- What was the Holocaust?
- Judaism and Jewish life
- What is antisemitism?
- How did the Nazis gain power?
- Life in Nazi-controlled Europe
- What were camps?
- What was the Final Solution?
- How did people respond?
- Survival and legacy
In 1516 the authorities in Venice decided to force the Jews to live in just one area of the town. They built a wall round the area and only permitted the Jews to come and go at particular times; and they locked them in at night. This area was known as the ghetto, and that word came to define the enclosed Jewish areas which became increasingly popular amongst rulers around Europe.
In the late 18th and during the 19th century, some countries in western and central Europe became more liberal and tolerant. Laws and rules against Jews started to be relaxed, until finally the Jews were emancipated and could play a full part in society.
Emancipation gave Jews the freedom to live where they wanted, to go to school and university and enter any trade or profession. At last able to study and work hard, some become very successful in the new technologies, banking, business and industry.
By the middle of the 19th century, nationalism became an important idea in many European countries. Some extreme nationalists thought you could only be part of a nation if you came from the same racial group. Despite the fact that Jews now saw themselves as citizens of the countries in which they lived, many people still regarded them as different; they remembered the old prejudices and hatred.
These ideas of race reached their peak under the Nazis. They believed that the Jews were a separate race at war with the Aryans. These views were part of the explanation for the murder of 6,000,000 Jews.