Definition of Holocaust in English

A holocaust is, in generic terms, a great slaughter of people. It is essentially used to refer to the systematic killing of Jews by Nazism and its collaborators during World War II, and is usually known as the Jewish Holocaust or simply, as the Holocaust (in capital letters).

Initially, for the Jews, the Holocaust was a religious sacrifice in which an animal was completely burned (in principle, ruminant animals with split hooves, for example, lambs, calves, kids or steers). This sacrifice served, among other purposes, to show submission, thanks or request to Yahweh.

At present, ‘holocaust’ can be used to refer to a sacrifice or an act of self-denial for the benefit of other people.

Finally, the holocaust comes from the Latin holocaustum, and in turn from the Greek ὁλόκαυστος, (holókauston), formed by ὁλον, (‘completely, totally’) and καυστος (‘burned’). Depending on the context, some of the following words can be used as synonyms: killing, genocide, sacrifice, offering, immolation and ritual.

Causes of the Holocaust

The fundamental point of Nazism was racism. According to that ideology, the Germans belonged to a superior race called Ariana who could not get involved with other races and the Jews were their main enemies.

The Jews were the main victims of the Nazist ideology that held them responsible for the chaos that Germany suffered after World War I and the peace treaties. In addition, Adolf Hitler and his followers defended the thesis that the Jews were an inferior race and therefore should be eliminated.

Laws against the Jews were reformed and increased as the Nazists dominated power.

Jewish Holocaust

This term began to be used after World War II to refer to the mass extermination of millions of Jews in Europe by the Nazi regime. According to historians, about 6 million people of Jewish religion were killed during World War II. Hitler’s regime referred to this extermination process as the “final solution to the Jewish question.”

The Holocaust included an organized system to carry out this genocide, it included death camps (such as Bergen-Belsen or Auschwitz), gas chambers and crematorium ovens. Usually, it is considered that the commander in chief of the SS Heinrich Himmler was in charge of managing this process.

With the military defenses in Germany by the Allied troops, thousands of prisoners were found in the concentration camps. On January 27, 1945, the Soviet forces were the first to arrive at the Auschwitz camp, the largest of all. The prisoners who resisted the massacre were released, after which the world gained knowledge of the Nazi atrocities.

January 27 is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

Nuclear holocaust

The destruction of human life and the environment as a result of a nuclear war can be called nuclear holocaust. In principle, only the United States and the Soviet Union, protagonists of the Cold War, possessed all the nuclear technology to leave humanity fearful for being able to initiate a nuclear holocaust. However, other countries have now created their own nuclear technology by developing their own atomic bombs.

The United States used its nuclear weapons for the first time in an invasion in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, being almost completely destroyed. These events began a new conflict in the twentieth century, the Cold War.

Cannibal holocaust

The Cannibal Holocaust is an 1980 Italian film directed by Ruggero Deodato under the script of Gianfranco Clerici, filmed in the Amazon rainforest, located in South America. A group of young people travel to that place to make a documentary about the tribes that inhabit that region, which are still said to perform cannibalism.

After several days without receiving news from them, an anthropologist is sent in order to find them and what he finds is the material filmed about his terrible end. It is a very controversial film because of its images of violence.

It stars Carl Gabriel Yorke, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Luca Barbareschi and Robert Kerman.

Biblical holocaust

  • “And Isaac spoke to his father Abraham, and said, My father. And he replied: Here I am, my son. And Isaac said: Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? ”Genesis 22: 7
  • “If your offering is a holocaust of cattle, it will offer a male without defect; He will offer it at the entrance of the tent of meeting, so that it may be accepted before the Lord ”Leviticus 1: 3
  • “You will tell them: This is the burning offering that you will offer to the LORD: two lambs of one year, without defect, every day as a continuous burnt offering.” Numbers 28: 3

Holocaust Denialism

Holocaust denialism is a current of thought that seeks a reinterpretation of the so-called Jewish Holocaust. It is sometimes known as Holocaust revisionism, (although it could be distinguished between legitimate and illegitimate historical revisionism). This current is based on a preconceived idea that the Holocaust did not occur or that it was mainly a fraud or invention, discarding a multitude of historical evidence.

Some of the characteristic claims of Holocaust deniers are that the Nazi regime had no organized system of extermination or intention to exterminate the Jewish people and that extermination camps or gas chambers were not used to commit mass murders.

Similarly, deniers often reduce the numbers of Jews killed under the Nazi government. At present, denialism is considered as psychoscience based on a theory of anti-Semitic conspiracy and that conceals, consents or justifies Jewish genocide. For these reasons, it is criminally prosecuted in several countries (for example, in Germany, Austria, France and Poland).