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The Nationalist Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP) was established in 1921 as a political party that stressed extreme nationalism and strong military leadership.

The Nazi Party won a majority in the 1932 election.  As the leader of the Nazi party, Hitler was appointed to the position of Chancellor in January 1933.  After President von Hindenburg died in 1934, Hitler took over completely and declared himself “der Führer,” or leader, of Germany.

No, there is no factual evidence to support this rumor.  The rumor that Hitler’s grandfather was Jewish began circulating in the 1920’s and gained the notice of the foreign press in the 1930’s.  The speculation continued into the 1950’s because of the claim made by Hans Frank, a Nazi lawyer and Governor General of Poland, while awaiting his hanging in Nuremberg.

Like many minorities throughout history, Jews sometimes struggled to fit into the larger community. Since the Middle Ages, Jews have been seen as the “other” to Christians and often received severe treatment from the majority population. After the Enlightenment, much of this prejudice was suppressed as religion was pushed aside in favor of reason and science and Jews were often assimilated into the general society. However, in many communities across Europe, when misfortune struck, people were apt to fall back upon old prejudices and stereotypes and put the blame on the Jewish community. In Germany after World War I and during the Depression, it was easy to blame Jews for their alleged role in bringing about the collapse of German honor and the economy because of the age-old prejudice against them.

The Final Solution is the term used by the Nazis for their plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe. The Nazis used a poison gas, called Zyklon B, to eliminate millions of people, including Jews, Russian P.O.W.’s and Roma (gypsies). Thousands more were killed through starvation, dehydration, disease and exposure to the elements.

No, the Nazis hated anyone who did not fit into their ideal for the perfect Aryan race. Millions were arrested and sent to concentration camps, including Jews, Roma and Sinti (gypsies), Poles, the mentally and physically handicapped, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who resisted the Nazis.

Both Jews and non-Jews did resist the Nazis, using both violent and passive resistance, from the very beginning. However, by the time many people realized they needed to resist, the Nazis had successfully created an atmosphere of extreme fear and intimidation that people found difficult to fight.

Throughout Europe, there were more than 2,000 concentration camps: slave labor camps, transit camps, and killing centers (sometimes call death camps or extermination camps.) People died in every camp from disease, starvation, exhaustion and murder. However, only five camps were designated as killing centers: all five were in Poland and were intended to centralize and industrialize the killing process. These camps were Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Sobibor, and Treblinka.

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