The holocaust can be defined as a bureaucratic, systematic and state-sponsored murder and persecution of 6 million Jews by Nazi regime together with its collaborators. The term Holocaust in Greek means “sacrifice by fire.” In January 1933, the Nazis took over power in Germany. Their belief was that Germans were a superior race and that the Jews were inferior. As such, Nazis considered the Jews as alien threats to their “German racial community.” At the time of murders and persecutions, the German authorities targeted other sections or groups that were seen as racially inferior or undesirable. There were also groups that were persecuted on ideological, behavioral and political grounds. These included socialists, communists, homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Why the holocaust happened
On taking over the Nazi Party’s leadership in 1921, Adolf Hitler emphasized the notion that Aryan race, which was his race, was superior to the other races. To him and other Nazis, Aryans were the Europeans and not the Slavic, Romany or Jewish. They also believed that Germany as a country was important than other countries. In 1934 after becoming the head of State in Germany, Hitler introduced the anti-Semitic laws that were discriminating against the Jews who lived in the areas under his control. Among these laws were the laws that prohibited the Jewish children from going to school, having bicycles or keeping pets. According to the Nazis, the Jews posed a problem that had to be dealt with.
To Hitler, the mass killings that ensued at the time were a final solution. The intention of Hitler was to make Germany stronger and bigger. Therefore, he invaded the neighboring countries and took over their control. He took the non-Germans in the land that he occupied to the concentration camps. He did what can now be called ethnic cleansing. To some extent, the Nazis and those collaborating with them succeeded in doing what they wanted because there were no enough people to oppose them.
When and where it happened
This infamous event happened in the 20th century from 1933 to 1945. This genocide happened in 21 European countries that Nazi wanted to occupy during World War II. By 1945, the Nazis had killed two out of three Jews in Europe. Although the Nazis targeted mainly the Jews in Europe, they also killed or used other people, who they called “undesirables”, for medical experiments. For instance, they killed almost 500 Gypsies. About 2 to 3 million Soviet war prisoners died of disease, starvation, maltreatment or neglect while some were murdered. Non-Jewish Polish were also targeted by the Nazis for killing. Millions of Soviet and Polish civilians were deported to Germany or the occupied Poland for forced labor. Most of them died there due to deplorable conditions.
How the holocaust ended
This event lasted for almost 12 years. The Allies that were fighting Germany during the war started advancing towards Germany and finally they started taking over camps. For instance, the Soviets liberated Maidanek camp within Poland in July 1944. More takeovers and liberation followed as Allies, including the Americans, toppled Hitler’s regime. The largest camp within the Nazi territory, Auschwitz, was liberated in January 1945. It was in this camp where most people were killed. When Germany was finally invaded by the Allied forces in 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide out of fear, cowardice or based on the ideals of Nazi. He committed suicide in April 1945 to avoid being captured by the Allies. Other Nazis also committed suicide the same year because they were taught that committing suicide was favorable than facing capture and punishment. Nevertheless, there were Nazis that were captured and punished for involving themselves in the killings.
By the time the war ended, there were between 50,000 and 100, 0000 survivors living in the occupied Europe. This number of survivors increased to more than 200,000 after Adolf Hitler was removed from power.
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