Holocaust Conclusion Final.jpg


Allied advancements across Europe led to the liberation of ghettos, concentration, and death camps across the continent, but it took the total surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945, to end the state sponsored persecution of Europe’s Jews, Roma and Sinti, LBGT, Asocial, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others deemed “enemies of the Nazi” state. Much of Europe lay in ruins by the end of the Second World War and an estimated 55,000,000 people had been displaced across the continent between 1939 and 1947. Whole communities were destroyed and two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population had been murdered. While the end of World War II was embraced and celebrated globally, there was one group of people unable to rejoice upon liberation: Europe’s surviving Jews. For these individuals, the end of the war brought with it the certain knowledge most of their loved ones had been murdered, they had no home where they could return, and their futures remained out of their control.

An estimated 11,000,000 people remained displaced in Europe in the wake of the Second World War. Of the total number of European United Nations Displaced Persons or UNDPs (DPs for short) more than 8,000,000 were in Germany in the immediate postwar period where 6,000,000 foreign civilian workers, 2,000,000 prisoners of war, and somewhere around 700,000 survivors of concentration camps were liberated at the close of the War. While most Jews from Western and Central Europe were able to resettle in their prewar home countries, this was not an option for the majority of East European Jews. The ones who attempted to return to their prewar homes in search of family, friends, often found their communities destroyed, their loved ones murdered, no chance of regaining stolen property, and often angry neighbors who were in a state of total disbelief that any Jews had survived the war. Some of them fled to Germany, where they were housed in centers that were built to house 2,000 people but usually held between 4,000 and 6,000 DPs. Armed guards and barbed wire surrounded the centers. This led many Jews to argue that they were liberated but not free. The DPs were divided into groups based on their prewar nationalities. This meant that Jewish Holocaust survivors were often forced to live among their former oppressors, persecutors, and anti-Semites.

Having lost most of their family members in the Holocaust, many Jewish Displaced Persons began to quickly marry and start new families. In one of history’s greatest ironies, Germany had the highest Jewish birthrate worldwide in 1946. The birth of Jewish babies caused a number of unforeseen issues. The loss of elderly female family members in the Holocaust meant there were few people in the camps who could help teach young women how to nurse their children, be mothers, and keep house. The number of Jewish DPs in postwar Germany increased rapidly in 1946 and 1947 reaching between 250,000 and 300,000 as Jews who had survived the War in the furthest reaches of the Soviet Union were allowed to return to their prewar homes. Meeting violent antisemitism, the vast majority of these Jews fled westward into Germany. The majority of these Jews settled in camps in the American occupation zone where they remained for years awaiting a visa abroad.


Securing visas for resettlement abroad was an incredibly difficult task as many countries continued to have incredibly restrictive immigration quotas. However, changes to United States’ immigration laws, and the creation of the state of Israel allowed many DPs to finally resettle abroad. Somewhere around 800 Jewish DPs remained in camps in Germany until the final center was closed in 1957. The remaining Jews were resettled in various states throughout Germany.


Many survivors suered from continued traumas from their war experiences and were too sick to be considered attractive immigrants. Many of these Jewish DPs suffered from tuberculosis, mental and physical disabilities.

In order to punish those involved in massacres during the Holocaust, the Allies held the Nuremberg Trials, 1945-46, which brought Nazi atrocities to horrifying light. Countries around the world secretly granted visas to top Nazis and their collaborators in their efforts to advance science (the atom bomb in the U.S.) and fight the “Red Terror” (Communism in the U.S., France and Great Britain, among others) in the East.

expository essay about the holocaust

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The Holocaust

By: History.com Editors

Updated: April 11, 2023 | Original: October 14, 2009

Watch towers surrounded by high voltage fences at Auschwitz II-Birkenau which was built in March 1942. The camp was liberated by the Soviet army on January 27, 1945.

The Holocaust was the state-sponsored persecution and mass murder of millions of European Jews, Romani people, the intellectually disabled, political dissidents and homosexuals by the German Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945. The word “holocaust,” from the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “kaustos” (burned), was historically used to describe a sacrificial offering burned on an altar.

After years of Nazi rule in Germany, dictator Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution”—now known as the Holocaust—came to fruition during World War II, with mass killing centers in concentration camps. About six million Jews and some five million others, targeted for racial, political, ideological and behavioral reasons, died in the Holocaust—more than one million of those who perished were children.

Historical Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism in Europe did not begin with Adolf Hitler . Though use of the term itself dates only to the 1870s, there is evidence of hostility toward Jews long before the Holocaust—even as far back as the ancient world, when Roman authorities destroyed the Jewish temple in Jerusalem and forced Jews to leave Palestine .

The Enlightenment , during the 17th and 18th centuries, emphasized religious tolerance, and in the 19th century Napoleon Bonaparte and other European rulers enacted legislation that ended long-standing restrictions on Jews. Anti-Semitic feeling endured, however, in many cases taking on a racial character rather than a religious one.

Did you know? Even in the early 21st century, the legacy of the Holocaust endures. Swiss government and banking institutions have in recent years acknowledged their complicity with the Nazis and established funds to aid Holocaust survivors and other victims of human rights abuses, genocide or other catastrophes.

Hitler's Rise to Power

The roots of Adolf Hitler’s particularly virulent brand of anti-Semitism are unclear. Born in Austria in 1889, he served in the German army during World War I . Like many anti-Semites in Germany, he blamed the Jews for the country’s defeat in 1918.

