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Anti-semitism : hostility towards Jews. Anti-semitism is as old as Christian civilization. Jews were despised because, according to Christian belief, they had rejected Christ and continued to practice a religion that was not the true one. During the nineteenth century anti-semitism became racial rather than religious. Jews were persecuted for being Jews, not for practising a particular religion. Anti-semitism was found throughout nineteenth century Europe, particularly in Russia, Germany, and France. Russian anti-semitism reached a peak in the period 1905-09, with an estimated 50,000 victims. But anti-Semitism reached its peak in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Jews were held to be inferior to what Nazis described as the Aryan master race. Jews were held as the scapegoat for all the ills suffered by the Germans. They were deprived of all their civil rights, banned from trades and professions; their property was confiscated. The persecution culminated in Adolf Hitler's "final solution," which was the attempted destruction of the entire Jewish race. Six million Jews were slaughtered in concentration camps during World War II. This was more than one-third of the Jewish population of the world. After the war anti-Semitism continued in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, although not with anything like the intensity that it had had in Nazi Germany.