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The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecut ion and murder of approximately six million Jews

by the Nazi regime led by Adolf Hitler and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sa crifice by fire." During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": Gypsies, the disabled, a nd some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral g rounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals. Adolf Hitler (20 april 1889 - 30 april 1945) was the founder and leader of the Nazi Party and the most influential voice in the organization, implementa tion and execution of the Holocaust, the systematic extermination and ethnic cle ansing of six million European Jews and millions of other non-aryans. Hitler was the Head of State, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and guiding spirit, or fuhrer, of Germany's Third Reich from 1933 to 1945. On April 29, 1945, he married his mistress Eva Braun. The following day Hitler committed suicide, shooting himself through the mouth with a pistol and h is wife, Eva had swallowed a cyanide capsule. His body was carried into the gard en of the Reich Chancellery by aides, covered with petrol and burned along with that of Eva Braun. Sentenced to five years imprisonment in 1924 in Landsberg fortress, Hitl er was released after only nine months during which he dictated Mein Kampf (My S truggle; originally entitled Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stu pidity, and Cowardice) to his loyal follower, Rudolf Hess. The book, dedicated to Thule Society member Dietrich Eckart, was an auto biography and an exposition of his ideology. In Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined his political philosophy. He argued that the German (he wrongly described them as the Aryan race) was superior to all oth ers. "Every manifestation of human culture, every product of art, science and technical skill, which we see before our eyes today, is almost exclusively the product of Aryan creative power." The swastika is an extremely powerful symbol. The Nazis used it to murde r millions of people, but for centuries it had positive meanings. In 1920, Adolf Hitler decided that the Nazi Party needed its own insigni a and flag. For Hitler, the new flag had to be "a symbol of our own struggle" as well as "highly effective as a poster." (Mein Kampf, pg. 495) On August 7, 1920, at the Salzburg Congress, this flag became the offici al emblem of the Nazi Party. In the early years of the Nazi regime, the National Socialist government established concentration camps to detain real and imagined political and ideol ogical opponents. Increasingly in the years before the outbreak of war, SS and p olice officials incarcerated Jews, Gypsies and other victims of ethnic and racia l hatred in these camps. To concentrate and monitor the Jewish population as wel l as to facilitate later deportation of the Jews, the Germans and their collabor ators created ghettos, transit camps, and forced-labor camps for Jews during the war years. In the final months of the war, SS guards moved camp inmates by train or on forced marches, often called death marches, in an attempt to prevent the Allie d liberation of large numbers of prisoners. The marches continued until May 7, 1 945, the day the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. For the western Allies, World War II officially ended in Europe on the next day, May 8 (V-E Day), while Soviet forces announced their Victory Day on May 9, 1945. The origin of the "Final Solution ,the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewis h people, remains uncertain. What is clear is that the genocide of the Jews was the culmination of a decade of Nazi policy, under the rule of Adolf Hitler. In its entirety, the "Final Solution" consisted of gassings, shootings, random acts of terror, disease, and starvation that accounted for the deaths of about six million Jews - two-thirds of European Jewry.

Dr. Josef Mengele, nicknamed The Angel Of Death, and the other Nazi doct ors at the death camps tortured men, women and children and did medical experime nts of unspeakable horror during the Holocaust. Victims were put into pressure c hambers, tested with drugs, castrated, frozen to death. Children were exposed to experimental surgeries performed without anesthesia, transfusions of blood from one to another, isolation endurance, reaction to various stimuli. The doctors m ade injections with lethal germs, sex change operations, removal of organs and l imbs.