The Holocaust began in January 1933 when Hitler came to power and technically ended on May 8, 1945 (VE Day).i Between 1933 and 1945, more than 11 million men, women, and children were murdered in the Holocaust. Approximately six million of these were Jews.f Over 1.1 million children died during the Holocaust.c
Young children were particularly targeted by the Nazis to be murdered during the Holocaust. They posed a unique threat because if they lived, they would grow up to parent a new generation of Jews. Many children suffocated in the crowded cattle cars on the way to the camps. Those who survived were immediately taken to the gas chambers.e transported Holocaust The Holocaust would not have been possible without mass transportation The majority of people who were deported to labor and death camps were transported in cattle wagons. These wagons did not have water, food, a toilet, or ventilation. Sometimes there were not enough cars for a major transport, so victims waited at a switching yard, often with standing room only, for several days. The longest transport of the war took 18 days. When the transport doors were open, everyone was already dead.b The most intensive Holocaust killing took place in September 1941 at the Babi Yar Ravine just outside of Kiev, Ukraine, where more than 33,000 Jews were killed in just two days. Jews were forced to undress and walk to the ravine’s edge. When German troops shot them, they fell into the abyss. The Nazis then pushed the wall of the ravine over, burying the dead and the living. Police grabbed children and threw them into the ravine as well.a Carbon monoxide was originally used in gas chambers. Later, the insecticide Zyklon B was developed to kill inmates. Once the inmates were in the chamber, the doors were screwed shut and pellets of Zyklong B were dropped into vents in the side of the walls, releasing toxic gas. SS doctor Joann Kremmler reported that victims would scream and fight for their lives. Victims were found half-squatting in the standing room only chambers, with blood coming out their ears and foam out of their mouths.b In 1946, two partners in a leading pest control company, Tesch and Stabenow (Testa), were tried before a British military court on charges of genocide. It was argued that the accused must have realized that the massive supply of Zyklon B they provided to concentration camps was far above the quantity required for delousing. They were convicted and hanged.e Auschwitz complex Auschwitz was the largest of the German concentration camps Over one million people were murdered at the Auschwitz complex, more than at any other place. The Auschwitz complex included three large camps: Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Monowitz.b Prisoners, mainly Jews, called Sonderkommando were forced to bury corpses or burn them in ovens. Because the Nazis did not want eyewitnesses, most Sonderkommandos were regularly gassed, and fewer than 20 of the several thousand survived. Some Sonderkommandos buried their testimony in jars before their deaths. Ironically, the Sonderkommandos were dependent on continued shipment of Jews to the concentration camps for staying alive.e The “Final Solution” was constructed during the Wannsee Conference in January 1942. Fourteen high-ranking Nazis met in Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, and presented a program to deport all Jews to Poland where the SS would kill them.f Kristallnacht or “Night of Broken Glass” occurred throughout Germany and Austria on November 9, 1938, when the Nazis viciously attacked Jewish communities. The Nazis destroyed, looted, and burned over 1,000 synagogues and destroyed over 7,000 businesses. They also ruined Jewish hospitals, schools, cemeteries, and homes. When it was over, 96 Jews were dead and 30,000 arrested.e In the initial stages of the destruction of European Jews, the Nazis forced Jews into ghettos and instigated a policy of planned, indirect annihilation by denying them...
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