Essay by Leshaye_15Junior High, 8th grade March 2005

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Holocaust was the, almost complete, destruction of Jews in World War II. Germany's Nazi party ordered the extermination of 5.6 million to 5.9 million Jews. Jews often refer to the Holocaust as Shoah. Shoah is the Hebrew word for "catastrophe" or "total destruction." The word holocaust refers to the Greek word meaning holo (whole) and causto (burned). Those who created the means were to kill all Jews.

For many years, Christians in Europe discriminated against Jews. In anti-Jew minds Jews were mysterious, mythical, and evil forces. In the Middle Ages, many Christians believed that Jews were in league with the devil. Many believed that Jews were not human and that they used magic to appear like other people. Many years before the start of World War II Christians and Roman Catholics taught anti-Jew beliefs.

Before Word War II Nazi's started to ban Jews from legal and medical professions, Jew shops, and many other things.

When World War II was about to begin, Nazis started to kill Jews. In the fall of 1941, the Nazis began deporting Jews who were occupied in Europe to the East in order to exterminate them. Jews were forced to do hard labor. Three gassing centers were built to kill. From 750,000 to 950,000 were gassed in Treblinka; from 500,000 to 600,000 were gassed in Belzec, and about 200,000 in Sobibor. Auschwitz I and II were built. In Auschwitz II, one million Jews died from starvation, disease, and of gassing. In various European countries, teams of SS men were sent to direct the round-ups and deportations of Jews by train to concentration camps and killing centers. Their task was done in stages: First the poor, then the foreign and Jewish refugees, and finally the rest of the Jewish community.