Matt Brosnan
Tuesday 12 June 2018

The Holocaust was the systematic murder of Europe's Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War. For the first time in history, industrial methods were used for the mass extermination of a whole people.

Between 1933 and 1945, Jews were targeted for discrimination, segregation and extermination. On coming to power in 1933, the Nazis began to actively persecute the Jews of Germany with the introduction of discriminatory legislation accompanied by vicious antisemitic propaganda. With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the process escalated and Jews throughout Nazi-controlled Europe came under the threat of death.

The German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 was accompanied by the mass shootings of Jews by mobile killing squads - Einsatzgruppen - made up of Nazis and local collaborators. In 1942, following the Wannsee Conference of senior Nazi officials, the Nazis began the methodical deportation and extermination of Europe's Jews. Trains transported them from ghettos and other holding centres to extermination or labour camps, where they were gassed, shot or worked to death.

The Nazis enslaved and murdered millions of others as well. Political opponents, Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), homosexuals, prisoners of conscience, people with physical and mental disabilities, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war and others were killed or died in camps as a result of neglect, starvation or disease.


Rudy Kennedy 1927-2008 © Step Haiselden
Rudy Kennedy 1927-2008 © Step Haiselden
There are two main portraits showing a woman and a man with their heads covered facing the viewer, but inclining their heads towards each other. In the lower left corner there are two other, smaller faces also facing the viewer. In the upper right corner of the canvas the face of a mother with a child is visible. The child's face partially obscures the mother's downcast face.
Transport, 1974, by Roman Halter. © artist's estate.
Ghettos In The Holocaust
After the Nazis occupied Poland in 1939, they began segregating Jews in ghettos, usually in the most run-down area of a city. By mid-1941, nearly all Jews in occupied Poland had been forced into these overcrowded districts.