From 1933 to 1945, an estimated 15 to 20 million people were imprisoned or murdered in Nazi ghettos and concentration camps spread throughout Nazi-occupied Europe. At least six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust and an estimated one out of every six of those killings took place at Auschwitz death camp.
Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich (1933–1945), was a dictatorship controlled by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Hitler was appointed the Chancellor of Germany in 1933 by the president of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg. After Hindenburg’s death in 1934, Hitler solidified his dictatorship by combining the positions and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency.
The Nazis viewed the German people, or the “Aryan race,” as being racially superior to the rest of the world. Jews were considered to be racial enemies of the Third Reich because of their “blood” and its potential to contaminate the purity of the Aryan race.
Origins of Anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism, or discrimination against Jews, was present in Europe long before the rise of Nazi Germany. The hatred of Jews stems back to the Middle Ages, when Christian theology blamed the Jews for killing and rejecting Jesus Christ. Additionally, Christianity forbade the practice of charging interest on loans, while Jewish religious law allowed Jews to charge interest to non-Jews. This added fuel to the stereotype that Jews were wealthy and greedy moneylenders. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, pogroms, or violent riots aimed at Jews, increased in the Russian Empire (modern-day Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus).
German defeat in World War I
Part of Germany’s terms of surrender in World...
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