Soon after World War I ended, Hitler joined the National German Workers’ Party, which became the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), known to English speakers as the Nazis. While imprisoned for treason for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, Hitler wrote the memoir and propaganda tract “ Mein Kampf ” (or “my struggle”), in which he predicted a general European war that would result in “the extermination of the Jewish race in Germany.”

Hitler was obsessed with the idea of the superiority of the “pure” German race, which he called “Aryan,” and with the need for “Lebensraum,” or living space, for that race to expand. In the decade after he was released from prison, Hitler took advantage of the weakness of his rivals to enhance his party’s status and rise from obscurity to power.

On January 30, 1933, he was named chancellor of Germany. After the death of President Paul von Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler anointed himself Fuhrer , becoming Germany’s supreme ruler.

Concentration Camps

The twin goals of racial purity and territorial expansion were the core of Hitler’s worldview, and from 1933 onward they would combine to form the driving force behind his foreign and domestic policy.

At first, the Nazis reserved their harshest persecution for political opponents such as Communists or Social Democrats. The first official concentration camp opened at Dachau (near Munich) in March 1933, and many of the first prisoners sent there were Communists.

Like the network of concentration camps that followed, becoming the killing grounds of the Holocaust, Dachau was under the control of Heinrich Himmler , head of the elite Nazi guard, the Schutzstaffel (SS) and later chief of the German police.

By July 1933, German concentration camps ( Konzentrationslager in German, or KZ) held some 27,000 people in “protective custody.” Huge Nazi rallies and symbolic acts such as the public burning of books by Jews, Communists, liberals and foreigners helped drive home the desired message of party strength and unity.

In 1933, Jews in Germany numbered around 525,000—just one percent of the total German population. During the next six years, Nazis undertook an “Aryanization” of Germany, dismissing non-Aryans from civil service, liquidating Jewish-owned businesses and stripping Jewish lawyers and doctors of their clients. 

Nuremberg Laws

Under the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, anyone with three or four Jewish grandparents was considered a Jew, while those with two Jewish grandparents were designated Mischlinge (half-breeds).

Under the Nuremberg Laws, Jews became routine targets for stigmatization and persecution. This culminated in Kristallnacht , or the “Night of Broken Glass” in November 1938, when German synagogues were burned and windows in Jewish home and shops were smashed; some 100 Jews were killed and thousands more arrested.

From 1933 to 1939, hundreds of thousands of Jews who were able to leave Germany did, while those who remained lived in a constant state of uncertainty and fear.

expository essay about the holocaust

HISTORY Vault: Third Reich: The Rise

Rare and never-before-seen amateur films offer a unique perspective on the rise of Nazi Germany from Germans who experienced it. How were millions of people so vulnerable to fascism?

Euthanasia Program

In September 1939, Germany invaded the western half of Poland , starting World War II . German police soon forced tens of thousands of Polish Jews from their homes and into ghettoes, giving their confiscated properties to ethnic Germans (non-Jews outside Germany who identified as German), Germans from the Reich or Polish gentiles.

Surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, the Jewish ghettoes in Poland functioned like captive city-states, governed by Jewish Councils. In addition to widespread unemployment, poverty and hunger, overpopulation and poor sanitation made the ghettoes breeding grounds for disease such as typhus.

Meanwhile, beginning in the fall of 1939, Nazi officials selected around 70,000 Germans institutionalized for mental illness or physical disabilities to be gassed to death in the so-called Euthanasia Program.

After prominent German religious leaders protested, Hitler put an end to the program in August 1941, though killings of the disabled continued in secrecy, and by 1945 some 275,000 people deemed handicapped from all over Europe had been killed. In hindsight, it seems clear that the Euthanasia Program functioned as a pilot for the Holocaust.


'Final Solution'

Throughout the spring and summer of 1940, the German army expanded Hitler’s empire in Europe, conquering Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Beginning in 1941, Jews from all over the continent, as well as hundreds of thousands of European Romani people, were transported to Polish ghettoes.

The German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 marked a new level of brutality in warfare. Mobile killing units of Himmler’s SS called Einsatzgruppen would murder more than 500,000 Soviet Jews and others (usually by shooting) over the course of the German occupation.

A memorandum dated July 31, 1941, from Hitler’s top commander Hermann Goering to Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the SD (the security service of the SS), referred to the need for an Endlösung ( Final Solution ) to “the Jewish question.”

Liberation of Auschwitz: Photos

Yellow Stars

Beginning in September 1941, every person designated as a Jew in German-held territory was marked with a yellow, six-pointed star, making them open targets. Tens of thousands were soon being deported to the Polish ghettoes and German-occupied cities in the USSR.

Since June 1941, experiments with mass killing methods had been ongoing at the concentration camp of Auschwitz , near Krakow, Poland. That August, 500 officials gassed 500 Soviet POWs to death with the pesticide Zyklon-B. The SS soon placed a huge order for the gas with a German pest-control firm, an ominous indicator of the coming Holocaust.

Holocaust Death Camps

Beginning in late 1941, the Germans began mass transports from the ghettoes in Poland to the concentration camps, starting with those people viewed as the least useful: the sick, old and weak and the very young.

The first mass gassings began at the camp of Belzec, near Lublin, on March 17, 1942. Five more mass killing centers were built at camps in occupied Poland, including Chelmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek and the largest of all, Auschwitz.

