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Word Count: 451
Holocaust originally a religious rite in which an offering was entirely consumed by fire In current usage holocaust refers to any widespread human disaster but as the term Holocaust it means the almost complete destruction of European Jews by Nazi Germany When the Nazi regime came to power in Germany in 1933 it immediately began to take systematic measures against Jews The Nazi Party government agencies banks and business enterprises made concerted efforts to eliminate Jews from economic life and from German life in generalIn 1938 following the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a young Jew all synagogues in Germany were set on fire windows of Jewish shops were smashed and thousands of Jews were arrested This Night of Broken When World War II began in 1939 the German army occupied the western half of Poland bringing almost 2 million more Jews under Germanys control Polish Jews were forced to move into ghettos surrounded by walls and barbed wire Unemployment malnutrition and poverty were widespread housing was overcrowded and typhus was commonIn June 1941 German armies invaded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics USSR and soldiers in special units were dispatched to kill all Soviet Jews on the spot A month after operations began in the USSR Hermann Gring the second in command of Nazi Germany sent a directive to Reinhard Heydrich chief of the Reich Security Main Office charging him with the task of organizing a final solution to the Jewish question in all of German-dominated Europe Jews in Germany were then forced to wear badges or armbands marked with a yellow star Soon the Nazis deported tens of thousands to ghettos in Poland and to occupied Soviet citiesDeath camps or concentration camps equipped with gas chambers were erected in occupied Poland People were deported from the ghettos although their destinations were not disclosed reports of mass deaths eventually reached surviving Jews as well as the governments of the United States
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