The Holocaust was a part of World War Two and took place mainly between year 1939 and 1945 in Nazi Germany and German occupied territories, including today’s Poland. During this period of time at least six million Jews and five million non-Jewish people were killed by the Nazi regime led by Adolf Hitler.
After the First World War, Germany was experiencing great economic and social difficulties. Germany was defeated in the war and was forced to pay huge reparation costs to the Allies. As a result of this, Germany suffered from a mass unemployment and inflation. Adolf Hitler blamed the loss in the First World War and the recession on the Jewish population. The anti-semitic policies he conveyed eventually resulted in an intricate plan to eradicate the Jewish people. To separate the Jews from the rest of the Europeans, badges with a star of David were created and the Jews were forced to wear them.
Jews from all over Europe were deported to different types of camps mainly in Poland and Germany. There were several types of camps, and different Jews were sent to different camps depending on age, gender and other factors. First of all there were concentration camps. The purpose of these were mainly to concentrate many Jews in one place. Then there were extermination camps, also known as death camps. Old people, children, the majority of women and other people not suited for work were sent to these camps to be executed. Mostly young men were sent to the so called work camps, where they were forced to work long days without much food and without getting paid. When their time at these work camps was over, they were sent to the extermination camps to get killed. The well developed railway system made it possible to arrange transports from all over Europe to the Polish and German camps.
Extermination camps were built all over Nazi Germany, whose only purpose were to execute people as efficiently as possible. After a lot of experimenting, a new and way more discreet and efficient way to murder a big amount of people in a short period of time was found; gas.
The extermination camps were equipped with gas chambers with room for more than a thousand people. In Auschwitz, year 1943, the gas chambers were upgraded and replaced with four new chambers and crematories. Each one of these could fit and kill almost 4500 people each day. The gas used to kill the people was the exhaust from engines, and in some camps they used the exhaust from soviet tanks.
Victims of the holocaust
Even though the Jews are the victims of the Holocaust that seem to get the most attention and that the Holocaust started of as a plan to eradicate the Jewish race, far from all people murdered in the Holocaust were actually Jews. More than eleven million people were murdered during the Holocaust, and about five million of them were non-Jewish people. These people were humans that the Nazi regime thought stood out and were not as good as “normal” humans, and according to the regime they did not deserve to live. Among those people were disabled, mentally ill people, homosexuals, romani people, ethnic poles, slavs, people of colour, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah's witnesses and the political left.
What did we learn and why is the Holocaust an important happening in history?
Although it was a terrible happening, and an awful amount of people died, we could still learn from this. As horrible as it was, the Holocaust was an eye-opener at the time and made a lot of people realize that things such as racism and discrimination existed. But to this day, some people keep denying the existence of the Holocaust. They say that such a big genocide would not be possible and keep denying the fact that millions of people were murdered.
By informing and teaching people about this event in history and being aware of what actually happened, we could prevent something like this happening again.
Lastly. since a lot of people died, most of them innocent, they are worth being remembered. Therefore there are several remembrance days, and the international Holocaust remembrance day is January 27.