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Old 06-20-2006, 02:48 PM   #1
Rockin' Cherub
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Default antisemitism

look what king edward I of england had to say (you know, the braveheart guy)

Quote:
To help finance his war to conquer Wales, Edward I taxed the Jewish moneylenders. However, the cost of Edward's ambitions soon drained the money-lenders dry. When the Jews could no longer pay, the state accused them of disloyalty. Already restricted to a limited number of occupations, Edward furthermore abolished their right to lend money at interest with the Statute of Jewry, 1275, [1] and eventually restricted their extra-curricular movements and activities. This Statute also decreed ..."that each Jew after he shall be seven years old, shall wear a badge on his outer garmet that is to say in the form of two tablets joined of yellow fait {felt} of the length of six inches and the breadth of three inches." In the course of King Edward's persecution of the Jews, he arrested all the heads of Jewish households. The authorities took over 300 of them to the Tower of London and executed them, while killing others in their homes. Finally, in 1290, the King banished all Jews from the country, by the Edict of Expulsion.
from wikipedia. no further comment

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:50 PM   #2
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Holy crap, Jewish people have been persecuted in the past? NOWAI!

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:50 PM   #3
Rockin' Cherub
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duh.

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:53 PM   #4
GlasgowKiss
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You think that was hardcore? Read this shit!

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The Holocaust
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from The holocaust)
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This article is about the Holocaust committed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation).

Selection procedure of Hungarian Jews at the Auschwitz camp on 26 May 1944, where the Nazis chose whom to kill immediately and whom to use as slave labor or for medical experimentation. The entrance to the main camp is in the background. Between 1.1 and 1.6 million people were killed at Auschwitz alone; over 90% of the victims were Jews. Picture taken by SS Oberscharführer Bernhard Walter or SS Unterscharführer Ernst Hoffmann.

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Selection procedure of Hungarian Jews at the Auschwitz camp on 26 May 1944, where the Nazis chose whom to kill immediately and whom to use as slave labor or for medical experimentation. The entrance to the main camp is in the background. Between 1.1 and 1.6 million people were killed at Auschwitz alone; over 90% of the victims were Jews. Picture taken by SS Oberscharführer Bernhard Walter or SS Unterscharführer Ernst Hoffmann.
The Nazi concentration camp in Nordhausen.
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The Nazi concentration camp in Nordhausen.

The Holocaust, also known as The Shoah (Hebrew: השואה HaShoah), is the name applied to the state-led systematic persecution and genocide of the Jews and other minority groups of Europe and North Africa during World War II by Nazi Germany and its collaborators[1]. Early elements of the Holocaust ******* the Kristallnacht pogrom of the 8th and 9th November 1938 and the T-4 Euthanasia Program, leading to the later use of killing squads and extermination camps in a massive and centrally organized effort to exterminate every possible member of the populations targeted by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" (die "Endlösung der Judenfrage"). The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million, though estimates by historians using, among other sources, records from the Nazi regime itself, range from five million to seven million. Many gentiles were killed in addition to this figure.

About 220,000 Sinti and Roma were murdered in the Holocaust (some estimates are as high as 800,000), between a quarter to a half of the European population. Other groups deemed "racially inferior" or "undesirable": Poles (5 million killed, of whom 3 million were Jewish), Serbs (estimates vary between 100,000 and 700,000 killed, mostly by Croat Ustashas), Soviet military prisoners of war and civilians on occupied territories including Russians and other East Slavs, the mentally or physically disabled, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Communists and political dissidents, trade unionists, Freemasons, and some Catholic and Protestant clergy, were also persecuted and killed. Many scholars do not ******* the Nazi persecution of all of these groups in the definition of the Holocaust, with some scholars limiting the Holocaust to the genocide of the Jews; some to genocide of the Jews, Roma, and disabled; and some to all groups targeted by Nazi racism.[2] Taking all these other groups into account, however, the total death toll rises considerably, estimates generally place the total number of Holocaust victims at 9 to 11 million, though some estimates have been as high as 26 million.[3]
The Holocaust
Early elements
Racial policy · Nazi eugenics · Nuremberg Laws

Euthanasia · Concentration camps (List)
Jews
Nazi Germany, 1933 to 1939
Pogroms: Kristallnacht · Iaşi pogrom
Jedwabne pogrom · Lviv pogrom
Ghettos: Warsaw, Łódź
Lviv, Kraków, Theresienstadt
Einsatzgruppen: Babi Yar, Rumbula
Paneriai, Odessa massacre
Final Solution: Wannsee Conference
Aktion Reinhard
Death camps: Chełmno, Belzec, Sobibór,
Majdanek, Treblinka, Auschwitz, Jasenovac
Resistance: ŻOB · ŻZW
Ghetto uprising (Warsaw)
End of war: Death marches
Berihah· Sh'erit ha-Pletah
Other victims
Serbs· Poles · East Slavs · Romany
German dissidents · Communists
Gay men · Jehovah's Witnesses
Responsible parties
Nazi Germany: Hitler · Heydrich
Eichmann · Himmler · SS · Gestapo
Collaborators
Nuremberg Trials · Other trials
Denazification
Survivors, victims, and rescuers
Rescuers · Victims · Survivors
Resources
The Destruction of the European Jews
Phases of the Holocaust
Functionalism vs intentionalism
This box: view • talk • edit
Contents
[hide]

* 1 Etymology and usage of the term
* 2 Features of the Nazi Holocaust
o 2.1 Efficiency
o 2.2 Scale
o 2.3 Cruelty
* 3 Victims
o 3.1 Jews
o 3.2 Poles
o 3.3 Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians
o 3.4 Roma, Sinti, and Manush ('Gypsies')
o 3.5 Serbs
o 3.6 Freemasons
o 3.7 Communists
o 3.8 Homosexuals
o 3.9 Religious groups
o 3.10 Disabled people
o 3.11 Others
* 4 Death toll
o 4.1 Searching for records of victims
* 5 Execution of the Holocaust
o 5.1 Concentration and Labor Camps (1933-1945)
o 5.2 Pogroms (1938-1941)
o 5.3 Euthanasia (1939-1941)
o 5.4 Ghettos (1940-1945)
o 5.5 Death squads (1941-1943)
o 5.6 Extermination camps (1942-1945)
o 5.7 Death marches and liberation (1944-1945)
* 6 Resistance and rescuers
o 6.1 Jewish Resistance
o 6.2 Rescuers
* 7 Perpetrators and collaborators
o 7.1 Who was directly involved in the killings?
+ 7.1.1 European collaborationist countries
# 7.1.1.1 Fascist Italy
# 7.1.1.2 Vichy France
# 7.1.1.3 Antonescu's Romania
# 7.1.1.4 Hungary
# 7.1.1.5 Ustaše's Croatia
# 7.1.1.6 Bulgaria
# 7.1.1.7 Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia
# 7.1.1.8 German-occupied Soviet territories
# 7.1.1.9 Baltic collaborators
o 7.2 Who authorized the killings?
o 7.3 Who knew about the killings?
* 8 Historical and philosophical interpretations
o 8.1 Why did people participate in, authorize, or tacitly accept the killing?
+ 8.1.1 Obedience
+ 8.1.2 Functionalism versus intentionalism
+ 8.1.3 Religious hatred and racism
o 8.2 Holocaust denial
* 9 Aftermath
o 9.1 Displaced Persons and the State of Israel
o 9.2 Legal proceedings against Nazis
o 9.3 Legal action against genocide
* 10 Survivors welfare
* 11 Impact on culture
o 11.1 Holocaust theology
o 11.2 Art and literature
o 11.3 Holocaust Memorial Days
o 11.4 Forget-me-not as a symbol
* 12 Notes
* 13 See also
o 13.1 Eugenics
o 13.2 Individuals and the Holocaust
o 13.3 Nazi concentration camps
o 13.4 Ghettos
o 13.5 Massacres and pogroms
o 13.6 Jewish resistance
+ 13.6.1 Poland
* 14 External links, references, resources

Etymology and usage of the term

Main article: Names of the Holocaust

Child survivors of the Holocaust filmed during the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Red Army. January, 1945
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Child survivors of the Holocaust filmed during the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Red Army. January, 1945

The term holocaust originally derived from the Greek word holokauston, meaning "a completely (holos) burnt (kaustos) sacrificial offering" to a god. Since the late 19th century, "holocaust" has primarily been used to refer to disasters or catastrophes. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was first used to describe Hitler's treatment of the Jews from as early as 1942, though it did not become a standard reference until the 1950s. By the late 1970s, however, the conventional meaning of the word became the Nazi genocide. The term is also used by many in a narrower sense, to refer specifically to the unprecedented destruction of European Jews in particular. Some historians credit Elie Wiesel with giving the term 'Holocaust' its present meaning.

The biblical word Shoa (שואה), also spelled Shoah and Sho'ah, meaning "calamity" in Hebrew, became the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust as early as the early 1940s.[4] Shoa is preferred by many Jews and a growing number of others for a number of reasons, including the potentially theologically offensive nature of the original meaning of the word holocaust.

The word "genocide" was coined during the Holocaust.

Features of the Nazi Holocaust

There were several characteristics to the Nazi Holocaust which, taken together, distinguish it from other genocides in history.

Efficiency
Ghettos established in Europe in which Jews were confined, in ghettos and later in temporary concentration locations and later shipped to extermination camps.
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Ghettos established in Europe in which Jews were confined, in ghettos and later in temporary concentration locations and later shipped to extermination camps.

The Holocaust was characterized by the efficient and systematic attempt on an industrial scale to assemble and kill as many people as possible, using all of the resources and technology available to the Nazi state.

For example, detailed lists of potential victims were made and maintained using Dehomag statistical machinery, and meticulous records of the killings were produced. As prisoners entered the death camps, they were made to surrender all personal property to the Nazis, which was then precisely catalogued and tagged, and for which receipts were issued.

In addition, considerable effort was expended over the course of the Holocaust to find increasingly efficient means of killing more people. Early mass-murders by Nazi soldiers of thousands of Jews in Poland had caused widespread reports of discomfort and demoralization among Nazi troops. Commanders had complained to their superiors that the face-to-face killings had a severely negative psychological impact on soldiers. Committed to destroying the Jewish population, Berlin decided to pursue more mechanical methods, beginning with experiments in explosives and poisons.

