Located 21 miles or 34 km northwest
the Nazi German concentration camp Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg
established on July 12, 1936, and liberated on April 27, 1945
The Holocaust took place during
reign from 1933-1945.
II was fought from 1939-1945.
Two SA guards
stand at the Oranienburg gate, 1933
Memorial Museum, courtesy of BPK
Origin of the
The word holocaust stems
from the Greek word for burnt offering or
sacrifice by fire, holokauston. It combines
holos (whole) and kaustos (to burn).
The word appears in the Old
Testament. The New American Standard Bible translates
Leviticus 6:23, in the
context of regulations for burnt, grain, and sin offerings,
And every meal-offering of the priest shall
be wholly burnt: it shall not be eaten.
Here is the text in Greek from
the Septuagint (LXX):
ἔσται καὶ οὐ βρωθήσεται
And here is the text in Hebrew from
the Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC):
According to Strong's
Concordance כָּלִיל (kalil) translates as entire,
whole, a holocaust, a sacrifice entirely consumed.
Since the 1940s, the term a holocaust was used to
describe a large scale destruction in general.
In modern history, the term
Holocaust refers to the systematic killing of approx. six
million Jews and millions of others who were in the way of the
Nazis in Germany, who promoted anti-Semitism.
In this sense, the term
Holocaust was first used in the 1950s. In Hebrew it was
referred to as Shoah, or catastrophe. The
Nazis themselves called this genocide the Final Solution.
came to power in 1933 and the Jewish population was targeted
immediately, their businesses boycotted, their books burnt, Jewish individuals were excluded from civil
service and their children banned from schools.
It went downhill from there.
Marriage between Jews and non-Jews was
outlawed. Jews were barred from going to the theaters and had to
travel and live separated from the rest. Finally their
entire property was confiscated and they were forced into ghettos.
Many Jews emigrated, many more tried but
weren't able to because countries limited the number of Jewish
November 9, 1938, was a new all-time
It became known as the Kristallnacht, which means
Crystal Night. For two days, Jewish synagogues
and businesses were raided, 91 Jews were killed, and around 30,000 Jewish men were sent to
In the Eyes of the
Nazis, Who Was Officially a Jew?
The Nazis went by ancestry. You were a Jew when you had at least
three Jewish grandparents. If you had one or two, you were a "mixed
Besides Jews, Who Else
Was Declared a Target in Nazi Germany?
Jews were the main target, but Nazi
Germany also persecuted and annihilated
When Did the US
Government Learn of the Nazis' Attempt to Kill the Entire Jewish
For more details, see the
answer to this question by the US Holocaust
Museums and Memorials
There are many memorial places to visit, among them are:
Holocaust Remembrance Day
The Holocaust Remembrance Day (Hebrew:
Yom Hashoah) falls on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of
Nisan. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum,
the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, chose
this date because it falls between the date
on which the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began
and Israel's Independence Day, and also
because it occurs during the traditional
Jewish period of mourning known as the
Counting of the Omer.
These are the dates in the
(the one we're using now):
What would you do if it turned out
that one of your
family members had been a prominent Nazi?
Read the BBC News article
Nazi legacy: The troubled descendants
Researchers have cataloged some 42,500
Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe.
Read the New York Times article
The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking
published on March 1, 2013. This article includes maps of ghettos
for Jews in Eastern Europe and SS Concentration Camps.
Here you can read
Pope John Paul II's Yad Vashem Speech,
which he delivered at Jerusalem on March 23, 2000.
And here is more on