The German Holocaust
The German Holocaust is often what people think of when they hear the term 'holocaust', because it is the most memorable and notable event that used the term. The Holocaust involved the systematic killing of more than 11 million people, including over 6 million Jews and 1.5 million children. This occurred during the rule of the Third Reich, when Adolf Hitler came to power over Nazi Germany. It lasted from 1933 to 1945, and was a catastrophic event that resulted in torture, forced labor, experimentation, and death for those who were targeted.
Although the Nazis picked out anyone who was deemed 'inferior' or 'useless' and made plans to exterminate them, or sometimes killed them on the spot, the Jews were the only community that were actually sanctioned for 'Special Treatment', which was a nice way of saying that they were to be found and killed. The goal was to completely eradicate the Jews from Europe because they were believed to be the 'problem' behind Germany's weakness as a country. The sad reality is that Hitler and his men almost succeeded, successfully killing as much as 2/3 of the Jewish population in Europe before the end of World War II.
There were millions killed besides the Jews, including:
-Polish and Soviet people
-Communists and Socialists
-Children and the elderly
-The sick and disabled
-Political insurgents or opponents
The goal, for the Nazis, was to create a 'Master Race' that would help Germany rise to being an ultimate world power and make up for the embarrassment that they felt was World War I, when Germany was forced to surrender and shrunk as a power in the world as a result. Throughout the Holocaust, people were forced out of their homes into ghettos where they lived in squalor. As the plan became more organized, they were then taken to various camps for forced labor, medical experimentation, imprisonment, torture, or death. Some camps existed for specific uses, while others like Auschwitz were combination camps where there were many fates for the prisoners that arrived.
Once the Nazis developed stationary gas chambers, the killing reached a new volume with as many as 6,000 Jews being killed daily at Auschwitz alone. Their goal to exterminate the inferiors with efficiency was getting closer to being achieved, but not before the Allies finally invaded in 1945 and took back power. After this, Hitler and many of his men committed suicide while others went into hiding to avoid capture and honor the Nazi ideology of 'death before dishonor'.