In his book Russia's War, British historian Richard Overy describes how the Nazis sought more efficient ways to kill people. In 1941, after occupying Belarus, they used mental patients from Minsk asylums as guinea pigs. Initially, they tried shooting them by having them stand one behind the other, so that several people could be killed with one bullet, but it was too slow. Then they tried dynamite, but few were killed and many were left wounded with hands and legs missing, so that the Germans had to finish them off with machine guns. In October 1941, in Mogilev, they tried the Gaswagen or "gas car". First they used a light military car, and it took more than 30 minutes for people to die. Then they used a larger truck exhaust and it took only eight minutes to kill all the people inside.[5]
The Nazis methodically tracked the progress of the Holocaust in thousands of reports and documents. Pictured is the Höfle Telegram sent to Adolf Eichmann in January, 1943, that reported that 1,274,166 Jews had been killed in the four Aktion Reinhard camps during 1942.
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The Nazis methodically tracked the progress of the Holocaust in thousands of reports and documents. Pictured is the Höfle Telegram sent to Adolf Eichmann in January, 1943, that reported that 1,274,166 Jews had been killed in the four Aktion Reinhard camps during 1942.

The death camps had previously switched from using carbon monoxide poisoning in the Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka to the use of Zyklon B at Majdanek and Auschwitz.

The disposal of large numbers of bodies presented a logicistical problem as well. Incineration was at first considered infeasible until it was discovered that furnaces could be kept at a high enough temperature to be sustained by the body fat of the bodies alone. With this technicality resolved, the Nazis implemented their plan of mass-murder at its full-scale.


Alleged corporate involvement in the Holocaust has created significant controversy in recent years. Rudolf Höß, Auschwitz camp commandant, said that far from having to advertise their slave labour services, the concentration camps were actually approached by various large German businesses, some of which are still in existence. Technology developed by IBM also played a role in the categorization of prisoners, through the use of index machines. A book on IBM's role in the holocaust called IBM and the Holocaust gives more details on this.

Scale
Major deportation routes to the extermination camps in Europe.
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Major deportation routes to the extermination camps in Europe.

The Holocaust was geographically widespread and systematically conducted in virtually all areas of Nazi-occupied territory, where Jews and other victims were targeted in what are now 35 separate European nations, and sent to labor camps in some nations or extermination camps in others. The mass killing was at its worst in Central and Eastern Europe, which had more than 7 million Jews in 1939; about 5 million Jews were killed there, including 3 million in Poland and over 1 million in the Soviet Union. Hundreds of thousands also died in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

Documented evidence suggests that the Nazis planned to carry out their 'final solution' in other regions if they were conquered, such as the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. [6]. The extermination continued in different parts of Nazi-controlled territory until the end of World War II, only completely ending when the Allies entered Germany itself and forced the Nazis to surrender in May 1945.

Cruelty

The Holocaust was carried out without any reprieve even for children or babies, and victims were often tortured before being killed. Nazis carried out deadly medical experiments on prisoners, including children. Dr. Josef Mengele, medical officer at Auschwitz and chief medical officer at Birkenau, was known as the "Angel of Death" for his medical and eugenical experiments, e.g., trying to change people's eye color by injecting dye into their eyes. Aribert Heim, another doctor who worked at Mauthausen, was known as "Doctor Death".

The guards in the concentration camps carried out beatings and acts of torture on a daily basis. For example, some inmates were suspended from poles by ropes tied to their hands behind their backs so that their shoulder joints were pulled out of their sockets. Women were forced into brothels for the SS guards. Russian prisoners of war were used for experiments such as being immersed in ice water or being put into pressure chambers in which air was evacuated to see how long they would survive as a means to better protect German airmen.

Victims

The victims of the Holocaust were Jews, Serbs, Poles, Russians, Communists, homosexuals, Roma (also known as gypsies), the mentally ill and the physically disabled, intelligentsia and political activists, Jehovah's Witnesses, some Catholic and Protestant clergy, trade unionists, psychiatric patients, some Africans, common criminals, people labeled as "enemies of the state", and many who did not belong to the Aryan race. These victims all perished alongside one another in the camps, according to the extensive documentation left behind by the Nazis themselves (written and photographed), eyewitness testimony (by survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders), and the statistical records of the various countries under occupation.

Jews
Nazis in uniform in Vienna, Austria 1938 mock Jews forced to scrub streets
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Nazis in uniform in Vienna, Austria 1938 mock Jews forced to scrub streets

Anti-Semitism was common in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s (though its roots go back much further). Adolf Hitler's fanatical brand of racial anti-Semitism was laid out in his 1925 book Mein Kampf, which, though largely ignored when it was first printed, became a bestseller in Germany once Hitler gained political power.

On April 1, 1933, shortly after Hitler's accession to power, the Nazis, led mainly by Julius Streicher, and the Sturmabteilung, organized a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany. A series of increasingly harsh racist laws were soon passed in quick succession. Under the “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service”, passed by the Reichstag on April 7, 1933, all Jewish civil servants at the Reich, Länder, and municipal levels of government were fired immediately. The "Law for the Restoration of a Professional Civil Service" marked the first time since Germany's unification in 1871 that an anti-Semitic law had been passed in Germany. This was followed by the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 that prevented marriage between any Jew and non-Jew, and stripped all Jews of German citizenships (their official title became "subject of the state") and of their basic civil rights, e.g., to vote.
Heinrich Himmler (left), leader of the SS (responsible for rounding up Jews), with Adolf Hitler (right).
Heinrich Himmler (left), leader of the SS (responsible for rounding up Jews), with Adolf Hitler (right).
Nazi General Heydrich, architect of the Holocaust
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Nazi General Heydrich, architect of the Holocaust

In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, effectively preventing them exerting any influence in education, politics, higher education and industry. On 15 November of 1938, Jewish children were banned from going to normal schools. By April 1939, nearly all Jewish companies had either collapsed under financial pressure and declining profits, or had been forced to sell out to the Nazi-German government as part of the "Aryanization" policy inaugurated in 1937.

As the war started, large massacres of Jews took place, and, by December 1941, Hitler decided to completely exterminate European Jews. In January 1942, during the Wannsee conference, several Nazi leaders discussed the details of the "Final Solution of the Jewish question" (Endlösung der Judenfrage). Dr. Josef Bühler urged Reinhard Heydrich to proceed with the Final Solution in the General Government. They began to systematically deport Jewish populations from the ghettos and all occupied territories to the seven camps designated as Vernichtungslager, or extermination camps: Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Maly Trostenets, Sobibór and Treblinka II. Sebastian Haffner published the analysis in 1978 that Hitler from December 1941 accepted the failure of his goal to dominate Europe forever on his declaration of war against the United States, but that his withdrawal and apparent calm thereafter was sustained by the achievement of his second goal—the extermination of the Jews.[7]

Even as the Nazi war machine faltered in the last years of the war, precious military resources such as fuel, transport, munitions, soldiers and industrial resources were still being heavily diverted away from the war and towards the death camps.

By the end of the war, much of the Jewish population of Europe had been killed in the Holocaust. Poland, home of the largest Jewish community in the world before the war, had had over 90% of its Jewish population, or about 3,000,000 Jews, killed. Anti-semitism still prevailed in Poland and more than 40 survivor Jews who had returned to their homes in Kielce were killed and 80 wounded in the Kielce pogrom. The penalty imposed by the Germans for hiding Jews was death, and this was carried out mercilessly. In spite of this some Poles hid Jewish children and families and saved their lives at risk to their own families. Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Lithuania, Bohemia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Latvia each had over 70% of their Jewish population destroyed. Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Norway, and Estonia lost around half of their Jewish population, the Soviet Union over one third of its Jews, and even countries such as France and Italy had each seen around a quarter of their Jewish population killed. Denmark was able to evacuate almost all of the Jews in their country to nearby Sweden, which was neutral during the war. Using everything from fishing boats to private yachts, the Danes whisked the Danish Jews out of harm's way. The King of Denmark had earlier set a powerful example by wearing the yellow Star of David that the Germans had decreed all Jewish Danes must wear. Some Jews outside Europe under Nazi occupation were also affected by the Holocaust and treatment from the Nazis.

Poles

Main article: Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles

Poles were one of the first targets of extermination by Hitler, as outlined in the speech he gave the Wehrmacht commanders before the invasion of Poland in 1939. The intelligentsia and socially prominent or influential people were primarily targeted, although there were some mass murders committed against the general population, as well as against other groups of Slavs. The Nazi occupation of Poland (General Government, Reichsgau Wartheland) was one of the most brutal episodes of World War Two, resulting in 1.8-1.9 million non-Jewish deaths in addition to three million Polish Jews. Scholars disagree as to what proportion of these non-Jewish Polish civilian deaths during the Nazi conquest and occupation of Poland were part of the Holocaust, though there is no doubt of the eventual genocidal intentions of the Nazis towards the Poles. At least 140,000 Poles were sent to Auschwitz, and the Polish intelligentsia were the first targets of the Einsatzgruppen death squads.[8]

Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians

During Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Red Army prisoners of war were arbitrarily executed in the field by the invading German armies (in particular by the notorious Waffen SS), died under inhuman conditions in German prisoner-of-war camps, or were shipped to extermination camps for execution simply because they were of Slavic extraction. Thousands of Soviet (Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian) peasant villages were annihilated by German troops for more or less the same reason. During occupation, Russia's Leningrad, Pskov and Novgorod region lost around a quarter of its population. Bodan Wytwycky estimated that as many as one quarter of all Soviet civilian deaths at the hands of the Nazis and their allies were racially motivated, or 5 million Russian deaths, 3 million Ukrainian deaths and 1.5 million Belarusian deaths.[9]

At the same time, not all Slavic people were targeted by the Nazis - some were Nazis themself. The Slavs of Croatia, Slovakia and Ukrainian Galicia were allies of Nazi Germany, and participated as collaborators in the Holocaust.

