The holocaust is one extreme example of how people can be intolerant of others. During the holocaust, millions of Jews and others were purposely killed by the Nazis during World War II (1939-1945).
Adolf Hitler hated the Jewish people and their religion so much that he was responsible for killing more than 6 million Jews during his reign as Germany's Fuehrer, or dictator. Adolf believed that the Jews were "destroyer(s) of culture" and blamed them as being one of the reasons why the German people were suffering in the early 1900's.
Because of Hitler's intolerance towards the Jewish people, he created what was known as Jewish ghettos during World War II. These areas were in many countries that the Nazis occupied. These areas were located in sections of cities where all Jews from the surrounding areas were forced to reside. Surrounded by barbed wire or walls, the Nazi ghettos were often sealed so that people were prevented from leaving or entering. Established mostly in Eastern Europe (e.g., Lodz, Warsaw, Vilna, Riga, Minsk), the ghettos were characterized by overcrowding, starvation and forced labor. All were eventually destroyed as the Jews were deported to death camps.
Adolf Hitler hated the Jews so much that he created what is known as death camps, or extermination camps. These "camps" were actually prisons that Hitler put all the Jews that lived in German-occupied countries into. Instead of just putting the Jews in prison (which is terrible enough), Hitler commanded that the Jewish people be killed in various ways. He forced them to work outside in the freezing cold with little or no clothing, and would try to starve them to death. If the Jews did not die from starvation, many of them would be killed by being forced to breathe poisonous gas in rooms that were made to look like showers. "Although Catholics, Poles, homosexuals, Roma (Gypsies), and the handicapped were targeted for persecution, if not outright extermination, the Jews of Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union were by far the most numerous among the victims."
From 1945-1949 many of the Nazi leaders were put on trial for what they did during World War II. These trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany and were known as the Nuremburg trials. The Nazis were charged with four different crimes:
- conspiracy to commit crimes against peace
- war crimes (the murder of prisoners of war and civilians)
- crimes against peace
- crimes against humanity
All of these are horrible crimes. Crimes against humanity included using civilians for slave labor and the murder of people for their political beliefs, race, or religions.