From 1942 to 1945, Jews were deported to the camps from all over Europe, including German-controlled territory as well as those countries allied with Germany. The heaviest deportations took place during the summer and fall of 1942, when more than 300,000 people were deported from the Warsaw ghetto alone.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Amid the deportations, disease and constant hunger, incarcerated people in the Warsaw Ghetto rose up in armed revolt.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising from April 19-May 16, 1943, ended in the death of 7,000 Jews, with 50,000 survivors sent to extermination camps. But the resistance fighters had held off the Nazis for almost a month, and their revolt inspired revolts at camps and ghettos across German-occupied Europe.

Though the Nazis tried to keep operation of the camps secret, the scale of the killing made this virtually impossible. Eyewitnesses brought reports of Nazi atrocities in Poland to the Allied governments, who were harshly criticized after the war for their failure to respond, or to publicize news of the mass slaughter.

This lack of action was likely mostly due to the Allied focus on winning the war at hand, but was also partly a result of the general incomprehension with which news of the Holocaust was met and the denial and disbelief that such atrocities could be occurring on such a scale.

'Angel of Death'

At Auschwitz alone, more than 2 million people were murdered in a process resembling a large-scale industrial operation. A large population of Jewish and non-Jewish inmates worked in the labor camp there; though only Jews were gassed, thousands of others died of starvation or disease.

In 1943, eugenics advocate Josef Mengele arrived in Auschwitz to begin his infamous experiments on Jewish prisoners. His special area of focus was conducting medical experiments on twins , injecting them with everything from petrol to chloroform under the guise of giving them medical treatment. His actions earned him the nickname “the Angel of Death.”

Nazi Rule Ends

By the spring of 1945, German leadership was dissolving amid internal dissent, with Goering and Himmler both seeking to distance themselves from Hitler and take power.

In his last will and political testament, dictated in a German bunker that April 29, Hitler blamed the war on “International Jewry and its helpers” and urged the German leaders and people to follow “the strict observance of the racial laws and with merciless resistance against the universal poisoners of all peoples”—the Jews.

The following day, Hitler died by suicide . Germany’s formal surrender in World War II came barely a week later, on May 8, 1945.

German forces had begun evacuating many of the death camps in the fall of 1944, sending inmates under guard to march further from the advancing enemy’s front line. These so-called “death marches” continued all the way up to the German surrender, resulting in the deaths of some 250,000 to 375,000 people.

In his classic book Survival in Auschwitz , the Italian-Jewish author Primo Levi described his own state of mind, as well as that of his fellow inmates in Auschwitz on the day before Soviet troops liberated the camp in January 1945: “We lay in a world of death and phantoms. The last trace of civilization had vanished around and inside us. The work of bestial degradation, begun by the victorious Germans, had been carried to conclusion by the Germans in defeat.”

Legacy of the Holocaust

The wounds of the Holocaust—known in Hebrew as “Shoah,” or catastrophe—were slow to heal. Survivors of the camps found it nearly impossible to return home, as in many cases they had lost their entire family and been denounced by their non-Jewish neighbors. As a result, the late 1940s saw an unprecedented number of refugees, POWs and other displaced populations moving across Europe.

In an effort to punish the villains of the Holocaust, the Allies held the Nuremberg Trials of 1945-46, which brought Nazi atrocities to horrifying light. Increasing pressure on the Allied powers to create a homeland for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust would lead to a mandate for the creation of Israel in 1948.

Over the decades that followed, ordinary Germans struggled with the Holocaust’s bitter legacy, as survivors and the families of victims sought restitution of wealth and property confiscated during the Nazi years.

Beginning in 1953, the German government made payments to individual Jews and to the Jewish people as a way of acknowledging the German people’s responsibility for the crimes committed in their name.

The Holocaust. The National WWII Museum . What Was The Holocaust? Imperial War Museums . Introduction to the Holocaust. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum . Holocaust Remembrance. Council of Europe . Outreach Programme on the Holocaust. United Nations .

expository essay about the holocaust

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World History Project - Origins to the Present

Course: world history project - origins to the present   >   unit 7.

  • BEFORE YOU WATCH: The Fallen of World War II
  • WATCH: The Fallen of World War II
  • READ: The Second World War
  • READ: Economics in the Second World War
  • WATCH: World War II

READ: The Holocaust

  • READ: Nuclear Weapons
  • READ: Thirty Years of Continuous War
  • World War 2

First read: preview and skimming for gist

Second read: key ideas and understanding content.

  • In what ways did the Nazis kill their victims?
  • What ideas did the Nazis use to create hostility towards Jewish people?
  • What are some early ways in which the Nazis restricted Jewish rights?
  • Why were Jewish pregnant women, children, and mothers particularly targeted for gassing?
  • According to the author, many enslaved Jews worked in private companies and were killed by people who knew them. Why is this point important?

Third read: evaluating and corroborating

  • The author argues that, “We need to be on the lookout for when we, too, become “used to” the casual oppression of others, when our everyday compassion for people different from us disappears.” Can you think of examples from your own life or from your society of people getting “used to” bad treatment of others? Are there ways in which we can act to avoid repeating this kind of atrocity?

The Holocaust

A spiral of fascism, origins and first steps before the second world war, intensification after 1939, the “final solution”, who were the killers.

This kind of killing was very different from the industrial, relatively insulated, and impersonal mass murder in gas chambers, which distinguished the Holocaust from other genocides. Instead, it was intimate, face-to-face mass murder in towns where the victims, perpetrators, and bystanders often knew each other beforehand and where no one was entirely passive or could claim not to have seen, heard, or known about the killing.
  • Eugenics is a pseudo-science (fake science) that claims you can create a better race of people by preventing the reproduction of people you believe are inferior due to race, ability, sexuality, or other reasons.

