The Holocaust: Never Forget

The Holocaust: Never Forget

by Helen C Strahinich

ISBN: 9781511750745

Publisher Read/Learn Press

Published in Children's Books/History & Historical Fiction, Children & Teens (Young Adult), Children's Books, History

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Book Description

This book is an introduction to "the worst catastrophe in modern history." It tells the story of European violence and hatred toward the Jews; measures that paved the way for mass murder; the establishment of the camp system; and other groups of victims. The book also pays tribute to rescuers who risked their lives to save besieged Jews. Finally, it covers the liberation of the camps, the efforts of survivors to rebuild their lives, lessons to be garnered from this tragedy, and the continuing heartbreak of hate crime and genocide in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Sample Chapter

Understanding the Holocaust

The Holocaust has been called the most terrible catastrophe in modern history: a hideous nightmare that came true, a hell on Earth, the hidden battlefront of World War II, and the War against the Jews. People have also given it the name Shoah, a Hebrew word, meaning "a whirlwind of destruction."

The Holocaust was the systematic murder of 6 million Jews during World War II. Before the Holocaust, 9 million Jews lived in Europe. They made their homes in about twenty European countries. Some were artists, playwrights, architects, writers, and musicians. Others were wealthy bankers, businesspeople, doctors, lawyers, scientists, and engineers. However, most European Jews were average people with average incomes. By the end of World War II, two thirds of them were dead.

German scientists, businesspeople, industrialists, and civil servants contributed to the killing effort. With this support, the Nazis were able to set up an organization devoted to mass murder. It worked with fast and brutal efficiency.

The Jews were not the only victims of Nazi hatred. The Nazis also murdered 5 to 6 million Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), people with handicaps, Communists, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, labor unionists, Slavic people, political prisoners, and prisoners of war.

The Jews, however, suffered such staggering losses that a new word was created to describe what happened to them: genocide. Genocide means the systematic murder of a whole group of people because of their race, religion, or nationality.

Who was Adolf Hitler?

Adolph Hitler has been called a monster, the devil, the Antichrist, a demonic dictator, a megalomaniac, a spellbinder, and the most evil genius of the twentieth century. He was elected as chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. For twelve years, he led his country on a rampage of war, destruction, and death.

A hypnotic speaker, Hitler used fear, hate, lies, and violence to grab and hold attention and power. He understood the value of propaganda, the use of lies and half-truths to get people to go along with certain ideas or attitudes. To build support, Hitler held huge parades and rallies. Nazi party members waved giant swastikas, the Nazi symbol. They raised their right arms in the Nazi salute and chanted Heil Hitler, "Hail, Hitler."

Hitler's rise to power came during the Great Depression of the 1930s. After being defeated in World War I, the Germans had struggled without success to get on course again. Their government was divided and weak. By the time of the Depression, millions of Germans were already unemployed. German factories were silent. Masses of hungry people waited in breadlines with buckets of currency that were nearly worthless. At this time, Hitler gave the Germans a scapegoat: mostly, the Jews. Now the Germans had somebody to blame for their troubles.


Excerpted from "The Holocaust: Never Forget" by Helen C Strahinich. Copyright © 2015 by Helen C Strahinich. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Helen C Strahinich

Helen C Strahinich

Helen Strahinich has written hundreds of short stories, nonfiction articles, novellas, and poems for children and young adults during a twenty-five-year career in education publishing. She's now giving book talks in schools and libraries to promote her debut novel, THE SECRET OF JEANNE BARET, and a companion study guide. Strahinich lives in Boston with her husband John, four cats, and a Chihuahua named Lola.

View full Profile of Helen C Strahinich

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