Holocaust Facts

Holocaust Facts

The term "Holocaust," comes originally from the Greek word "holokauston" which means "sacrifice by fire". Today, the Holocaust refers to the Nazi's persecution and planned slaughter of the Jewish people. See the fact file below for more information and facts about the Holocaust.

The most fitting tribute we can pay the victims of the Holocaust is to NEVER let the world forget that it happened.

  • On April 1, 1933, the Nazis began their action against German Jews by announcing a boycott of all Jewish-run businesses.
  • The Holocaust began in 1933, when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany and ended in 1945, when the Nazis were
    defeated by the Allied powers.
  • There were many countries that made up the Allied powers. Great Britain, France, China, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Greece, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, and Yugoslavia worked together to defeat the Axis powers. Russia and the United States joined the efforts later in the war. In all, more than 50 countries took part in the war, and the whole world felt its effects. Men fought in almost every part of the world, on every continent except Antarctica. Chief battlegrounds included Asia, Europe, North Africa, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Germany, Japan and Italy were the three main Axis powers.
  • In addition to Jews, the Nazis targeted many other groups of people. People of different ethic and religious backgrounds were at risk as were people who were handicapped or homosexual. Anyone who resisted the Nazis was sent to forced labor camps or murdered. It is estimated that 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust. Six million of these were Jews. The Nazis killed approximately two-thirds of all Jews living in Europe. An estimated 1.1 million children were murdered in the Holocaust.
  • Although many people refer to all Nazi camps as “concentration camps,” there were actually a number of different kinds of camps, including concentration camps, extermination camps, labor camps, prisoner-of-war camps, and transit camps. One of the first concentration camps was Dachau, which opened on March 20, 1933.
  • Life within Nazi camps was horrible. Prisoners were forced to do hard physical labor and given very little food. The food the prisoners did receive was not nutritious or sanitary in most circumstances. Prisoners slept with three or more people on a crowded wooden bunk that had no mattress or pillow. Torture within the concentration camps was common and deaths were frequent. At a number of Nazi concentration camps, Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on prisoners against their will. While concentration camps were meant to work and starve prisoners to death, extermination camps (also known as death camps) were built for the sole purpose of killing large groups of people quickly and efficiently.
  • The Nazis built six extermination camps: Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz, and Majdanek. Auschwitz and
    Majdanek were both concentration and extermination camps. Auschwitz was the largest concentration and extermination camp built. It is estimated that 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz.
  • After World War II started in 1939, the Nazis began ordering Jews to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing so they could be easily recognized and targeted. All Jews were forced to live within certain areas of big cities called ghettos.
  • Jews were forced out of their homes and moved into smaller apartments, often shared with other families. The largest ghetto was in Warsaw, with its highest population reaching 445,000 in March 1941.
  • World War II ended in 1945, with the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers. On May 8, 1945, the Allies accepted Germany’s surrender, about a week after Adolf Hitler had committed suicide.

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