Genocide And World War II
Genocide in the most barbaric form was witnessed during World War II when the Jews were systematically exterminated by the Nazis in Europe. The assault against Jews started when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933. The horrifying episode culminated in the infamous 'final solution to the Jewish question in Europe'. Approximately 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust.
The target of Nazis on racial basis was not just Jews but other groups like Slavs, gypsies, homosexuals and disabled who were classified as undesirable.
Nazis executed the crime based on deeply ingrained feeling of anti-Semitism which had spread in to most of Europe in the 1930s. Nazis quoted theirs as a superior race and justified extermination of Jews.
Laws were enforced using discrimination policies against Jews, the most infamous being Nuremburg Laws passed in 1935. This stripped Jews of their German citizenship. On annexing Poland, the Jews in the country were forced in to ghettoes which were home to starvation and diseases. In the wake of the progressing German force, the SS command squads comprising Nazi security and volunteers killed civilians including communists, gypsies, intellectuals and most of all the Jews. The worst was at the ravine of Babi Yar in September 1941.
Death camp operations started in 1941 at Chelmno, Poland, and Semlin, Serbia. Almost 400,000 Jews were executed using exhaust fumes of special vans. Jews were taken to extermination camps, like Sobibor, Belzec and Treblinka. The worst of all at Auschwitz led to killings either by sudden death or by working Jews till death. Almost 1.1 million Jews were exterminated in the gas chambers in Auschwitz.
The emaciated prisoners and decaying corpses found by allied forces from Nazi camps posed difficult questions about the policy of wartime by allied forces towards the genocides. It was felt that allied forces feigned ignorance to the genocide for political reasons.
Years later, many Nazi soldiers, who managed these concentration camps, were tried and punished. The UN Convention on Genocide was formulated in 1948.
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History.org: World War 2 Genocide