“Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community”.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Rejecting any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/7) by consensus condemning “without reserve” all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, whenever they occur.
The resolution declared that the United Nations would designate 27 January — the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp — as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and urged Member States to develop educational programmes to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again. It requested the United Nations Secretary-General to establish an outreach programme on the “Holocaust and the United Nations”, as well as institute measures to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education, in order to help prevent future acts of genocide.
The Holocaust was a turning point in history, which prompted the world to say “never again”. The significance of resolution A/RES/60/7 is that it calls for a remembrance of past crimes with an eye towards preventing them in the future.
Source: Press Release GA/10413 of 1 November 2005
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The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme
The haunting words of George Santayana reminds us that the lessons of history are invaluable in determining the course of the future: “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”
The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War 2. In 1933 nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be military occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed. 1.5 million children were murdered. This figure includes more than 1.2 million Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children and thousands of handicapped children.
The Holocaust survivor Abel Herzberg has said: “There were not six million Jews murdered; there was one murder, six million times.”
The Holocaust is a history of enduring horror and sorrow. It seems as though there is no spark of human concern, no act of humanity, to lighten that dark history. Read the story of Rivka Yosselevska, the story of the children of Bullenhuser Damm or the story the children of Izieu.
You find gripping and horrifying stories of Adolf Hitler and his most ruthless henchmen – men often seen as the very personifications of evil, like Rudolf Hoess, the SS Commandant of Auschwitz, the Nazi butcher Amon Goeth at Plaszow and Josef Mengele, The Angel Of Death. You may read about Hitler’s wife, Eva Braun, or Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Chief of the German Military Intelligence who was a dedicated anti-Nazi and held Hitler in utter contempt. He tried to put a stop to the crimes of war and genocide committed by the Nazis.
Yet there were acts of courage and kindness during the Holocaust – stories to bear witness to goodness, love and compassion. Let me mention Men Of Courage, Father Kolbe, Wilm Hosenfeld and the story of Albert Goering, the younger brother of the notorious Nazi Hermann Goering.
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The Holocaust, Crimes, Heroes and Villains
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The aim of this site is to promote intellectual freedom with regard to this one historical event called “Holocaust,” which in turn will help advance the concept of intellectual freedom with regard to all historical events. We find it vulgar beyond belief that Americans would spend more than half a century condemning the “unique monstrosity” of the Germans when we have not yet learned to condemn our own, or to even recognize it.
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If you want an insight into the significance of our work on the university campus, read this 9,000-word publication by HILLEL, The Foundation for Campus Jewish Life. Its titled: Fighting Holocaust Denial in Campus Newspaper Advertisements: A Manual for Action. Everything in this Hillel Manual is meant to teach Jewish students how to suppress, censor, and control debate about the Holocaust question. Above all elseControl! Hillel has an annual budget of $35-million (million!) dollars.
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Codoh.com | Welcome
An analysis of the causes of the Jewish-Slavic Holocaust is essential to an understanding of the reasons why war and violence continue to plague our world.
Human civilization as we understand it — cities, government, religion, writing — originated about 6,000 years ago. By the year A.D. 1939 this civilization, especially its Western branch, had developed great scientific and technological accomplishments, art and literature, philosophies and religions. That fateful year also marked the beginning of the Jewish-Slavic Holocaust, the attempt to extirpate millions of human beings because they belonged to communities deemed to be inferior or harmful. The Holocaust largely succeeded because its implementers were able to employ the latest technological developments in weapons, transportation, communications, medical technology, and the active or passive cooperation of governments and organized religion. As a survivor and student of this manifestation of human behavior, I believe I have the credentials to explore its causes and potential consequences.
Why the Holocaust?
The vivid images of recent human suffering in Bosnia and Somalia on the television screen caused me to remember again the unforgettable. An inmate of a Nazi concentration camp who was reduced by malnutrition to a human skeleton was called a Muselmann — a Muslim. Half a century later the Serbian concentration camps imprisoned real-life Muslims who were on the verge of becoming human skeletons. The unfortunate starving women and children of Somalia were Muslims in the same double sense. The piles of massacred bodies in Rwanda were reminiscent of the horrors encountered by the liberators of the German concentration camps. Is it just a coincidence that similar events are repeated after a lapse of fifty years?