Roma, Sinti, and Manush ('Gypsies')

Main article: Porajmos

Gypsy arrivals in the Belzec death camp await instructions
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Gypsy arrivals in the Belzec death camp await instructions

Proportional to their population, the death toll of Romanies (Roma, Sinti, and Manush) in the Holocaust was the worst of any group of victims. Hitler's campaign of genocide against the Romani population of Europe involved a particularly bizarre application of Nazi "racial hygiene". Although, despite discriminatory measures, some Romani groups, including some of the Sinti and Lalleri of Germany, were spared deportation and death, the remaining Romani groups suffered much like the Jews. Between a quarter and a half of the Romani population was killed, upwards of 220,000 people.[10] In Eastern Europe, Roma were deported to the Jewish ghettoes, shot by SS Einsatzgruppen in their villages, and deported and gassed in Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Serbs
Croatian Ustashe collecting blood of a slaughtered Serb in a small pot. Orthodox Serbs had three choices - to emigrate, convert to Catholicism or end up like this [3]
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Croatian Ustashe collecting blood of a slaughtered Serb in a small pot. Orthodox Serbs had three choices - to emigrate, convert to Catholicism or end up like this [3]

Another group of victims of Holocaust were Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia. Estimates for the number of Serbs killed are a matter of recent controversy. Simon Wiesenthal center, German sources from WWII, historians from SFRY during Tito's era and most Serbian sources cite numbers over 1,000,000,[4] but some Croatian sources give estimates in the range of 330,000 to 390,000, with 45,000 to 52,000 Serbs killed in Jasenovac concentration camp.[5] The Ustasha genocide of Serbs is perhaps the only chapter in Holocaust where Germans (as well as Italians), including SS troops, acted to protect the group from the actions of their collaborators - over-enthusiastic Croat Ustashas, who started mass killings at the rate unseen by that time (from the onset of the puppet regime in 1941), prompting appalled Germans to restrain the puppet government.[6] The chief architect of Croatian holocaust against Serbs was Mile Budak.

The genocide of Serbs had religious background. Although both Serbs and Croats were Slavs, speaking almost identical language, Serbs are Orthodox Christians while Croats are Catholics. Involvement of Catholic Clergy was important since forced conversion to Catholicism was sometimes an alternative to killing, and organizations such as Catholic Crusaders gave some of the most enthusiastic and notorious participants in the genocide. The commander of Jasenovac camp, Miroslav Filipović was a Catholic friar. Killings were done in concentration camps, but also by destroying villages, burning Orthodox churches packed with Serbs who were forced inside, filling foiba pits with bodies of victims etc.

Freemasons

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler writes that Freemasonry has "succumbed" to the Jews and has become an "excellent instrument" to fight for their aims and to use their "strings" to pull the upper strata of society into their alleged designs. He continues, "The general pacifistic paralysis of the national instinct of self-preservation begun by Freemasonry" is then transmitted to the masses of society by the press.[11]

In 1933 Hermann Goering; Reichstag President and one of the key figures in the process of Gleichschaltung, (literally synchronization), states "..in National Socialist Germany, there is no place for Freemasonry."[12]

The Enabling Act (Ermächtigungsgesetz in German) was passed by Germany's parliament (the Reichstag) on March 23, 1933. Using the "Act", on January 8, 1934 the German Ministry of the Interior ordered the disbandment of Freemasonry, and confiscation of the property of all Lodges; stating that those who had been members of Lodges when Hitler came to power, in January 1933, were prohibited from holding office in the Nazi party or its paramilitary arms, and were ineligible for appointment in public service. [13] Consistently considered an ideological foe of Nazism in their world perception (Weltauffassung), special sections of the Security Service (SD) and later the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) were established to deal with the Freemasonry.[14] Freemasonic Concentration Camp inmates were graded as “Political” prisoners, and wore an inverted, (point down), red triangle. [15]

On August 8, 1935, as Führer and Chancellor, Adolf Hitler announced in the Nazi Party newspaper, Völkischer Beobachter, the final dissolution of all Masonic Lodges in Germany. The article accused a conspiracy of the Fraternity and “World Jewry” of seeking to create a “World Republic”. [16]

Estimates calculate that between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons died.[17]It is impossible to arrive at a total figure as no one knows the number of Freemasons from occupied countries who were killed.[18]

Communists

After the February 27, 1933 Reichstag fire, a false flag attack blamed on the communists, Hitler declared a state of emergency and had president von Hindenburg sign the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended the Weimar Constitution for the whole duration of the Third Reich. In March 1933, three Bulgarians, Georgi Dimitrov, Vasil Tanev and Blagoi Popov, members of the Comintern, were arrested and wrongly accused of the fire. As a result, the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) was the first party to be forbidden, on March 1, 1933, on the grounds that they were preparing a putsch. This allowed the NSDAP to vote the March 23, 1933 Enabling Act, which enabled Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his cabinet to enact laws without the participation of the Reichstag. These two laws signals the implementation of the Gleichschaltung, which is how the Nazis instaured their totalitarianism rule. On May 2, 1933, following Labor Day, the trade union association ADGB (Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund) was shattered, when SA and NSBO (Nationalsozialistische Betriebszellenorganisation) units occupied union facilities and ADGB leaders were imprisoned. Other important associations were forced to merge with the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF)) in the following months. About 100,000 communists were killed, being among the first ones, along with disabled people, to be sent to concentration camps. There had been earlier attempts at sterilizing them using X-rays. German communists concerned Hitler due to their ties with the Soviet Union and the Jewish community, as well as their threat to German fascism. Hitler probably took into account that Marx himself was a Jew.

Homosexuals

Main article: History of gays in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

Homosexuals were also targets of the Holocaust, as homosexuality was deemed incompatible with Nazism because of their failure to reproduce the "master race." This was combined with homophobia and the belief among the Nazis that homosexuality could be contagious.

Initially homosexuality was discreetly tolerated while officially shunned, and the early Nazi leadership *******d a number of known homosexuals. By 1936, however, homosexual members of the party had been purged and Heinrich Himmler led an effort to persecute homosexuals under existing and new anti-homosexual laws.

More than one million homosexual German men were targeted, of whom at least 100,000 were arrested and 50,000 were serving prison terms as convicted homosexual men. An additional unknown number were institutionalized in state-run mental hospitals. Hundreds of European homosexual men living under Nazi occupation were castrated under court order. The deaths of at least an estimated 15,000 homosexual men in concentration camps were officially documented, but it is difficult to put an exact number on just how many homosexual men perished in death camps. Some homosexual men were also used in medical experiments. According to Heinz Heger, in the concentration camps homosexual men "suffered a higher mortality rate than other relatively small victim groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses and political prisoners."[19]. Homosexual women were not normally treated as harshly as homosexual men. They were labeled "anti-social," but were rarely sent to camps for engaging in acts of homosexuality.

Religious groups

Main article: Jehovah's Witnesses and the Holocaust

The Nazis also targeted some religious groups, though no religious group other than the Jews was actually targeted for total extermination during the Holocaust. Around 1,200 Jehovah's Witnesses perished in concentration camps, where they were held for political and ideological reasons. Additionally, some members of the Catholic clergy were killed by the Nazis, many of whom were either of Jewish background, as in the case of Edith Stein, or were killed as part of the Nazis campaign against the Polish intelligentsia. In the countries in which Roman Catholic bishops had openly protested and attacked Nazi policies, like in the Netherlands and Poland where bishops and priests had protested to the deportations of Jews, the clergy was either threatened with deportation themselves and kept in custody (case of German bishop Clemens von Galen), or directly deported to concentration camps, as in the cases of the Dutch Carmelite priest Titus Brandsma and Polish Fr. Maximillian Kolbe. Some dissenting Protestant clergy, such as those who founded the anti-Nazi Confessing Church, were also persecuted.

Disabled people

Several hundred thousand mentally and physically disabled people also were exterminated. Following an eugenics policy based on pseudo-scientific racism, the Nazis believed that the disabled were a burden to society because they needed to be cared for by others, but first and foremost, the mentally and physically handicapped were considered an affront to Nazi notions of a society peopled by a perfect, superhuman Aryan race. Around 400,000 individuals were sterilized against their will for having mental deficiencies or illnesses deemed to be hereditary in nature. People with disabilities were among the first to be killed, and the United States Holocaust Memorial museum notes that the T-4 Euthanasia Program, established in 1939, became the "model" for future exterminations by the Nazi regime.[20] The T-4 Program was established in order to maintain the "purity" of the so-called Aryan race by systematically killing children and adults born with physical deformities or suffering from mental illness.

Others

Black and Asian residents in Germany, and black prisoners of war, were also victims; often being singled out in internment camps. [21] However, Japan, which signed on September 27, 1940 the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy, was therefore part of the Axis Pact, and no Japanese were known to be deliberately imprisoned or killed.

Death toll
General (later US President) Dwight Eisenhower inspecting prisoners' corpses at a liberated concentration camp, 1945
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General (later US President) Dwight Eisenhower inspecting prisoners' corpses at a liberated concentration camp, 1945

The exact number of people killed by the Nazi regime may never be known, but scholars, using a variety of methods of determining the death toll, have generally agreed upon common range of the number of victims. Recently declassified British and Soviet documents have indicated the total may be somewhat higher than previously believed[22]. However, the following estimates are considered to be highly reliable. The estimates:

* 5.1–6.0 million Jews, including 3.0–3.5 million Polish Jews[23]
* 1.8 –1.9 million non-Jewish Poles (*******s all those killed in executions or those that died in prisons, labor, and concentration camps, as well as civilians killed in the 1939 invasion and the 1944 Warsaw Uprising)[24]
* 500,000–1.2 million Serbs killed by Croat Nazis
* 200,000–800,000 Roma & Sinti
* 200,000–300,000 people with disabilities
* 80,000–200,000 Freemasons [25]
* 100,000 communists
* 10,000–25,000 homosexual men
* 2,500-5,000 Jehovah's Witnesses [26]

Raul Hilberg, in the third edition of his ground-breaking three-volume work, The Destruction of the European Jews, estimates that 5.1 million Jews died during the Holocaust. This figure *******s "over 800,000" who died from "Ghettoization and general privation;" 1,400,000 who were killed in "Open-air shootings;" and "up to 2,900,000" who perished in camps. Hilberg estimates the death toll in Poland at "up to 3,000,000."[27] Hilberg's numbers are generally considered to be a conservative estimate, as they generally ******* only those deaths for which some records are available, avoiding statistical adjustment.[28] British historian Martin Gilbert used a similar approach in his Atlas of the Holocaust, but arrived at a number of 5.75 million Jewish victims, since he estimated higher numbers of Jews killed in Russia and other locations.[29]
Map titled "Jewish Executions Carried Out by Einsatzgruppe A" from the December 1941 Jäger Report by the commander of a Nazi death squad. Marked "Secret Reich Matter," the map shows the number of Jews shot in the Baltic region, and reads at the bottom: "the estimated number of Jews still on hand is 128,000". Estonia is marked as judenfrei ("free of Jews").
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Map titled "Jewish Executions Carried Out by Einsatzgruppe A" from the December 1941 Jäger Report by the commander of a Nazi death squad. Marked "Secret Reich Matter," the map shows the number of Jews shot in the Baltic region, and reads at the bottom: "the estimated number of Jews still on hand is 128,000". Estonia is marked as judenfrei ("free of Jews").

