The word holocaust literally means massive destruction by fire. The term has come to refer to a specific event in twentieth century history: the Nazis' planned extermination of millions of European Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, political opponents, the mentally ill, and other so-called “undesireables.” You might start by finding an entry in a good print encyclopedia or by reading a short, general book on the topic. This will give you an overview and help you to refine your search. 

Check out the Starting your research project page before you start! The amount of information on the Holocaust can be overwhelming and the topic itself can be exhausting. Try to come up with a specific focus for your research. 

Some suggestions are:
Kristallnacht--night of the broken glass
Olympics of 1936
Stolen art
Voices of the Holocaust -- read some of the many published first-person accounts.

You should also check the  World War II topic guide, too.

We can't fit every resource about the Holocaust on to this list! A topic guide is just the beginning of building your bibliography.

Reference materials

This is the place to start any research project. Reference books offer short, authoritative information on every topic. These books must be used in the library. Most contain bibliographies of important books on your topic. A good first stop would be any of the standard print encyclopedias in the Beaver collection: Encyclopedia Americana, World Book or Britannica.


Gale Group. (2001). History behind the headlines : the origins of conflicts worldwide. REF 909 H62 2001
Gilbert, Martin. (1993). Atlas of the Holocaust. REF 940.53 GILBERT
Gutman, Israel. (1990). Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. REF 940.53 En1 1990


Britannica Online Great for pre-search and primary sources, including speeches, essays, biographies, editorials and photos.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
General Reference Center Gold
Routledge Reference Resources


Books about the Holocaust will usually be found around 940.53. Use the subject heading Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) when searching the library catalog. Books on anti-Semitism will be found in the 300s. Biographies can be found at 921, listed alphabetically by the subject's last name (for example, a biography of Oskar Schindler would carry the call number: 921 Schindler).

Bodden, Valerie. (2008). The Holocaust. 940.53 B63 2008 48 pages.
Steinbacher, Sybille. (2005). Auschwitz : a history. 940.53 St3 2005 167 pages.
Weiss, John. (2003). The politics of hate : anti-Semitism, history, and the Holocaust in modern Europe. 305.892 W43 2003 245 pages.
Zapruder, Alexandra. (2001). Salvaged pages : young writers' diaries of the Holocaust. 940.53 Sa3 2001 481 pages. Primary sources!


For these Gale Group Resources, use the subject term: Holocaust, 1933-1945. You can also search for more specific topics: try Holocaust Survivors or Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in Literature
Academic OneFile
Expanded Academic ASAP
General OneFile
Student Edition
Biography Resource Center For information on famous people associated with WWII. Search by the person's last name.
SIRS Copy this subject heading: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) and paste it into the search field. You also try more specific subject headings, such as Jewish children in the Holocaust
Facts on File For pre-search, biographies, primary sources and images.

Internet sites

Holocaust History Project A free archive of documents, photographs, recordings, and essays regarding the Holocaust, including direct refutation of Holocaust-denial.
Holocaust pathfinder Developed by students at the University of Oklahoma. You can reach many excellent articles, books, websites and timelines through this pathfinder. Note: you may not be able to access some of the subscription databases.
The Jewish Virtual Library This site is a massive encyclopedia on every aspect of Jewish life. A section on the Holocaust covers many topics. This is a good site for narrowing your topic.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Look under the Education section and find the For Students tab. Also, look at the drop-down menus Research (for archival materials) and History

BPL: Electronic Resources

CAS/PAIS International
Credo Reference

Updated, 9-09