The Holocaust is well known in generalities, but many people have no idea of how these atrocities truly came to pass or how severe the damage of the Holocaust was. When you understand what the Holocaust was, you can better understand the struggles that so many people face today in trying to move past the terrible legacy that so many Germans carry. The Holocaust was the organized genocide of over six million Jews. Though the persecution of the Jewish people is one of the best-known parts of the Holocaust, many other groups were killed in these efforts as well, such as the disabled, Gypsies, and homosexuals.
Why were the Jews terrorized ?
A major tool of the Nazis' propaganda assault was the weekly Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer (The Attacker). At the bottom of the front page of each issue, in bold letters, the paper proclaimed, "The Jews are our misfortune!" Der Stürmer also regularly featured cartoons of Jews in which they were caricatured as hooked-nosed and apelike. The influence of the newspaper was far-reaching: by 1938 about a half million copies were distributed weekly.
Soon after he became chancellor, Hitler called for new elections in an effort to get full control of the Reichstag, the German parliament, for the Nazis. The Nazis used the government apparatus to terrorize the other parties. They arrested their leaders and banned their political meetings. Then, in the midst of the election campaign, on February 27, 1933, the Reichstag building burned. A Dutchman named Marinus van der Lubbe was arrested for the crime, and he swore he had acted alone. Although many suspected the Nazis were ultimately responsible for the act, the Nazis managed to blame the Communists, thus turning more votes their way.