Lucy Davidowicz used pre-war census figures to estimate that 5.934 million Jews died. Using official census counts may cause an underestimate since many births and deaths were not recorded in small towns and villages. Another reason some consider her estimate too low is that many records were destroyed during the war. Her listing of deaths by country is available in the article about her book, The War Against the Jews.[30]

One of the most authoritative German scholars of the Holocaust, Prof. Wolfgang Benz of the Technical University of Berlin, cites between 5.3 and 6.2 million Jews killed in Dimension des Volksmords (1991), while Yisrael Gutman and Robert Rozett estimate between 5.59 and 5.86 million Jewish victims in their Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (1990).[31]

The following groups of people were also killed by the Nazi regime, but there is little evidence that the Nazis planned to systematically target them for genocide as was the case for the groups above.

* 3.5–6 million other Slavic civilians
* 2.5–4 million Soviet POWs
* 1–1.5 million political dissidents

Additionally, the Nazis' allies, the Ustaša regime in Croatia conducted its own campaign of mass extermination against the Serbs in the areas which it controlled, resulting in the deaths of at least 330,000–390,000 Serbs.

The summary of various sources' estimates on the number of Nazi regime victims is given in Matthew White's online atlas of 20th century history.

Searching for records of victims

Initially after World War II, there were millions of members of families broken up by the war or the Holocaust searching for some record of the fate and/or whereabouts of their missing friends and relatives. These efforts became much less intense as the years went by. More recently, however, there has a been a resurgence of interest by descendants of Holocaust survivors in researching the fates of their lost relatives. Yad Vashem provides a searchable database of three million names, about half of the known direct Jewish victims. Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims Names is searchable over the Internet at yadvashem.org or in person at the Yad Vashem complex in Israel.

Other databases and lists of victims' names, some searchable over the Web, are listed in Holocaust (resources).

Execution of the Holocaust

Concentration and Labor Camps (1933-1945)

Main articles: Nazi concentration camps and Nazi concentration camp badges

Major concentration camps in Europe, 1944.
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Major concentration camps in Europe, 1944.

Starting in 1933, the Nazis set up concentration camps within Germany, many of which were established by local authorities, to hold political prisoners and "undesirables". These early concentration camps were eventually consolidated into centrally run camps, and by 1939, six large concentration camps, located in Poland, had been established. After 1939, with the beginning of the Second World War, the concentration camps increasingly became places where the enemies of the Nazis, including Jews and POWs, were either killed or forced to act as slave laborers, and kept undernourished and tortured.

During the War, concentration camps for Jews and other "undesirables" were spread throughout Europe, with new camps being created near centers of dense "undesirable" populations, often focusing on areas with large Jewish, Polish intelligentsia, communist, or Roma populations. Most of the camps were located in the area of General Government in Poland, but there were camps in every country occupied by the Nazis. The transportation of prisoners was often carried out under horrifying conditions using rail freight cars, in which many died before they reached their destination. Concentration camps also existed in Germany itself, and while not specifically designed for systematic extermination, many concentration camp prisoners died because of harsh conditions or were executed.

Pogroms (1938-1941)

Many scholars date the beginning of the Holocaust itself to the anti-Jewish riots of the Night of Broken Glass ("Kristallnacht") of November 9, 1938, in which Jews were attacked and Jewish property was vandalized across Germany. Approximately 100 Jews were killed, and another 30,000 sent to concentration camps, while over 7,000 Jewish shops and 1,574 synagogues (almost every synagogue in Germany) were damaged or destroyed. Similar events took place in Vienna at the same time.

A number of deadly pogroms by local, non-German populations occurred during the Second World War, some with German encouragement, and some spontaneously. This *******d the Iaşi pogrom in Romania on June 30, 1941, in which as many 14,000 Jews were killed by Romanian residents and police, and the Jedwabne pogrom in which between 380 and 1,600 Jews were killed by their Polish neighbors.

Euthanasia (1939-1941)

Main article: T-4 Euthanasia Program

The T-4 Euthanasia Program was established to "maintain the genetic purity" of the German population by systematically killing citizens who were physically deformed, disabled, handicapped, or suffering from mental illness. Between 1939 and 1941, over 200,000 people were killed.

Ghettos (1940-1945)

Main articles: Ghetto, Warsaw Ghetto and Wilna Ghetto

A child dying in the streets of the crowded Warsaw Ghetto, where hunger and disease were extremely prevalent.
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A child dying in the streets of the crowded Warsaw Ghetto, where hunger and disease were extremely prevalent.

After the invasion of Poland, the Nazis created ghettos to which Jews (and some Roma) were confined, until they were eventually shipped to death camps and killed. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest, with 380,000 people and the Łódź Ghetto, the second largest, holding about 160,000, but ghettos were instituted in many cities (list). The ghettos were established throughout 1940 and 1941, and were immediately turned into immensely crowded prisons; though the Warsaw Ghetto contained 30% of the population of Warsaw, it occupied only about 2.4% of city's area, averaging 9.2 people per room. From 1940 through 1942, disease (especially typhoid fever) and starvation killed hundreds of thousands of Jews confined in the ghettos.

On July 19, 1942, Heinrich Himmler ordered the start of the deportations of Jews from the ghettos to the death camps. On July 22, 1942, the deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto inhabitants began; in the next 52 days (until September 12, 1942) about 300,000 people were transported by train to the Treblinka extermination camp from Warsaw alone. Many other ghettos were completely depopulated. Though there were armed resistance attempts in the ghettos in 1943, such as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Białystok Ghetto Uprising, in every case they failed against the Nazi military, and the remaining Jews were either slaughtered or sent to the extermination camps.

Death squads (1941-1943)

Main article: Einsatzgruppen

The 1941 massacre at Babi Yar was similar to many other mass killings of Jews. Over 33,000 Jews were shot in the course of two days by Nazi Einsatzgruppen and local Ukrainian forces.
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The 1941 massacre at Babi Yar was similar to many other mass killings of Jews. Over 33,000 Jews were shot in the course of two days by Nazi Einsatzgruppen and local Ukrainian forces.

As many as 1.6 million Jews were killed in open-air shootings by Nazis and their collaborators, especially in 1941 before the establishment of the concentration camps. During the invasion of the Soviet Union, over 3,000 special killing units (organized into the four Einsatzgruppen) followed the Wehrmacht, conducting mass killings of Poles, Communist officials, and the Jewish population that lived in Soviet territory.

Poles were an early target in the AB Action, in which 30,000 Polish intellectual and political figures were rounded up, and 7,000 eventually killed. By the summer of 1941, the Einsatzgruppen turned to targeting Jews, starting with the extermination of 2,200 Jews in Bialystock on June 21, 1941, and quickly increased in scale. 1,500 Jews were killed in Kaunas on June 26 by the German SS forces. 4,000 Jews killed in Lviv on June 30-July 3, 1941 by Ukrainian collaborators. From September to the end of 1941, a series of mass killings took place throughout Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Latvia: over 33,000 Jews were killed at Babi Yar, 25,000 at Rumbula by Latvian collaborators (Arajs Commando), over 36,000 at Odessa by Romanian forces, 19,000 at the Ninth Fort of Kaunas and 40,000 (up to 100,000 by 1944) at Paneriai by the German SS forces[7]. These, and similar slaughters throughout Europe, killed around 100,000 Jews per month for five months. By the end of 1943, another 900,000 Jews would be killed in this manner, but the pace was not fast enough for the Nazi leadership, who, at the end of 1941 and the beginning of 1942, began the implementation of the Final Solution, the complete extermination of the Jews of Europe.

Serbs were victims of an extermination policy of Croat NDH since this Nazi puppet state was formed in 1941. The killings took many forms: burning of live Serbs forced into churches; slaugher of Serbs by small death squads, often numbering only three, called "black threes", who rampaged through villages, in which dogs were first poisoned, at nights; filling foiba pits with still alive Serbs, often connected by a barbed wire. The squads were unbelievably cruel, and had such practices as gouging eyes, applying slow and painful methods of slaughter by cutting salted necks or nailing guts of slaughtered victims to the roof. Extermination in Jasenovac camp existed since its onset in 1941, at the time when Germans still didn't start their systematic genocide, and it has appalled even the SS, though soon enough they were organizing the systematic extermination in their camps too.

Extermination camps (1942-1945)

Main article: Nazi extermination camp

Empty poison gas canisters and piles of hair shaved from the victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
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Empty poison gas canisters and piles of hair shaved from the victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In December, 1941, the Nazis opened Chelmno, the first of what would soon be seven extermination camps, dedicated entirely to mass extermination on an industrial scale, as opposed to the labor or concentration camps. Over three million Jews would die in these extermination camps. The method of killing at these camps was by poison gas (Zyklon B or carbon monoxide), usually in "gas chambers", although many prisoners were killed in mass shootings and by other means. The bodies of those killed were destroyed in crematoria (except at Sobibór where they were cremated on outdoor pyres), and the ashes buried or scattered.

In 1942, the Nazis began this most destructive phase of the Holocaust, with Aktion Reinhard, opening the extermination camps of Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka. More than 1.7 million Jews were killed at the three Aktion Reinhard camps by October 1943. The largest death camp built was Auschwitz-Birkenau, which had both a labor camp (Auschwitz) and an extermination camp (Birkenau); the latter possessing four gas chambers and crematoria. This camp was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.6 million Jews (including about 438,000 Jews from Hungary in the course of a few months), 75,000 Poles and gay men, and some 19,000 Roma. At the peak of operations, Birkenau's gas chambers killed approximately eight thousand a day.

Upon arrival in these camps, prisoners were divided into two groups: those too weak for work were immediately executed in gas chambers (which were sometimes disguised as showers) and their bodies burned, while others were first used for slave labor in factories or industrial enterprises located in the camp or nearby. The Nazis also forced some prisoners to work in the collection and disposal of corpses, and to mutilate them when required. Gold teeth were extracted from the corpses, and live men and women's hair was shaved to prevent the spreading of typhus, along with shoes, stockings, and anything else of value was recycled for use in products to support the war effort, regardless of whether or not a prisoner was sentenced to death.


