Capitalization of "Holocaust"

Question:

Under what circumstances should the "h" of "Holocaust" be capitalised? That's all. I'm having an argument with a newspaper editor, I think it is The Holocaust (to 1945) A holocaust (any other mass killing).

Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:

Thank you for your query.

I am one of the volunteers in the Holocaust History Project that responds to questions from our readers. It is possible that my colleagues will also wish to respond.

When in doubt, I always refer to one of the many excellent Oxford dictionaries. In this case I refer to:

The Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary
Judy Pearsall and Bill Trumble, Editors
c. 1991, 1995 - Oxford University Press
ISBN 0-19-5211588

pp. 674-675

"holocaust - A case of large-scale destructionor slaughter, esp. by fire or nuclear war. [...]

"Holocaust - the mass murder of the Jews (and other groups such as gypsies and homosexuals) under the German Nazi regime.[...]"

If Oxford hasn't got it right, then who has?

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE

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