is the Holocaust?
The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazi
regime during World War 2. In 1933 approximately nine million Jews lived in the
21 countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945
two out of every three European Jews had been killed. The European Jews were the
primary victims of the Holocaust.
But Jews were not the only group singled out for persecution by Hitler’s Nazi
regime. As many as one-half million Gypsies, at least 250,000 mentally or
physically disabled persons, and more than three million Soviet prisoners-of-war
also fell victim to Nazi genocide. Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social
Democrats, Communists, partisans, trade unionists, Polish intelligentsia and
other undesirables were also victims of the hate and aggression carried
out by the Nazis.
How many Jews were murdered
during the Holocaust?
While it is impossible to ascertain the exact number of Jewish victims,
statistics indicate that the total was over 5,830,000. Six million is the round
figure accepted by most authorities.
What does Final Solution
The term Final Solution (Die Endlosung) refers to the Germans’ plan to
physically liquidate all Jews in Europe. The term was used at the Wannsee
Conference held in Berlin on January 20, 1942, where German officials discussed
How many children were
murdered during the Holocaust?
The number of children killed during the Holocaust is not fathomable and full
statistics for the tragic fate of children who died will never be known. Some
estimates range as high as 1.5 million murdered children. This figure includes
more than 1.2 million Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children and
thousands of institutionalized handicapped children who were murdered under Nazi
rule in Germany and occupied Europe.
Why did Hitler hate the Jews?
Holocaust happened because Hitler and the Nazis were racist. They believed the
German people were a 'master race', who were superior to others. They even
created a league table of 'races' with the Aryans at the top and with Jews, Gypsies
and black people at the bottom. These 'inferior' people were seen as a threat to
the purity and strength of the German nation. When the Nazis came to power they
persecuted these people, took away their human rights and eventually decided
that they should be exterminated.
How did the Nazis
carry our their policy of genocide?
In the late 1930's the Nazis killed thousands of handicapped Germans by lethal
injection and poisonous gas. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in
June 1941, mobile killing units following in the wake of the German Army began
shooting massive numbers of Jews and Gypsies in open fields and ravines on the
outskirts of conquered cities and towns.
Eventually the Nazis created a more secluded and organized method of killing.
Six extermination centers were established in occupied Poland where large-scale
murder by gas and body disposal through cremation were conducted systematically.
Victims were deported to these centers from Western Europe and from the ghettos
in Eastern Europe which the Nazis had established. In addition, millions died in
the ghettos and concentration camps as a result of forced labor, starvation,
exposure, brutality, disease, and execution.
When was the first
concentration camp established?
Dachau was the first concentration camp established and was opened on March 22,
1933. The camp's first inmates were primarily political prisoners (Communists or
Social Democrats), habitual criminals, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and anti-socials
(beggars, vagrants, hawkers). Others considered problematic by the Nazis were
also included (Jewish writers and journalists, lawyers, unpopular
What is a death camp? How many? Where?
A death camp camp is a concentration camp with special apparatus especially
designed for mass murder. Six such camps existed: Auschwitz-Birkenau,
All were located in Poland.
What was Auschwitz-Birkenau?
Auschwitz-Birkenau became the killing centre where the largest numbers of
European Jews were killed. After an experimental gassing there in September 1941
of 850 malnourished and ill prisoners, mass murder became a daily routine.
By mid 1942, mass gassing of Jews using Zyklon-B began at Auschwitz, where
extermination was conducted on an industrial scale with some estimates running
as high as three million persons eventually killed through gassing, starvation,
disease, shooting, and burning.
Did the Jews resist?
Many Jews simply could not believe that Hitler really meant to kill them all.
But once the Nazis had complete control and the Jews were being relocated to
ghettos, rations were reduced, conditions were horrible and the Jews did
not have the strength, physically, emotionally, or militarily, to resist. There
were uprisings in the camps, but it was incredibly difficult and rarely
Elie Wiesel put it this way: "The question is not why all the Jews did
not fight, but how so many of them did. Tormented, beaten, starved, where did
they find the strength - spiritual and physical - to resist?" Those
attempting to resist faced almost impossible odds.
Gerald L. Posner and John Ware: Mengele
Robert Jay Lifton: The Nazi Doctors
Hermann Langbein: Menschen in Auschwitz
Thomas (Toivi) Blatt:
Sobibor - The forgotten Revolt
Micah Killian- The
Forgotten Revolt (Selected Material)
Sir Martin Gilbert:
The Holocaust - The Jewish Tragedy
Louis L. Snyder:
Encyclopedia of the Third Reich
Richard Rashke: Escape from Sobibor
University of Illinois Press, 1982, 1995
Dr. Stuart D. Stein
Genocide Documentation Centre
To Sobibor and Back: An Eyewitness Account
Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka -
the Operation Reinhard Death Camps,
Indiana University Press, 1987.
Teachers Guide to the Holocaust
Simon Wiesenthal Center
The Nizkor Project
The History Place
German Crimes in Poland. Volume I., Warsaw, 1946