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 its implementation.
How many children were murdered
during the Holocaust?
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
How 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,
When was the first concentration
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
industrialists, and political
What is a death camp? How many?
A 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.
What was 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 successful. 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.