Death marches and liberation (1944-1945)

Main article: Death marches (Holocaust)

Dachau concentration-camp inmates on a death march through a German village in April 1945. Courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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Dachau concentration-camp inmates on a death march through a German village in April 1945. Courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

As the armies of the Allies closed in on the Reich at the end of 1944, the Germans decided to abandon the extermination camps, moving or destroying evidence of the atrocities they had committed there. The Nazis marched prisoners, already sick after months or years of violence and starvation, for tens of miles in the snow to train stations; then transported for days at a time without food or shelter in freight trains with open carriages; and forced to march again at the other end to the new camp. Prisoners who lagged behind or fell were shot. The largest and best known of the death marches took place in January 1945, when the Soviet army advanced on Poland. Nine days before the Soviets arrived at the death camp at Auschwitz, the Germans marched 60,000 prisoners out of the camp toward Wodzislaw, 56km (35mi) away, where they were put on freight trains to other camps. Around 15,000 died on the way. In total, around 100,000 Jews died during these death marches[32].

In July, 1944, the first major Nazi camp, Majdanek, was discovered by the advancing Soviets, who eventually liberated Auschwitz in January 1945. In most of the camps discovered by the Soviets, the prisoners had already been transported by death marches, leaving only a few thousand prisoners alive. Concentration camps were also liberated by American and British forces, including Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15. Some 60,000 prisoners were discovered at the camp, but 10,000 died from disease or malnutrition within a few weeks of liberation.

Resistance and rescuers

Jewish Resistance
SS officers walking through the destroyed Ghetto after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
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SS officers walking through the destroyed Ghetto after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Due to the careful organization and overwhelming military might of the Nazi German state and its supporters, few Jews and other Holocaust victims were able to resist the killings. There are, however, many cases of attempts at resistance in one form or another, and over a hundred armed Jewish uprisings.

The largest instance of organized Jewish resistance was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, from April to May of 1943, as the final deportation from the Ghetto to the death camps was about to commence, the ZOB and ZZW fighters rose up against the Nazis. Most of the resistors were killed, but the few who did survive the war are currently residing in Israel. There were also other Ghetto Uprisings, though none were successful against the German military.

There were also major resistance efforts in three of the extermination camps. In August 1943 an uprising also took place at the Treblinka extermination camp. Many buildings were burnt to the ground, and seventy inmates escaped to freedom, but 1,500 were killed. Gassing operations were interrupted for a month. In October 1943 another uprising took place at Sobibór extermination camp. This uprising was more successful; 11 SS men and a number of Ukrainian guards were killed, and roughly 300 of the 600 inmates in the camp escaped, with about 50 surviving the war. The escape forced the Nazis to close the camp. On October 7, 1944, the Jewish Sonderkommandos (those prisoners kept separate from the main camp and involved in the operation of the gas chambers and crematoria) at Auschwitz staged an uprising. Female prisoners had smuggled in explosives from a weapons factory, and Crematorium IV was partly destroyed by an explosion. The prisoners then attempted a mass escape, but all 250 were killed soon after.

There were a number of Jewish partisan groups operating in many countries (see Eugenio Calò for the story of a Jewish Italian partisan). Also, Jewish volunteers from the Palestinian Mandate, most famously Hannah Szenes, parachuted into Europe in a failed attempt to organize resistance.

Rescuers

See also: Righteous Among the Nations and List of people who assisted Jews during the Holocaust

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg and his colleagues saved as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews by providing them with diplomatic passes.
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Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg and his colleagues saved as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews by providing them with diplomatic passes.

In three cases, entire countries resisted the deportation of their Jewish population. King Christian X of Denmark and his subjects saved the lives of most of the 7,500 Danish Jews by spiriting them to safety in Sweden via fishing boats in October 1943. Moreover, the Danish government continued to work to protect the few Danish Jews captured by the Nazis. When the Jews returned home at war's end, they found their houses and possessions waiting for them, exactly as they left them. In the second case, the Nazi-allied government of Bulgaria, led by Dobri Bozhilov, refused to deport its 50,000 Jewish citizens, saving them as well, though Bulgaria did deport Jews to concentration camps from areas in conquered Greece and Macedonia. Government of Finland refused repetitive requirements of Germany for deportations of finnish Jews in Germany. Requiremets of Germany for deprotations of Jews refugees from Norway and Baltic states was refused largely too. In Rome, some 4,000 Italian Jews and prisoners of war avoided deportation. Many of these were hidden in safe houses and evacuated from Italy by a resistance group that was organised by an Irish priest, Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty of the Holy Office. Once a Vatican ambassador to Egypt, O' Flaherty used his political connections to great effect in helping to secure sanctuary for dispossessed Jews.

Other example of people who assisted Jews during the Holocaust was Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes. It was in clear disrespect of the Portuguese State hierarchy that Sousa Mendes issued about 30,000 visas to Jews and other persecuted minorities from Europe. He saved an enormous number of lives, but risked his career for it. In 1941, Portuguese dictator Salazar lost political trust in Sousa Mendes and forced the diplomat to quit his career. He died in poverty in 1954.

Some towns and churches also helped hide Jews and protect others from the Holocaust, such as the French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon which sheltered several thousand Jews. Similar individual and family acts of rescue were repeated throughout Europe, as illustrated in the famous cases of Anne Frank, often at great risk to the rescuers. In a few cases, individual diplomats and people of influence, such as Oskar Schindler or Nicholas Winton, protected large numbers of Jews. Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, the Italian Giorgio Perlasca, Chinese diplomat Ho Feng Shan and others saved tens of thousands of Jews with fake diplomatic passes. Chiune Sugihara saved several thousands of Jews by issuing them with Japanese visas against the will of his Nazi-aligned government.

There were also groups, like members of the Polish Żegota organization, that took drastic and dangerous steps to rescue Jews and other potential victims from the Nazis. Witold Pilecki, member of Armia Krajowa (the Polish Home Army), organized a resistance movement in the Auschwitz concentration camp from 1940, and Jan Karski tried to spread word of the Holocaust.

Since 1963, a commission headed by an Israeli Supreme Court justice has been charged with the duty of awarding such people the honorary title Righteous Among the Nations.

Perpetrators and collaborators

Who was directly involved in the killings?

A wide range of German soldiers, officials, and civilians were involved in the Holocaust, from clerks and officials in the government to units of the army, the police, and the SS. Many ministries, including those of armaments, interior, justice, railroads, and foreign affairs, had substantial roles in orchestrating the Holocaust; similarly, German physicians participated in medical experiments and the T-4 euthanasia program. And, though there was no single military unit in charge of the Holocaust, the SS under Himmler was the closest. From the SS came the Totenkopfverbände concentration camp guards, the Einsatzgruppen killing squads, and many of the administrative offices behind the Holocaust. The Wehrmacht, or regular German army, participated directly less than the SS in the Holocaust (though it did directly massacre Jews in Russia, Serbia, Poland, and Greece), but it supported the Einsatzgruppen, helped form the ghettos, ran prison camps, some were concentration camp guards, transported prisoners to camps, had experiments performed on prisoners, and used substantial slave labor. German police units also directly participated in the Holocaust, for example Reserve Police Battalion 101 in just over a year shot 38,000 Jews and deported 45,000 more to the extermination camps.[33]

European collaborationist countries

In addition to the direct involvement of Nazi forces, collaborationist European countries helped the Nazis in the Holocaust. Collaboration took the form of either rounding up of the local Jews for deportation to the German extermination camps or a direct participation in the killings.

Fascist Italy

In Fascist Italy, a law from 1938 restricted civil liberties of Jews. After the fall of Mussolini and his creation of the Italian Social Republic, Jews started being deported to German camps. The deported numbered about 8,369, and only about a thousand survived. Several small camps were built in Italy and the so-called Risiera di San Sabba hosted a crematorium; from 3,000 to 5,000 people were killed in San Sabba, only a few of whom were Jews.

Vichy France

In France, the Vichy government led by Pétain collaborated with Nazism, claiming that it would soften the hardships of occupation. In fact, it surely didn't, and it was left to the inner French Resistance and the exterior Resistance led by Charles de Gaulle to fight against Nazism. The police, the Milice ("militia", which worked as the Gestapo's aid), as well as collaborationists thugs from Jacques Doriot's Parti Populaire Français (PPF) rounded up 75,000 Jews for deportation to concentration camps. The Vichy regime attracted all of the far-right counterrevolutionary sectors of French society, monarchists and other pseudo-fascist movements [34]. La Cagoule terrorist group, Eugène Schueller, the founder of L'Oréal, are only a few examples of such groups. Antisemitism, as the Dreyfus Affair had shown at the end of the 19th century, impregnated large parts of French population, especially in the anti-republican parts. Vichy eagerly participated in the Holocaust, for example with the July 16, 1942 rafle du Vel'd'Hiv, in which 12,884 Jews were arrested, inclduing 4,051 children which the German authorities had not asked for. They were anyway all sent to Drancy transit camp.[34]

Klaus Barbie, "the Butcher of Lyon", captured and deported 44 Jewish children hidden in the village of Izieu, killed Resistance leader Jean Moulin, and was in total responsible for the deportation of 7,500 people, 4,342 murders, and the arrest and torture of 14,311 resistance fighters were in some way attributed to his actions or commands.

Maurice Papon was the number two official in the Bordeaux region and supervisor of its "Service for Jewish Questions". In 1997, following revelations from Le Canard Enchaîné newspaper, he was finally charged with complicity of crimes against humanity. Papon was accused of ordering the arrest and deportation of 1,560 Jews, including children and the elderly, between 1942 and 1944; most of his victims were sent to Auschwitz. As during Adolf Eichmann's trial, one of the main issue was to determine to what extent an individual should be held responsible in a chain of responsibility. He was given in 1998 a 10-year prison term. However, he was released on grounds of poor health in 2002. Many people thought both the relatively light sentence and his release were scandalous, especially when it was known to all that following the war, Papon went on to enjoy a civil service career, which led him to be the chief of the Paris police, held by historian Luc Einaudi as direct responsible for the 1961 Paris massacre during the Algerian War (1954-62); Papon even became budget minister of president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in the 1970s. He was finally arrested because of the Canard Enchaîné 's revelations, which themselves followed a fiscal control ordered by Papon with the aim of intimidating the satirical newspaper.

