While we learn about the Holocaust and the horrors of the Nazi regime as schoolchildren, it's hard to truly understand the Third Reich's evil quest to create a "master race."
These photos from the time period offer a glimpse into the disturbing realities of life under Adolf Hitler's regime.
Warning: Some of the photos in this story are disturbing.
1. The rubble of WW1
During the chaos of the first World War, Germany lost as much as 4% of its population, or 2.8 million people. As the country came to grips with its new reality, the Treaty of Versailles that ended the war had a devastating effect on the country's economy
As inflation and unemployment surged, Germans looked for a scapegoat for the country's humiliating loss. Conspiracy theories about Jews, and racist pseudosciences gained popularity.
2. The origin of an evil idea
Ideas about the superiority of one race over another were already popular throughout Europe. Many believed in fake sciences like phrenology - studying skull shapes - which claimed to reveal a person's racial background.
Writers like the French novelist Arthur de Gobineau used the name "Aryans" to mean a race of Germans who they argued were superior to all other races. German writers quickly took hold of the idea, including Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf.