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The word Holocaust was originally a religious ceremony in which an offering was entirely consumed by fire It is derived form the Greek words holo which means whole and caustos which means burned In the way we use it today it means any widespread human disaster but when most of us hear the word Holocaust we think of the destruction of Jews in Nazi Germany During the 19th century Jews gained some equality with non-Jews in most European countries Regardless of this fact Jews were still harassed by anti-Semitic groups and some of these groups believed that the Jewish were an alien race that should not be allowed to mix with other people Despite this none of these hate groups formed an organized campaign against the Jewish people All of this changed when Hitler came into power in Germany He used the depression of 1929 as his chance to gain power He blamed the Jewish and Communists for the depression and he promised people of Germany that he would provide jobs and national honor He was appointed chancellor in January 1933 At first was it was thought he would be an easily controlled tool for big business Once in power however Hitler quickly established himself as a dictator An Enabling Act passed by a subservient legislature allowed him to Nazify the bureaucracy and the judiciary replace all labor unions with one Nazi-controlled German Labor Front and ban all political parties except his own The economy the media and all cultural activities were brought under Nazi authority by making an individuals livelihood dependent on his or her political loyalty When the Nazi party started to target Jews in 1933 one major factor was the Nazis definition of a Jew They defined a Jew as a person who had 3 or 4 Jewish grandparents Anyone who was half Jewish and was married to or practiced the religion was also considered a Jew This definition set the
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