Struggling for survival in 1944 at Auschwitz, as Prisoner A-9867, I and my fellow victims had scant time to puzzle over the reason for our plight. Everything seemed incomprehensible — in fact, a living nightmare. Between 1941 and 1944 I was part of a Jewish community in a small town in Hungary. Rumors of persecutions and massacres by Nazi Germany came to our attention. But they were simply unbelievable. The nation renowned for its culture and civilization, which produced some of the world’s greatest philosophers, scientists and artists simply could not do such horrible things! Our illusion was shattered, when suddenly in 1944 the German army occupied Hungary. The entire Jewish community was rounded up and transported to the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The plumes of smoke emanating from the crematoria and the odor of burning bodies testified to the murder of the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of genocide. Those able to work were consigned to slow starvation at forced labor. Only about one in twenty survived this culmination of Western “civilization.” I still recall the title of the lead article in the newspaper published by the survivors after our liberation: “Why?” The Holocaust appeared so mysterious after our ordeal that the article’s author could only supply vague references to historical Jewish martyrdom and our need to endure.
Over the decades I spent considerable time researching and studying the events leading to the Holocaust. My conclusions are obvious, yet complex. The Holocaust was a gigantic, unprecedented, irrational catastrophe, which will never be fully comprehended in its entirety. Unfortunately, the causes or reasons for the Holocaust are only too clearly and readily understandable. A preexisting infrastructure for genocide and a series of “triggering” events, resulted in the Holocaust — the annihilation of most of Europe’s Jewish population. Political mismanagement and the war institution combined to inflict this tragedy on the 6 million Jews and the 11 million Slavs, Gypsies and other victims.
The Occurrence of Catastrophes
The Holocaust is well defined by the word “catastrophe” — a momentous, tragic, sudden event marked by extreme misfortune and utter overthrow or ruin. Since the 1970s a mathematical “catastrophe theory” has emerged to predict discontinuous, frequently damaging changes of any kind. Its advocates claim that not only physical changes (e.g., the collapse of a dam), but social events, such as the outbreak of wars, are both explainable and predictable. Preexisting conditions become intensified or overburdened by continuing events until the overload condition occurs, and the sudden abrupt change takes place. A probability factor can be applied to the conditions and events, so that predicting or forecasting catastrophes becomes feasible.The contributing factors of a specific catastrophe can be explained and understood. The analysis of the causes of catastrophes also makes it possible to allocate the share of the responsibility, if any, to institutions or persons. Blame for negligence or willful actions can be assigned as well.
The disastrous brush-fires of 1993 in the Los Angeles area provide a good illustration of a catastrophe facilitated by human actions. On the surface the blame should be assigned to the vagrant or the arsonists who started the fires. More realistically, these were the major contributing factors, with estimated responsibility shares (Newsweek, Nov. 8, 1993; percentages by author):
Chapter 1. The Causes of the Holocaust – HPN
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the United States’ official memorial to the Holocaust, says that: “The Holocaust was the murder of six million Jews and millions of others by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.” While the term Holocaust victims generally refers to the victims of a systematic genocide against the Jewish people in Nazi Germany, the Nazis systematically murdered a large number of non-Jewish people that were considered subhuman (Untermenschen) or undesirable. The non-Jewish (gentile) victims of the Holocaust included: Poles, Ukrainians, Slavs, Serbs, Romanis (often known in the English-speaking world by the ethnonym gypsies), lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals (LGBTs);[a]mentally or physically disabled people;[b]Soviet POWs, Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses,[c]Spanish Republicans, Freemasons,[d]people of color (especially African-German mischlinge, who Hitler and the Nazi regime called the “Rhineland Bastards”); the Deaf, leftists, Communists, trade unionists, social democrats, socialists, anarchists, and every other minority or dissident that wasn’t considered part of the Aryan race or Herrenvolk (“master race”).[e]
Taking into account all of the victims of persecution, the Nazis systematically killed an estimated 6 million Jews and mass murdered an additional 11 million people during the war. Donald Niewyk suggests that the broadest definition, including Soviet civilian deaths would produce a death toll of 17 million.
Despite often widely varying treatment (some groups were actively targeted for genocide, while others were not), these victims all perished alongside one another, some in concentration camps such as Dachau and, some as victims of other forms of Nazi brutality, but most in death camps, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, according to the extensive documentation left behind by the Nazis themselves (both written and photographed), eyewitness testimony (by survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders) and the statistical records of the various countries under occupation.
