The Holocaust

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The Holocaust
Part of World War II
Selection Birkenau ramp.jpg
Date 1941–45
Attack type
Genocide, ethnic cleansing, deportation, mass murder
Deaths 6,000,000–11,000,000
Perpetrators Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, Karl Dönitz, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, Adolf Eichmann, Reinhard Heydrich, Rudolf Höß, Josef Mengele, Jürgen Stroop,
Piechart showing distribution of Holocaust deaths during World War II, 1939–1945

The Holocaust, sometimes called The Shoah (Hebrew: השואה), was a genocide in which Nazi Germany, systematically killed people in a planned and forced way during World War II. About six million Jews were killed,[1][2][3] as well as five million others that the Nazis claimed were inferior (mostly Slavs, communists, Romani/Roma people, people with disabilities, homosexuals, and Jehovah's Witnesses). These people were rounded up, put in ghettos, forced to work in concentration camps and then killed in big gas chambers.[4]

Why were the Jews killed?[change | change 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 at all social. These simple ideas were popular in the German-speaking world and elsewhere in the late 1800s. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria during this time, when many people disliked Jews. He may have been jealous of Jewish success in Austria. However, in a book he wrote called Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), he said it was the Jews' fault that Germany and Austria lost World War I. He also wrote that Germany's economic problems were the Jews' fault. Many people agreed with Hitler’s ideas and supported him as the leader of the Nazi Party.[5][6]

Deaths[change | change 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.[source?]

Led by Adolf Hitler, the Nazis killed millions of Jews. They forced Jews to wear the golden Star of David on their upper bodies. 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.

The Nazis killed millions of people, hundreds at a time, with poison gas in gas chambers. They forced others to dig giant holes in the ground where, after days of hard work, they were shot, buried, and burned in a mass grave. The Nazis executed many others by shooting, stabbing, or beating them to death. Still others died in forced marches from one camp to another. Many other people died of starvation, diseases, and freezing to death because of the terrible conditions in the concentration camps.

On the other hand, there were people who saved Jews from The Holocaust, because they thought it was the right thing to do. Some of them were later given "Righteous Among the Nations" awards by Yad Vashem.

Holocaust denial[change | change source]

Some people say the Holocaust did not happen at all,[9] or was not as bad as historians say it was. This is called Holocaust denial. However, almost all historians agree that the Holocaust did happen, and has been described correctly.[10] Many Holocaust deniers profess that the Nazis did not kill as many people as historians say. Instead, they claim many of these people died from disease or lack of food, usually in order to shift blame from the Nazis. These theories have been disproven by historical accounts, eyewitness evidence, and documentational evidence from the Nazis themselves.

In some countries in Europe, it is against the law to say that the Holocaust never happened.[11]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Rubenstein, Richard L.; Roth, John K. (2003). Approaches to Auschwitz: The Holocaust and Its Legacy. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 381. ISBN 978-0-664-22353-3. 
  2. "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".
  3. Willoughby, Susan (2002). The Holocaust (20th Century Perspectives). Heinemann. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-431-11990-8. 
  4. The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking March 1, 2013 The New York Times
  5. Kershaw, Ian (2010). Hitler: A Biography. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-33761-7. 
  6. Stern, Fritz (2007). Five Germany’s I Have Known. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-53086-0. 
  7. Benz, Wolfgang (1996). Dimension des Volkermords. Die Zahl der judischen Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (in German). Dtv. pp. 145 ff. ISBN 978-3-423-04690-9. 
  8. Bauer, Yehuda; Rozett, Robert (1990). "Appendix". In Gutman, Israel. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. New York: Macmillan Library Reference. pp. 1797–1802. ISBN 978-0-02-896090-6. 
  9. Lipstadt, Deborah (2011-02-17). "Denying the Holocaust". BBC. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  10. "Denying the Holocaust". The Week. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  11. "Push for EU Holocaust denial ban", BBC News, January 15, 2007. Retrieved May 13, 2010.

More reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]