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.
many Jews were murdered?
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.
many children were murdered?
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.
did Hitler hate the Jews?
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.
did the Nazis carry our their policy of genocide?
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.
was the first concentration camp established?
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 industrialists, and political
is a death camp? How many? Where?
death camp camp is a concentration camp with special apparatus especially
designed for mass murder. Six such camps existed: Auschwitz-Birkenau,
Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Tremblinka.
All were located in Poland.
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.
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Rickey Rogers, Reuters News Pictures Service
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center
AP Photo/Diether Endlicher
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Yorker, March 14, 1995 Holocaust Testimonies,
edited by Joseph J. Preil. The Holocaust Resource Foundation for Kean
University 2001. Rutgers University Press. Law-Reports of Trials of War Criminals, The United Nations
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