How the Shoah Foundation Works


Each year on April 24, people all around the globe take time to commemorate the loss of 1.5 million Armenian lives. The mass killings, which took place from 1915 to 1916, claimed the lives of well over half the Armenian population within the Ottoman Empire.


In 1933 there were over 9 million Jewish people living in Europe. At the end of World War II, only one third of the Jewish population in Europe remained. During the Holocaust, approximately 6 million Jews were murdered alongside hundreds of thousands of other targeted people, including certain persons of Slavic descent, persons with mental and physical disabilities, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah's Witnesses, political prisoners and homosexuals.

In an attempt to prevent any future occurrence of atrocities like these, the United Nations developed the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." Approved in December 1948 and entered into force in January 1951, the convention defines the term genocide as "the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." To most of us, that a group of people could deliberately be singled out and systematically murdered is too gruesome to consider. But it has happened, and it may be happening right now.