The Holocaust was the systematic extermination of European Jews and other minority groups by Nazi Germany and its allies from 1941-1945. Over 6 million Jews and other minorities were put to death in extermination and concentration camps and in mass executions. Only Jews were singled out for annihilation, but all European minorities suffered.
Large scale state persecution of Jews and minorities had begun in Germany in 1933, when Adolf Hitler became chancellor in January of that year. The Nazis considered all minorities inferior to their "master race" and, therefore, unnecessary. Once in power, their anti-Semitic and racist policies were put in place throughout the country. They made sure to expand their plans as Germany conquered most of Europe. As for what to do with the Jews and other minorities, a "final solution" was reached. They would simply be done away with. So began five years of atrocities of unimaginable proportions.
Today the Holocaust is viewed as the emblematic manifestation of absolute evil. Its revelation of the depths of human nature and the power of malevolent social and governmental structures has made it an essential topic of ethical discourse in fields as diverse as law, medicine, religion, government, and the military.
Many survivors report they heard a final plea from those who were killed: 'Remember! Do not let the world forget.'To this responsibility to those they left behind,survivors haveadded a plea of their own: 'Never again.'Never for the Jewish people. Never for any people.They hope that remembrance of the Holocaust can prevent its recurrence. In part because of their efforts, interest in the event has increased rather than diminished with the passage of time and in fact Holocaust Remembrance days are observed each year in many countries. More than half a century after the Holocaust, institutions, memorials, and museums continue to be built and films and educational curricula created to document and teach the history of the Holocaust to future generations.
- conclusion of "Holocaust" (Encyclopedia Britannica)