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The Holocaust was the systematic bureaucratic annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and their collaborators as a central act of state during World War II In 1933 approximately nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany during the war By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed Although Jews were the primary victims hundreds of thousands of Roma Gypsies and at least 250000 mentally or physically disabled persons were also victims of Nazi genocide As Nazi tyranny spread across Europe from 1933 to 1945 millions of other innocent people were persecuted and murdered More than three million Soviet prisoners of war were killed because of their nationality Poles as well as other Slavs were targeted for slave labor and as a result almost two million perished Homosexuals and others deemed anti-social were also persecuted and often murdered In addition thousands of political and religious dissidents such as communists socialists trade unionists and Jehovahs Witnesses were persecuted for their beliefs and behavior and many of these individuals died as a result of maltreatment The concentration camp is most closely associated with the Holocaust and remains an enduring symbol of the Nazi regime The first camps opened soon after the Nazis took power in January 1933 they continued as a basic part of Nazi rule until May 8 1945 when the war and the Nazi regime ended The events of the Holocaust occurred in two main phases 1933-1939 and 1939-1945 I 1933-1939 On January 30 1933 Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor the most powerful position in the German government by the aged President Hindenburg who hoped Hitler could lead the nation out of its grave political and economic crisis Hitler was the leader of the right-wing National Socialist German Workers Party called the Nazi Party for short it was by 1933 one of the
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