The Holocaust Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

Throughout history, human beings have done some pretty terrible things to each other. One of those terrible acts was what the Nazi's did to Jewish people during the Holocaust. This lesson will teach you the basics of this dark time in human history.

What was the Holocaust?

The Holocaust was a terrible time in human history. It happened leading up to and during World War II, when Germany was trying to conquer the rest of Europe. Germany was led by a man named Adolf Hitler. Hitler did not like Jewish people and blamed them for Germany losing the First World War in 1918. He decided that in order to make the world better, he needed to get rid of the Jewish people and many other races of people that he didn't think were worthy.

Hitler was the head of the political party called the Nazis. They were responsible for the murder of more than 6 million Jewish people during the Holocaust and millions of others, such as the Poles, gypsies and handicapped. All in all, historians estimate that Hitler and the Nazis murdered more than 11 million people.

A portrait of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler
Hitler Portrait

How Did The Holocaust Start?

Beginning in 1933, the Nazis forced people to boycott and eventually ban Jewish businesses in Germany. They took away the Jews' German citizenship and made them outcasts. When World War II actually began in 1939, the Nazi armies started marching into other cities in Europe. When they took over a city, they would round up all the Jewish people and force them into one part of the area. Then they would put up a wall around that section of the city so that no one could get out. They called these areas ghettos.

Around the same time, the Nazis built huge concentration camps in occupied Europe, where they would bring the Jews and other people they found unworthy to work and eventually die. The first of these concentration camps was called Dachau and was built in 1933. The Jews were told that they were going to be resettled, so most of them left without a fight. Some concentration camps built gas chambers, where countless Jews were killed. These camps became known as 'Death Camps.' The most infamous death camp was located outside of the city of Krakow, Poland, and was called Auschwitz. Over the course of the Holocaust, it was estimated that over 1 million people were murdered just in Auschwitz alone.

Jews were often transported to concentration camps in cramped, hot trains
Holocaust Train

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