Holocaust Summaries

The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, between 1933 and 1945.

Two young cousins shortly before they were smuggled out of the Kovno ghetto. A Lithuanian family hid the children and both girls survived the war. Kovno, Lithuania, August 1943.


The word antisemitism means prejudice, against, or hatred of Jews. The most common of manifestations of antisemitism throughout history were pogroms, violent riots launched against Jews and frequently encouraged by government authorities. Pogroms were often incited by blood libels- false rumors that Jews used the blood of Christian children for ritual purposes. Publications such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion provided support of theories of international Jewish conspiracy. Millions bought Hitler's book Mein Kampf (My Struggle), which called for the removal of Jews from Germany.

Nazi Camps

Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany established about 20,000 camps to imprison millions of victims. Camps were used for range of purposes, forced labor camps, transit camps, and killing centers used for murder. After violent Kristallnacht ("Night of broken Glass")pogroms in November 1938, Nazis conducted mass arrests of adult male Jews and put them in camps for a brief period of time. Only a small amount of people imprisoned in Nazi camps survived.

The United States and the Holocaust

U.S. State Department policies made it very hard for the refuges to obtain entry visas. Despite ongoing persecution of Jews, State Department's attitude was influenced by the economic hardships of depression, it intensified grassroots antisemitism, isolationism, and xenophobia. Allies condemning the mass murder of European Jews on its front page, it placed coverage of the more specific information released by Wise on page ten, significantly minimizing its importance.

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