When the Nazis took control of Germany in January 1933, they spread the belief that Germans were superior to other groups, including Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, communists, socialists and the handicapped.
Under the reign of Adolf Hitler, the Nazis developed the "Final Solution," which called for the complete annihilation of the Jewish people. In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe was more than 9 million. By 1945, approximately two out of every three European Jews had been killed, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia Web site.
During the years of World War II, Nazis forced Jews and other persecuted groups into concentration camps where they were held captive under poor conditions and were eventually murdered or died of starvation or disease.
Allied troops liberated the concentration camps in 1945, freeing the few who survived the Nazi death marches. After 60 years, the survivors still discuss the persecution they were subjected to.
This week is Holocaust Awareness Week. During this time it is important for students to recognize the trials people who are subjected to hate are forced to endure. The events this week are not just for groups persecuted during the Holocaust but also for everyone who stands against hate.
The theme of this week is "60 Years of Liberation." It is important during this time to remember those who died because of hate, learn from the strength of those who survived, and create an environment free from hate.