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WHY and HOW the Holocaust Occurredby: Samantha Hollander
One definition of the Holocaust reads thus, “The state sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945” (Teaching About the Holocaust, 1995). What does that mean? The holocaust was a ter-rible tragedy and the extermination of the Jewish People with the “Final Solution” by Nazi Ger-many is something that should not have occurred. The real question that is still not completely answered is how this was able to occur. How did Hitler and Nazi Germany take over and create these concentration camps and kill over six million people? How did no one stop this from hap-pening? Why were Jews targeted? Finally, why did the holocaust happen? One major factor leading to the holocaust occurring isAnti-Semitism and Jewish hatred for thousands of years before. This did not begin overnight. The Jewish people did not first run into difficulty when Hitler rose to power. This long-term issue started years and years prior. Throughout history Jewish people have been through many obstacles and been slaughtered be-fore. For example, this goes way back to 63 BC when the end of the Jewish political independ-ence occurred in Rome (Landau, 1994). This independence was not given back for another two thousand years. In Europe the Jewish people have always been a minority. Jewish people had conflict with the rise of Christianity in many different countries. In Christian Spain in 1492, for example, 150,000 Jews were driven out (Landau, 1944). For centuries and decades before this, the Christian government of Spain tried to convert the Jewish people, but when this did not work Spanish Jews were driven out – an event now known as “the Reconquista.” Another example of the Jewish people being treated and accused wrongly is the Blood Libel. The Blood libel is “a false accusation that Jews sacrifice Christian children either to use the blood for various "medicinal" purposes or to prepare PassoverMatzoth (unleavened bread) or for vengeance and mock crucifixion” (Blois, 2013). Simply, this means that the Jewish people
were being accused of murdering Christian children for their own religious purposes. These cases were wrongly accused Jewish people who were then murdered or exploited. This occurred during the 1700’s and again during the 1800’s throughout Europe in the East and West (Blois, 2013). This is another example of how Jews were poorly treated and falsely accused throughout history. Overall, Anti-Semitism and the hatred for Jews made them an easy target. There was growing hatred for the Jewish people for thousands and thousands of years and it made it easy for Hitler to convince his fellow Germans and others to exterminate the Jewish population. Thus: the Holocaust of the mid-twentieth century.