No one wants to believe or less admit that a civilized world would sit back and watch a Holocaust of such proportions and still do nothing. So many, even to this day, refuse to believe and continue to deny the facts; deny the truth and claim ignorance. The sad reality is the Holocaust did occur and sadder still is the fact that all saw what was happening and few had the courage to step forward and make any attempt to stop it or even say "This is wrong."
"'The Holocaust' or 'Shoah' refers to the systematic annihilation of six million Jewish people by Germany's Nazi regime over the period January 30 1933 to May 8 1945." (Overview, undated) In examining the history of the world, there have always been instances of hate and persecution, not just against the Jewish people, but against many different groups of people. The Holocaust was, however, unique in that never before and never since had there been such a systematic attempt to anneliate an entire population of people by a sovereign nation. Although during the period the Jewish people were not the only group targeted for destruction by the Nazi regieme; the list also included "Gypsies, homosexuals, political dissidents and the intellectually and physically disabled" (Overview, undated); this period will always be remembered as the attempted decimation of the Jewish population.
To fully examine what was known and understood by the German people during this period and in an attempt to understand how and why it occurred, we need to look to the past and first examine the era predating the Holocaust. Events do not occur independent of one another. Therefore, to see how this occurred, why it occurred, and why the German people and the world stood by, we first need to examine the culture of the period leading up to the Holocaust.
Jewish people have been living in Europe for over 2000 years. Throughout their history as a people, there had always been periods of persecution and hatred. "The place of Jews in the wider society of Europe had always been characterised as a kind of exile. Certainly Christian Europe saw the Jews in their midst as rebels against their 'true' religion, responsible for the death of Christ and generally as an evil presence." (Jewish Life, undated) There have been previous instances where the persecution of the Jewish people included being confined to ghettoes, wearing distinctive markings on their clothing and other forms of degradation commonly associated with the Holocaust; however, the scope and magnitude of that period had never come close in comparison.
Prior to 1933, the Jewish people living in Germany had begun to feel increasingly that they were becoming a part of mainstream society. The post World War I era, saw a real integration of the Jewis