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First Reader



The term Holocaust comes from the Hebrew word olah, meaning burnt sacrifice. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, this word became holokauston. Today, the word Holocaust is used to denote the Nazi persecution of the Jews, resulting in the extermination of some six million men, women, and children in concentration and extermination camps. The term should bring to mind horrible images of torture, death, and destruction. Yet, in most cases, this does not happen. Although many people are familiar with The Diary of Anne Frank, The Hiding Place, and The Holocaust, even in today's highly educated society, there is an appalling lack of knowledge concerning this tragic event.

Some people claim that the Holocaust never existed. Arthur Butz, in his book The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, said that there were no records of the Holocause, therefore it could never have occurred. Dozens and dozens of pamphlets were circulated after the television showing of Gerald Green's book, The Holocaust, warning people against this Jewish "propaganda." They say that the Holocause was and is a fraud perpetrated by the Jews.

How should one react to such statements? Elie Wiesel answers this in an article written for Social Education magazine.... Wiesel goes on to say in the article that anyone not involved in keeping those memories alive is "an accomplice to the killers," and, in this writer's opinion, he is correct.

Studying such an event forces one to try and understand how human beings could allow such a tragedy to transpire. This paper is designed to be informative: to answer questions about what led to the event we call the Holocaust, to give the facts about what happened in the camps themselves, to explain how life in the camps affected the prisoners psychologically, and to tell some of what has happened to them since the Holocaust ended.



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