Social Sciences


Definition of the term Holocaust

The term “burnt offering” comes from ancient Greek and means “to burn everything up . ” Before the Second World War, this term was already sometimes used to describe the annihilation of a significant number of people, but since 1945 it has become almost synonymous with the massacre of European Jews during the Second World War. the largest known genocide story in the world. For this reason, the term “the Holocaust” is capitalized. Jews also use the term “shoah,” which in Hebrew means catastrophe.

Causes of the holocaust

There are different reasons for the holocaust. The most direct reason is that the Nazis intended to eradicate the Jews and had the ability to do so. However, his murderous spirit did not come out of nowhere. The anti – Semitic Nazi ideology must be understood in a wider context of centuries of hostility towards Jews and racism modern nationalism.

In the case of Jews in Europe , they have been persecuted and discriminated against for hundreds of years, usually for religious reasons. This is how they were considered the death of Christ. In the Middle Ages, they lived in separate areas, on the outskirts of the community or in separate ghettos or neighborhoods. In addition to this, they were excluded from some professions . In times of unrest, Jews were usually singled out as scapegoats.

Historical evolution

Around the year 1350 , during the plague epidemic, the Jews were expelled and persecuted. Later, in Russia, after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, violent incidents took place where Jews were attacked or annihilated as a group. With the birth of racial thought in the 19th century, the idea arose that Jews constitute a different race and for this reason, they do not belong to the people or nation where they are.

In 1918 Germany was overthrown in the First World War and right-wing extremists considered that it was the fault of the Jews because of the debt generated in the war. In addition to this, they accused the Jews of being capitalist exploiters, profiting at the expense of others. At the same time, Jews were also seen as pioneers of communism. And through a revolution , their main objective would be to seize world power.

However, no straight line could be drawn from Nazi anti – Semitism to the Holocaust. Although Hitler always hinted, both in his speeches and in his books, hatred towards Jews and that there was no place for them in Germany. Despite all these statements, there was no systematic plan for mass murder. After the outbreak of the Second World War, the idea and the possibility came to light within the leaders of the Nazis to annihilate all the Jews who lived in Europe.

And it is for this reason that it is considered that the holocaust was the result of a series of decisions influenced by the circumstances of the time. Furthermore, the initiative for certain decisions came from lower-ranking Nazis, who desperately sought extreme solutions to the problems they faced.

In the same way, due to the competition that was being disputed at that time between the different government departments, increasingly extremist measures were emerging against the Jews. Although there was nothing that was against Hitler’s will and ultimately he was the one who made the decisions.

The radicalization of the Jews in the second world war

The German invasion of Poland in September 1939 marks the beginning of a new, more radical stage in the persecution of the Jews. Emigrating to flee from war is practically impossible. The takeover of Poland means that 1.7 million Polish Jews are under Nazi German authority. They are kept away in ghettos, Jewish residential areas, similar to a prison. Often, several families must share the same home.

At this time , hunger and medical attention prevailed . Jews were not allowed to leave the ghetto without authorization and are generally obliged to perform forced labor. In the early occupation of Poland, coupled with this the Nazis exterminated thousands of Jews and non-Jews.

Examples of the Holocaust

  1. Jewish Holocaust: This term began to be used after World War II to refer to the mass extermination of millions of Jews in Europe by the Nazi regime. According to historians, about 6 million people of Jewish religion were killed during World War II. The Hitler regime referred to this extermination process as the “final solution to the Jewish question.”

The Holocaust included an organized system to carry out this genocide, it included death camps (such as Bergen-Belsen or Auschwitz), gas chambers and crematoriums . The SS Commander-in-Chief Heinrich Himmler is usually considered to be in charge of managing this process.

  1. Nuclear Holocaust : talk about the devastation of hundreds of life through the launch of a nuclear missile or projectile. An example of this was experienced in the world through the launching of the nuclear bomb in Japan. Another example was the nuclear disaster that was experienced in Chernobyl after the explosion of the nuclear plant, leaving as a consequence millions of deaths and hundreds of people with sequelae and genetic diseases for life.
  2. Religious holocaust : it has been studied throughout history that within the bible, considered a sacred religious book, that since time immemorial, there was already talk of the holocaust. Even during the period of the inquisition and the crusades, holocausts were made to sacrifice women who considered themselves witches, scientists and scholars who were against religious impositions.

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