By: Noura Daoud
What is the holocaust?
"Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire."
The holocaust, also known as Shoah was a genocide in which six million Jews were murdered by the Nazi's and its collaborators. In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the "Final Solution."
Why did the holocaust occur?
At the end of the 19th century, a racist anti-Semitism was developed, where the Jews were perceived as a ‘deformity on the body politic’. The Jews were also increasingly perceived as a specific problem to society, a problem that needed solving if the nation were to survive.
This topic has been debated by many historians such as Nora Levin, Enzo Traverso, Shamai Davidson (who spent 30 years working with the Holocaust survivors, trying to understand the nature of their experiences) etc.
Some historians have stated that Hitler had always planned to exterminate the Jews, while others have perceived the murders as a result of a long process, where the Nazi Jewish policy was gradually radicalized.
The Aftermath of the holocaust.
After the Holocaust, many members of the Nazi Party fled to avoid punishment. Others committed suicide like their leader, Adolf Hitler. Very few members of the original Nazi Party are still alive today such as Laszlo Csatary (age 97).
The aftermath of the Holocaust was more tragic than most people can even understand. Of those killed, more than 1.5 million were children. In Nazi Germany, children were ‘useless eaters’ if they were too young to work and were only carrying on the heritage that the Nazis were trying to wipe out. Thus, they were often killed.
Many of those who survived the holocaust were determined to leave Europe and start new lives in Israel or the United States.