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<p>Bert and Anne Bochove, who hid 37 Jews in their pharmacy in Huizen, an <a href="/narrative/5543">Amsterdam</a> suburb, pose here with their children. The two were named <a href="/narrative/11778">Righteous Among the Nations</a>. The Netherlands, 1944 or 1945.</p>

Which organizations and individuals aided and protected Jews from persecution between 1933 and 1945?

Despite the inaction of most Europeans and the collaboration of many others in the persecution and murder of Jews, some individuals from all social and religious backgrounds aided Jews. Individuals acted alone and within organized networks. Aid ranged from expressing solidarity, warning Jews of danger, and providing hiding places, to a mass rescue effort in Denmark.

Examining this range of efforts illustrates the many forms that aid and resistance can take. It prompts us to consider how and why individuals stand up for others despite great risks. Explore this question to learn about what motivated those who aided Jews during the Holocaust, and what challenges they faced.

See related articles for background information related to this discussion.

Righteous Among the Nations

Individuals: motivations and consequences .

Within Germany, Nazi intimidation and control of public spaces made even small gestures of help toward Jews difficult. Some Germans managed, through telephone calls or personal messages, to warn old Jewish friends of danger, for example, during the violent attacks on Jews of November 9-10, 1938 ( Kristallnacht ). Others showed kindness toward Jews forced to wear an identifying star or secretly provided food to Jews struggling to survive. Such actions were not without risk. A wartime decree made “friendliness” toward Jews punishable by imprisonment in a concentration camp. Hiding Jews inside the Reich was risky and difficult. Only a few thousand Jews survived living ‘underground’ or hidden in Nazi Germany.

Death penalty decree

Sheltering Jews who were evading ghettoization or deportation was most difficult and dangerous. It was often punishable by imprisonment in a concentration camp under harsh conditions or by death.  The risk was greatest for helpers in occupied Poland and other parts of eastern Europe under direct Nazi control. In those places, authorities sometimes killed entire families caught hiding Jews as punishment and a warning to others. In places where physical risks of helping were not as great, helpers often took social and professional risks.

Those Jews more integrated into the larger population, typically in western Europe, had the best chance of receiving aid. Many individuals who helped Jews knew them as neighbors, former colleagues, domestic servants, or members of an extended family that included non-Jews. While some helpers were motivated by religion or altruistic feelings, others took the risk to help because they needed the money offered by Jews for food and shelter to survive hard times. Some helpers were promised compensation after the war.


Simone Weil Lipman describes helping the Children's Aid Society (OSE) move children to safety in southern France

As the war dragged on longer than expected, lending aid became even harder. One had to secure extra food without attracting undue notice, turn Jewish belongings into cash, and often move Jews from safe house to safe house. As a result, many Jews had to find a chain of helpers, a daunting task that decreased overall Jewish survival rates. Research shows that in Berlin, for example, it took an estimated 30,000 individuals to rescue 5,000-7,000 Jews.

Related Articles: Individuals

expository essay about the holocaust

Raoul Wallenberg and the Rescue of Jews in Budapest

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Oskar Schindler

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Martha and Waitstill Sharp

expository essay about the holocaust

The Rescue Mission of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus

Gino bartali, jan zwartendijk.

expository essay about the holocaust

Chiune (Sempo) Sugihara

expository essay about the holocaust

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Le Chambon-sur-Lignon

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Jewish Aid and Rescue

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  • What pressures and motivations may have influenced the decisions of rescuers?
  • Are these factors unique to this history or universal?
  • How can societies, communities, and individuals reinforce and strengthen the willingness to stand up for others?

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The Holocaust: Students reflect in award-winning essays, projects

expository essay about the holocaust

In her award-winning high school essay, Emily Salko asks others to imagine the freedoms that Mira Kimmelman lost as Nazi Germany intensified its persecution of Jews during the Holocaust. 

“The freedom that we possess is something that we all take for granted each day,” she wrote. “Ask yourself, are you allowed to attend school? Walk the streets of your town? Ride a bus? Live in your own house? Answering ‘yes’ means that you already have 10 times the freedom that Mira Kimmelman had, and this little freedom is what sparked her appreciation of the things such as the clothes on her back, her shoes, and even her own roof.” 

Emily, a sophomore at Oak Ridge High School, is one of the 14 students who won awards in the first Mira Kimmelman “Learning from the Holocaust” Contest in 2021.  Kimmelman told her story of surviving the Holocaust to students, civic and religious groups in East Tennessee for more than 50 years before her death in 2019. 

Her sons, Benno and Gene Kimmelman, created the essay and project contest for Tennessee high school and middle school students, sponsored by the Tennessee Holocaust Commission, to carry on her legacy and ensure that her voice continues to be heard through her books and recorded talks. The contest offers prize money ranging from $150 to $750. 

Emily watched videos of Kimmelman's speeches and read articles about her and about anti-Semitism before writing her essay while she was in the ninth grade. She noticed that Kimmelman, as a teen, chose to take family photos, rather than other possessions, when her family was forced to leave home for a ghetto.

“She was so brave to continue moving forward and just fighting to stay alive for her family,” Emily said of Kimmelman after she received the first place high school essay award. She wrote the essay when the Black Lives Matter movement was gaining attention in the news, and she realized that people facing discrimination need to have strength and resilience.

“I think her biggest message I would continue to use is just kindness toward everyone. You shouldn’t judge people based on who they are as a group, based on race or religion. You should get to know someone,” Emily said. “You should not treat them differently because you might look different or believe in something different.” 

