Facts About Holocaust
During World War II, the shocking news that filtered throughout the world was the Holocaust. This systematic killing of Jewish people by the Nazis started in 1933 after Hitler assumed power in Germany. It finally came to an end after Hitler and the Nazis were defeated in the year 1945. However, while the whole world knows that millions of Jewish were systematically culled in concentration camps, there are several other Holocaust facts that people are unaware of.
The systematic slaughter was not just restricted to the Jews. Even homosexuals, gypsies, disabled people, people suffering from mental ailments, and Jehovah's witnesses were killed. Basically, anyone who was brave enough to oppose Hitler and the Nazis atrocities was sent to concentration camps. Here the person was either sent to a gas chamber on arrival or was send make to work as forced worker.
The word Holocaust has its origins in Greek. It comes from a Greek word, holokauston, which translate to sacrifice by fire. While this systematic killing of Jews and others is known throughout the world as Holocaust, it is also referred to as Shoah. This is a Hebrew word, which translates to ruin, devastation or waste.
According to estimates, more than eleven million people were slaughtered during the Holocaust. Out of this, nearly six million were of Jewish origin. It is believed that during this tragic killing, the Nazis were responsible for exterminating nearly 2/3rds of the total Jewish population in Europe. What many people do not know is that even children were killed as a part of the Holocaust, especially those who were ill or too young to work. It is estimated that around 1.1 million of them were gassed and killed.
In reality, the Holocaust actually began on 1st April 1933 when the Nazi declared that the German people should boycott all businesses run by Jewish people. The killings and murder of Jewish people started later on. Thereafter, 2 years later, in 1935, the infamous Nuremberg Laws were passed. These laws saw the Jewish people being divested of their German citizenship, and it was declared that marriages as well as affairs between Jewish and German people were illegal. These laws paved way for other anti-Jewish laws that were gradually introduced over the next few years.
Slowly, the Jewish people were banned from visiting parks, they could no longer hold government positions and jobs and Jewish healthcare professionals could treat just other Jewish people.
In November 1938, the Nazis launched what is known as Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass. On this synagogues and businesses owned by Jewish people were attacked. Windows were broke, stores were looted and Jewish people were attacked. It was on this night that the Nazis began sending Jews to concentration camps. Around thirty thousand of them were arrested and transported to camps.
In 1939, after the start of the Second World War, the Nazis made it mandatory for Jews to wear a yellow-colored Star of David, so that they could be identified without any problems. Also, in the initial stages of the war, the Jews were made to live in certain areas in cities termed as ghettos. Many families were displaced and forced to share accommodation with other Jewish families. During the day, the Jews were allowed to venture out of the ghettos, but at nights they could not leave. The biggest ghetto was located in Poland, in the city of Warsaw. Around 445,000 Jewish people were living there in the March of 1941. It was from these ghettos that Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. If the Nazis wanted to destroy a ghetto, all they had to do was send the residents to concentration camps. In fact, in April 1943 when the Nazis tried to destroy the ghetto located in Warsaw, the residents fought back. This famous uprising is became known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The fighters held back the Nazis for twenty-eight days.
While concentration camps were a term used for camps where the Jewish people were sent during the Holocaust, there were actually different types of camps. Some camps were for hard labor, some for killing the inmates, some for prisoners of war and others were used as transit camps. The first concentration camp opened its doors on 20th March 1933 in the city of Dachau. The biggest concentration camp was located in Auschwitz. It was also a killing camp. It is claimed that around 1.1 million inmates of this camp were killed using different methods, especially gas chambers.
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About.com: Holocaust Facts