Approximately one year before World War II started, in late 1938 a power hungry-dictator caused such an event it’s remembered throughout history. The Holocaust was one of the world’s darkest hours, a mass murder conducted in the shadows of the world’s most deadly war. The German government controlled by the brutal Nazi Party and its leader Adolf Hitler. The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Nazis, who came to power in Germany on January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed “inferior,” were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.
Hostility discrimination against Jews is anti-Semitism, a term that has wide currency even unto this day in the 21st century. In the 20th century the economic and political dislocation caused by World War I intensified anti-Semitism, and racist anti-Semitism thrived in Nazi Germany. Nazi persecution of the Jews led to the Holocaust. Hatred of the Jews has long been established in Europe. The Jews in Christendom were humiliated, banished from their homes, forced to wear marks to identify them, and confined to separate living quarters. They were characterized as offspring of the Devil. One main concept for the Nazis was racial hygiene. Hitler’s early policies targeted children with physical and developmental disabilities, and later authorized an euthanasia program for disabled adults. The Holocaust was also conducted under the auspices of racial hygiene. Nazis and their collaborators were responsible for the deaths of 11 million to 14 million people, including about 6 million Jews, representing two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe (1939-1945). Deaths took place in concentration and extermination camps and through mass executions.
Concentration camps in Germany served a number of purposes. These camps were used to jail people who opposed Hitler’s government or who threatened it. Officially concentration camps were to “reform” people who had expressed opposition to Hitler’s regime. The first concentration camps in Germany were established soon after Hitler’s appointment as chancellor (1933). Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany established about 20,000 camps to imprison its many millions of victims. These camps were used for a range of purposes including forced-labor camps, transit camps which served as temporary way stations, and extermination camps built primarily or exclusively for mass murder. To facilitate the “Final Solution” (the genocide or mass destruction of the Jews), the Nazis established killing centers in Poland, the country with the largest Jewish population. The killing centers were designed for efficient mass murder. Chelmno, the first killing center, opened in December 1941. Jews and Roma were gassed in mobile gas vans there. Later, the Nazis constructed gas chambers (rooms that filled with poison gas to kill those inside) to increase killing efficiency and to make the process more impersonal for the perpetrators. The men killing the men, women, and children day after day became tired of seeing it so when they (Nazis) made the gas chambers (concrete bunkers with steel doors) the men didn’t have to see the Jews die. Millions of people were imprisoned and abused in the various types of Nazi camps. The Germans and their collaborators murdered more than three million Jews in the killing centers alone. Only a small fraction of those imprisoned in Nazi camps survived.
The Holocaust was the annihilation of the Jewish population by Nazis and Hitler. The Holocaust can be called one of the darkest sides and the biggest tragedies of the human civilization. This tragedy should never be forgotten. Most people all over the world of various ages are aware of the notion Holocaust and extreme sufferings it brought to millions of people. The injustice that was demonstrated on the Jews during the 4 year reign of the Final Solution was racist, intolerant, and offensive. Years of gassings, torture, shootings, hangings, burnings, starvation and live burials were some forms of death that the Nazis regularly practiced upon the Jews harbored in their concentration camps. Many Jews who did survive the Holocaust either went on to commit suicide, or suffered from survivor’s guilt, depression, or another psychological disorder. What we can do to give homage to the 6 million innocent ones lost in the blaze of the Holocaust is to never forget the tears, the hunger, or the loss.
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Jews in a mass grave
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