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Genocide and the Holocaust (October 2023): The Holocaust

By Claudene Sproles

The Holocaust

When most people hear the term genocide, they immediately think of the Holocaust. The Holocaust (or Shoah in Hebrew) refers to the actions undertaken by Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945 to eliminate the Jewish population of Europe, ultimately leading to the murder of approximately six million Jews. There were other groups of so-called undesirables that the Third Reich also targeted for elimination, including ethnic Slavs, communists, Roma/Sinti peoples, prisoners of war, the disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. For a comprehensive, thorough overview and examination of the Holocaust, readers can consult Raul Hilberg’s three-volume set The Destruction of the European Jews, now in its third edition and widely considered the seminal work in Holocaust studies.

A good place to begin research or discover essential information on the Holocaust is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website. The Museum has even created the comprehensive Holocaust Encyclopedia to help users gain basic knowledge or begin in-depth research. Another essential reference tool for studying the Holocaust is The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies, which synthesizes current research and thought on the Holocaust through a variety of disciplines. The Historical Dictionary of the Holocaust by Jack Fischel clarifies many of the names, events, ideologies, and locations associated with the Holocaust. A companion piece to the Dictionary, The Holocaust Chronicle and its accompanying website offers an in-depth timeline of Holocaust events.

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