The paramilitary campaign to remove certain classes of persons but above all, Jews from Germany and other German-held territories during the Second World War, often using methods of extreme brutality, is commonly known as the Holocaust. The Holocaust was carried out primarily by German forces and certain collaborative persons, both German and otherwise. As the war started, millions of Jews were concentrated in ghettos. In 1941, massacres of Jews took place and by December Hitler had decided to exterminate all of the Jews living in Europe at that time. In all, more than 30% of the Jews in Europe were murdered in the Holocaust. The world’s Jewish population was reduced by a third, from roughly 16.6 million in 1939 to about 11 million in 1946. Even sixty years later, there are still fewer Jews in the world today than there were prior to 1940.
In January 1942, during the Wannsee conference, several Nazi leaders discussed the details of the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” (Endlsung der Judenfrage). Dr. Josef Bhler, the State Secretary for the Central Government, urged Reinhard Heydrich, the conference chairman, to proceed with the Final Solution in the General Government. They began to systematically deport Jewish populations from the ghettos and all occupied territories to the seven camps designated as Vernichtungslager, or extermination camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Maly Trostenets, Sobibr and Treblinka. The author Sebastian Haffner, published the analysis in 1978 that Hitler, from December 1941, accepted the failure of his goal to dominate Europe on his declaration of war against the United States, and that his withdrawal thereafter was sustained by the achievement of his second goalthe extermination of the Jews. Even as the Nazi war machine faltered in the last years of the war, precious military resources such as fuel, transport, munitions, soldiers and industrial resources were still being diverted away from the war towards the death camps.
Poland, home of the largest Jewish community in the world before the war, had 3,000,000 (90%) of its Jewish population killed. The Germans had issued the death penalty for hiding Jews and this law was carried out fully. Some Poles hid Jews and saved their lives despite the risk to them and their own families. Although detailed reports on the Holocaust had reached western leaders, public awareness in the United States and other democracies of genocidal mass murder of Jews in Poland was extremely poor at the time; the first references in The New York Times in 1942 were not front-page news, these articles were more in the nature of unconfirmed reports.
Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Lithuania, Bohemia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Latvia each had over 70% of their Jewish population destroyed. Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Norway, and Estonia lost around 50% of their Jews, the Soviet Union over one third; even countries such as France and Italy had each seen around 25% of their Jewish population killed. Denmark was able to evacuate almost all of its Jews to nearby Sweden, which was neutral during the war. The Danish resistance movement, with the assistance of many ordinary Danish citizens, managed to evacuate 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews by sea to Sweden (a neutral country), using everything from fishing boats to private yachts. The rescue allowed the vast majority of Denmark’s Jewish population to avoid capture by the Nazis. Some Jews outside Europe under Nazi occupation were also affected by the Holocaust, such as in Italian Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Iraq, Japan, and China.
Although Jews are an ethnoreligious group, Jews were defined by the Nazis purely on racial grounds. The Nazi party regarded Jewish religion as irrelevant and persecuted Jews on antisemitic stereotypes, and put it down to what they perceived to be biologically determined heritage that drove the Jewish race. While it defined Jews as the main enemy, Nazi racial ideology was used against other persecuted minorities.
The Nazi genocide of Romani people was ignored by scholars until the 1980s; opinions continue to differ on its details. Historians Donald Niewyk and Francis Nicosia write that the genocide of the Romani began later than the genocide of the Jews and that a smaller proportion was killed. Hitler’s campaign of genocide against the Romani population of Europe involved an application of Nazi “racial hygiene” (a type of selective breeding for humans). Despite discriminatory measures, some Romani groups, including some of the Sinti and Lalleri of Germany, were spared deportation and death, the remaining Romani groups suffered much like the Jews. Romani were deported to the Jewish ghettos, shot by SS Einsatzgruppen in their villages or deported and gassed in Auschwitz-Birkenau and Treblinka.
Estimates of the death toll of Romani people in World War II range from 220,000 to 1,500,000. The genocide of the Roma was formally recognised by West Germany in 1982 and by Poland in 2011.
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Holocaust victims – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
And at every chamber was a door in the forefronts of the gates: there they washed the holocaust.
Dugommier would listen to no such proposition for a holocaust.