Antonescu's Romania

The Romanian Antonescu regime was directly responsible for the deaths of between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews. An official report[8]. released by the Romanian government concluded, "Of all the allies of Nazi Germany, Romania bears responsibility for the deaths of more Jews than any country other than Germany itself. The exterminations committed in Iasi, Odessa, Bogdanovka, Domanovka, and Peciora, for example, were among the most hideous acts committed against Jews anywhere during the Holocaust."[35]In cooperation with German Einsatzgruppen and Ukrainian auxiliaries, Romanians killed hundreds of thousands of Jews in Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and Transnistria. Some of the larger massacres *******d 54,000 Jews killed in Bogdanovka, a Romanian concentration camp along the Bug River in Transnistria, between 21 and 31 December 1941. Nearly 100,000 Jews were killed in occupied Odessa and over 10,000 were killed in the Iasi pogrom. The Romanians also massacred Jews in the Domanevka and Akhmetchetka concentration camps.

Hungary

The Hungarian Horthy regime deported 20,000 Jews from annexed Transcarpathian Ukraine in 1941 to Kamianets-Podilskyi in the German-occupied Ukraine, where they were shot by the German Einsatzgruppen detachments. Hungarian army and police units killed several thousand Jews and Serbs in Novi Sad in January 1942. However Horthy resisted German demands for mass deportation of Hungarian Jews, and most survived until October 1944, when the Horthy regime fell from power and was replaced by the Arrow Cross Party led by Ferenc Szálasi. At this late date in the war with German defeat appearing likely, Hungarian police nevertheless participated fully with SS in the roundup of 440,000 Jews for deportation to the extermination camps. Moreover, 20,000 Budapest Jews were shot by the banks of the Danube by Hungarian forces. 70,000 Jews were forced on a death march to Austria—thousands were shot and thousands more died of starvation and exposure. [36]
Killing of 5,000 Jews in Kaunas by Lithuanian nationalists in June 1941. The SS urged anti-communist partisan leader Klimajtis to attack the Jews to show that "the liberated population had resorted to the most severe measures against the ... Jewish enemy."
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Killing of 5,000 Jews in Kaunas by Lithuanian nationalists in June 1941. The SS urged anti-communist partisan leader Klimajtis to attack the Jews to show that "the liberated population had resorted to the most severe measures against the ... Jewish enemy."

Ustaše's Croatia

The Croatian Ustaše regime killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs (estimates vary widely, but by all sources more than 330,000-390,000, and possibly well over a million), over 20,000 Jews and 26,000 Roma, primarily in the Ustase's Jasenovac concentration camp near Zagreb. The Ustase also deported 7,000 more Jews to German extermination camps.[37]

Bulgaria

Bulgaria, despite saving its own Jewish population, deported 11,000 Jews from occupied Greek and Yugoslavian territories.

Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia

The Netherlands civilian administration and police, led by the German SS, participated in the roundups of the Jewish population. A Dutch group, Henneicke Column, hunted and "delivered" 9,000 Jews for deportation[38].Norwegian police rounded up 750 Jews. Slovakia's Tiso regime deported approximately 70,000 Jews, of whom 65,000 were killed.[39]

German-occupied Soviet territories

In the German-occupied Soviet territories local units represented over 80% of the available German forces providing a total of nearly 450,000 personnel organised in so-called "Schutzmanschaft" formations. Practically all of these units participated in the round-ups and mass-shootings. The overwhelming majority were recruited in the western Ukraine and the Baltic region, areas recently occupied by the Soviets for which the Jews were typically scapegoated, exacerbating existing anti-Semitic attitudes. Thus for instance, Ukrainian nationalists killed 4,000 Lviv Jews in July 1941, and an additional 2,000 in late July 1941 during the so-called Petliura Days pogrom German Einsatzgruppen, together with Ukrainian auxiliary units, killed 33,000 Kievan Jews in Babi Yar in September 1941. Ukrainian auxiliaries participated in a number of killings of Jews, among them in Romanian concentration camps in Bogdanovka and in Latvia.

Baltic collaborators

Lithuanian and Latvian auxiliary military units(Schutzmannschaft) with German Einsatzgruppen detachments participated in the extermination of the Jewish population in their countries, as well as assisting the Nazis elsewhere, such as deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto. The Arajs Commando, a Latvian volunteer police unit, for example, shot 26,000 Latvian Jews, at various locations after they had been brutally rounded-up for this purpose by the regular police and auxiliaries and was responsible for assisting in the killing of 60,000 more Jews.[40]

About 75% of Estonia's Jewish community, aware of the fate that otherwise awaited them, managed to escape to the Soviet Union; virtually all the remainder (between 950 and 1000 people) were killed by Einsatzgruppe A and local collaborators before the end of 1941.[41]

Who authorized the killings?

Hitler authorized the mass killing of those labelled by the Nazis as "undesirables" in the T-4 Euthanasia Program. Hitler encouraged the killings of the Jews of Eastern Europe by the Einsatzgruppen death squads in a speech in July, 1941, though he almost certainly approved the mass shootings earlier. A mass of evidence suggests that sometime in the fall of 1941, Himmler and Hitler agreed in principle on the complete mass extermination of the Jews of Europe by gassing, with Hitler explicitly ordering the "annihilation of the Jews" in a speech on December 12, 1941 (see Final Solution). To make for smoother intra-governmental cooperation in the implementation of this "Final Solution" to the "Jewish Question", the Wannsee conference was held near Berlin on January 20, 1942, with the participation of fifteen senior officials, led by Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann, the records of which provide the best evidence of the central planning of the Holocaust. Just five weeks later on February 22, Hitler was recorded saying "We shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jew" to his closest associates.

Arguments that no documentation links Hitler to "the Holocaust" ignore the records of his speeches kept by Nazi leaders such as Joseph Goebbels and rely on artificially limiting the Holocaust to exclude what we do have documentation on, such as the T-4 Euthanasia Program and the Kristallnacht pogrom.

Who knew about the killings?

Some claim that the full extent of what was happening in German-controlled areas was not known until after the war. However, numerous rumors and eyewitness accounts from escapees and others gave some indication that Jews were being killed in large numbers. Since the early years of the war the Polish government-in-exile published documents and organised meetings to spread word of the fate of the Jews. By early 1941, the British had received information via an intercepted Chilean memo that Jews were being targeted, and by late 1941 they had intercepted information about a number of large massacres of Jews conducted by German police. In the summer of 1942 a Jewish labor organization (the Bund) got word to London that 700,000 Polish Jews had already died, and the BBC took the story seriously, though the United States State Department did not[42]. By the end of 1942, however, the evidence of the Holocaust had become clear and on December 17, 1942, the Allies issued a statement that the Jews were being transported to Poland and killed. The US State Department was aware of the use and the location of the gas chambers of extermination camps, but refused pleas to bomb them out of operation. On May 12, 1943, Polish government-in-exile and Bund leader Szmul Zygielbojm committed suicide in London to protest the inaction of the world with regard to the Holocaust, stating in part in his suicide letter:

I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of Polish Jewry, whose representative I am, are being killed. My comrades in the Warsaw ghetto fell with arms in their hands in the last heroic battle. I was not permitted to fall like them, together with them, but I belong with them, to their mass grave.
By my death, I wish to give expression to my most profound protest against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the destruction of the Jewish people.

Debate also continues on how much average Germans knew about the Holocaust. Recent historical work suggests that the majority of Germans knew that Jews were being indiscriminately killed and persecuted, even if they did not know of the specifics of the death camps. Robert Gellately, a historian at Oxford University, conducted a widely-respected survey of the German media before and during the war, concluding that there was "substantial consent and active participation of large numbers of ordinary Germans" in aspects of the Holocaust, and documenting that the sight of columns of slave laborers were common, and that the basics of the concentration camps, if not the extermination camps, were widely known[43].

Historical and philosophical interpretations

The Holocaust and the historical phenomenon of nazism, which has since became the dark symbol of the 20th century's crimes, has became the subject of numerous historical, psychological, sociological, literary and philosophical studies. All types of scholars tried to give an answer to what appeared as the most irrational act of the Western World, which, until at least World War I, had been so sure of its eminent superiority on other civilizations. Frankfurt school philosopher Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer thus began the Dialectic of Enlightenment:

"Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters. Yet the wholly enlightened earth is radiant with triumphant calamity. [44]

Theodor Adorno went as far as ceasing to work as a composer, and declaring: "writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric" (Nach Ausschwitz noch ein Gedicht zu schreiben ist barbarisch). Thus, Auschwitz became the metonymic name for the Holocaust and the Nazi barbary. Although Adorno later retracted this statement, declaring that "Perennial suffering has as much right to expression as the tortured have to scream...", the concept of civilization and of progress themselves were severely put in cause, in a much greater manner than what had happened after World War I's massive killings. Germany, which was considered as one of the most Enlightened European countries, radiant with philosophy (Goethe, Nietzsche, etc.), art (Wagner, Bauhaus, etc.), and which had quickly followed in Great Britain's and France's steps during the competition induced during the New Imperialism period (starting in 1860s), had made itself guilty of the biggest crime humanity ever made. Thus, the juridical concept of crimes against humanity was invented to qualify what could not be qualified. It was left to literature, such as Primo Levi's If This Is a Man (1947) or Robert Antelme's The Human Specie (1947) to describe what poetry, according to Adorno, couldn't describe.

