blacks segregated from others just as the ghettos were separated from others. both jews and blacks had experiments conducted on them and both lived in conditions unfit for humans. they were both said to be inferior to another race and had 'scientific proof' to prove it. both event were identical leading up to the final solution the only difference was that the final solution was able to take place as the war covered it up. the south african government was unable to implement a law such as that.