The Holocaust was the systematic persecution and annihilation of more than 6 million Jews as a central act of state by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Although millions of others, such as Romani, Sinti, homosexuals, the disabled and political opponents of the Nazi regime, were also victims of persecution and murder, only the Jews were singled out for total extermination.
Under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, this brutal campaign began with a deliberate series of progressively hostile acts of bigotry, repression, humiliation and discrimination. Authorized by the Nazis and their collaborators, such actions were based on the views that the German (or "Aryan") people were a superior "race," that all non-Germans were therefore inferior, and that Jews were race-poisoners. The intervals between each phase -- from antilocution (using hostile, bigoted language) to avoidance to discrimination to violence to genocide -- were frighteningly small.
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