The Holocaust

Essay by surujonHigh School, 10th gradeB, April 2006

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The Jewish race had to abide many examples of prejudice and discrimination throughout history. The vastest of these is known as "the Holocaust".

The word holocaust means total destruction, usually by fire. Since WWII it has earned a new meaning: the genocide of six million Jews by the German Nazis. Hitler's main goal was to exterminate all the Jews in Europe, and he succeeded in killing two thirds of them before he ended his own life with poison in his bunker under the German Chancellery building in Berlin.

Between 1933 and 1939, the Nazis boycotted Jewish businesses, established quotas in the professions and schools, outlawed marriages between Jews and Gentiles (mixed marriages), and built Dachau, Buchenwald and Oranienburg, the first concentration camps. On the night of November 9, 1938, gangs of Nazi youth roamed through Jewish neighborhoods breaking windows of Jewish businesses and homes, burning synagogues and looting. 101 synagogues and almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed.

26,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps, they were physically attacked and beaten and 91 died. On Kristallnacht, "the night of broken glass", to make the things even worse, the Nazis forced the Jews to pay an "atonement" of $400 million for the damage which had been done.

WWII began for Europe in September 1939. (The U.S. didn't enter the war until December 1941) After Germany conquered Poland, Reinhard Heydrich decreed that all the Polish Jews were to be imprisoned in a ghetto. Seven hundred thousand of them died during the next two years, and when Germany attacked the Soviet Union (June 1941), "strike squads" were sent in against Soviet Jewish citizens. 33 771 Jews were machine gunned on September 29, 1941.

In January 1942 Hitler called the Wannsee Conference to debate what he called the "final solution of the...