The word Holocaust originated from the Greek word “holokauston” which means “sacrifice by fire.” It refers to the persecution and slaughter of the Jewish people and others by the Nazi party of Germany (headed by Hitler).
The holocaust was one of the most notorious acts of genocide of the 20th century and the deadliest of modern world history. Their mission was to eradicate those termed as “the enemies of Germany” and “the inferior Germans.”
When and where did it happen?
The infamous genocide started in 1933 when Adolf Hitler became the ruler of Germany. However, it came to an end in 1945 when the great force of world allied powers defeated the Nazis army.
The holocaust initially started in German-occupied Europe but later spread to other European countries due to Hitler’s growing power and support.
Why did it happen?
When hatred, racism, and xenophobia thrive, many innocent lives always suffer for it.
The Nazis always had the cruel supremacy notion that made them believe that every other race is inferior. They belonged to the Aryan race, and to them, an Aryan was anyone who belonged to Europe and not Jewish, Romany or Slavic. Erroneously, they also thought Germany was the most important country – very important than all other countries.
In 1921, Adolph Hitler became the leader of the Nazi party and became popular because he was very active and outspoken.
The anti-Semitic laws and the decrees
When Hitler became Germany Head of State in 1934, he introduced laws targeted at the Jewish people. The Nuremberg laws of September 15, 1935, specifically excluded the Jews from participating in any government and social activities. The Jews were fired from Civil Service jobs, banned from public parks and utilities, and stripped of their citizenship.
The Nazi-led government enacted a rule to prevent all Jewish doctors from treating anyone other than Jewish patients. They also barred many Jewish children from attending public schools to get a quality education. Several restrictions were placed on movements and travels.
These anti-Semitic laws later graduated to genocide. The Jews suffered a great loss and received no justification, leading to the death of about 6 million Jews and 11 million others.
Nazi Holocaust Victims
The Nazis tagged the Jews as their primary enemy and made them their major targets. In addition to the Jews, they targeted the Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gays, and people with disabilities. The notion was to have a pure, undiluted Aryan race.
Concentration Camps And Extermination Camps
These camps, built in Germany and German-occupied Europe, played a vital role in sustaining the cruelty of the Nazis. Concentration camps were places or camps of systemic mistreatment and torture of captures. Extermination camps, on the other hand, had a covert design that aided the killing of prisoners on arrival.
Holocaust death toll
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum reported the Holocaust death toll to be about 17 million. According to the Museum, the figures may be subject to change as many facts are uncovered. The approximate figures given are:
- Jews and old Soviet Republic Jewish civilians (6 million)
- Old Soviet civilians (About 5.7 million people casualties of war)
- Prisoners of war and Jewish soldiers captured from the Old Soviet ( 3 million)
- Non-Jewish civilians from Poland ( 1.9 million people)
- Serbians numbering up to 312, 000.
- About 250,000 with various disabilities
- Romani people between the range of 196,000 to 220,000
- Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses- 1900
- Hundreds of thousands of criminal offenders, homosexuals, and “asocials” numbering up to 70,000.
- An unknown number of activists and political opponents.