I have chosen to begin this timeline with the joining of Adolf Hitler and a tiny political party that would soon become the Nazi Party. While the Holocaust – which is to say the systematic vilification, dehumanization and exclusion, first in German society, then later in the conquered territories and culminating with the production line murders – would not officially get underway until after Hitler's January 30, 1933 appointment as Reich Chancellor, his pathological hatred of and general intentions for Jews were evident as early as 1919 and was a major 'plank' in Hitler's political platform from the start. I think, however, that it would be more accurate to place the true origins of the Holocaust in the preceding hundreds of years of often brutal and murderous anti-Semitism throughout Europe, condoned or promoted by the Christian churches and exploited by rulers, churchmen, politicians and the common masses.
"Nazi anti-Judaism was the work of godless, anti-Christian criminals. But it would not have been possible without the almost two thousand years' pre-history of 'Christian' anti-Judaism..." Hans Küng, On Being a Christian, 1977.
"The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows, seven times higher than ordinary thieves." Martin Luther, The Jews and Their Lies, 1543.
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