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Ghettos were areas of towns or cities that were used to segregate the Jewish community. Started in Venice, Italy in the early 1500s, these areas were sometimes closed so that inhabitants could not leave. During the Holocaust, the conditions within the ghettos were harsh and degrading, and included overcrowding, limited food and medicine, poor sanitation and hygiene, and forced labour; this resulted in high rates of disease, malnutrition and death.