While the criminal policies against the Jews had been developing gradually since years before the decision to face the final extermination was taken, quite possibly, between late summer and early fall of 19413 and the program emerged in its fullness in the spring of 1942.4 The person in charge of design and administrative organization was Heinrich Himmler.5Moreover, was the repeated murderous anti-Semitic rhetoric that Adolf Hitler encouraged the implementation of the killings, which also directly told his aprobación.6
Hundreds of bodies of prisoners killed by starvation or the Gestapo shot lying on the ground after the liberation of the Nordhausen concentration camp (April 12, 1945).
The first to use the term "Holocaust" was theJewish historians of the late 1950's, although its usefulness was not until the late sixties (for example, in his report on the Eichmann trial, Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1963-64, Hannah Arendt only uses the term "Final Solution").
The word "holocaust" comes from the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint, in which the term olokaustos (ὁλόκαυστος: from ὁλον, 'completely' andκαυστος, 'burnt') translates the Hebrew word Olah, who refers to a sacrifice completely consumed by the fuego.7
It is also used to name, although less frequently, the term shoah (sho'ah), 8 adaptation of the Latin form Ha'Shoah, השואה Hebrew, meaning "slaughter." This term first appeared in a pamphlet published in Jerusalem in 1940 by the "United Committee for Aid to Jews in Poland" .9 The word is part ofthe Yom ha-Sho'ah expression, with the appointment in Israel official day of Holocaust remembrance.
There was also used early this decade churb'n Yiddish word, "destruction" .10
As for the history of the use of the term "holocaust", as in the twelfth century English monk and chronicler Richard of Devizes used the term 'holocaust' in his account of the coronation of Richard I of England (Richardthe Lionheart) referring to the massacres of Jews in London, started by a rumor that had been ordered by the king, who according to some historians sent to punish the Jews who dared to bow at the coronation of King Christian.
From the sixteenth century used the term "holocaust" in the English language extraordinary fire disaster with great number of victims. In the eighteenth century the wordacquired a more general meaning of violent death of large numbers of people.
Before the Nazi genocide of Jews, Winston Churchill used the term "holocaust" in its publication The world crisis in reference to the Armenian Genocide in Turkey (The World in Crisis, Volume 4: The Aftermath, New York, 1923, p. 158 ).
The use of the word holocaust to describe the genocide of approximately six millionEuropean Jews during World War II, 11 is justified by its etymological reference to something burning, then after using the tool most characteristic genocidal final solution , the gas chambers, the bodies of those killed were burned in ovens.
The persecution and murder of Jews did not develop only in Germany, or in the various concentration camps created for that purpose, but extended to Russia,Eastern Europe and the Balkan Peninsula, where the Germans and their collaborators (Austrian Lithuanians, Latvians, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Romanians, Croats and others) carried out many massacres of Jews in pits, forests, ravines and trincheras.12
The organizational issue and the role of Hitler
The historiography on Nazism and the Holocaust has always discussed the degree of design or...