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The History of the Holocaust

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The word Holocaust sounds familiar to all of us, but do we know the real meaning? Holocaust comes from the Greek words “holos”(whole) “kaustos”(burned). When we hear the word “Holocaust” it brings tragic thoughts to our mind, from what we have learned or if you’re a Holocaust survivor it’s what you have experienced.

The History of the Holocaust:

The Holocaust began in 1933,after a defeat in World War I, Germany was humiliated by the Versailles Treaty this reduced its pre-war territory, drastically reduced its armed forces, demanded the recognition of its guilt for the war, and stipulated it pay reparations to the allied powers. The leader who thought of the idea for the Holocaust was, Adolf Hitler, he had many generals beneath him to help exterminate the Jews. He had a goal to rule the world and exterminate Jews, gypsies, homosexauls, and everyone who fell between these categories. After the Nazi party won a significant percentage of the vote in the elections of 1932 they had taken advantage of the political unrest in Germany to gain an electoral foothold.

Nazi Revolution in Germany(1933-1939)

The goals of racial purity and spatial1 expansion were the core of Hitler’s worldview. The first official concentration camp opened in March 1933 in Dachau, many of the first prisoners were communist.

In November 1938 German synagogues were burned and windows in Jewish shops were smashed this was known as Kristallnacht2.100 Jews were killed and thousands more were arrested that night. During the years of 1933 and 1939 hundreds of thousands of Jews who were able to leave Germany did, but those who were unable to leave and remained lived in constant uncertainty and fear.

The Beginning of the War(1939-1940)

The war soon started in September the year of 1939 during World War II. German police soon forced tens of thousands of Polish Jews from their homes and into ghettos, giving their confiscated properties to ethnic Germans. Surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, the Jewish ghettoes functioned like captive city-states, governed by Jewish councils. Unemployment and poverty became common, hunger and overpopulation made the ghettoes breeding grounds for diseases such as Typhus.

Towards the “Final Solution”(1940-1941)

Throughout the spring and summer of 1940, Hitler conquered Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. In 1941, Jews from different countries, were transported to Polish ghettos. On May 20th,1940 the most infamous of the concentration camps, Auschwitz, was established. June 22nd,1940 France was forced to surrender to Germany. October 14th,1941 is when the horror started, when mass deportation of Jews to concentration and death camps begun.

Holocaust Death Camps(1941-1945)

Beginning in the late 1941st, German officials began the extermination, starting with those who were viewed as the least useful: the sick, weak, old, and the very young were the first to be exterminated. The first mass gassings began at the camp of Belzec, near Lublin, on March 17, 1942. The German officials decided to exterminate these Jews by using poison gas. Since Auschwitz was the largest of the camps many deportations had began in March, the heaviest deportations took place during the summer and fall of 1942, when more than 300,000 people were deported from the Warsaw ghetto alone. A large population of Jewish and non-Jewish inmates worked in the labor camp there; though only Jews were gassed, thousands of others died of starvation and diseases. Though the Nazis tried to keep operation of camps secret, the scale of the killing made this virtually impossible.

Jews in the Holocaust Around the World

The destruction of Jews of Poland accounted for more than half of all the victims of the Holocaust. At the same time, and hardly coincidentally, here most of the ghettos were established, and here the death camps stood: Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibór, Majdanek, Bełżec, and Auschwitz╾ Birkenau. Before the Jews were deported the Germans set up Ghettos and most of the Jews had to quarter the German soldiers. Many of these Jews were made to believe that the Germans weren’t as bad as they were made to believe, but after two weeks the Germans released their true



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