When Did The Holocaust Start?
During the period of time that the Nazi party had control of Germany and throughout World War II, between five and six million men, women, and children were systematically murdered in mass executions and death camps. From firing squads to gas chambers, the Nazis set about exterminating all that they deemed unfit in the hopes of creating a 'master race' of pure Aryans. The event was known as the Holocaust, and pinpointing the exact moment that it started isn't quite possible. This is largely due to the fact that its starting point may be considered any number of dates or times.
For instance, its roots run back to 1912, when Heinrich Class wrote a book urging that all Jews be stripped of their citizenship and forbidden to own land or participate in any actions that normal citizens would. This helped feed the hatred of Jews among others, particularly Adolf Hitler, who claimed in 1922 that his foremost goal once obtaining power would be to annihilate the Jews.
Once Hitler did receive power, he wasted little time. For most, Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass – signaled the beginning of the Holocaust. On the 9th of November, 1938, German soldiers attacked thousands of Jews, destroyed synagogues, and ransacked Jews shops. Only 91 officially died, but most historians suspect the number was far higher. In the days following Kristallnacht more than 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps and held for weeks at a time.
For the next several years the Jews were slowly exterminated through a variety of different means including starvation, exhaustion, and disease. But during this time, no systematic killing programs were used. It was around 1940 to 1941 that the concentration camps began to transform into death camps. Around 15,000 camps were set up, with some only being forced labor camps while others were primarily used for killing. By 19491, the Holocaust truly began in earnest and the Nazis began their mass exterminations. Millions were killed in the death camps, and millions more executed in public in a variety of ways.
From its earliest origins to the initial beginnings to the point that murder began on a massive scale, the Holocaust is one of the greatest atrocities ever committed. By the time that the mass murders began it was too late to be stopped by anything short of total defeat of Germany. Its specific beginning date may vary depending on whom you ask, but the results of it are not debatable.