Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish legal scholar, first pieced the term “genocide” together
by the Latin and Greek roots “genos” meaning family or race and “-cide” meaning
massacre in 1945 (
). Generally, the definition of genocide is a mass
killing of people based on their race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. Genocide has been
carried out throughout many parts of our world. The Holocaust and the Rwanda Genocide
were both demoralizing wars, which caused a lot of despair in the victims. The Holocaust
and the Rwanda Genocide share many similarities but are also very different.
The Holocaust is the name applied to the organized state-sponsored persecution and
genocide of the Jews of Europe along with other groups during WWII by Nazi Germany.
The word holocaust is a Greek word meaning “entire burnt offering”. The Jews of Europe
were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the “Final Solution of the
Jewish Question” (Berenbaum, 1).
At the time of WWII, Germany was regarded as the most civilized country in the world
and the Jews were among its important citizens. They held positions of influence in every
field including military and others. Anti-Semitism was common in Europe in the 1920s
and 1930s. The Holocaust was justified by claiming that the victims were sub-humans
who were both biologically inferior and a challenge to the superiority of the Aryans
(Bard, 18). Hitler was the dictator that authorized the mass killing. Adolf Hitler’s book,
included everything on his foreign policy, “superior” Aryan race, and his
accusation of the Jews being the source of evil (Fleming, x-xvi). This book became very
popular during his dictatorship. He was one of the most honest politicians, carrying out
what he had promised to his country. Nazi Germany attempted to put into operation
Adolf Hitler’s final solution for the Jews, killing 6 million Jews in its path.
The Holocaust lasted over many years. It first started with restrictions and ended with
a mass extermination. Shortly after Hitler became dictator, the Nazis organized a one-day
boycott of all the Jewish-owned business in Germany. The Nuremberg laws were soon
passed which banned Jews from all professional jobs, which effectively prevented them
from exerting any influence in education, politics, higher education, and industry (Adler,
16-25). Jews were required to wear the stars of David to easily identify them too.
The Jews were resettled from their homes into ghettos. They did this because they
needed to make more room for the Germans. Ghettos were enclosed areas by barbed wire
and a brick wall, which was guarded by German soldiers. Ghettos confined the Jews.
Thousands of Jews died of starvation, malnutrition, and disease. Later, they