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right|thumb|250px||The Nazi concentration camp in Nordhausen.

"The Holocaust", also known as ''Ha-Shoah'' (Hebrew: "השואה") (Yiddish in Romani, is the name applied to the state-led systematic persecution and genocide of the Jews and other minority groups of Europe and North Africa during World War II by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Early elements of the Holocaust include the Kristallnacht pogrom of the 8th and 9th November 1938 and the T-4 Euthanasia Program, leading to the later use of killing squads and extermination camps in a massive and centrally organized effort to exterminate every possible member of the populations targeted by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" (''die Endlösung der Judenfrage'') or "the cleaning" (''die Reinigung''). The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million, though estimates by historians using, among other sources, records from the Nazi regime itself, range from five million to seven million. Millions of other minorities also perished in the Holocaust in addition to this figure.


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