Thus, until this day, many different people have tried to give explanation for what many deemed unexplainable by its horror. One important philosophical question, addressed as soon as 1933 by Wilhelm Reich in Mass Psychology of Fascism, was the mystery of the obedience of the German people to such an "insane" operation. Hannah Arendt, in her 1963 report on Adolf Eichmann, made of this last one the symbol of dull obedience to authority, in what was seen at first as a scandalous book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963), which has since became a classic of political philosophy. Thus, Arendt opposed herself to the first, immediate, explanation, which accused the Nazis of "cruelty" and of "sadism". Later, the historians' debate concerning functionalism and intentionalism also demonstrated that the question couldn't be simplified to a question of cruelty. Many people who participated in the Holocaust were normal people, according to Arendt, and that is the real scandal. This led Stanley Milgram's to make psychological experiences on obedience, opening up the way to psychological experiences about "authority" and charism. This question about charism renewed with Gustave Le Bon's 19th century studies about the crowd psychology. Thus, his work acquired new force, although Hitler himself had inspired himself of his description of propaganda techniques to write Mein Kampf. Furthermore, Hannah Arendt and some authors, such as Sven Lindqvist or Olivier LeCour Grandmaison, tried to point toward a relative continuity between the crimes committed against "primitive" people during colonialism and the Holocaust. They most notably argued that many techniques which the Nazi would industrialize had been experimented in other continents, starting with the concentration camps, invented during the Boer Wars if not before. This thesis was met with fierce opposition by some groups, who argued that nothing could be compared to the Holocaust, not even other genocides: although the Herero genocide (1904-07) and the Armenian genocide (1915-17) are commonly considered as the first genocides in history, many argued that the Holocaust had taken proportions that even these crimes against humanity hadn't achieved.

The Holocaust was indeed characterized by an industrial project of extermination; compared to it, other genocides seemed "craftmanship". This led authors such as Enzo Traverso to argue in The Origins of Nazi Violence that Auschwitz was "an authentic product of Western civilization" [45]. Beginning his book with a description of the guillotine, which according to him marks the entry of the Industrial Revolution into capital punishment, and writes: ""Through an irony of history, the theories of Frederick Taylor" (taylorism) were applied by a totalitarian system to serve "not production, but extermination." (see also Heidegger's comments). In the wake of Hannah Arendt, Traverso describes the colonial domination during the New Imperialism period through "rational organization", which lead in a number of cases to extermination. However, this argument which insists on the industrialization and technical rationality through which the Holocaust itself was carried on (the organization of trains, technical details, etc. — see Adolf Eichmann's bureaucratic work) was in turn opposed by other people. These latter point out that the 1994 Rwandan genocide had only used machetes as death tools.

Others have made the Holocaust a product of German history, analyzing its deep roots in German society: "German authoritarianism, feeble liberalism, brash nationalism or virulent anti-Semitism. From A.J.P. Taylor's The Course of German History fifty-five years ago to Daniel Goldhagen's recent Hitler's Willing Executioners, Nazism is understood as the outcome of a long history of uniquely German traits", writes Russell Jacoby [46]. Furthermore, while many pointed out that the specificity of the Holocaust was also rooted in the constant antisemitism from which Jews had been the target since the foundation of Christianism (and the myth of the "deicide people"), others underlined that in the 19th century, pseudo-scientific racist theories had been elaborated in order to justify, in a general way, white supremacy. In his works on "biopolitics", philosopher Michel Foucault also traced the origins of "state racism" to the eugenicist policies invented during the 19th century (it is one of the few praise that Foucault accorded to Freud's psychoanalysis, that he adamantly opposed himself to such a project of "racial hygiene").

Why did people participate in, authorize, or tacitly accept the killing?

Obedience

Stanley Milgram was one of a number of post-war psychologists and sociologists who tried to address why people obeyed immoral orders in the Holocaust. Milgram's findings demonstrated that reasonable people, when instructed by a person in a position of authority, obeyed commands entailing what they believed to be the death or suffering of others. These results were confirmed in other experiments as well, such as the Stanford prison experiment. In his book Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933), Wilhelm Reich also tried to explain this obedience. The work became known as the foundation of freudo-marxism. Nobel prize Elias Canetti also addressed the problem of mass obedience in Masse und Macht (1960 - "Crowds and Power"), developing an original theory of the consequences of commandments orders both in the obedient person and in the commander, who may well become a "despotic paranoiac". Two recent "experiments" The Third Wave and Jane Elliott tried answer the question of: "How can a people be a part of something terrible and then claim at the demise that they were not really involved?"

Functionalism versus intentionalism

Main article: Functionalism versus intentionalism

A major issue in contemporary Holocaust studies is the question of functionalism versus intentionalism. The terms were coined in a 1981 article by the British Marxist historian Timothy Mason to describe two schools of thought about the origins of the Holocaust. Intentionalists hold that the Holocaust was the result of a long-term masterplan on the part of Hitler's and that Hitler was the driving force behind the Holocaust. Functionalists hold that Hitler was anti-Semitic, but that he did not have a masterplan for genocide. Functionalists see the Holocaust as coming from below in the ranks of the German bureaucracy with little or no involvement on the part of Hitler. Functionalists stress that the Nazi anti-Semitic policy was constantly evolving in ever more radical directions and the end product was the Holocaust.

Intentionalists like Lucy Dawidowicz argue that the Holocaust was planned by Hitler from the very beginning of his political career, at very least from 1919 on, if not earlier. Later Dawidowicz was to date the decision for genocide back to November 11, 1918. Other Intentionalists like Andreas Hillgruber, Karl Dietrich Bracher and Klaus Hildebrand suggested that Hitler had decided upon the Holocaust sometime in the early 1920s. More recent intentionalist historians like Eberhard Jäckel continue to emphasize the relative earliness of the decision to kill the Jews, although they are not willing to claim that Hitler planned the Holocaust from the beginning. Yet another group of intentionalist historians such as the American Arno J. Mayer claimed Hitler only ordered the Holocaust in December 1941.

Functionalists like Hans Mommsen, Martin Broszat, Götz Aly, Raul Hilberg and Christopher Browning hold that the Holocaust was started in 1941-1942 as a result of the failure of the Nazi deportation policy and the impending military losses in Russia. They claim that what some see as extermination fantasies outlined in Hitler's Mein Kampf and other Nazi literature were mere propaganda and did not constitute concrete plans. In Mein Kampf Hitler repeatedly states his inexorable hatred of the Jewish people, but nowhere does he proclaim his intention to exterminate the Jewish people.

Furthermore, Functionalists point to the fact that in the 1930s, Nazi policy aimed at trying to make life so unpleasant for German Jews that they would leave Germany. Adolf Eichmann was in charge of facilitating Jewish emigration by whatever means possible from 1937 until October 3, 1941, when German Jews were forbidden to leave, Reinhard Heydrich issuing an order to that effect. Functionalists point to the SS's support for a time in the late 1930s for Zionist groups as the preferred solution to the "Jewish Question" as another sign that there was no masterplan for genocide. The SS only ceased their support for German Zionist groups in May 1939 when Joachim von Ribbentrop informed Hitler of this, and Hitler ordered Himmler to cease and desist as the creation of Israel was not a goal Hitler thought worthy of German foreign policy.

In particular, Functionalists have noted that in German documents from 1939 to 1941, the term "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" was clearly meant to be a "territorial solution", that is the entire Jewish population was to be expelled somewhere far from Germany and not allowed to come back. At first, the SS planned to create a gigantic "Jewish Reservation" in the Lublin, Poland area, but the so-called "Lublin Plan" was vetoed by Hans Frank, the Governor-General of Poland who refused to allow the SS to ship any more Jews to the Lublin area after November, 1939. The reason why Frank vetoed the "Lublin Plan" was not due to any humane motives, but rather because he was opposed to the SS "dumping" Jews into the Government-General. In 1940, the SS and the German Foreign Office had the so-called "Madagascar Plan" to deport the entire Jewish population of Europe to a "reservation" on Madagascar. The "Madagascar Plan" was cancelled because Germany could not defeat the United Kingdom and until the British blockade was broken, the "Madagascar Plan" could not be put into effect. Finally, Functionalist historians have made much of a memorandum written by Himmler in May, 1940 explicitly rejecting extermination of the entire Jewish people as "un-German" and going on to recommend to Hitler the "Madagascar Plan" as the preferred "territorial solution" to the "Jewish Question". Not until July 1941 did the term "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" come to mean extermination.

Recently, a synthesis of the two schools has emerged that has been championed by such diverse historians such as the Canadian historian Michael Marrus, the Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer and the British historian Ian Kershaw that contends that Hitler was the driving force behind the Holocaust, but that he did not have a long-term plan and that much of the initiative for the Holocaust came from below in an effort to meet Hitler's perceived wishes.

Another controversy was started by the sociologist Daniel Goldhagen, who argues that ordinary Germans were knowing and willing participants in the Holocaust, which he claims had its roots in a deep eliminationist German anti-Semitism. Most other historians have disagreed with Goldhagen's thesis, arguing that while anti-Semitism undeniably existed in Germany, Goldhagen's idea of a uniquely German "eliminationist" anti-Semitism is untenable, and that the extermination was unknown to many and had to be enforced by the dictatorial Nazi apparatus.

Religious hatred and racism

The German Nazis considered their duty to overcome natural compassion and execute orders for what they believed to be higher ideals. Much research has been done to explain how ordinary people could have participated in such heinous crimes, but there is no doubt that, like in some religious conflicts in the past, some people poisoned with racial and religious ideology of hatred committed the crimes with sadistic pleasure. Crowd psychology has attempted to explain such heinous acts, although Gustave Le Bon's The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895) was also a major influence of Mein Kampf, in particular relating to the propaganda techniques described in it. Sadistic acts were perhaps most notable in the case of genocide of Ustasha whose enthusiasm and sadism in their killings of the Serbs appalled Germans, Italians, and even German SS officers, who even acted to restrain the Ustashe. However, concentration camp literature, such as the one written by Primo Levi or Robert Antelme, described numerous individual sadistic acts, including by Kapos.

Some authors, such as liberal philosopher Hannah Arendt in The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), Swedish writer Sven Lindqvist or French historian Olivier LeCour Grandmaison have also linked the Holocaust to colonialism. They argue that techniques put in place during the New Imperialism period (first of all, concentration camps during the Boer Wars), as well as the pseudo-scientific theories elaborated during this period (e.g. Arthur de Gobineau's 1853 Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races) had been fundamental in preparing the conditions of possibility of the Holocaust. Others authors have adamantly opposed these views, on behalf of the "unicity" of the Holocaust, compared to any other type of genocide. Philosopher Michel Foucault also traced the origins of the Holocaust and of "racial policies" to what he called "state racism", which is a part of "biopolitics".

Finally, many have pointed the ancient roots of antisemitism, which has been present in the Western world since the foundation of Christianity. Modern ecumenism efforts, in particular by the Roman Catholic Church who asked pardon to the Jews, are being done in order to avoid any repetition of such acts.

