Germany in WW2

What is the definition of holocaust?

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Answered 2011-12-27 00:06:30

The most common meaning nowadays of the Holocaust (with an article and a capital h) is the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Sometimes other victims who were murdered by the Nazis on the basis of their group identity are included, in particular, the gypsies (Roma). Around 1980 it replaced the term 'Final Solution [of the Jewish Question]', which was the Nazis' own term. Before the late 1970s the word was most commonly used (without a capital H) in the expression nuclear holocaust, which referred to the feared nuclear war between East and West.


The word Holocaust means great destruction resulting in the extensive loss of life by fire.


It comes from the Greek word "holokaustos", which means "burned whole". It has been used in English for a long time in the sense of disaster involving many deaths (especially by fire). In its Middle English form, derived from Greek, it was used to mean a burnt offering. This later broadened to any major destruction due to fire, and broadened further to mean any mass destruction. When used in capitalized form, it is specifically referring to the mass destruction of Jewish and other people by the Nazis in World War Two.


It comes from a Greek word which means a sacrifice totally burned by fire. It has been widely used in English in the sense of 'great destruction (usually by fire)'. For example, in the 1950s and 1960s there was widespread fear of a nuclear holocaust.

Since the late 1970s the word holocaust has been widely used in historical writing in the sense of genocide. The Holocaust (without any further detail or qualification) refers to the genocide of about 6 million Jews by the Nazis. The Ottoman Turkish murder of about 1.5 million Armenians in 1915-1917 is often also referred to the Armenian Holocaust).

The term is often extended to the systematic, mass killing of all groups that the Nazis tried to exterminate on the basis of group membership - including Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, incuarbles, Soviet political commissars and some other groups. Recently, the word has been widely used in English for the Nazi genocide of the Jews and has largely replaced the expression Final Solution [of the Jewish question], which is a direct translation of Nazis' own term.

Some people are uneasy about the use of the word holocaust because it can have religious implications. In Hebrew the word Shoah, meaning great calamity, is widely used instead.

For practical and linguistic purposes the meaning of a word is its current use, not its etymology or history.

Parts of the answers to the Related Questions below and the links give definitions and some discussion.

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another term for the Holocaust

The Holocaust by definition was the Nazis' attempt to rid Europe of its Jews.

About 11-17 million people died in the Holocaust (depending on the definition of Holocaust used). Unfortunately, there are competing definitions.It was actually the mass murder of six million Jews.There is no agreed definition of Holocaust survivor.Please see the related questions below.

This is the definition of holocaust in the dictionary:A great or complete devastation or destruction, especially by fireThis is the definition of (the) Holocaust via the dictionary:The systematic mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.In other words, holocaust could refer to any massacre or mass destruction, while Holocaust refers to the specific time period during World War II.

Probably Lithuania, or Poland in conjunction with the invasion of the Soviet Union, but it really depends upon how ridgid your definition of the Holocaust is.

they used existing camps at the start it really depends on what you mean by inmates and how wide your definition of the Holocaust is.

about 20,000,0000 __________ I wonder where that figure comes from and what definition of Nazi it is based on.

This is a puzzling question. By definition a victim is 'involved' in a passive sense; they are picked on.

a new definition of crimes were created and new laws to treat them

June 1941, but it depends upon your definition of the Holocaust, if you include the disabled, organised murdering of them started earlier, the actions against the homosexuals even earlier.

The victims were gassed first. By definition, a crematorium is where you burn bodies. Not bury them.

taking jews from the cramped atticus and sticking them in a nice open concentration camp

I'm also wondering difference of those two cuz I met one holocaust survivor today and she said holocaust and the shoah is kinda different-------------------------------------Shoah is the word that the Jews use for the attempted extermination of the Jews by the Nazis. This word is used in preference to the word Holocaust for three main reasons:The Holocaust is used by many to describe all of the victims of Nazi extermination policies.The definition of Holocaust implies sacrifice and many Jews consider this inappropriate as there was no sacrifice involved.The word (or term) Holocaust is currently being hijacked by many other people resulting in it's meaning being eliminated, for example 'Animal Holocaust or African Holocaust or 'Today's Holocaust'. Or 'motorway Holocaust' just to describe a car crash, which obviously is almost the same as the Holocaust.

There are various definitions of Holocaust survivor. On the most stringent definition, about 150,000 survived. This means Jews who were in real danger and/or in camps and/or in hiding and still alive on 8 May 1945.

it depends upon which definition of poor you mean; do you mean it as a measure of wealth or a measure of quality.

Some scholars maintain that the definition of the word Holocaust should also include the Nazis' systematic murder of millions of people in other groups, including ethnic Poles, the Roma, Soviet civilians, Soviet prisoners of war, people with disabilities, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other political and religious adherents. By this definition, the total number of Holocaust victims would be between 11 million and 17 million people.Answer:The above does not address the question. The answer to the question is: Six million Jewish people died in the Holocaust.

almost all of the countries in Europe. Unless you want your definition to include 'bystanders', then you can include the rest of the modern world

If you count only Jews, it's about 6 millions, but some scholars believe the definition of the Holocaust should include people in other groups like homosexuals, Soviet prisoners of war and civilians, disabled people, and other political and religious opponents. By this definition, over 11 to 17 million people were murdered.

The Holocaust was the attempt to exterminate all the Jews in Europe. This attempt of genocide killed more than 6 million Jews and 5 million others, mainly in death camps, such as Auschwitz and Treblinka and mass open air shootings.

there is no 'jews holocaust' look for the dates of the Holocaust

There are many photos of the Holocaust. You can google Holocaust and click on "images" to find pictures of the Holocaust.

right now it occurs in the survivors and to some degree in the surviving perpetrators. This of course depends uopn your definition of the Holocaust, if you believe that it stopped with the surrender of Nazi Germany and that anyone who died the next day did not die because of the Holocaust, then you would say that it does not occur anymore, but if you believe that it is still occuring until the last survivor dies, then it is occuring where they are.

He approved of the Holocaust and was the one who made the Holocaust happen.

To remember the Holocaust.

no, but it was on the road to the Holocaust.

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