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The Holocaust World War II erupted on September 1 1939 when Germany invaded Poland It took mere days for Germany to emerge victorious and the Nazis began to enslave the Poles and destroy their culture deemed subhuman The first step was to eliminate the leaders Nazis massacred many university professors artists writers politicians and Catholic priests Large groups of the Polish people were resettled to make room for the superior Germans German families began to move into the newly annexed land Thousands of Poles and Polish Jews were imprisoned in concentration camps Fifty-thousand Aryan-looking Polish children were kidnapped and taken to be adopted by German families Many were later rejected as incapable of Germanization and sent to special childrens camps where death by starvation lethal injection and disease was all very possible During the beginning of the war Hitler authorized an order to kill institutionalized handicapped patients deemed incurable State hospitals filled out questionnaires on their patients which were then reviewed by a special commission of physicians who would simply decide if the subject lived or died Those marked for death were sent to one of six death camps in Germany and Australia where special gas chambers killed them Public protests in 1941 forced the Nazis to continue this euthanasia program in secret Babies small children and others were killed afterward by lethal injection pills or forced starvation Their bodies were burned in cremation The mass murder of the European Jewry and other persecuted groups was thus preceded by the euthanasia program which had all the elements needed for the later genocides in the Nazi death camps an expression decision to kill specially trained personnel the equipment for the deadly gas and the use of the euphemistic terms like euthanasia which psychologically distance the killers from their victims and hid the criminal character of the killings from the public Germany continued their conquest of most of Europe in 1940 crushing Denmark Norway the Netherlands
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