“I told him that I did not believe that

they could burn people in our age, that

humanity would never tolerate it”

–Elie Wiesel (1928 – 2016)

The instability created in Europe by the First World War (1914-18) set the stage for another international conflict World War II which broke out two decades later and would prove even more devastating. Rising to power in an economically and politically unstable Germany, Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist party (Nazi Party) rearmed the nation and signed strategic treaties with Italy and Japan to further his ambitions of world domination. Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, drove Great Britain and France to declare war on Germany, and World War II had begun. Over the next six years, the conflict would take more lives and destroy more land and property around the globe than any previous war. Among the estimated 45-60 million people killed were 6 million Jews murdered in Nazi concentration camps as part of Hitler’s diabolical “Final Solution,” now known as the Holocaust.

The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims – six million were murdered. Gypsies, physically and mentally disabled people were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including homosexuals, Soviet prisoners of war and political dissidents also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny.