General Notes

This site is a personal project, for non-commercial educational use, and is not associated with any organization or institution.

The purpose of this website is to provide a learning resource for teachers, students and individuals with a desire to understand the European Holocaust during the Second World War.

 

The Holocaust is one of the most thoroughly documented events in human history. The physical evidence, documentary evidence, eye witness accounts and the confessions of many of the perpetrators leave absolutely no doubt that it occurred and that Hitler and the Nazis intentionally and methodically were responsible for it. The Holocaust as a fact of history; the Nazis and their allies attempted the complete genocide of the European Jewish people and the mass murder of millions of others. This is beyond dispute. I will not respond to information or communication that denies, excuses or disputes the Holocaust.

Genocide can never to easy to study. Sometimes an attempt is made to sanitize the presentation of the Holocaust in order to make it more comfortable to learn about. This often comes from the best of intentions, but it is a misguided intention and this site make no such attempt. Nazism and the Holocaust was a brutal, nightmarish, violent chapter of history and cannot be accurately understood apart from understanding the brutal violence that pervaded it.



Source Notation Information

This website is not a work of original scholarship. All the information presented here is made possible by the research, writing and archival work of scholars and institutions around the world. These sources are indicated in the material.

Public History sources such as library or museum websites are footnoted with an uppercase letter.

If the information is from a book or journal I have footnoted the entries with a number.

If a primary source is referenced, an uppercase Roman numeral will be used.

Whenever possible I have used freely available information. My use of a source or link does not mean that source endorses this site in anyway. My use of a source does not mean I agree with everything that source contains.

 

Since the definition of terms is important and sometimes uncertain I offer the follow explanation of how certain terms are used:

  • The definition of the word “Holocaust” is a subject of serious discussion. For the purpose of this site the Holocaust is broadly defined as encompassing the victims of the Nazi euthanasia program, victims of the various Nazi and Nazi allied pogroms, the murder or attempted murder of civilians in occupied nations, political and religious opponents of the Nazis, individuals labeled by the Nazis as “life unworthy of life” or “anti-socials”, homosexuals, prisoners of war, the victims of the 1945 death marches and the genocide of the Jewish, Roma and Sinti people, regardless of the time, method or location of the murder or attempt.
  • A more narrow definition of the Holocaust as referring solely to the Jewish genocide is widely used but I do not feel it is accurate. This is because the broader campaign of dehumanization and mass murder of individuals and groups by the Nazis created the necessary psychological and physical preparation (foundation) for the Jewish genocide. The Holocaust was an event but it is important to remember it was also a process driven by both choices and circumstances which eventually reached a climax and whose echo continues today.
  • Using the broader definition is not intended in any way to diminish or minimize the Jewish genocide.
  • When specifically referencing the Jewish Holocaust I will use the term “Shoah”. When referring to the different processes of the Shoah I will use the terms “Shoah by Bullets”, "Shoah by Slave Labor" or “Shoah by Gas”. Please see Yad Vashem for additional information.
  • The term "concentration camp" is used as the generic term for the system of Nazi KL (KZ) slave labor camps, prison camps, punishment and torture centers. While brutality and murder was widespread and intentional in these camps, immediate murder was not the primary purpose of these camps. Victims here could survive for months or even years.
  • The terms "extermination camp" or "killing centers" is used to denote the Nazi facilities where the primary purpose was immediate murder, and slave-labor was a secondary purpose. Victims in camps would normally survive for a day or less or for a very limited time in the euthanasia killing centers after the arrival of the execution teams. These are primarily Chelmno, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and Majdanek (Lublin) camps in occupied Poland and the Aktion T4 killing centers at Bernburg, Brandenburg, Grafeneck, Hadamar, Hartheim, and Sonnenstein.
  • The term "sub camp" is used to denote an auxiliary facility to one of the main facilities.
  • The term "transit camp" is used to denote a temporary prison camp used to house victims during transportation to a final destination.
  • The term "ghetto" is used to denote a physically or legally defined area within an urban region where specific populations were segregated usually preliminary to deportation to concentration or extermination camps. The qualifiers "open" and "closed" indicate the presence of physical barriers in addition to legal borders and not the freedom of movement for residents.

 

Other Information

  • There is often a significant difference between when a law or regulation is drafted, issued/decreed and codified (if ever). sometimes the dates of drafting and codification are estimated. Where possible to determine, the drafting date will will be date the draft was finished, the issue/decree date will be the date of issue not receipt and the codification date will be the date the law or regulation was published.
  • When a border is needed for reference, I will use the borders in Europe from January 1933 unless noted otherwise. The use of a German geographic label or German border does not mean those names or borders were legitimate in anyway and are used simply because they are the most convenient or easily referenced.
  • When there are language variations for names, I will use the most commonly used version for the time under discussion. If additional variations are cited they will be in curly braces such as this: Word {Alternate:Word} or Danzig {Polish:Gdańsk}

 

Creative Commons Credits

 

 

Holocaust Denial and Distortion

The Holocaust is one of the most thoroughly documented events in human history. The physical evidence, documentary evidence, eye witness accounts and the confessions of many of the perpetrators leave absolutely no doubt that it occurred and that Hitler and the Nazis intentionally and methodically were responsible for it. The Holocaust as a fact of history; the Nazis and their allies attempted the complete genocide of the European Jewish people and the mass murder of millions of others. This is beyond dispute.

We will not respond to propaganda that denies, disputes or intentionally distorts or minimizes the Holocaust, excuses any of its perpetrators or attacks the victims and survivors.

This in no way is intended to discourage legitimate and honest questions and discussion.

 

How To Recognize Holocaust Denial and Distortion

Holocaust denial and distortion are motivated by agendas that are neither about the Holocaust nor about greater understanding of a documented historical event. Some Holocaust deniers, so-called “revisionists,” claim to be authentic scholars, when instead they manipulate facts to support a particular ideological position. Hiding their antisemitic intent under the guise of free speech, they claim to offer an alternate version of Holocaust history. Because legitimate scholars do not doubt that the Holocaust happened, Holocaust denial plays no role in legitimate historical debate. To evaluate if a claim falls within the spectrum of Holocaust denial and distortion, consider the following:

  • Is the source reliable? Has the source made other historical claims that were exaggerated or false?
  • Does the source present selected facts to support the claim?
  • Does the source follow accepted methods of historical inquiry?
  • Does the source reveal a particular ideology or belief?
  • Does the claim fit within the generally accepted history of the Holocaust?
  • What does the source want you to believe after exposure to the information?

 

Read More About Holocaust Denial and Distortion