“History holds no parallel to the Nazi murder of the Jewish people,” Sir Hartley Showcross, Chief British Prosecutor at the Trails of War Criminals at Nuremberg.
The term Holocaust refers to the murder of six million Jewish men, women and children as a consequence of the national policy of Nazi Germany to murder all Jews under its control. The Holocaust represents the transformation of historic anti-Semitism and sporadic, undisciplined mob violence into a relentless, systematic, nationally organized hate and murder machine.
This systematic murder operation was designed primarily for Jews. The Germans isolated and confined only Jews to ghettos. They created mobile killing operations for Jews and gassed Jewish infants, children, women and men and disposed of their bodies in specially designed ovens.
The victims were not casualties of fighting that ravaged Europe, nor involved in territorial conflict. Neither were they political or military detainees. Rather, they were the victims of the “Final Solution,” Germany’s plan to murder the entire Jewish population of Europe under its control. The nationalization and legitimization of the murder of the Jewish people make the Holocaust a unique and unprecedented event.
(c) 2004 Holocaust Memorial Center