The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire."

Concentration Camps

The first concentration camps were established soon after Hitler's appointment as chancellor. The prisoners of the concentration camps were political prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, mentally and physically challenged people, Gypsies, and Jews. The conditions were crucial at the camps. Survivors say that freezing to death was a better way to die than any other death.  Click the button to find out some horrific ways that prisoners died in the camps.

The U.S. Involved in Holocaust

In December 1941 the U.S. joined the war. On December 19. 1942  a declaration denouncing Nazi Germany's intention to murder the Jews of Europe was issued by the United States, Great Britain, and ten other Allied governments. When the declaration was issued it warned Nazi Germany that it would be responsible for the crimes.  Some Americans took steps to alleviate the suffering of German Jews. American Jewish leaders organized a boycott of German goods, hoping that economic pressure might force Hitler to end his anti-Semitic policies. The War Department repeatedly refused to bomb Nazi concentration camps or the railroads leading to them. But the War Refugee Board (W.R.B) did successfully develop a number of rescue projects. Estimates indicate that the W.R.B may have saved as many as 200,000 Jews.  

History of the Nazis

The Nazi party was formed to publicly criticize the Weimar Republic as ineffective.  The creation of the "national community" was the cornerstone for the Nazi ideology. Summer of 1939 Hitler was finalizing his invasion for Poland while the mood in Germany was full of fear. The Nazi propagandists tried to make Germany seem like the victim or a peaceful nation forced to fight to keep the German people safe during the war. When the Nazi were defeated they responded with propaganda aimed at inspiring fanaticism.

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