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the biggest tragedy of modern world

  1. The Holocaust was the state-sponsored mass murder of millions of Jewish people, queer people, people with disabilities, and other persecuted groups by the Nazi regime during WWII. The word comes from the Greek word “holokauston,” which refers to a sacrifice by fire.

  2. While a majority of the killings occurred from 1941-1945, Jews were persecuted by the Nazi regime starting in 1933 when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany.

  3. Jewish people were excluded from public life on September 15th, 1935 when the Nuremberg Laws were issued. These laws also stripped German Jews of their citizenship and their right to marry Germans.

  4. Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) occurred on the night of November 9, 1938. Nazis pillaged, burned synagogues, broke windows of Jewish-owned businesses, and attacked Jewish people in Austria and Germany. 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

  5. Starting in 1939, the Nazi government ordered all Jewish people to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing. The tactic isolated Jews from the rest of society and made it easier for them to be identified and targeted.[5]

  6. Following Germany’s invasion of Poland, Jews were forced to live in confined areas called ghettos, sometimes sealed off from the rest of the city by fences or barbed wire. There they faced shortages of food and medicine and the constant fear of being deported to concentration camps.

  7. The Nazis constructed over 44,000 incarceration sites, which included detention centers, forced-labor camps, and killing centers. They functioned independent of any judicial review, and torture, starvation, and mass murder were frequent.

  8. Appoximately 6 million Jewish people died during the Holocaust, and nearly a third of them died within the span of three months during the killing campaign Operation Reinhard. Ultimately, two-thirds of all Jewish people living in Europe during World War II were killed by the Nazi regime.

  9. In addition, millions of other individuals were also killed during the Holocaust, including Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, queer people, and people with disabilities.

  10. The United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps in 1945.

  11. In 1953, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) made Yom HaShoah a national holiday to remember those murdered during the Holocaust and recognize the achievements of its survivors and refugees. It occurs on the 27th day of the month of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar. Today, Yom HaShoah is also observed abroad, typically by Jews at synagogues and other community events.


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