We calculated that a third of our own would be wiped out in the holocaust, which would have relieved us of many problems.
Mirla, we know, is out of the question; it is a holocaust of fire.
It was a holocaust of lust, of passion, and of blood such as even the Spanish West Indies had never seen before.
British Dictionary definitions for holocaust Expand
great destruction or loss of life or the source of such destruction, esp fire
(usually capital) Also called the Churban, the Shoah. the mass murder of Jews and members of many other ethnic, social, and political groups in continental Europe between 1940 and 1945 by the Nazi regime
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Holocaust | Define Holocaust at Dictionary.com
The Holocaust, also known as The Shoah (Hebrew: HaShoah) and the Porrajmos in Romani, is the name applied to the systematic persecution and genocide of the Jews, other minority groups, those considered enemies of the state and also the disabled and mentally ill of Europe and North Africa during World War II by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Early elements of the Holocaust include the Kristallnacht pogrom of the November 8 and 9, 1938, and the T-4 Euthanasia Program, leading to the later use of killing squads and extermination camps in a massive and centrally organized effort to exterminate every possible member of the populations targeted by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Hitler’s concept of a racially pure, superior race did not have room for any whom he considered to be inferior. Jews were, in his view, not only racially sub-human but traitors involved in a timeless plot to dominate the world for their own purposes.
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The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”
The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” (die “Endlsung der Judenfrage”). The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million, though estimates by historians using, among other sources, records from the Nazi regime itself, range from five million to seven million. Also, about 220,000 Sinti and Roma were murdered in the Holocaust (some estimates are as high as 800,000), between a quarter to a half of the European population. Other groups deemed “racially inferior” or “undesirable:” Poles (5 million killed, of whom 3 million were Jewish), Serbs (estimates vary between 100,000 and 700,000 killed, mostly by Croat Ustae), Bosniaks (estimates vary from 100,000 to 500,000), Soviet military prisoners of war and civilians on occupied territories including Russians and other East Slavs, the mentally or physically disabled, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists and political dissidents, trade unionists, Freemasons, and some Catholic and Protestant clergy. Some scholars limit the Holocaust to the genocide of the Jews; some to genocide of the Jews, Roma, and disabled; and some to all groups targeted by Nazi racism.
Profound moral questions result from the Holocaust. How could such highly educated and cultured people as Austrians and Germans do such a thing? Why did ordinary people participate or allow it to happen? Where was God? Where was humanity? Why did some people and nations refuse to be involved? People inside and outside Germany knew what was happening but took very little action. More than a million Germans were implicated in the Holocaust. Even when some Jews escaped, they risked being handed back to the authorities or simply shot by civilians. Had all involved taken the moral high ground and refused to carry out orders, could even the terror-machine that was the Nazi regime have continued with its evil policy? Few doubt, except for Holocaust deniers, that pure evil stalked the killing camps. The world is still trying to make sense of the Holocaust and the lessons that can be drawn from it.
The term holocaust originally derived from the Greek word holokauston, meaning a “completely (holos) burnt (kaustos)” sacrificial offering to a god. Since the late nineteenth century, “holocaust” has primarily been used to refer to disasters or catastrophes. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was first used to describe Hitler’s treatment of the Jews from as early as 1942, though it did not become a standard reference until the 1950s. By the late 1970s, however, the conventional meaning of the word became the Nazi genocide.
The biblical word Shoa (), also spelled Shoah and Sho’ah, meaning “calamity” in Hebrew language, became the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust as early as the early 1940s.Shoa is preferred by many Jews and a growing number of others for a number of reasons, including the potentially theologically offensive nature of the original meaning of the word holocaust. Some refer to the Holocaust as “Auschwitz,” transforming the most well known death camp into a symbol for the whole genocide.
The word “genocide” was coined during the Holocaust.
Michael Berenbaum writes that Germany became a “genocidal nation.” Every arm of the country’s sophisticated bureaucracy was involved in the killing process. Parish churches and the Interior Ministry supplied birth records showing who was Jewish; the Post Office delivered the deportation and de-naturalization orders; the Finance Ministry confiscated Jewish property; German firms fired Jewish workers and disenfranchised Jewish stockholders; the universities refused to admit Jews, denied degrees to those already studying, and fired Jewish academics; government transport offices arranged the trains for deportation to the camps; German pharmaceutical companies tested drugs on camp prisoners; companies bid for the contracts to build the ovens; detailed lists of victims were drawn up using the Dehomag company’s punch card machines, producing meticulous records of the killings. As prisoners entered the death camps, they were made to surrender all personal property, which was carefully cataloged and tagged before being sent to Germany to be reused or recycled. Berenbaum writes that the Final Solution of the Jewish question was “in the eyes of the perpetrators Germany’s greatest achievement.”
