As we mark Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) on April 8 for the 60th consecutive year—this somber day was first placed onto the Jewish calendar in 1953, at the instigation of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion—we again ask...
The Holocaust (from the Greekὁλόκαυστοςholókaustos: hólos, "whole" and kaustós, "burnt") also known as the Shoah (Hebrew: השואה, HaShoah, "catastrophe"; Yiddish: חורבן, Churben or Hurban, from the Hebrew for "destruction"), was the mass murder or genocide of approximately six million Jews during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, throughout German-occupied territory.
Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed. Over one million Jewish children were killed in the Holocaust, as were approximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men. A network of over 40,000 facilities in Germany and German-occupied territory were used to concentrate, hold, and kill Jews and other victims.
Some scholars argue that the mass murder of the Romani and people with disabilities should be included in the definition, and some use the common noun "holocaust" to describe other Nazi mass murders, including those of Soviet prisoners of war, Polish and Soviet civilians, and homosexuals. Recent estimates based on figures obtained since the fall of the Soviet Union indicates some ten to eleven million civilians and prisoners of war were intentionally murdered by the Nazi regime.