Deportation of Jewish People from the Lodz Ghetto

The Nazi Genocide of the Jews, 1933-45: A Brief Introduction to the Holocaust

Robert S. Leventhal

Copyright (c) 1995 by Robert S. Leventhal, all rights reserved. This text may be shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law. Redistribution or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the written permission of the author.

"The murder of the European Jews in the Second World War was unique. Never before did a state decide to kill a specific group of humans -- including old people, women, and children -- without any reservation or examination of the individual case, and enact this murder with the means of State power."
-- Eberhard Jäckel, German Historian and Director of the Institute for Contemporary History, University of Stuttgart

This hypertext document is intended to introduce the reader/viewer to the historical event of the Nazi Genocide of the Jewish People of Europe, 1933-1945. In these years, approximately six million Jewish men, women and children were systematically murdered in extermination or "death" camps located in Eastern Europe. Genocide refers to the mass murder of a tribe or an entire people (genos=tribe, people; cide=killing). According to Yehuda Bauer, one of the most prominent historians of the Nazi Genocide of the Jews, the term was first coined in 1943 by Raphael Lemkin, who defined it as "a synchronized attack" on the moral, political, cultural, religious, economic and social aspects of a people's life, involving a "policy of depopulation, introducing a starvation rationing system" and carrying out systematic "mass killings."[1] After World War II, the United Nations convened hearings and formulated a legal definition of Genocide as an international crime in times of war and peace. This was called the Convention on Genocide of 1948, which was influenced and informed by the Nazi Genocide of the Jews.[2]

The Nazi Genocide of the Jewish Population of Europe is usually divided into phases. Click on any of the text in blue type to move to more information concerning a specific phase:

Click here for Maps of the Holocaust

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Click here to go to the article on Genocide


  1. Yehuda Bauer, The Holocaust in Historical Perspective (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1978), pp. 34-35.Back

  2. The United Nations, For Fundamental Human Rights (Lake Success: United Nations, 1948).Back

Last Modified Jan. 20, 1995