Considerable effort was expended over the course of the Holocaust to find increasingly efficient means of killing more people. Early mass-murders by Nazi soldiers of thousands of Jews in Poland had caused widespread reports of discomfort and demoralization among Nazi troops. Commanders had complained to their superiors that the face-to-face killings had a severely negative psychological impact on soldiers. Committed to destroying the Jewish population, Berlin decided to pursue more mechanical methods, beginning with experiments in explosives and poisons.
Holocaust – New World Encyclopedia
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Newly named in recognition of a $20 million gift from the Samerian Foundation, the Museums Simon-Skjodt Center is working to make genocide prevention a global priority.
During the spring of 1945, Allied forces liberated concentration camps throughout Nazi-occupied Europe, bringing to light the full extent of the Holocaust. Explore Museum collections and hear from those who first encountered the camps.
The Museum is greatly concerned about the alarming worldwide rise in antisemitism. This unique hatred has manifested itself in societies around the globe and presents a serious danger to Jews and others as well.
The destruction of the Armenians cast a long shadow into theHolocaust. View photos, artifacts, and eyewitness testimonies about what is sometimes called the first genocide of the 20th century.
Our collection of Holocaust-related materials is among the most comprehensive in the world. View photos, film, artifacts, oral histories, and more.
Listen to this program produced by the Museum and airing on public radio stations nationwide.
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United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – Official Site
Whether you are just beginning to learn about the Holocaust or you are looking for more in-depth stories about the subject, this page is for you. The beginner will find a glossary, a timeline, a list of the camps, a map, and much more. Those more knowledgeable about the topic will find interesting stories about spies in the SS, detailed overviews of some of the camps, a history of the yellow badge, medical experimentation, and much more. Please read, learn, and remember.
This is the perfect place for the beginner to start learning about the Holocaust. Learn what the term “Holocaust” means, who the perpetrators were, who the victims were, what happened in the camps, what is meant by “Final Solution,” and so much more.
Although the term “concentration camps” is often used to describe all Nazi camps, there were actually a number of different kinds of camps, including transit camps, forced-labor camps, and death camps. In some of these camps there was at least a small chance to survive; while in others, there was no chance at all. When and where were these camps built? How many people were murdered in each one?
Pushed out of their homes, Jews were then forced to move into tiny, overcrowded quarters in a small section of the city. These areas, cordoned off by walls and barbed wire, were known as ghettos. Learn what life was really like in the ghettos, where each person was always awaiting the dreaded call for “resettlement.”
The Nazis targeted Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists, twins, and the disabled. Some of these people tried to hide from the Nazis, like Anne Frank and her family. A few were successful; most were not. Those that were captured suffered sterilization, forced resettlement, separation from family and friends, beatings, torture, starvation, and/or death. Learn more about the victims of Nazi cruelty, both the children and the adults.
Before the Nazis began their mass slaughter of Jews, they created a number of laws that separated Jews from society. Especially potent was the law that forced all Jews to wear a yellow star upon their clothing. The Nazis also made laws that made it illegal for Jews to sit or eat in certain places and placed a boycott on Jewish-owned stores. Learn more about the persecution of Jews before the death camps.
Many people ask, “Why didn’t the Jews fight back?” Well, they did. With limited weapons and at a severe disadvantage, they found creative ways to subvert the Nazi system. They worked with partisans in the forests, fought to the last man in the Warsaw Ghetto, revolted at the Sobibor death camp, and blew up gas chambers at Auschwitz. Learn more about the resistance, both by Jews and non-Jews, to the Nazis.
The Nazis, led by Adolf Hitler, were the perpetrators of the Holocaust. They used their belief in Lebensraum as the excuse for their territorial conquest and subjugation of people they categorized as “Untermenschen” (inferior people). Find out more about Hitler, the swastika, the Nazis, and what happened to them after the war.
