Other groups were also persecuted and killed, including the Roma; Soviet civilians, Soviet prisoners of war; ethnic Poles; the disabled; gay men; and political and religious opponents. Most scholars, however, define the Holocaust as a genocide of European Jewry alone, or what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question." Taking into account all the victims of Nazi persecution, the total number of victims would be between nine and 11 million.
The persecution and genocide were accomplished in stages. Legislation to remove the Jews from civil society was enacted years before the outbreak of World War II. Concentration camps were established in which inmates were used as slave labour until they died of exhaustion or disease. Where the Third Reich conquered new territory in eastern Europe, specialized units called Einsatzgruppen murdered Jews and political opponents in mass shootings. Jews and Roma were crammed into ghettos before being transported hundreds of miles by freight train to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, the majority of them were killed in gas chambers. Every arm of Nazi Germany's bureaucracy was involved in the logistics of the mass murder, turning the country into what one Holocaust scholar has called "a genocidal state.he term holocaust originally derived from the Greek word holókauston, meaning a "completely (holos) burnt (kaustos)" sacrificial offering to a god. Its Latin form (holocaustum) was first used with specific reference to a massacre of Jews by the... [continues]
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