Along with the mantra of “never forget” often heard in relation to the Holocaust, Benno and Gene hope students entering the contest learn their mother’s lessons of tolerance and kindness. The essays reflect that, as the students wrote about being moved by her bravery and resilience and about how they are applying her lessons today. 

“Many of the essays touched on current injustices and suggested ways they could be addressed,” said contest judge Katie High, of Knoxville, a retired University of Tennessee vice president for academic affairs and a member of the Tennessee Holocaust Commission. “The writers were giving world-wide atrocities serious thought, which was impressive. I wanted to cheer the students, and their teachers, because it was obvious teaching and learning were going on.” 

High, who served as interim dean at the UT Martin College of Business after her retirement, said much of the Holocaust Commission’s work is focused on middle school students, and that work becomes more difficult as more Holocaust survivors die. 

“When they talk to a group of middle school students and show their tattoos and talk about what it’s like to be in the camps, kids are horrified, but in awe of these survivors, because of their resilience,” High said. “You have planted something in their hearts.”

Emmanuelle Wolf-Dubin, first-place winner in the middle school essay contest, wrote that hearing a rabbi challenge listeners to think not only of Israelis and their suffering but Palestinians, as well, reminded her of Kimmelman’s message of seeing the kindness in all people. Her story, she wrote, is a message of ideals that Emmanuelle can only hope to achieve.

“As a young adult, she would be imprisoned in the deadliest concentration camp called Auschwitz and was forced into the nearly unimaginable march to Bergen-Belsen,” wrote Emmanuelle, a student at Meigs Magnet Middle School in Nashville. “Yet, after all of these horrors at the hands of one of the most evil men in recorded history, she still preached lovingkindness in a world that seemed apathetic to her plight. Instead of focusing on that, she zeroed in on the people who helped, the people of all nationalities, races, and religions who saved her and her counterparts across Europe,” Emmanuelle wrote. 

Chloe Collins, a student at Oakdale Middle School in Morgan County, said she read Kimmelman’s first book, "Echoes from the Holocaust," before writing her essay, which was awarded second place in the middle school contest. 

“Mira Kimmelman … had to say good-bye to the family she loved, she had all of her dignity stripped away, she saw things that no one should ever have to see, she lived in a world of hate, and she felt unwanted in a country that was once her own,” wrote Chloe, an eighth grader this year. “I am thankful for Mira Kimmelman’s message of hope and tolerance that will live on forever.” 

Though not a Tennessee student, Soha Sherwani earned a “Notable Achievement” award from contest judges for her essay comparing the Holocaust with the current Chinese government repression of the Uigher people, a small and mostly Muslim minority. 

“The Uigher population is being forced into concentration camps, which are dubbed ‘re-education’ camps by the government, and are forced to partake in direct violations of their Islamic faith,” Soha wrote as a high school senior in Houston, Texas. “The Uighur Muslims are exploited for cheap labor and physically abused ... it is happening again.”

Now a college freshman, Soha said she read about the essay contest online as she was seeking scholarship opportunities and was moved by the emotion in Kimmelman’s words. She could teach and spread love through her pain, Soha said. 

“For Ms. Kimmelman, her perception was undoubtedly changed by the two integral lessons she learned surviving the Holocaust: that there are always beacons of light in the darkness and that humanity must uphold its responsibility to learn and act from instances of injustices,” Soha wrote. In her essay, Soha urges those concerned to join her with their voices in protesting, spreading awareness, and educating others on the injustice happening now. 

First- and second-place awards for middle school contest projects went to teams of students at Oak Ridge’s Robertsville Middle School.

“The Shoah Proliferates” won first place. The team used an online survey to ask students to allow their names to be used on a poster to help remember the 6 million who died in the Holocaust, saying that people remember what they can be part of. Nathanael Peters, Lennox Pack, Aiden Cantu and Kyleigh Langdale are the team members who created the project, using a QR code for business cards that students used to access the survey. All are ninth graders at Oak Ridge High School now. 

A poster with a poem and image of broken glass, symbolizing Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass when Nazis targeted synagogues, was included. Kyleigh created the poster, and Lennox wrote the poem:

Think of them not as 6 million lives lost,

But 6 million lives remembered.

Thousands more put through exhaust,

And families dismembered.

These depressing tales aren’t fiction,

Rather they are tales to stand the test of time.

It is our job to remember,

These lives left devoured. 

The second-place team, Julia Hussey, Alia Oakes, Teagan Tate and Audrey Thompson, proposed a mural for a hallway at their school. They created artwork with Holocaust symbols, including  barbed wire on a red background on one side, and symbols of peace and hope, including swallows and flowers on a blue background. A Star of David represents martyrdom and heroism. 

Haley Braden, second-place high school essay winner from Anderson County High School, wrote that she knew little about the Holocaust before entering the contest. Her essay urges her generation to follow in Kimmelman’s footsteps, to “keep a positive attitude and mindset through the darkest hours. Because with this hope comes peace and love.”

Haley wrote, “We can embody her message when looking at the face of injustice. When you see something that is wrong, be sure to right it. Stand up for people who are treated wrongly and cannot stand up for themselves.” 

Elizabeth Bernheisel, of Dyersburg Middle School, focused on Kimmelman’s second book, "Life Beyond the Holocaust: Memories and Realities," in her third-place middle school essay. The book, she wrote, offers insights on how Holocaust survivors recover, rebuild and live normal lives after experiencing unimaginable trauma. 

