The purpose of this guide is to suggest resources for study of the Holocaust (1933-1945) and other instances of genocide. These instances are not intended as an exhaustive list, but rather as a selection of some of the most prominent such chapters in modern history. The resources include books, databases, online encyclopedias, documentary videos, and links to relevant commemorative and educational institutions.
Throughout this guide, key terms and names have been bolded; these are suggested search terms.
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Genocide refers to the deliberate destruction of a people, tribe, culture, religious group, or societal class. It has been practiced in various forms since ancient times. The term itself is of modern origin, however; it was coined by lawyer Raphael Lemkin in 1943 from the elements genos (Greek for tribe or family) and cide (Latin for killing). It entered the legal lexicon in 1948 when the United Nations established it as an international crime ("What is Genocide?" Holocaust Encyclopedia).
Cultural genocide refers to the destruction or repression of a group's heritage, language, recorded memory, customs, religious practices, and intellectual/artistic/spiritual leaders, with or without the destruction of the group's members themselves. Examples may include the practices of the Canadian Aboriginal residential school system, which forced young First Nations children to use European languages and often kept them apart from their families in an effort to stamp out First Nations culture. As Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada states, the goal of cultural genocide "is the destruction of those structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group" (p. 1).
Ethnic cleansing is a term often used synonymously with genocide; it applies to efforts to create ethnically homogeneous lands or states by expelling or destroying minority populations ("Ethnic cleansing," Encyclopedia Britannica).