A section of a town where Jews were forced to live in crowded, squalid conditions
A ghetto is a part of a city in which members of a minority group live, especially as a result of political, social, legal, environmental or economic pressure. Ghettos are often known for being more impoverished than other areas of the city. Versions of such restricted areas have been found across the world, each with their own names, classifications, and groupings of people.
The term was originally used for the Venetian Ghetto in Venice, Italy, as early as 1516, to describe the part of the city where Jewish people were restricted to live and thus segregated from other people. However, other early societies may have formed their own versions of the same structure; words resembling ghetto in meaning appear in Hebrew, Yiddish, Italian, Germanic, Old French, and Latin. During the Holocaust, more than 1,000 Nazi ghettos were established to hold the Jewish populations of Europe, with the goal of exploiting and killing European Jews as part of the Final Solution of Nazi Germany.
The term ghetto acquired deep cultural meaning in the United States, especially in the context of segregation and civil rights. It has been widely used in the country since the 20th century to refer to poor neighborhoods of largely minority populations. It is also used in some European countries, such as Romania and Slovenia, to refer to poor neighborhoods.