In September 1939, World War II broke out. During the war the German Nazis conducted the most horrific genocide that has ever been attempted, against Jews and other populations. During the war, especially between June 1941 and January 1945, the Nazis murdered six million Jews. The killing was committed by massacres, gassing to death, requiring working in forced labor, and in other ways.
The Holocaust was the murder by Nazi Germany of six million Jews. While the Nazi persecution of the Jews began in 1933, the mass murder was committed during World War II. It took the Germans and their accomplices four and a half years to murder six million Jews. They were at their most efficient from April to November 1942 – 250 days in which they murdered some two and a half million Jews. They never showed any restraint, they slowed down only when they began to run out of Jews to kill, and they only stopped when the Allies defeated them.
There was no escape. The murderers were not content with destroying the communities; they also traced each hidden Jew and hunted down each fugitive. The crime of being a Jew was so great, that every single one had to be put to death – the men, the women, the children; the committed, the disinterested, the apostates; the healthy and creative, the sickly and the lazy – all were meant to suffer and die, with no reprieve, no hope, no possible amnesty, nor chance for alleviation.
Most of the Jews of Europe were dead by 1945. A civilization that had flourished for almost 2,000 years was no more. The survivors – one from a town, two from a host – dazed, emaciated, bereaved beyond measure, gathered the remnants of their vitality and the remaining sparks of their humanity, and rebuilt. They never meted out justice to their tormentors – for what justice could ever be achieved after such a crime? Rather, they turned to rebuilding: new families forever under the shadow of those absent; new life stories, forever warped by the wounds; new communities, forever haunted by the loss.
As members of the Jewish people against whom the darkest and most systematic plot of destruction was conspired, and as humans that are concerned about the moral reality of our time, we see it as our obligation to work as much as we can to stop genocides and mass atrocities.
In the Combat Genocide Association, we have chosen to study genocides during the modern era without a specific emphasis on the Jewish Holocaust during World War II. This is due to our understanding that any preoccupation with the Holocaust will not manage to shed more light than the many studies that have been conducted on the subject, and also out of a desire to turn the spotlight onto genocide as a modern phenomenon that is not unique to the Jewish People. That being said, we would like to emphasize that as a nation that has been persecuted for thousands of years and that has been the target of attempts to annihilate us, we must speak out about the racism and hate that form the basis of genocides, and about the responsibility of the nations of the world, as well as our own nation, to prevent genocide.