Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the 6 million Jews who perished by the Nazi regime, will be observed on Tuesday, April 21st this year. The holocaust was the most tragic disaster that befell the world and the Jewish people.
Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany. He blamed Germany’s bad economy and other social problems on the Jewish people. He promised the German people that Germany will prosper again, once he’d get rid of all the Jews. Millions believed in him and many were afraid to speak up fearing for their own lives.
Jewish shops, goods, doctors and lawyers were boycotted.
The Jews’ lives were disrupted in their synagogues, their cemeteries destroyed. They were forced to live in ghettos, fenced off areas, and wear a yellow Star of David on their clothes. The yellow patch outlined in black with mock Hebrew letters which read, ”JUDE”, a Jew. It was a badge of shame, so they could easily be detected, discriminated against and persecuted.
German Nazi troopers attacked all Jews throughout Germany during Kristallnacht, which translates to “The night of broken glass”. Synagogues and homes were destroyed and stores were looted. Thousands of Jews were rounded up and taken by trains to concentration camps. Jewish families were separated from one another. Furthermore, to dehumanize the Jews, the Nazis tattooed numbers on their arms.
During the height of World War II, Hitler’s army invaded most of the countries in Europe with the goal of global domination.
Hitler’s master plan to murder all the Jews in Europe is called The Final Solution. To carry out that plan, the biggest extermination camps were built including Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz.
Some Jews were literally worked to death as slaves in factories. Others were imprisoned in concentration camps across Europe. Fifty extermination camps were built to make the systematic killing efficient and fast.
In the concentration camps, the Jews were massacred on a large scale. They were burned in crematoriums, shot, starved to death, or poisoned by gas. In addition to 6 million Jews, about 1/3 of the world’s Jewish population at the time, black people, Gypsies, handicapped people, and homosexuals were murdered. All were regarded as inferior people.
The Nazis established the Warsaw ghetto in Poland.
The Warsaw uprising began. Although the Jews were powerless against the Nazi Army and without arms, they still tried to resist. They secretly continued observing their Jewish holidays. Some became Partisans and fled to the forests. Others gathered weapons in the Ghettos and were determined to fight the Nazis to death.
The brave resistance group fought the evil Nazi army for almost a month till the Ghetto was overrun
The Second World War ended when the Allied Powers (United States, France, Britain and the Soviet Union) defeated the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan). Japan surrendered after United States dropped atomic bombs on their cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Adolf Hitler shot and killed himself on April 30, 1945 as the Soviet army closed in on him.
Those who were freed from the concentration camps left to the United States or to the newly established state of Israel. Some Jews were saved by righteous Gentiles who risked their lives by hiding them.
Every year, we light a yellow candle (as a reminder of the yellow star) in their memory of those we’ve lost. We vow to NEVER FORGET.
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