“Through letters, reunions, and travels back to Europe, Mira Kimmelman tells her story, as well as the stories of those no longer able to speak for themselves,” Elizabeth wrote. “She also highlights the importance of remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust, as well as the restoration that must follow.” 

expository essay about the holocaust

Exploring Holocaust-era Diaries

Students will examine Holocaust-era diaries as both historical and as deliberately-created literary texts, and will understand how the Holocaust affected the lives of the individuals.

Grade level:  Adaptable for grades 7–12 Subject:  Multidisciplinary Time required:  The introductory portion of this lesson is estimated to take 40 minutes. The length of time needed for the activities varies, but an estimate of 30–40 minutes per activity is reasonable. Activities can be completed in class or as assessments.

Lesson Plan and Teaching Materials

Lesson Plan (PDF)

Diary Packet (PDF)

Student Worksheet (PDF)

For Learning Management Systems

This online lesson plan is compatible with learning management systems or web browsers for students to complete individually or as a class. You can use the PDF of the original lesson plan above as a guide. To use with your LMS, download the files below and follow your system’s instructions for importing files .

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expository essay about the holocaust

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  • Holocaust Study Guide
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Holocaust history at Remember.org

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Return to Women Writing the Holocaust  

Joan Miriam Ringelheim asks, “Did anyone really survive the Holocaust?” It is a question more difficult to answer than it might at first appear. The Holocaust breaks down the definitions of words such as “survival.” Memoirist Charlotte Delbo wrote after the war’s end, “I died in Auschwitz, but no one knows it.” And as idealistic as it may sound, there is some truth to the notion that Anne Frank and Charlotte Salomon manage, despite their brutal and meaningless murders, to live on after death. They wrote, after all, with that possibility in mind.

If to survive means to come through unscathed, the answer to Ringelheim’s question must be no. But if to survive means to live through an experience of such horror still be able to desire connection with the world–to create, narrate, innovate, to invoke the voices of the dead and of the living–then the answer is yes. To survive: “sur”–over, “vive”–live; the verb implies both to surmount an event, to live through it, and to relive it, live it over. Perhaps the simplest and somewhat tragic truth is that the one necessarily involves the other.

I find some sense of closure in Felstiner’s loving exploration of Charlotte Salomon because it is one which treats both the creator and the creation with equal care. What distinguishes Lucille E. from Anne Frank and Charlotte Salomon, of course, is that only the first survived the Holocaust. Yet all three have created voices which seek to bear witness to the Shoah, if only the world will let them. The skill which it would benefit the world to develop is that of simultaneously recognizing the fundamental point that memoirs of female Holocaust witnesses are authored by women, and that they each nevertheless are not utterly circumscribed by that fact. To neglect the first point contributes to an artificial universalization of men’s experience and a silencing of painful but important questions. To neglect the second points to essentialism and dogmatic discourse. These women have taken a great step in creating a stand-in, a memorial protagonist, which can continue to tell their story after their own ends. They have invested the memoir with a certain autonomy; that autonomy needs to be acknowledged by the rest of us.

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holocaust history at remember.org

Remember. Zachor. Sich erinnern.

Remember.org helps people find the best digital resources, connecting them through a collaborative learning structure since 1994. If you'd like to share your story on Remember.org, all we ask is that you give permission to students and teachers to use the materials in a non-commercial setting. Founded April 25, 1995 as a "Cybrary of the Holocaust". Content created by Community. THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT . History Channel ABC PBS CNET One World Live New York Times Apple Adobe Copyright 1995-2024 Remember.org. All Rights Reserved. Publisher: Dunn Simply

APA Citation

Dunn, M. D. (Ed.). (95, April 25). Remember.org - The Holocaust History - A People's and Survivors' History. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from remember.org

MLA Citation


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expository essay about the holocaust

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expository essay about the holocaust


The Holocaust Essay

The holocaust, or Shoah was a systematic, planned program of genocide to exterminate all Jews. This government based program was carried out by Hitler, and its allies in the Nazi army during world war two. Approximately 6 million Jews were killed, and if the murder of the Romani, Soviet civilians and prisoners, the disabled, homosexuals, and others who apposed to Hitler’s religious, political and social views were counted, this number would be more like 11 to 17 million. The holocaust is generally described with two periods, 1933-1939, and 1939-1945, the end of WWII. Hitler believed Germans were racially superior and deemed Jews and other ‘undesirables’ a threat and ‘impurity’ to the community. In 1933, before Nazi Germany came into …show more content…

He gradually introduced new laws, from prohibiting marriage between Aryans and Jews, to excluding them from education and employment and denying German Jews their Civil rights and had their citizenship stripped from them. During the first part of Hitler’s Regime, the government established concentration camps to confine and detain anyone the Nazi’s though as political, cultural and ideological opponents. The first Concentration camp was built in January, 1933, right after Hitler came into power. Hitler gained further support for his ideas by propaganda, which filled the media of Germany with pro-nazi material. All forms of communication; newspapers, radio, books, TV, art, music and movies were controlled by the Nazis. This way, nonother than what the Nazi’s wanted published could only be distributed to its society, and preventing news about the Holocaust from getting anywhere outside of Germany. This propaganda identified the Jews as an inferior ‘race’, and the source of Germany’s defeat and economic depression in world war one on them. Eventually Jews and other ‘undesirables’ were sent to death camps, while others went to forced labour camps and used as slaves to produce materials for weapons in war, and a range of goods, such as shoes, clothes and good. These death camps

The Holocaust and Genocide Essay

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“Why is the killing of 1 million a lesser crime then the killing of one

Essay on Holocaust 6

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Throughout history the Jewish people have been scapegoats; whenever something was not going right they were the ones to blame. From Biblical times through to the Shakespearean Era, all the way to the Middle East Crisis and the creation of Israel, the Jews have been persecuted and blamed for the problems of the world. The most horrifying account of Jewish persecution is the holocaust, which took place in Europe from 1933 to 1945 when Adolf Hitler tried to eliminate all the people that he thought were inferior to the Germans, namely the Jews, because he wanted a pure Aryan State.

