Examples of Genocide throughout History

The Jewish Holocaust

"I ask nothing of the Jews except that they should disappear."

Nazi Governor of Poland

Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in January 1933 blaming his country's defeat inWorldWar I and its subsequent economic hardships on the Jews and accused the Jews of various conspiracies. Via the Nazi regime, Hitler began a systematic and planned policy of extermination against the Jewish population of Europe. Jews in Germany were deprived of their German citizenship, forbidden to marry non-Jews, removed from schools, banned from professions, excluded from military service along with many other restrictions. The campaign was intensified by a state sanctioned smear campaign portraying Jews as enemies of Germany in newspapers, on posters, in movies, on radio, in speeches by Hitler and other top Nazis, in the classroom, etc. The campaign expanded as Hitler's power grew with the ultimate goal of '...the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe'.

Every minute detail of the extermination process was meticulously planned with the use of concentration or death camps, mobile gas vans, mass "deportations" to the camps, with some individuals taken aside for medical experiments and others for slave labour. It was when the Soviet and Western allies began liberating concentration camps from early 1945 that the full horror of the twelve-year Nazi regime became apparent. By this stage, most of Europe's Jews had been killed - four million had been gassed in the death camps while another two million had been shot dead or died in the ghettos.

Some effects of the Holocaust:

  • The Holocaust has become a chilling benchmark in the history of both Germany and genocide.
  • What happened during the Jewish Holocaust, led to the conviction and execution of Nazi leaders and the overall strengthening of laws against genocide and the signing of the Genocide Convention.
  • It has raised many difficult and enduring questions for the German people
  • It led to the creation of the state of Israel with all its consequences for both Israelis and Palestinians

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