The Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million European Jews by the Nazi German regime and its allies and collaborators. The Holocaust was an evolving process that took place throughout Europe between 1933 and 1945.
Fascism is a far-right political philosophy, or theory of government, that emerged in the early twentieth century. Fascism prioritizes the nation over the individual, who exists to serve the nation. While fascist movements could be found in almost every country following World War I, fascism was most successful in Italy and Germany.
Robert and his family were Jehovah's Witnesses. The Nazis regarded Jehovah's Witnesses as enemies of the state for their refusal to take an oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler, or to serve in the German army. Robert's family continued its religious activities despite Nazi persecution. Shortly before Robert's birth, his mother was imprisoned briefly for distributing religious materials. Robert's hip was injured during delivery, leaving him with a disability. When Robert was five years, he was ordered to report for a physical in Schlierheim. His mother overheard staff comments about putting Robert "to sleep." Fearing they intended to kill him, Robert's mother grabbed him and ran from the clinic. Nazi physicians had begun systematic killing of those they deemed physically and mentally disabled in the fall of 1939.
Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44,000 camps and other incarceration sites (including ghettos). The perpetrators used these locations for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people deemed to be "enemies of the state," and mass murder. Millions of people suffered and died or were killed. Among these sites was the Buchenwald camp near the city of Weimar.
Communism is an economic and political philosophy grounded in the belief that societies are shaped by their economic systems. According to communism, capitalism creates social problems by dividing wealth unfairly between two classes of people. Therefore, the economic system must be reformed to distribute wealth equally. Communist ideas spread rapidly in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, offering an alternative to both capitalism and far-right fascism and setting the stage for a political conflict with global repercussions.
Key dates in the history of the Theresienstadt "camp-ghetto," which existed for three and a half years, between November 24, 1941, and May 9, 1945. During its existence, Theresienstadt served multiple purposes.
The Nazi regime persecuted different groups on ideological grounds. Jews were the primary targets for systematic persecution and mass murder by the Nazis and their collaborators. Nazi policies also led to the brutalization and persecution of millions of others. Nazi policies towards all the victim groups were brutal, but not identical.
The onset of World War II brought accelerated persecution and deportation and later, mass murder, to the Jews of Germany. In all, the Germans and their collaborators killed between 160,000 and 180,000 German Jews in the Holocaust, including most of those Jews deported out of Germany.
Children were especially vulnerable to Nazi persecution. Some were targeted on supposed racial grounds, such as Jewish youngsters. Others were targeted for biological reasons, such as patients with physical or mental disabilities, or because of their alleged resistance or political activities. As many as 1.5 million Jewish children alone were murdered or died at the hands of Nazi officials or their collaborators.
The Dachau concentration camp was established in 1933 and operated continuously until the end of the war in 1945. It was the first concentration camp of the Nazi regime and it is estimated that at least 188,000 prisoners were incarcerated there between 1933 and 1945.
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