The Holocaust

The Holocaust

The Holocaust was the mass murder of six million Jews during the Nazi regime. Hitler ordered the deaths of seven out of 10 Jews living in Europe from 1933 to 1945. Jews were subjected to increasingly harsher persecution that ultimately led to the creation of concentrations camps, known as “death camps”.

Hitler planned to annihilate the entire Jewish population of Europe, a plan he named the “Final Solution”.

By the end of 1934, Hitler had absolute control over Germany and his plan to rid Europe of Jews was in full swing. He used propaganda to characterise the Jewish population as evil and “sub-human”. The Nazis blamed the Jews for the weaknesses in the economy and German culture. This was racial anti-Semitism.

Jews under the Nazi Regime
Jews under the Nazi Regime

Hitler began to oppress the Jewish population with legislation and organised terror. He ordered the burning of books written by Jews, confiscated businesses and property owned by Jews and eventually forced them to live together in ghettos. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 formed the legal basis for these actions.

The Final Solution came largely out of the infamous Wannsee Conference in 1942. This determined that all the Jews in Europe should be rounded up, sent to concentration camps and then murdered. Soon after this work began on creating the transport links and gas chamber facilities to make this feasible.

Among the most notorious concentration camps used are: Sobibor, Belzec, Treblinka, and, the best known of all, was Auschwitz-Birkenau. Not just Jews but also gypsies, Eastern Europeans, homosexuals and people with physical or mental handicaps were murdered at these camps.

Exactly how many people died in the Holocaust has been a subject for debate in recent years; while it was accepted for many years that six million Jews were murdered, recent evidence suggests the figure could even be as high as eight million. Mass graves of the Jews killed by the SS are still being found today, while the gypsy community in Europe states that half of their entire population were murdered.

The Nazis destroyed many of the records about what happened in the concentration camps when it became evident that they were going to lose the war, which makes it difficult to know the true scale of the death. But below are figures of how many Jews believed to have died in the Holocaust (however, this does not include the gypsies, disabled people and POWs who were also killed in the camps):

Deaths of Jews in the Holocaust

Poland 3,000,000 90% of all Jews there
Germany 210,000 90% of all Jews there
Czech 155,000 86% of all Jews there
Holland 105,000 75% of all Jews there
Hungary 450,000 70% of all Jews there
Ukraine 900,000 60% of all Jews there
Romania 300,000 50% of all Jews there
Russia 107,000 11% of all Jews there

This figure doesn’t include groups such as gypsies and the disabled who were killed in the death camps.

MLA Citation/Reference

"The Holocaust". 2015. Web.