Americans had access to reliable information about the Nazi regime’s persecution of Jews as it happened, but most could not imagine that a mass murder campaign was possible. Though most Americans sympathized with the plight of European Jews, assisting refugees and rescuing the victims of Nazism never became a national priority.
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On April 19, 1943, the Warsaw ghetto uprising began after German troops and police entered the ghetto to deport its surviving inhabitants. By May 16, 1943, the Germans had crushed the uprising and left the ghetto area in ruins. Surviving ghetto residents were deported to concentration camps or killing centers.
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
The Holocaust Encyclopedia now includes 50 biographies of Jewish partisans during the Holocaust (© Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation). Explore their stories and related educational materials.
In 1944, a Polish-Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) sought to describe Nazi policies of systematic murder, including the destruction of the European Jews.