A ghetto is part of a city that was established for a minority group of people with a particular economic, ethnic or religious background. The birth can be voluntarily involuntary. The term “ghetto” was originally used to describe parts of a city in Venice where Jews were legally forced to live. The first ghetto based on this description was found around 1280 in ancient Morocco, where Jews were confined to settlements known as milli with the Muslim government restricting the size of the house and the movements of Jewish residents.
Definition and origin
The concept of putting Jews in segregated settlements soon spread throughout Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 14th century, the city of Venice had its Jewish inhabitants locked up in an area that housed an ancient iron foundry. It is from this agreement that the term originated, as the Venetian term for “foundry” is “cast”. However, other historians believe that the word derives from the Yiddish term “get” which is freely translated into “deed of separation” or “Proposed divorce”.
World War II ghettos
In the early 20th century, Adolf Hitler became the leader of the Nazi party, whose ideologies encouraged explicit anti-Semitism. These ideologies soon became implemented as state policies during the Second World War with the confinement of Jews in the ghettos of all of Poland and Germany. The living conditions in these ghettos were deplorable, with the lack of basic services like food. Leaving these Nazi ghettos was forbidden and capturing the fugitives who were executed. Some examples of such Nazi ghettos include the Warsaw ghetto, which was the largest of its kind during World War II and had a population spike of 450,000 people. The ghettos were finally transformed into concentration camps by the Nazis.
Characteristics of a Ghetto
The ghettos found in many cities around the world share several common features that set them apart from other neighborhoods. A common feature seen in the ghettos is the lack of necessary infrastructure and inadequate planning. Due to years of segregation, the authorities turn a blind eye to ghettos, making minimal investments in providing facilities like basic health infrastructure. Another characteristic view in the ghettos is the general economic distress experienced by the residents. Due to the lack of basic facilities, houses in ghettos tend to attract economically poor people who see ghettos as their only choice for housing.