The Holocaust, 1933-1941-1945
During World War II, approximately 5.7 million Jews were murdered by Nazi Germany. The dead were not victims of war, but they were killed because they were Jewish. The Holocaust developed in stages, but its broad outlines were clear from the start.
In the first phase of the war, ‘racially alien elements’, primarily Jews, but also Roma and Sinti, were to be purged from German territories. There were mass executions, starting from the invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, but they intensified after the attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941.
By late 1941, there was a policy in place to deport the Jews and, ultimately, murder all of them. This happened mainly by suffocating the victims on an industrial scale in specially designed camps with gas chambers and crematoria. All of this called for a massive logistic operation, which was carefully prepared and carried out, not only by special officers, but also by officials from the regular services, such as the railways.
These factors make the extermination of the Jews a genocide without a precedent.
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