Historical Overview of the Holocaust
The Jewish Holocaust, or Shoah in Hebrew, refers to the systematic, deliberate and carefully planned attempt to annihilate all European Jewish communities and to exterminate all individuals of Jewish ethnic ancestry. In early 1933, the Nazi party came to power in Germany, and under Adolph Hitler's rule it implemented the persecution and segregation of the Jews in minutely organized stages. State-sponsored racism introduced and supported anti-Jewish legislation, economic boycotts and confiscations, as well as isolation of the Jews from all classes of the general population. This plan came to be known as the Nazi's 'Final Solution to the Jewish Question.'
On September 1, 1939, the Germans invaded Poland. This single event is most often cited as the start of World War II. During the next several years, much of continental Europe was conquered, subdued and devastated by Germany. Anti-Jewish proclamations escalated rapidly. This led to the imprisonment of Jews and eventually the murder of most European Jewry. First the Nazis established sealed ghettos to which they deported the Jews from Poland, Western Europe and the Balkan nations. These ghettos were extremely overcrowded and unsanitary, and the Jews suffered from starvation and contagious diseases, in addition to inhumane living conditions.
For information on understanding end-of-life issues that may manifest in Holocaust Survivors at the end of life download our guidebook, Caring for Holocaust Survivors with Sensitivity at End of Life.
This helpful guidebook provides a deeper understanding of end-of-life issues that may manifest in the Holocaust Survivor at the end of life.