What was the Holocaust?

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

 

During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": RomaPoles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals. (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples.

WHAT WAS THE HOLOCAUST?
 
In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the "Final Solution," the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe. Although Jews, whom the Nazis deemed a priority danger to Germany, were the primary victims of Nazi racism, other victims included some 200,000 Roma (Gypsies). At least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the so-called Euthanasia Program.

As Nazi tyranny spread across Europe, the Germans and their collaborators persecuted and murdered millions of other people. Between two and three million Soviet prisoners of war were murdered or died of starvation, disease, neglect, or maltreatment. The Germans targeted the non-Jewish Polish intelligentsia for killing, and deported millions of Polish and Soviet civilians for forced labor in Germany or in occupied Poland, where these individuals worked and often died under deplorable conditions. From the earliest years of the Nazi regime, German authorities persecuted homosexuals and others whose behavior did not match prescribed social norms. German police officials targeted thousands of political opponents (including Communists, Socialists, and trade unionists) and religious dissidents (such as Jehovah's Witnesses). Many of these individuals died as a result of incarceration and maltreatment.

ADMINISTRATION OF THE "FINAL SOLUTION"
 
In the early years of the Nazi regime, the National Socialist government established concentration camps to detain real and imagined political and ideological opponents. Increasingly in the years before the outbreak of war, SS and police officials incarcerated Jews, Roma, and other victims of ethnic and racial hatred in these camps. To concentrate and monitor the Jewish population as well as to facilitate later deportation of the Jews, the Germans and their collaborators created ghettos, transit camps, and forced-labor camps for Jews during the war years. The German authorities also established numerous forced-labor camps, both in the so-called Greater German Reich and in German-occupied territory, for non-Jews whose labor the Germans sought to exploit.

Nazi Concentration Camp Pictures

 http://www.ushmm.org/genocide/endgenocide/videos/

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Feb22

"Surviving the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan: Sohaila Kakar's Refugee Journey"

Zoom

In Afghanistan, Sohaila Kakar was a practicing surgeon; then, in 2021, the Taliban took over the country. Join us as Sohaila discusses life before and after the Taliban's takeover in Afghanistan–and the physical, economic, and psychological toll it had upon her family as they fled. Her story also highlights the compassionate work done by Upwardly Global, the non-profit agency that provided guidance to Sohaila’s family as they settled in the U.S.

This event is part of the 2022-23 Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center (KHC) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Colloquium, “Trauma, Remembrance, and Compassion.” The event is organized by the KHC at Queensborough Community College and is co-sponsored by the Ray Wolpow Institute at Western Washington University; the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College; and the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University.

Featured speaker: Dr. Simran Jeet Singh Dr. Simran Jeet Singh Executive Director of the Aspen Institute for Religion & Society on “The Light We Give, “ a book on the wisdom of Sikhism about overcoming racism and fear through optimism and connection. Simran is a public figure in interreligious engagement and a scholar. As turban-wearing Sikhs growing up in Texas, Simran and his brothers faced racism daily. On the soccer field, on the basketball court, and especially at the airport. Over the years, Simran learned that the same tradition that caused him to look different had unique wisdom for confronting the challenges of our time. Simran has studied and practiced these teachings and shares insights on how Sikh ideas can enrich us all.

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