When the Nazis gained power in Germany in 1933 they began persecuting those who they felt were racially inferior or politically dangerous. This included Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally and physically-disabled, and Jehovah's Witnesses among others. At first the Nazis just made life difficult for these people, but eventually they began to remove them from society by killing them. A plan the Nazis called the "Final Solution" detailed how Europe was to be cleansed of Jews by killing every one of them. The term Holocaust represents the persecution and murder of these groups by the Nazis during World War II. By the time Germany was defeated in 1945, over 11 million people had been murdered by the Nazis, 6 million of whom were Jews. More than two thirds of the Jewish population of Europe had been killed.
The term Holocaust comes from a Greek word meaning "burnt whole". One of the meanings of the word Holocaust is "a sacrifice consumed by fire".
This Webquest is designed to help teens explore this subject by providing fascinating resources and by suggesting interesting activities that will help you to more fully understand and appreciate the events you read about. Two of the activities are designed to be used with the teen programming at the library, but none of them need to be turned in. They can simply be done for your own interest.
There is also a list of resources for home schoolers. These are mostly aimed at parents who home school their children, however, they may also be of interest to teens wishing to explore different viewpoints of this subject. These resources include teaching guides, lesson plans, interactive quizes, and other interesting activities.
Many of the materials listed in the resource section contain disturbing images and graphic descriptions of this terrible episode. Estimates of age appropriateness are listed for most of the resources, and we encourage younger children to discuss these resources and events with their parents before viewing materials suggested for older teens.