The Holocaust is regarded as the systematic slaughter of not only 6 million Jews, (two-thirds of the total European Jewish population), the primary victims, but also 5 million others, who comprised of gypsies, Jehovah’s witness, homosexuals, disabled and others who resisted the Nazi movement, approximately 11 million individuals wiped off the Earth by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Holocaust was the extermination of people not for who they were but for what they were.
After the beginning of the Second World War, the Nazis began ordering all Jews to live within certain, very specific, areas of big cities, called ghettos. They were forced out of their homes and moved into smaller apartments, often shared with other families. Some ghettos started out as “open,” which meant that Jews could leave the area during the daytime but often had to be back within the ghetto by a curfew. Later, all ghettos became “closed,” which meant that Jews were trapped within the confines of the ghetto and not allowed to leave. Although many people refer to all Nazi camps as “concentration camps,” there were actually a number of different kinds of camps, including concentration camps, extermination camps, labor camps, prisoner-of-war camps, and transit camps. While concentration camps were meant for putting the prisoners to work, extermination camps as the name suggests were built to kill a large number of people quickly and effectively.
Through the horror of the holocaust something amazing emerged and that is the strength of the human spirit. Prisoners survived because of their sheer will to live, unwilling to be broken by the oppression of the Nazis. Nobody who has not lived through the horror can imagine or comprehend the terror and the atrocities that the prisoners were put through, but the fact that there were survivors shows that there is something in us that cannot be taken away no matter what, and that is a true testament to the human spirit.