The Holocaust

What did you know about the Holocaust?

What is the Holocaust?

The Holocaust was the systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. Shortly after Adolf Hitler took over power in Germany in 1933 he began to implement eliminationist measures deigned to disenfranchise German Jews from economic and social positions. In 1935 the Nazis passed laws which stripped Jews of their German citizenship and took away their livelihood. Life for Jews became increasingly worse until the onset of WWII in 1939, when the Germans began to take away their lives. From that point onwards the Germans began deporting Jews to overcrowded ghettos and concentration camps. Appalling conditions, disease, brutal treatment, exposure to the elements, forced starvation and labor killed thousands.

When and why did the holocaust started?

The Holocaust occur on January, 30th in 1933 when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. As the 'pure Aryan race', it was therefore their right and obligation to get rid of the Jews. Anti-Semitism was a large part of the Nazis ideas. Hitler wanted to exterminate all Jews.Many people in Germany supported the Nazis and their racist ideas.

When did the holocaust ended?

The Holocaust ended on May, 8th in 1945 when Allied powers defeated the Nazis.The Holocaust lasted for 12 years, until 1945. Starting as early as 1944, the Allies were advancing on the Germans finally and they began taking over their camps. In July 1944, Maidanek, a camp in Poland, was liberated by the Soviets. This was followed by many more liberations and takeovers as the Americans and other Allies slowly removed Hitler from power. In January 1945, Auschwitz was liberated. This was the biggest camp in the Nazi territory and it was also the one where the most deaths occurred. The liberation of this camp was a major milestone in the end of the Holocaust.

The Kristallnacht

The Kristallnacht is the German name for the event described as the 'Night of broken glass'. During this time, Nazi military groups armed with sledgehammers and axes. For example attacked Jews and killed 91 of them, trashed and looted more than 7000 Jewish businesses, leaving smashed windows of Jewish shops and stores scattered across streets and footpaths, set fire to over 900 synagogues and destroyed 267 of them, they set fire to Jewish homes, damaged hospitals and schools and desecrated Jewish graves also arrested 25000-30000 German Jewish men, having targeted those who were young and fit, and sent then to concentration camps.

Concentration camp

The term concentration camp refers to a camp in which people are detained or confined, usually under harsh conditions and without regard to legal norms of arrest and imprisonment that are acceptable in a constitutional democracy.

The 'Final Solution'

The Holocaust was underway by mid 1914 when the SS began to systematically kill Jews by means of a mass shootings in the Soviet Union. By late 1914, Hitler had decided that mass extermination of all the Jews in Nazi-controlled territory and labour camps were already being converted into death camps.
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The Wannsee Confence

On 20 January 1942, senior Nazi officials met in Berlin suburb of Wannsee. Here, SS General Reinhard Heydrich outlined his plan for implementing the Final Solution. All Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe and North Africa would be sent to Eastern Europe. There, the fitter Jews could provide hard labour on road- building projects until the work killed them, while others would die in mass gassing.

The Death camps

Jews were forced to live in specific areas called ghettos after the beginning of WWII. In the larger ghettos, up to 1000 people a day were picked up and brought by train to concentration camps or death camps. The next 3 years, SS death squads rounded up Jews from ghettos and other areas throughout Nazi-controlled territory and sent them to death camps. The process involved the use of army, local police forces, trains and trains drives. Private companies built the gas chambers and the ovens in which bodies were cremated and also supplied the Zyklon B gas which would eventually kill the Jews.
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More facts about The Holocaust

  • Jewish people were excluded from public life in September 15th, 1935 when the Nuremberg Laws were issued. These laws also stripped German Jews of their citizenship and their right to marry Germans.
  • Once WWII began, the Nazis ordered all Jews to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing so they could be easily targeted.
  • In prison camps, prisoners were forced to do hard physical labour. Torture and death within concentration camps were common and frequent.
  • 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust (1.1 million children). 6 million of those victims were Jewish. Other groups targeted by the Nazis were Jehovah's Witness, homosexuals, disabled people, and Roma.
  • Two-thirds of Jewish people living in Europe at the time of WWII were killed by Nazis.