The Holocaust, sometimes called The Shoah (Hebrew: השואה), was when Nazi Germany killed people in a planned and forced way during World War II. Approximately six million Jews were killed, as well as millions of others that the Nazis said were bad (e.g., gypsies, homosexuals, communists and Jehovah's Witnesses). Many were rounded up, put in ghettos, forced to work in concentration camps and then killed in big gas chambers.
Why were the Jews killed?[change | edit source]
There was hatred and persecution of Jews (anti-Semitism) in Europe for hundreds of years. Many people wrongly thought that all Jews were rich, mean, and not social. These simple ideas were popular in the German speaking world and elsewhere in the late 1800s. Hitler was born in Austria during this time when many people disliked Jews. He may have been jealous of Jewish success in Austria, but he also wrote down his belief that Jews were to blame for economic problems and that they were to blame for Germany and Austria losing World War I. Many people agreed with Hitler’s ideas and supported him as the leader of the Nazis. 
Deaths[change | edit source]
The numbers below are not known entirely because many of those killed were never written down. The numbers given below are those most thinkers agree on.
- Jews (5.1–6 million killed), including:
- Polish Jews (3–3.5 million killed)
- Ethnic Poles (1.8-2 million killed)
- Gypsies (200,000–800,000 killed),
- Disabled people (200,000–250,000 killed),
- Homosexuals (22,000–25,000 killed),
- Jehovah's Witnesses (950–2500 killed)
Led by Adolf Hitler, the Nazis led an unprecedented mass slaying of millions of Jews. Jews were forced to wear the golden Star of David on any highly noticeable part of their upper body. Jews were rounded up by the thousands and crammed into trains that took them to concentration camps as well as death camps. Most of the Jews killed in the Holocaust were not German; they were from Poland or the Soviet Union.
Millions of Jews were murdered by the usage of gas chambers (used to suffocate hundreds of people at a time in packed rooms) and ovens where Jews were burned alive. Others were sent to dig giant holes in the ground where, after days of hard work, they were shot, buried, and burned in a mass grave. Others were shot, beaten, or stabbed to death. Still others were trampled by other Jews in merciless marches from one camp to another.
On the other hand, there were people who saved Jews from The Holocaust, out of conscience and with courage against oppression. They were later awarded "Righteous Among the Nations".
Holocaust denial[change | edit source]
Some people say the Holocaust did not happen at all, or they say that it is described wrongly. This is known as Holocaust denial. However, almost all historians agree that there is a lot of evidence the Holocaust happened and is described correctly. In some countries in Europe, it is against the law to say that the Holocaust never happened.
Related pages[change | edit source]
References[change | edit source]
- Approaches to Auschwitz: The Holocaust and Its Legacy, Richard L. Rubenstein, John K. Roth
- "The Holocaust", Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007: "the systematic state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men, women and children, and millions of others, by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. The Germans called this "the final solution to the Jewish question".
- Willoughby, Susan (2002). The Holocaust (20th Century Perspectives). Heinemann. p. 42. ISBN 0431119902.
- Steakley, James. "Homosexuals and the Third Reich", The Body Politic, Issue 11, January/February 1974.
- The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking March 1, 2013 The New York Times
- Kershaw, Ian (2010). Hitler: A Biography. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393337618.
- Stern, Fritz (2007). Five Germany’s I Have Known. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0374530866.
- Lipstad, Deborah (2011-02-17). "Denying the Holocaust". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/genocide/deniers_01.shtml. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- "Denying the Holocaust". The Week. http://theweek.com/article/index/93693/denying-the-holocaust. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- "Push for EU Holocaust denial ban", BBC News, January 15, 2007. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
More reading[change | edit source]
Other websites[change | edit source]
- The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Jewish Virtual Library
- Paulsson, Steve. "A View of the Holocaust". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/genocide/holocaust_overview_01.shtml. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- "Introduction to the Holocaust". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved on 20 February 2011.