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Video:Overview of the Holocaust

with Mary Jensen

The Holocaust was the Nazi's systematic and widespread killing of the Jewish population in Europe around the 1940's. Learn more about the Holocaust in this educational video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Overview of the Holocaust

Hello, I am Mary Jensen I am an AP world history teacher at Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado. I am here with About.com to give you an overview of the Holocaust.

The Nazi Ideology Led to the Holocaust

With a capital H, the Holocaust specifically refers to the bureaucratic, industrial approach towards the complete attempt to kill all Jews and other undesirables in the eyes of the Nazi party. The Nazi Ideology believed that the Jews were an inferior group of people. The Nazi ideology was one that was based on an elite group in Europe dominating over weaker states. Germans turned to Hitler's message of putting Germany back together through military strength, and a number of people bought into his plan.

Adolf Hitler's Role in the Holocaust

The ideology was single handedly spelled out by Adolf Hitler, and a lot of it derives from his publication of his book, "Mein Kampf," my struggle. Hitler believed that there were these inherent genetic traits passed on from one generation to another. These were traits that he sought to eradicate from Germany and its surrounding countries, which he intended to take over.

Victims of the Holocaust

The first victims of the Nazi attempt to create a pure citizenship were handicapped children,and mentally ill patients deemed unfit Germans. What was discovered by the Germans was that Zyclon B, a poisonous gas was very effective at killing people.

Holocaust Ghettos

The first Ghetto in Europe actually dates back to 1516 in Venice. Hitler borrowed this idea of the ghetto. The idea of the ghetto is that it would be a separate section of the city with it's own government, it's own systems, and fenced off. There was a great deal of black market; there was smuggling of food that was brought into the ghetto.

Concentration and Death Camps

The first camps that the Germans set up were camps to house people deemed enemies of the state, whether it be real or fictitious, and people whose ideology were contrary to what the Germans believed in. Ultimately the camps got divided into two kinds: concentration camps and death camps.

The death camps were a distinct kind of a camp, where as the concentration camps held those deemed politically adversarial to the Nazi program, the death camps had the specific purpose of the killing of people that Germany sought to wipe off the face of Europe. Also in the death camps were gypsies, Jehovah Witnesses, people of Slavic origin and homosexuals and an occasional Roman Catholic Priest, as well.

The German efficiency and the need for speed was what drove the design of these camps. Essentially there was no getting out of thee camps once they were delivered there by train. Ultimately the death camps succeeded in their mission to some degree according to the Nazi program of overwhelming number of deaths.

Aftermath of the Holocaust

There were survivors of many of these death camps ultimately on liberation in 1945. And then there were million of displaced people, or DPs, who sought help from different allied governments. Hundreds of thousands of people emigrated to Israel; thousands and thousands to the United States; Jewish people primarily emigrating to Israel.

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