Comparing American Slavery and the Holocaust

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Accordingly, Hitler began eradicating all nationalities that he considered second-rate to Germans. Many believe that the depopulation technique was the “German viewpoint of the Nazi government, which wanted to create a "master race" of Aryan people. After January 1933, the Jews were placed in concentration camps which started the Holocaust” (Katz, 1994).

Holocaust Essay On The Holocaust

Imagine living in a completely different world then you do now. Where you are kept in a confined space with no one and nothing to do. That’s what the jewish people of 1933 to 1945 suffered with. Concentration camps were everywhere, there was nowhere to go or hide. The Holocaust had an atrocious impact on jews and they will never be thought of the same After the camp, many were grateful for what they had and no longer took anything for granted. Each article shows a different way of how Jewish people were treated badly but each shares the same message. After the holocaust was over everybody was grateful for what they had.

Why Do Jews Treated During The Holocaust?

The Holocaust was an extermination of Jews. Adolf Hitler, a powerful dictator, tried to wipe out the entire Jewish population with his Nazis. He sent the Jews to his concentration camps, where they were starved, beaten, and shot. The rest worked, and some even managed to survive. When Hitler killed himself, the war came closer to an end, and the remaining Jews were saved. The Holocaust was truly a horrific event, and changed the course of history forever.

Essay about The Holocaust

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The Holocaust was the murder and persecution of approximately 6 million Jews and many others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Nazis came to power in Germany in January of 1933. The Nazis thought that the “inferior” Jews were a threat to the “racially superior” German racial community. The death camps were operated from 1941 to 1945, and many people lost their lives or were forced to work in concentration camps during these years. The story leading up to the Holocaust, how the terrible event affected people’s lives, and how it came to and end are all topics that make this historic event worth learning about.

Holocaust Essay

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There was little, if any economic gain; in fact, one would think that the Holocaust brought economic loss to Germany because Jews owned a greater majority of the shops at the time. The Jews represented absolutely no threat to the German nation, nor to the Nazi party as a whole (Judy 1). The rational nature of its execution, its efficiency, calculability, predictability and control are even more inhumane in that every extermination system was planned to kill as many Jews as possible, as fast as possible. This methodical slaughter of 11 to 12 million human beings began in late 1938 and ended in 1945. Of the approximately 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, more than half were systematically exterminated in the inhumane death traps, such as furnaces and gas chambers, of the Nazi Death Camps between 1942 and 1945 (History 1).

The Holocaust remains, and will continue to remain as one of the most horrific things that has happened to a group of people. The absolute inhumanity of the Holocaust puzzles people even today. Contemporary people wonder just how it happened, how could a people be systematically killed, tortured, murdered. The answer will probably never be found, but future generations can avoid something like the Holocaust by studying it, and never forgetting.

First, forced to leave your home and everything they worked for to move into a

Holocaust Survivors Essay

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Who survived the holocaust? What are their lives like today? What has been the government's response towards those who survived after World War II? Have the survivors kept their faith? How has the survivors next generation been affected? The survivors of the holocaust were deeply effected by the trauma they encountered. This unforgettable experience influenced their lives, those around them, and even their descendants.

Art Spiegelman Essay

Hitler’s rise to power came on January 20, 1933 when he was announced chancellor of Germany and then anointing himself Fuhrer. Hitler strongly believed that the Jews were responsible for Germany’s defeat in 1918, even writing in a memoir that a European war would cause the extermination of the Jewish race in Germany (History.com). Hitler was also obsessed with the Aryan race, which he believed was “pure”. These two ideas would become the main cause for this genocide. The first ever concentration camp, Dachau, opened March 1933 and at first only imprisoned political enemies to the Nazi party. Over the next few years the Jews would be persecuted and forced out of work by the Nazi party. Then in November of 1938 things escalated in what is known as the “night of broken glass”, where German synagogues were burned down and Jewish owned shops were destroyed (History). Causing the death of hundreds Jews and the arrest of thousands. In the start of the war, September 1939, the Germans have just started to occupy Poland. During this time the Germans were seizing Jewish owed land and business and had tens of thousands of Jews taken out of their homes and moved into ghettos. Starting in 1941 the Germans began moving the people in the ghettos into concentration camps and on March 17 1942 the first mass gassing happened at the camp of Belzec. Shortly after this five more camps were built in Poland the most notorious being Auschwitz (History.com). This camp by the end of the war will have killed more than 2 million people, and in total the holocaust had killed roughly 6 million Jews, 3 million soviet prisoners of war, 2 million soviet civilians, 1 million polish civilians, and 1 million Yugoslav civilians (the

Nuremberg Laws Research Paper

The Holocaust of 1933-1945, was the systematic killing of millions of European Jews by the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nazis) (Webster, 430). This project showed the treacherous treatment towards all Jews of that era. Though many fought against this horrific genocide, the officials had already determined in their minds to exterminate the Jews. Thus, the Holocaust was a malicious movement that broke up many homes, brought immense despair, and congregated great discrimination. The Holocaust was an act of Hell on earth.

feared that the Fascist party was coming to wipe out the town of Sighet and

The Holocaust was a horrible event and had many tragedies and losses of family and friends. This event starts in 1933 where Hitler rises to power, and ends in 1945 where Hitler is defeated and the holocaust has ended. There are many topics about the holocaust that people would want to know, but this topic is a crucial and important one. The topic is Life during the Holocaust where we learn about how Jewish people live during the holocaust and what happened to them in the concentration camps.

