Most of Western Europe and Russia were Christian states during the Middle Ages and after. Those states that were not Christian were Muslim. Both groups disliked the Jews for their denial of Jesus. Carroll reports on an omission of the current Pope (2006), “He made no mention of anti-Semitisms other parent, the long tradition of Christian contempt for Jews and the Jewish religion, which both fed the hatred of the perpetrators and justified the inaction of the bystanders.” Jews were considered evil before World War II.
Propaganda helped desensitize the Germans and German Occupied countries toward the Jews. Posters, magazines, and the Nuremburg Laws proposed and reiterated that Jews were sub-human. It was not bad to exterminate Jews because they were like insects. Jews were not equal to Germans. They caused the war and all the Aryan citizens’ woes. This helped ordinary citizens look the other way. For those sadistic citizens rewards were in place for denouncing Jews.
Before WWII Western European Jews were more assimilated than Eastern European Jews (Weinstock). Due to the isolation of Jews in the East, the Germans easily set up camps and ghettos in the East. Weinstock explains Eastern European Jews “spoke their own language, Yiddish, which is a combination of German and Hebrew. They read Yiddish books, and frequented Yiddish theater and films. Many Jews in these countries lived in small villages and towns (shtetls) where the population was predominantly Jewish. These communities were largely traditional, in terms of dress for both men and women.” It did not take much coordination to organize the Jews into concentrated groups. This led to the Holocaust because of the convenience of the Jewish isolation.
Countries knew before war broke out on September 1, 1939 that the Nazi persecuted Jews. They felt it was not their concern. Brustein and King (2004) report only the Dominic Republic and Costa Rica agreed to increase quotas for Jews