For many people, history is a difficult thing to understand without a place or an item to connect it with. Thankfully, there are a number of museums that focus solely on collecting and displaying artifacts about the Holocaust. There are also a number of memorials, located around the world, that are dedicated to never forgetting the Holocaust or its victims.
Since the end of the Holocaust, succeeding generations have striven to understand how such a horrific event as the Holocaust could have taken place. How could people be “so evil”? In an attempt to explore the topic, you might consider reading some books or watching films about the Holocaust. Hopefully these reviews will help you decide where to begin.
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The Holocaust – Comprehensive Resources About the Holocaust
The Holocaust (from the Greek holkaustos: hlos, “whole” and kausts, “burnt”), also known as the Shoah (Hebrew: , HaShoah, “the catastrophe”), was a genocide in which approximately six million Jews were killed by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. Some historians use a definition of the Holocaust that includes the additional five million non-Jewish victims of Nazi mass murders, bringing the total to approximately eleven million. Killings took place throughout Nazi Germany and German-occupied territories.
From 1941 to 1945, Jews were targeted and methodically murdered in a genocide, one of the largest in history, and part of a broader aggregate of acts of oppression and killings of various ethnic and political groups in Europe by the Nazis. Every arm of Germany’s bureaucracy was involved in the logistics of the genocide, turning the Third Reich into “a genocidal state”. Non-Jewish victims of broader Nazi crimes include Gypsies, Poles, communists, homosexuals, Soviet POWs, and the mentally and physically disabled. In total, approximately 11 million people were killed, including approximately one million Jewish children. Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed. A network of about 42,500 facilities in Germany and German-occupied territories were used to concentrate, confine, and kill Jews and other victims. Between 100,000 and 500,000 people were direct participants in the planning and execution of the Holocaust.
The persecution and genocide were carried out in stages. Initially the German government passed laws to exclude Jews from civil society, most prominently the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. A network of concentration camps was established starting in 1933 and ghettos were established following the outbreak of World War II in 1939. In 1941, as Germany conquered new territory in eastern Europe, specialized paramilitary units called Einsatzgruppen were used to murder around two million Jews and “partisans”, often in mass shootings. By the end of 1942, victims were being regularly transported by freight train to specially built extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, most were systematically killed in gas chambers. The campaign of murder continued until the end of World War II in Europe in AprilMay 1945.
Jewish armed resistance to the Nazis occurred throughout the Holocaust. One notable example was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, when thousands of poorly armed Jewish fighters held the SS at bay for four weeks. An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Jewish partisans actively fought the Nazis and their collaborators in Eastern Europe.French Jews were also highly active in the French Resistance, which conducted a guerilla campaign against the Nazis and Vichy French authorities. In total, there were over a hundred armed Jewish uprisings.
The term holocaust comes from the Greek word holkauston, referring to an animal sacrifice offered to a god in which the whole (olos) animal is completely burnt (kaustos).
Writing in Latin, Richard of Devizes, a 12th-century monk, was the first recorded chronicler to use the term “holocaustum” in Britain. Sir Thomas Browne employed the word “holocaust” in his philosophical Discourse Urn Burial in 1658 and for centuries, the word was used generally in English to denote great massacres. Since the 1960s, the term has come to be used by scholars and popular writers to refer specifically to the Nazi genocide of Jews. The television mini-series Holocaust is credited with introducing the term into common parlance after 1978.
The biblical word shoah (; also transliterated sho’ah and shoa), meaning “calamity”, became the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust as early as the 1940s, especially in Europe and Israel.Shoah is preferred by some Jews for several reasons, including the theologically offensive nature of the word “holocaust”, which they take to refer to the Greek pagan custom.
The Nazis used a euphemistic phrase, the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” (German: Endlsung der Judenfrage), and the phrase “Final Solution” has been widely used as a term for the genocide of the Jews.
Every arm of Germany’s bureaucracy was involved in the logistics that led to the genocides, turning the Third Reich into what one Holocaust scholar, Michael Berenbaum, has called “a genocidal state”.
Every arm of the country’s sophisticated bureaucracy was involved in the killing process. Parish churches and the Interior Ministry supplied birth records showing who was Jewish; the Post Office delivered the deportation and denaturalization orders; the Finance Ministry confiscated Jewish property; German firms fired Jewish workers and disenfranchised Jewish stockholders.
The Holocaust – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia