Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

When you hear the word "Holocaust" do you think it refers to all victims of the Nazis or just Jewish?

Pick one:

1. All victims of all genocides

2. All victims of the Nazis

3. Jewish victims of the Nazis

4. Other


Stevie... I don't see how it could "lose much of its significance through overuse and over-inclusion"

If anything it makes it more significant to know twice as many people were rounded up and killed.

32 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My dad is a Holocaust survivor.

    I'd always assumed it meant all 11 million targeted victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

    At some point after being on board of organization for children of survivors & going to conferences, at a later point I heard it was coined to refer to the Jewish victims. Meaning that the Nuerumberg Laws & "Final Solution" targeted specifically Jews & the gas chambers were primarily used on Jews. Jews were targeted with unique aspects like 1/2 food rations of 400 cals/day, even more crowded conditions, & immediate killing on arrival & ghetto roundings. All Jews, & only Jews wore identification, yellow star.

    I'm not sure what term is officially used for all the victims collectively, & I & others in these organizations tend to use Holocaust to mean all of the them, Roma, Slavs, gays, disabled, etc.. I should go to & find out. (Roma were killed at similar levels to Jews but mostly in the woods.)


    What does bother me greatly is:

    1. Civilians & political targets were not Holocausted. They were not hate crimes, specificially targeting them, rounding them up & sending them for extermination. They were deads in war same as deads in war have always been -- gross & inexcusable. But not same as what genocides are.

    2. Genocide has become a common term used for mass targeted killings. The WWII Holocaust had a different element than any of them. Which seems to get lost. It was targeting out of hate & no gain possible & systematic. It wasn't a prior tribial historical conflict that got way out of control like Rwanda. Nor the domination & dictatorical goals of the Darfur killings. Nor the land battling that started the Armenian killings. That uniqueness was what shocked the world. And is why & what we humans have to face to undo in ourselves. The WWII Holocaust is an extreme presentation of human hate & where it can go.

    3. Jews were uniquely targeted. 1/3 of world Jews were murdered. Europe was the center for Judaism & Jewish culture & 70-80% of them were murdered. Yet, people are now complaining that Jews are mentioned with the Holocaust. I mean- I've seen long mainstream news articles about this or that camp, that mention Slavs & others, but dedicate literally one glancing sentence to Jews killed. I've looked up the camp only to find over 50% of the deaths were Jewish & the article focused as though barely any Jews were there. It's a revision that shows already we humans can't face our own history straight on. Also as Jew it's scary because it means the door is opening again. The special protection from mass killing & hate at us that we had for a while, is going away. I see this reflected in how much antisemitism I'm running into & that it's going up again.


    Ms Stevie

    You point out accurate terms but ascribe "targeted at Jew" reasons that are false.

    Shoah is used because the word Holocaust's historic linguist meaning contradicts with Jewish theology (sacrifice by fire). Also because Jews not speaking English, after the war in DP camps for 7+ years came up with a word: Shoah, not Holocaust.

    The special targeting of Jews were obvious from Nuemburg laws & Final Solution. After the war the term referred to Jews specifically from the get go. Jews didn't try to "make themselves special" as you imply, Hitler did it for us. Other groups were added as their persecution was identified, such as Roma.

    Interesting from the TU, no one spotted the bigotry in your answer (maybe not you but where you learned these ideas.)


    In countries near Japan, the atomic bombs do mean more than the European killing. It's geographic. The literature is different there.


    Someone else comments that you (the asker) is Roma? I didn't know. When we in organizations have tried to bring Roma into our planning, we haven't gotten response. I read it's dealt with differently in Roma communities than Jewish ones. (Write to me if there is something to do, we'd be open.)

  • Kevin7
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    The Holocaust with a capital H means the Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide.

  • 1 decade ago

    I definitely don't go with 1. I think that's a real mistake, to conflate what happened under the Nazis with other genocides.

    There is a difficulty between 2 and 3 - the word has been used interchangeably in both senses, by Jews and by others. Some Jews feel strongly that because of the word's resonance with the 'burnt offerings' of the Temple, and wanting to sacralize what was so profane, that it should apply only to the Jewish victims. But we don't have another good word to describe the whole horror of murdering targetted groups in that period, including Roma and Sinti, disabled and mentally ill people, gays and lesbians, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. These groups were specifically targetted for who they were in themselves, something that couldn't be changed, or was seen that way by Nazis (hence the murder of people of Jewish ancestry who were Christian converts or otherwise outside the Jewish community). I know I use it in both senses, and take it differently depending on the context. Which I guess doesn't really help, but is the reality.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think of the years of total destruction. I think about the millions killed on the battlefield. Fighting to free the people the Facist had deemed less than worthy. These outnumber the Jews killed but. When in history has Judaism been attacked in such a determined and horrible way.

    There was a lot more to that war all over the world.

    I think of the Holocaust of the Japanese as well.

    Amazing how these mean so much less.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Holocaust means the victims were Jewish and Gypsy.

    There were many other victims of the Nazis but the Nazi killing machine never got round to killing the others on a large a scale. If the Nazis hadn't been stopped most probably after the Jews and Gypsies it would have been the Russians next.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Even though the Jewish victims are the main focus, generally today it refers to ALL victims of the Nazi purges. However the term can also apply to any genocide.

    During the war, the word was used to describe all Nazi atrocities regardless of whether the victims were Jews or non-Jews. It wasn't until much later that people tried to restrict it to just the killing of the Jewish population.

    "As many as one-half million Gypsies, at least 250,000 mentally or physically disabled persons, and more than three million Soviet prisoners-of-war also fell victim to Nazi genocide. Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social Democrats, Communists, partisans, trade unionists, Polish intelligentsia and other undesirables were also victims of the hate and aggression carried out by the Nazis."

    Shoah has come to be the preferred term for the Holocaust by Jewish scholars who feel that "Holocaust" has lost much of its significance through overuse and over-inclusion.

  • Leo
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The word is generally used to refer to the Jews who were killed, primarily via the organized apparatus set up by the Nazi's. Obviously there were millions of other people killed so there can be said to have been more than one holocaust. Ultimately, however, it's a distinction without a difference since they all died just as horribly. Debating categorizations now seems pretty pointless.

  • 1 decade ago

    4. Oddly enough, even though I was raised Jewish, the first thing I think of when I hear the word is Kathrine Hepburn. In the movie, The Philadephia Story, there's a line when the Jimmy Stewart Character says to the Kate Hepburn character, trying to describe the warmth and passion his finds in her eyes, says that her eyes are filled with, "Hearthfires and holocausts." The script was written before WW2.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    "Holocaust" is the Greek translation of the Hebrew 'olah, which is a burnt-offering sacrifice to God. This word should not be used in any context to mean genocide, either of Jews or of Gentiles, because the Nazis didn't offer any human sacrifice to God but to their murderous ideology. The mere thought of it is awful, and the word "holocaust" used for genocide is nothing else than a blasphemy, since God doesn't accept human sacrifices.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    the name holocaust refers to the Jewish victims

    Gypsies have their own name which is Porrajmos

    their persecution began in 1929 and the reason why the full extent of it has been swept under the carpet is because all European countries were as guilty as the nazi`s

    in that they were rounding up the Roma people in their own countries and sending them to Germany to be put in Nazi concentration camps

    by the end of the war between 90% and 97% of the Roma population of Europe had been wiped out

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