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An Introduction to the Holocaust

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Jacob Melvin

on 12 October 2010

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Transcript of An Introduction to the Holocaust

The Holocaust: An Introduction What is a holocaust? Holocaust is a Greek term defined as a "sacrifice by fire." The term is now used to describe the violent deaths of a large number of people during World War II. While not always the case, a holocaust is usually linked to a term known as Genocide. Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. Can you think of any historical examples of Genocide? Native Americans were given diseased blankets by European governments as a means of exterminating the tribes. It is estimated that over 90% of the Native American population was destroyed by colonization. In 1994, a Genocide in Rwanda resulted in the deaths of nearly one million people. The Genocide was an effort by a rival tribe during political unrest in the African nation. Nearly 20% of the entire population of Rwanda perished. Genocide still occurs today. The most notable case of Genocide is the Holocaust. During the Holocaust, 12 million people were killed. Over 6 million were Jews. Other victims included the Polish, the Roma, the disabled, homosexuals, political enemies, and prisoners of war. Jews were most commonly targeted. Do you know why? Anti-semitism, or hostility towards Jews, generally stems from religious intolerance. Throughout history, many Christians have held Jews responsible for killing Jesus. Muslims have also blamed Jews for killing Muhammad. Since the High Middle Ages (over 1000 years), Jews have been the target of massacres by both Christians and Muslims. While the killings eventually decreased in magnitude over time, hatred towards Jews increased in Europe due to money-lending practices enforced by European governments. Jews were soon portrayed as wealthy, powerful, and greedy by many European societies. Even Shakespeare portrayed Jews in this light, as evidenced by his play, The Merchant of Venice. The early 20th century brought even more disdain towards the Jews, particularly in Germany. Do you know who ruled Germany during the holocaust? The holocaust was Hitler's "solution to the Jewish problem." You may be wonder ho You may be wondering how Hitler convinced an entire nation of people to turn on their neighbors and exterminate Jewish Germans... The answer is fairly straightforward. Propaganda. "This is how our children should look." "After all, we're the kind-hearted people known as the Nazis." "And the Jews, well..." The Jews were taken from their homes and forced into Concentration Camps. What is a Concentration Camp? Take out your Holocaust ID book. The person on your book is your personal connection to the Holocaust. Read only the first page, and write down what you find about your person. What awaited Jews upon entering a concentration camp? If you weren't strong enough to work, you were sent to the gas chambers or crematoriums. If the camp had enough workers, you were immediately killed and thrown in a mass grave. If you were lucky enough to survive,
this is where you lived. The average life span in a Concentration Camp was three weeks. This is what American and other Allied soldiers found when invading Germany...
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