The Horrors of the Holocaust Essay

Eighteen million Europeans went through the Nazi concentration camps. Eleven million of them died, almost half of them at Auschwitz alone.1 Concentration camps are a revolting and embarrassing part of the world’s history. There is no doubt that concentration camps are a dark and depressing topic. Despite this, it is a subject that needs to be brought out into the open. The world needs to be educated on the tragedies of the concentration camps to prevent the reoccurrence of the Holocaust. Hitler’s camps imprisoned, tortured, and killed millions of Jews for over five years. Life in the Nazi concentration camps was full of terror and death for its individual prisoners as well as the entire Jewish

Related Topics

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  • Adolf Hitler
  • The Holocaust

Essay: On the place of the Holocaust in history. In honour of Franklin H. Littell

  • PMID: 11617155
  • DOI: 10.1093/hgs/2.2.209

The Holocaust was a human event, perpetrated for human reasons which can be historically explained. As an event within history, it is unique in terms of the murderers'S motivation: a mission to rescue Germany, Europe and the world from their supreme enemy, the Jews. Other events, such as that which seems to most closely parallel the Holocaust, the Armenian massacres by the Turks in World War I, bear certain similarities to the Holocaust. Yet. In its attempt at total physical annihilation of all Jews everywhere, the Holocaust is unique. It stands at the extreme end of a continuum of human brutality, extending from mass murder, which has become commonplace, to genocide, and to Holocaust.

Publication types

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Children of the Holocaust

This essay about children during the Holocaust explores the experiences of the youngest victims and survivors of this tragic period. It highlights the horrors faced by children in ghettos, hiding, resistance movements, and death camps, emphasizing their resilience and the human spirit’s adaptability. The narrative discusses the harsh realities of life in the ghettos, the challenges of assuming false identities or going into hiding, and the unfathomable cruelty of the death camps where many were sent directly to their deaths. Despite these adversities, the essay also acknowledges acts of kindness and courage, showcasing the complexity of human nature under extreme conditions. It concludes by underscoring the importance of remembering these stories to honor the victims, learn from the past, and advocate for a future where such atrocities are never repeated.

How it works

The Holocaust remains one of history’s darkest chapters, its shadow stretching long and vast across the annals of human civilization. Amidst the tales of despair, resistance, and the indomitable human spirit, the stories of children during the Holocaust hold a particularly poignant place. Their experiences, marked by innocence confronted with unimaginable cruelty, offer a harrowing glimpse into the depths of human depravity and the resilience of the human heart.

Children, in the eyes of the Holocaust’s perpetrators, were not spared the horrors of this genocidal campaign.

They were victims, witnesses, and, in rare instances, survivors of a machinery designed to extinguish life and erase existence. The young lives caught in this storm of hatred and violence experienced the Holocaust’s brutality in ghettos, in hiding, within resistance movements, and inside the death camps themselves. Each child’s story, whether it ended in tragedy or survival, reveals the Holocaust’s multifaceted horrors and the varied tapestries of human response to extreme adversity.

For many children, the ghetto was their harrowing introduction to the Holocaust’s brutality. Confined to cramped, unsanitary conditions, stripped of the comforts of home and the normalcy of childhood, these young souls faced starvation, disease, and the constant shadow of mortality. The ghettos, however, also bore witness to remarkable acts of courage and compassion. Despite the dire circumstances, education persisted clandestinely, with secret schools and makeshift libraries offering a sliver of escape and a semblance of normalcy. In these desperate conditions, the resilience of the human spirit, even in its youngest carriers, shone brightly against the backdrop of despair.

Others found themselves thrust into the world of adults, their childhoods abruptly ended as they assumed false identities, went into hiding, or joined the ranks of partisans fighting against the oppressor. These children navigated a precarious existence, constantly at risk of discovery and death. Their survival depended on a blend of luck, the kindness of strangers, and their own cunning. The stories of these young survivors, who lived in constant fear yet displayed incredible bravery, underscore the complexity of the human condition when faced with the fight for survival.

Amidst this darkness, the death camps represented the nadir of human cruelty. Here, children were often the first victims, deemed unsuitable for labor and sent directly to their deaths. Yet, even in these depths of despair, there were glimmers of humanity: acts of kindness from fellow prisoners, the protective embrace of a parent, or the simple act of remembering a name. The rare stories of survival from this abyss serve as powerful reminders of both the fragility and the strength of human life.

Reflecting on the children of the Holocaust requires us to confront uncomfortable truths about the capacity for human evil, but it also compels us to acknowledge the resilience, courage, and adaptability of the human spirit. These children’s stories remind us of the importance of memory and the need to safeguard against the forces of hatred and bigotry. In remembering them, we honor their lives, mourn their loss, and recognize our collective responsibility to foster a world that upholds the dignity and worth of every child.

As we continue to sift through the remnants of the past, let us hold onto the lessons gleaned from the youngest victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Their stories, marked by unimaginable hardship and the will to survive, offer a testament to the enduring strength of the human spirit. In their memory lies the charge for future generations to build a world rooted in understanding, compassion, and an unwavering commitment to justice and human rights.


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