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What was the Holocaust? The Holocaust refers to a specific genocidal event in twentieth-century history: the state sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi German and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945.
What does HolocaustMean? “Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in 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.
What does "State Sponsored" and "Systemic" Mean?
State Sponsored and SystemicMean… The government made decisions that would support the “cleansing” of Germany at every level such at: school, police, politicians, and government officials.
The Introduction of Hitler to Government Following the appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor on January 30, 1933, the Nazi state (also referred to as the Third Reich) quickly became a regime in which Germans enjoyed no guaranteed basic rights. This applied TO ALL GERMANS!
The People of Germany Were No Longer Safe!
Killing of the Sick and Weak At least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the so-called Euthanasia Program.
Killing Children The Reich Ministry of the Interior circulated a decree compelling all physicians, nurses, and midwives to report newborn infants and children under the age of three who showed signs of severe mental or physical disability.
Two young brothers, seated for a family photograph in theKovno ghetto. One month later, they were deported to theMajdanek camp. Kovno, Lithuania, February 1944.
Murder Public health authorities began to encourage parents of children with disabilities to admit their young children to one of a number of specially designated pediatric clinics throughout Germany and Austria. The clinics were in reality childrens killing wards where specially recruited medical staff murdered their young charges by lethal overdoses of medication or by starvation.
The Germans and their collaborators killedas many as 1.5 million children The fate of Jewish and non-Jewish children can be categorized in the following way: 1) children killed when they arrived in killing centers; 2) children killed immediately after birth or in institutions; 3) children born in ghettos and camps who survived because prisoners hid them; 4) children, usually over age 12, who were used as laborers and as subjects of medical experiments; and 5) those children killed during reprisal operations or so-called anti-partisan operations.
The Killing Spreads During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovahs Witnesses, and homosexuals.
Arresting Woman and Children
The Ghettos During World War II, ghettos were city districts (often enclosed) in which the Germans concentrated the municipal and sometimes regional Jewish population and forced them to live under miserable conditions.
Ghettos and Escaping Poland St. Louis
Warsaw Ghetto, 1940
Jewish man and children in Kutno, 1940 (Photo: Getty Images) More Photos…
Emptying the Ghettos
More Maps Introduction to Maps Auschwitz Dachau
The Camps-Dachau In the early years of the Nazi regime, the National Socialist government established concentration camps to detain real and imagined political and ideological opponents.
Barracks in the quarry camp of the Natzweiler- Struthof concentration camp.
Aerial view of Neuengamme concentration camp.
Prisoners Loading up On Cattle Cars to Auschwitz-Birkenau
One Building of Barracks
View of the walled entrance to the gas chamber in the main camp ofAuschwitz (Auschwitz I). This gas chamber was in use for only a shorttime before being converted into a bomb shelter. In the background is abuilding used by the Gestapo as a regional headquarters. (April 1945)
Canisters of Zyclon B
Inside a Gas Chamber
Two ovens inside the crematorium at the Dachau concentration camp. (July 1, 1945)
Railroad Entry to Auschwitz
To Understand the Scale ofLoss of Life….
Life in the Camps
Corpses of Women Piled Up onthe Floor of Block 11 (Fen. 1945)
STILL FROM A POSTWAR SOVIET FILM: Jewishchildren, kept alive in the Auschwitz II (Birkenau)concentration camp, pose in concentration campuniforms between two rows of barbed wire fencingafter liberation. (After January 27, 1945)
A prisoner being suspended and subjectedto low pressure experimentation. (March - August 1942)