Holocaust denial

Main article: Holocaust denial

Holocaust denial, also called Holocaust revisionism, is the belief that the Holocaust did not occur, or, more specifically: that far fewer than around six million Jews were killed by the Nazis (numbers below one million, most often around 30,000 are typically cited); that there never was a centrally-planned Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews; and/or that there were not mass killings at the extermination camps. Those who hold this position often further claim that Jews and/or Zionists know that the Holocaust never occurred, yet that they are engaged in a massive conspiracy to maintain the illusion of a Holocaust to further their political agenda. As the Holocaust is generally considered by historians to be one of the best documented events in recent history, these views are not accepted as credible by scholars, with organizations such as the American Historical Association, the largest society of historians in the United States, stating that Holocaust denial is "at best, a form of academic fraud."[47].

Holocaust deniers almost always prefer to be called Holocaust revisionists. Most scholars contend that the latter term is misleading. Historical revisionism, in the original sense of the word, is a well-accepted and mainstream part of the study of history; it is the reexamination of accepted history, with an eye towards updating it with newly discovered, more accurate, and/or less biased information, or viewing known information from a new perspective. In contrast, negationists typically willfully misuse or ignore historical records in order to attempt to prove their conclusions, as Gordon McFee writes:

'Revisionists' depart from the conclusion that the Holocaust did not occur and work backwards through the facts to adapt them to that preordained conclusion. Put another way, they reverse the proper methodology [...], thus turning the proper historical method of investigation and analysis on its head. [48]

Public Opinion Quarterly summarized that: "No reputable historian questions the reality of the Holocaust, and those promoting Holocaust denial are overwhelmingly anti-Semites and/or neo-Nazis." Holocaust denial has also become popular in recent years among Islamic fundamentalists: in late 2005 Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced the Holocaust of European Jewry as a "myth". [9][49] Public espousal of Holocaust denial is a crime in ten European countries (including France, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, and Germany), while the Nizkor Project attempts to counter it on the Internet.

Aftermath

Until recently, Germany refused to allow access to massive Holocaust-related archives located in Bad Arolsen due to, among other factors, privacy concerns. However, in May 2006 a 20-year effort by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum led to the announcement that 30-50 million pages would be made accessible to historians and survivors.[10]

Displaced Persons and the State of Israel

Main article: Sh'erit ha-Pletah

The Holocaust and its aftermath left millions of refugees, including many Jews who had lost most or all of their family members and possessions, and often faced persistent anti-Semitism in their home countries. The original plan of the Allies was to repatriate these "Displaced Persons" to their country of origin, but many refused to return, or were unable to as their homes or communities had been destroyed. As a result, more than 250,000 languished in DP camps for years after the war ended.
Jews were smuggled into Palestine by Berihah using a number of routes.
Enlarge
Jews were smuggled into Palestine by Berihah using a number of routes.

While Zionism had been prominent before the Holocaust, afterwards it became almost universally accepted among Jews. Many Zionists, pointing to the fact that Jewish refugees from Germany and Nazi-occupied lands had been turned away by other countries, argued that if a Jewish state had existed at the time, the Holocaust could not have occurred on the scale it did. With the rise of Zionism, Palestine became the destination of choice for Jewish refugees, but local Arabs opposed the immigration, the United Kingdom refused to allow Jewish refugees into the Mandate, and many countries in the Soviet Bloc made any emigration illegal. Former Jewish partisans in Europe, along with the Haganah in Palestine, organized a massive effort to smuggle Jews into Palestine, called Berihah, which eventually transported 250,000 Jews (both DPs and those who hid during the war) to the Mandate. By 1952, the Displaced Persons camps were closed, with over 80,000 Jewish DPs in the United States, about 136,000 in Israel, and another 20,000 in other nations, including Canada and South Africa.

Legal proceedings against Nazis
Defendants at the Nuremberg Trials - Front row: Göring, Heß, von Ribbentrop, and Keitel. Second row: Dönitz, Raeder, Schirach, Sauckel.
Enlarge
Defendants at the Nuremberg Trials - Front row: Göring, Heß, von Ribbentrop, and Keitel. Second row: Dönitz, Raeder, Schirach, Sauckel.

The juridical notion of crimes against humanity was invented following the Holocaust. There were a number of legal efforts established to bring Nazis and their collaborators to justice. Some of the higher ranking Nazi officials were tried as part of the Nuremberg Trials, presided over by an Allied court; the first international tribunal of its kind. In total, 5,025 Nazi criminals were convicted between 1945-1949 in the American, British and French zones of Germany. Other trials were conducted in the countries in which the defendants were citizens — in West Germany and Austria, many Nazis were let off with light sentences, with the claim of "following orders" ruled a mitigating circumstance, and many returned to society soon afterwards. An ongoing effort to pursue Nazis and collaborators resulted, famously, in the capture of Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann in Argentina (an operation led by Rafi Eitan) and to his subsequent trial in Israel in 1961. Simon Wiesenthal became one of the most famous Nazi hunters. Some former Nazis, however, escaped any charges. Thus, Reinhard Gehlen a former intelligence officer of the Wehrmacht, set up the ODESSA network, which helped many ex-Nazis to escape in Franquist Spain, Latin America or in the Middle East. Gehlen managed to turn around and work for the CIA, and created in 1956 the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German intelligence agency, which he directed until 1968. Klaus Barbie, known as "the Butcher of Lyon" for his role at the head of the Gestapo, was protected from 1945 to 1955 by the MI-5 and the CIA, before fleeing to South America where he had a hand in Luis García Meza Tejada's 1980 Cocaine Coup in Bolivia. Barbie was finally arrested in 1983 and sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity in 1987. In October 2005, Aribert Heim (aka "Doctor Death") was found to be living for twenty years in Spain, protected by ODESSA. Paul Schäfer, who had founded Colonia Dignidad in Chile, was arrested in 2005 on child sex abuses charges. Furthermore, some "enlightened" Nazis were pardoned and permitted to become members of the Christian Democracy, among whom Kurt Georg Kiesinger, who became Germany's Chancellor for a period in the 1960s, Hans Filbinger, who became Minister President of Baden-Württemberg, and Kurt Waldheim, who became Secretary-General of the United Nations and President of Austria.

Legal action against genocide

The Holocaust also galvanized the international community to take action against future genocide, including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. While international human rights law moved forward quickly in the wake of the Holocaust, international criminal law has been slower to advance; after the Nuremberg trials and the Japanese war crime trials it was over forty years until the next such international criminal procedures, in 1993 in Yugoslavia. In 2002, the International Criminal Court was set up.

Survivors welfare

As of 2005, of the nearly 400,000 Holocaust survivors residing in Israel, 40% live below the poverty line, increasing significantly since 1999 and resulting in heated and dramatic protests on the part of survivors against the Israeli government and related agencies. The average rate of cancer among survivors is nearly two and a half times that of the national average. The average cases of colon cancer among survivors are nine times higher than the national average, which is attributed to the conditions of starvation experienced by survivors as well as extreme stress. [50] [51]

Impact on culture

Holocaust theology

On account of the magnitude of the Holocaust, many theologians have re-examined the classical theological views on God's goodness and actions in the world. Some believers and apostates question whether people can still have any faith after the Holocaust, and some of the theological responses to these questions are explored in Holocaust theology.

Art and literature

Main article: The Holocaust in art and literature

German philosopher Theodor Adorno famously commented that "writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric," and the Holocaust has indeed had a profound impact on art and literature, for both Jews and non-Jews. Some of the more famous works are by Holocaust survivors or victims, such as Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, and Anne Frank, but there is a substantial body of literature and art in many languages. Indeed, Paul Celan wrote his poem Todesfuge as a direct response to Adorno's dictum.

The Holocaust has also been the subject of many films, including Oscar winners Schindler's List and Life Is Beautiful. With the aging population of Holocaust survivors, there has been increasing attention in recent years to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. The result has *******d extensive efforts to document their stories, including the Survivors of the Shoah project, as well as institutions devoted to memorializing and studying the Holocaust, including Yad Vashem in Israel and the US Holocaust Museum.

Holocaust Memorial Days

Main article: Yom HaShoah

In a unanimous vote, the United Nations General Assembly voted on November 1, 2005, to designate January 27 as the "International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust." January 27, 1945 is the day that the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. Even before the UN vote, January 27 was already observed as Holocaust Memorial Day in the United Kingdom since 2001, as well as other countries, including Sweden, Italy, Germany, Finland, Denmark and Estonia. Israel observes Yom HaShoah, the "Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust," on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which generally falls in April. This memorial day is also commonly observed by Jews outside of Israel.

Forget-me-not as a symbol
Forget-me-nots
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Forget-me-nots

The little blue Forget-me-not flower, or badge, is worn in the coat lapel to remember all those that have suffered in the name of freemasonry, and specifically those during the Nazi era, to counter Holocaust denial.[52]

In 1948 this emblem was adopted as an official masonic emblem at the first Annual Convention of the United Grand Lodges of Germany, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons.[53]
t

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:56 PM   #5
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holy crap! thanks! never heard of that man

tl dr btw

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:57 PM   #6
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i cant believe its a crime to deny the holocaust in germany

absolutely ridiculous

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yo soy el mejor
i cant believe its a crime to deny the holocaust in germany

absolutely ridiculous

Some people (including me) are not really happy with that, since it leads freedom of speech ad absurdum, but if you lived here, you'd understand why they made such a law in the first place.

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:17 PM   #8
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i heard they arrested a guy for training his dog to raise a paw at "zieg heil" commands

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:26 PM   #9
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I don't think that's true.
And yeah, where does that "z" in Sieg Heil! come from?

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:26 PM   #10
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the point of this thread is non-german jew hate you mofos

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the antipop
I don't think that's true.
And yeah, where does that "z" in Sieg Heil! come from?
obviously from the pronunciation of the letter z which is the same as a german s at the beginning of a word

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:29 PM   #12
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whereas sieg heil would be pronounced wrongly

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:29 PM   #13
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i saw on tv at some point it was illegal for jews to own keys the guys in the german administration must have had so much fun come up with those crazy laws

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockin' Cherub
whereas sieg heil would be pronounced wrongly
Still, it's a quote.

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:36 PM   #15
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of course. it's only quoted quasi-phonetically instead of all-written.

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:53 PM   #16
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i think the actual charges stemmed from his misspelling of the sacred word, which, in german, means "god"

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:56 PM   #17
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is it true that nigger means devil in english

 
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:57 PM   #18
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no, but devil means white man in rap

 
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