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The Holocaust is the name applied to the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of various ethnic, religious, and political groups during World War II (WWII) by Nazi Germany and collaborators. The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question." The widely-used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million. Considerable effort was expended over the course of the Holocaust to find increasingly efficient means of killing large numbers of people in the death camps; for example, by switching from carbon monoxide poisoning in the crematoriums to the use of Zyklon B gas. This is a key to one of those crematoriums, brought back from Dietz, Germany by the liberating American forces. The young soldier who took the key locked the door, in the fervent hope that the death chamber could never be used again. The key is held by the Pichette family of Ashfield, Massachusetts, as a symbol of the important accomplishments by WWII American soldiers.


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Crematory Key

date   c. 1940
process/materials   metal
accession #   #M.36

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See Also...

Trench Art

German Bayonet

German Prisoners, Lyons, France

"Americans With The Wrong Ancestors"

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