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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Calendar of Events

Azeem Ibrahim's compelling lecture delves into the root causes and motivations of the harrowing Rohingya genocide, shedding light on the historical context, human rights violations, and geopolitical complexities surrounding this tragic crisis.

Azeem Ibrahim, Ph.D., is a research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, and a director at the Center for Global Policy in Washington, D.C. Over the years, he has advised numerous world leaders on strategy and policy development. Ibrahim is also the author of the seminal books Rohingya: Inside Myanmar's Genocide (Hurst, 2016) and Radical Origins: Why We are Losing the Battle against Islamic Extremism (Pegasus, 2017). He is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and his writing has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Times (UK), Chicago Tribune, Newsweek and many others. Outside academia, Ibrahim has been a reservist in the IV Battalion Parachute Regiment and an award-winning entrepreneur. He was ranked as a Top 100 Global Thinker by the European Social Think Tank and named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, after which he completed fellowships at Oxford and Harvard. In 2019, he received the International Association of Genocide Scholars Engaged Scholar Prize for his research on the Rohingya genocide. In 2022, Ibrahim was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, on the recommendation of the prime minister, for his services to foreign policy.

Wolf Gruner, Ph.D., discusses the subject of his book Resisters: How Ordinary Jews Fought Persecution in Hitler's Germany (Yale University Press, 2023), which features the life stories of five Jewish men and women who resisted in different ways against persecution in Nazi Germany. By discussing their courageous acts, the book demonstrates the wide range of Jewish resistance in Nazi Germany, challenges the myth of Jewish passivity and illuminates individual Jewish agency during the Holocaust.

Wolf Gruner, Ph.D., holds the Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and is a professor of history at the University of Southern California and founding director of the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research. He received his Ph.D. in History from the Technical University Berlin and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, Yad Vashem Jerusalem, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Women's Christian University Tokyo, among others. Gruner is the author of o books on the Holocaust, including Jewish Forced Labor under the Nazis: Economic Needs and Nazi Racial Aims. His 2016 prizewinning German book was published in English as The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia: Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses. He co-edited four books, including Resisting Persecution: Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust and New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison. He is an appointed member of the Academic Committee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the International Advisory Board of the Journal of Genocide Research, among others.

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