As a fourteen-year-old, killing is never on your mind. The only thing you think of is a happy life, going to school, and becoming someone someday (Nishimwe 153). This is a quote from Consolee Nishimwe, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
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Jack Beaudoin defines genocide as The systematic killing of a social, political, cultural, or religious group (11). The most well-known genocide is the Holocaust which occurred from 1941-1945. Although the Holocaust is the most well-known, there have been hundreds that came before and after it. Some examples you’ve probably heard of are the Armenian Genocide where at least 50% of Armenians in Turkey were killed, the Rwandan Genocide, the Cambodian Genocide, and the Ukrainian Genocide where almost 10% of Ukraine’s population died. In this essay, I will be talking about the two most known genocides; the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide.
The Holocaust occurred from 1941 to 1945, just shortly after World War II had started. Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Holocaust, was elected as chancellor in 1933. Shortly after he was elected, he began the building of concentration camps for Jews. Hitler had promised to restore Germany’s honor after their devastating loss in World War I. He planned to restore this honor by executing all the Jews. First, he started by passing the Nuremberg Laws, which prevented Jews from owning businesses or going to school. Soon after, he branded the Jews by having them wear a Jewish star at all times. After World War II started in 1940, Hitler and the Nazis established the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland, where Jews were to stay behind a walled section of the city. In the Warsaw Ghetto, the Jews were forced to live in poverty, sickness, and malnutrition. Then in 1941, the concentration camps began to fill with Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and others. Concentration camps were located in Auschwitz, Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and Majdanek. At the Wannsee Conference in 1942, Hitler and the Nazis decided they were to kill all the Jews. They called this the final solution. After Hitler proclaimed the final solution into effect, Five million people died in death camps in 1942 to 1943. In Auschwitz, 1.6 million were killed (Beaudoin, 10). The Jews that survived the concentration camps were released in 1945. Many of the survivors had nowhere to go as their families were murdered and their towns destroyed. Most of them were forced to immigrate to the United States or Israel.
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