The Holocaust was the mass murder of European Jews by the nazis during the second world war.
It took place from the 30th of January 1933 to the end of the war in Europe on May 8th 1945. The nazi dictator Adolph Hitler planned to wipe out the entire Jewish population as a part of his plan to conquer the world. Holocaust refers to any widespread human disaster but it’s special meaning is the annihilations of six million Jewish men, women and children by the nazi regime. The Jews were singled out for extermination because the nazis had a hatred for them as they considered jews as a race whose goal was world domination and was an obstruction to the Aryan dominance. So the nazis thought it was their duty to eliminate the Jews as they were a threat. Every Jewish community occupying Europe suffered losses during the holocaust.
Jews in north Africa were persecuted but did not suffer the same mass murders as in Europe. Ethnic groups, especially Gypsies and Poles were killed as well. At the end of the war in 1945 the nazis had killed over two thirds of the Jews in Europe. In 1933 the nazi regime came to power in Germany and almost immediately they started to take measures against the Jews.
One of the first measures was to define who was considered a Jew. Anyone who had 3 or more Jewish grandparents was automatically a Jew even if that person did not belong to the Jewish community. Half Jews were considered Jewish only if they belonged to the Jewish religion or were married to a Jewish person. Other half Jews or Jews with just one grandparent were categorized as Mishlinge . The Mischlinge were officially excluded from membership in the nazi party and all Party organisations.
Then the boycott of Jewish shops and businesses started by the nazis. extreme efforts were made by the nazis to eliminate Jews from economic life. Jewish lawyers and doctors lost their Aryan clients, Jewish children were not allowed to go to school with the German children and the Jewish employees of Aryanised firms lost their jobs. All synagogues in Germany were set on fire, windows of Jewish shops were smashed and thousands of Jews were arrested. The German army occupied Poland when world war two began in 1939 and the polish Jews were forced to move into over crowded ghettos surrounded by walls and barbed wire. Germany’s plan to murder all the Jews in Europe was known as the “final solution’.
The final solution began when Germany invaded the Union of Soviet Socialist republics. Jews were made to wear arm bands marked with a yellow star. More and More Jews over Europe were made to leave their homes and were taken to ghettos in Poland. The next measure was already underway to exterminate Jews and this was known as the death camp. Death camps also known as concentration camps were especially designed for systematic murder. Millions of Jews were imprisoned in death camps.
Jews were transported to these camps by train, packed into carriages that were so cramped there was no room to move at all. Often the sick and elderly died on the way. The camps were equipped with gassing facilities and some had factories in which the prisoners worked to death. Those unable to work m, the aged , the sick, many women and most children were gassed. The prisoners lived in conditions which were horrible and many died of starvation and disease and doctors performed cruel experiments on some prisoners.
The first death concentration camp was in Dachau which was opened on march 22nd 1933. The camp’s inmates were communists, criminals, homosexuals, Jehovah’s witnesses and beggars. There were six camps opened, these were in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Madjdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. The largest and most infamous of the camps was Aushwitz which was opened in June 1940 in Poland about fifty kilometeres from Krakow. In June 1941 it became an extermination centre with four huge gas chambers installed.
Over two and a half million people were executed at Auschwitz and five hundred thousand more were starved to death. Most people who died at Auschwitz were Jews from German controlled countries. Another camp was bergan-belsen. This camp was located near Humburg, Germany. When it was liberated by British troops they found 10,00 unburied dead and 40,00 starving, sick and dying prisoners.
The Germans tried to kept their actions as secret as possible but as word got out of what the Germans were doing the Jews tried to fight back but were outnumbered. Because so many inmates dies at the death camps from starvation shooting and disease large crematories were constructed to erase traces of destruction. In 1945 American and British troops found out about Nazi’s plan and liberated the death camps. By the end of the war the Jewish dead numbered more than five million , three million in killing centres and other camps, one point four million in shooting operations , and more than sixty thousand in ghettos.Bibliography: