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Picture GI HomePicture Iwo Jima HOLOCAUST a term for the methodical persecution enslavement and extermination of European Jewry by Nazi Germany An estimated 6 million Jews died in the years from 1933 to 1945 Europe had a history of anti-Semitism but the Holocaust was unique in scope barbarity and concentration on the annihilation of one people genocide Moreover anti-Semitism was given legal sanction The Holocaust was directed by the Nazi dictator Adolf HITLER aided by a vast bureaucracy managed by Heinrich HIMMLER Reinhard Heydrich Heinrich Mueller and Adolf EichmannHitler outlined his anti-Semitic program in Mein Kampf My Struggle his farrago of memoirs prejudices and ill-conceived scientism On coming to power in 1933 he implemented this plan It evolved from legal disfranchisement of the Jews to legalized murder The Nuremberg Laws 1935 forbade Germans to commerce with Jews and to marry or have intercourse with them It classed Jews as subjects rather than citizens Later legislation added disabilities designed to drive Jews out of Germany Many refused to leave convinced that Hitlers rule would soon end Nazi-sponsored propaganda was circulated widely Jewish books were burned Physical persecution commenced with orchestrated anti-Jewish riots on the infamous Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass of Nov 9-10 1938 Synagogues were destroyed Jewish-owned stores were looted and burned and some 30000 Jews were arrested and imprisonedIn 1939 under cover of WORLD WAR II in countries conquered or dominated by Germany Jews were forced into overcrowded ghettos and employed as slave labor Jewish property was seized Disease and starvation decimated ghetto populations Jews were rounded up in the ghettos and shipped to concentration camps where more succumbed Survivors were sent to death camps the Final Solution set up in 1942 all over Europe There they were gassed and their corpses burned in ovens In Auschwitz-Treblinka alone at least 2 million Jews were murdered in this fashion They had been citizens of the Netherlands Belgium France Poland Hungary Czechoslovakia Greece
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