44 Amazing Photos Showing the Tremendous Tragedy of the Holocaust

The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide of European Jews during World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews across German-occupied Europe, around two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population. The murders were carried out in pogroms and mass shootings; by a policy of extermination through labor in concentration camps; and in gas chambers and gas vans in German extermination camps, chiefly Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibór, and Treblinka in occupied Poland.

Germany implemented the persecution in stages. Following Adolf Hitler’s appointment as chancellor on 30 January 1933, the regime built a network of concentration camps in Germany for political opponents and those deemed “undesirable”, starting with Dachau on 22 March 1933. After the passing of the Enabling Act on 24 March, which gave Hitler dictatorial plenary powers, the government began isolating Jews from civil society; this included boycotting Jewish businesses in April 1933 and enacting the Nuremberg Laws in September 1935. On 9–10 November 1938, eight months after Germany annexed Austria, Jewish businesses and other buildings were ransacked or set on fire throughout Germany and Austria on what became known as Kristallnacht (the “Night of Broken Glass”). After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, triggering World War II, the regime set up ghettos to segregate Jews. Eventually, thousands of camps and other detention sites were established across German-occupied Europe.

The segregation of Jews in ghettos culminated in the policy of extermination the Nazis called the Final Solution to the Jewish Question, discussed by senior government officials at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin in January 1942. As German forces captured territories in the East, all anti-Jewish measures were radicalized. Under the coordination of the SS, with directions from the highest leadership of the Nazi Party, killings were committed within Germany itself, throughout occupied Europe, and within territories controlled by Germany’s allies. Paramilitary death squads called Einsatzgruppen, in cooperation with the German Army and local collaborators, murdered around 1.3 million Jews in mass shootings and pogroms from the summer of 1941. By mid-1942, victims were being deported from ghettos across Europe in sealed freight trains to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, they were gassed, worked or beaten to death, or killed by disease, medical experiments, or during death marches. The killing continued until the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945.

The European Jews were targeted for extermination as part of a larger event during the Holocaust era (1933–1945), in which Germany and its collaborators persecuted and murdered millions of others, including ethnic Poles, Soviet civilians and prisoners of war, the Roma, the disabled, political and religious dissidents, and gay men. (Wikipedia)

Jewish prisoners arrive at the Auschwitz concentration camp, mid-1944.
Wedding rings forcibly removed from prisoners and confiscated by the Nazis, May 1945.
An unidentified boy raises his arms as German soldiers capture Polish Jews during the Warsaw ghetto uprising sometime between April 19 and May 16, 1943.
A Russian survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp identifies for the liberating U.S. troops a former camp guard accused of brutally beating prisoners, June 1945.
A young German woman reacts with horror as she walks by some of the approximately 800 prisoners murdered by SS guards near Namering, Germany, and laid there so that townspeople could view the work of their Nazi leaders, May 1945.
Prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp cheer the approaching U.S. troops, April 1945.
Very young Ukrainian nationalists (in cooperation with the Nazi SS) armed with clubs chase a Jewish woman through the streets of Lviv, Poland — where at least 6,000 Jews were killed by militias and Nazi forces — in mid-1941.
The entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp, circa 1945.
Some of the 2,141 prisoners just freed from their train, bound for an extermination camp, by U.S. soldiers near Madgeburg, Germany on April 13, 1945.
Child survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp soon after its liberation by Soviet forces in January 1945.
Upon the liberation of Buchenwald, a man holds a noose formerly used at the concentration camp, April 1945.
Jewish women and children just after their arrival at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
A prisoner dying of dysentery at the Buchenwald concentration camp peers out from his bunk upon the liberation of the camp by Allied troops in April 1945.
Clothes that once belonged to prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp, recently liberated by U.S. troops, April 1945.
British liberators of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp force Nazi officials to exhume and properly bury the bodies of approximately 100 political prisoners killed there, October 1945.
German soldiers arrest a Jewish man in Warsaw, Poland following the ghetto uprising that had recently occurred there, April 1943.
U.S. soldiers survey some of the children’s barracks of the recently liberated Dachau concentration camp, April 1945.
Nazi guards round up arriving prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp’s unloading ramp, circa May/June 1944.
A starving child lying on the street of the Warsaw ghetto, as photographed by a sergeant in the German armed forces, 1941.
Construction workers build the brick wall meant to block off the Jewish ghetto portion of Warsaw, Poland, 1940.
Crowds watch as British soldiers set fire to the last remaining hut at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp soon after its liberation in April 1945.
A young man sits on an overturned stool next to a burnt body inside the Thekla concentration subcamp outside Leipzig, Germany soon after its liberation by U.S. forces in April 1945.
Prisoners of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp cheerfully collect bread rations upon their liberation by British forces in April 1945.
Victims’ bones lie in the crematoriums of the Buchenwald concentration camp upon the arrival of U.S. troops in April 1945.
Female guards of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp soon after their capture by British soldiers in April 1945.
Eyeglasses of prisoners killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, circa 1945.
An emaciated prisoner of the Dachau concentration camp soon after its liberation by U.S. forces in April 1945.
Prisoners of the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp’s Boelcke barracks killed during a bombing raid, April 1945.
SS commander Heinrich Himmler inspects the Dachau concentration camp, 1936.
Prisoners in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, Germany, 1938.
Starving inmate of Camp Gusen, Austria, 1945.
German doctor Fritz Klein stands amid the corpses of prisoners in one of the mass graves at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp soon after its liberation by British troops in April 1945.
Polish prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp toast their U.S. liberators circa April/May 1945.
A Hungarian prisoner of the Dachau concentration camp not long after its liberation by U.S. troops in April 1945.
German civilians, under direction of U.S. medical officers, are made to walk past a group of 30 Jewish women starved to death by SS troops so that they may bear witness, in Czechoslovakia, 1945.
U.S. Army soldiers prepare to summarily execute SS guards of the newly liberated Dachau concentration camp on April 29, 1945.
Circa 1936, a Romani woman speaks with a German police officer (center) and infamous Nazi doctor Robert Ritter (right), whose pseudo-scientific research on the Romani people helped cause the Nazis to kill as many as 500,000 of them during the Holocaust.
General Dwight Eisenhower (center, wearing officer’s cap) and other high-ranking U.S. Army officers view the bodies of prisoners who were killed during the evacuation of Ohrdruf, while on a tour of the newly liberated concentration camp in April 1945.
Disabled children of the sort executed in the tens of thousands under the Nazis’ largely eugenics-inspired Aktion T4 involuntary euthanasia program, at Schönbrunn Psychiatric Hospital, 1934.
Malnourished forced laborers of the Buchenwald concentration camp near Jena, Germany soon after the arrival of liberating U.S. troops in April 1945
British troops force SS camp guards to load the corpses of prisoners onto trucks for burial during the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945.
All but one of the 22 Nazi leaders prosecuted during the Nuremberg war crimes trials, October 1946.
Nazi leaders Hermann Göring (left) and Rudolf Hess — both, at various points, the deputies of Adolf Hitler — sit in the defendants’ box during the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals, 1946.
A pile of human bones and skulls lies on the grounds of the Majdanek concentration camp soon after its liberation by Russian troops in 1944.

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