INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY – What was the Holocaust

WHAT WAS THE HOLOCAUST?

The Holocaust was the state-sponsored mass murder of 12 million people — 6 million of them Jews — by Nazi Germany under Hitler over more than a decade leading up to and during World War II.

Nearly two out of three Jews living in Europe at the time were killed by death squads or in concentration camps, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

HOW DID IT BEGIN?

Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany in 1933 — the year the Nazi state established the first concentration camps. Some of the first prisoners were political opponents, gay men and lesbians and anyone the German state deemed “dangerous.”

German police confiscated Jewish property, designated ghettos and forced-labor camps, and required Jews to wear armbands and the Star of David on their clothes. Gas vans also began to appear in eastern Germany in late 1941.

From 1933 to 1945, more than 42,500 concentration camps and other incarceration sites were built in Germany, according to the Holocaust Museum.

HOW DID IT END?

The Holocaust ended in May 1945 with the defeat of the Nazis by the Allied powers of the U.S., the Soviet Union, China and Britain. Allies forces in Europe found thousands of concentration camps with prisoners starving and stricken with disease.