The Holocaust genocide, which occurred between 1933 and 1945, is the deadliest genocide in history. As part of Adolf Hitler’s Final Solution, the Holocaust genocide saw the slaughter of approximately six million Jewish people and five million Slavic, Roma and disabled people in concentration camps scattered throughout areas in Europe such as Germany and Poland. The Holocaust genocide can be further understood through history and facts.
Top 10 Facts about the Holocaust
- According to a broad definition, the Holocaust is considered to have started in 1933, when the Nazi party came to power in Germany and the exclusion of Jewish people and other groups considered “undesirable” from German society began. Mass killings began in 1941, during the height of World War II.
- The Nazi party systematically planned the mass slaughter of millions of people in order to construct solid cultural and societal norms through the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws, a set of rules that systematically removed Jewish people from society. For instance, Jewish Germans were prohibited from marrying non-Jewish Germans.
- The Nazi party forced Jewish people to wear a yellow Star of David badge in order to distinguish between Jewish people and other European people, which served as a systematic approach to isolate Jewish people from society. This practice was a part of Hitler’s use of media and propaganda in order to degrade the Jewish people.
- Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass,” was a period of two days in November 1938 during which Nazi paramilitaries burned approximately 250 synagogues and destroyed thousands of Jewish-owned businesses, schools and homes.
- Jewish, Slavic, Roma and disabled people were forced to congregate in “ghettos” throughout Germany and Poland.
- Before the creation of extermination camps and gas chambers, Nazi Germans murdered the prisoners of concentration camps by shooting them. After experimentation, it was determined that gassing could murder more people at once and would be less costly. The most famous gas used in the gas chambers was called Zyklon B.
- In concentration camps, the prisoners were forced to complete excruciatingly difficult physical labor in the absence of adequate food, water or shelter. Nazi doctors also performed numerous experiments on the prisoners without their consent.
- Extermination camps served solely to murder large amounts of Jewish, Slavic, Roma and disabled peoples. The largest extermination camp was Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was located in Poland and responsible for killing approximately one million Jewish people.
- During the Holocaust genocide, millions of Jewish people sought refuge in the United States; however, strict immigration quotas in the United States had been enacted in 1924, and most Jewish people were barred from entering the United States.
- Many Jewish women created art while confined in the ghettos and concentration camps, and a great deal of the art depicts the hopelessness felt by the Jewish people throughout the period. For example, according to the Jewish Women’s Archive, Emmy Falck-Ettlinger, who lived through and survived the Holocaust genocide in the Gurs concentration camp in France, drew depictions of “emptiness and loneliness.”
These 10 facts about the Holocaust genocide do not even begin to cover the disturbing and horrific details of the historical tragedy. It is incredibly important to study the circumstances in which the Holocaust genocide was developed and executed in order to prevent any group of people from being treated in such an inhumane manner in the future.
– Emily Santora