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.
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Featured speaker: Ron Kronish & Respondents: Rabbi Bob Kaplan and Sheikh Moosa Drammeh Ron Kronish, Founding Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), Ron Kronish is now an independent scholar, educator, speaker, and writer. “Profiles in Peace,” his new book on Israeli and Palestinian Peacemakers. Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish is an independent scholar, writer, blogger, lecturer, teacher and mentor. For the past several years, he has been a Library Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. From 1991-2015, he served as the Founder and Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), which was Israel’s premier interreligious institution during those years. He was educated at Brandeis University (BA), Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is the editor of Coexistence and Reconciliation in Israel: Voices for Interreligious Dialogue (Paulist Press, 2015) and the author of The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue, A View from Jerusalem, (Hamilton Books 2017). He currently teaches courses about Interreligious Dialogue and Peacebuilding at the Schechter Institutes for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, in the Department for Adult Education and for the Drew University Theological School (via zoom) in Madison, NJ.
Adi Rabinowitz Bedein, Activist & Holocaust Education. Adi is a young activist who lives in Israel and is a tour guide at Yad Vashem, she will lecture on: “Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust- True Heroism.” Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust During the Holocaust the Jewish people were facing 3 options: Passivity, collaboration and Resistance. In my lecture about Resistance during the Holocaust I discuss the meaning of the Jewish resistance- a story about Strength and true Heroism which can teach us so much that is relevant for our everyday life.