The Holocaust

The Holocaust
The Holocaust
Historians use the proper noun,The Holocaust (from the Greek ὁλόκαυστος holókaustos: hólos, "whole" and
kaustós, "burnt")[1] also known as the Shoah (Hebrew: ‫השואה‬, HaShoah, "catastrophe"; Yiddish: ‫חורבן‬, Churben
or Hurban, from the Hebrew for "destruction"), was the mass murder or genocide of approximately six million
European Jews during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Germany, led by Adolf
Hitler and the Nazi Party, throughout German-occupied territory.[2][3] Of the nine million Jews who had resided in
Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed.[4] In particular, over one million Jewish children
were killed in the Holocaust, as were approximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men.[5][6]
A few scholars would argue the mass murders of the Romani and people with disabilities should be included in the
Some scholars use the common noun "holocaust" to describe other Nazi mass murders, for example Soviet prisoners
of war, Polish and Soviet civilians, and homosexuals.[9][10] Recent estimates based on figures obtained since the fall
of the Soviet Union indicates some ten to 11 million civilians and prisoners of war were intentionally murdered by
the Nazi regime.[11][12]
The persecution and genocide were carried out in stages. Various laws to remove the Jews from civil society, most
prominently the Nuremberg Laws, were enacted in Germany years before the outbreak of World War II.
Concentration camps were established in which inmates were subjected to slave labor until they died of exhaustion
or disease. Where Germany conquered new territory in eastern Europe, specialized units called Einsatzgruppen
murdered Jews and political opponents in mass shootings. The occupiers required Jews and Romani to be confined
in overcrowded ghettos before being transported by freight train to extermination camps where, if they survived the
journey, most were systematically killed in gas chambers.
Every arm of Germany's bureaucracy was involved in the logistics that led to the genocides, turning the Third Reich
into what one Holocaust scholar has called "a genocidal state".[13]
Etymology and use of the term
The term holocaust comes from the Greek word holókauston, an animal sacrifice offered to a god in which the whole
(olos) animal is completely burnt (kaustos).[14] For hundreds of years, the word "holocaust" was used in English to
denote great massacres, but since the 1960s, the term has come to be used by scholars and popular writers to refer to
the genocide of Jews.[15] The mini-series Holocaust is credited with introducing the term into common parlance after
The biblical word Shoah (‫( )שואה‬also spelled Sho'ah and Shoa), meaning "calamity", became the standard Hebrew
term for the Holocaust as early as the 1940s, especially in Europe and Israel.[17] Shoah is preferred by many Jews for
a number of reasons, including the theologically offensive nature of the word "holocaust", which they take to refer to
the Greek pagan custom.[18]
The Nazis used a euphemistic phrase, the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" (German: Endlösung der
Judenfrage), and the phrase "Final Solution" has been widely used as a term for the genocide of the Jews
subsequently. Nazis also used the phrase "lebensunwertes Leben" (Life unworthy of life) in an attempt to justify the
The Holocaust
Distinctive features
Institutional collaboration
Michael Berenbaum writes that
Germany became a "genocidal
state."[13] "Every arm of the country's
involved in the killing process. Parish
churches and the Interior Ministry
supplied birth records showing who
was Jewish; the Post Office delivered
the deportation and denaturalization
confiscated Jewish property; German
firms fired Jewish workers and
disenfranchised Jewish stockholders."
The universities refused to admit Jews,
denied degrees to those already
studying, and fired Jewish academics;
government transport offices arranged
Ghettos were established in Europe in which Jews were confined before being shipped to
the trains for deportation to the camps;
extermination camps.
German pharmaceutical companies
tested drugs on camp prisoners;
companies bid for the contracts to build the crematoria; detailed lists of victims were drawn up using the Dehomag
(IBM Germany) company's punch card machines, producing meticulous records of the killings. As prisoners entered
the death camps, they were made to surrender all personal property, which was carefully catalogued and tagged
before being sent to Germany to be reused or recycled. Berenbaum writes that the Final Solution of the Jewish
question was "in the eyes of the perpetrators ... Germany's greatest achievement."[19] Through a concealed account,
the German national bank helped launder valuables stolen from the victims.
Saul Friedländer writes that: "Not one social group, not one religious community, not one scholarly institution or
professional association in Germany and throughout Europe declared its solidarity with the Jews."[20] He writes that
some Christian churches declared that converted Jews should be regarded as part of the flock, but even then only up
to a point.
Friedländer argues that this makes the Holocaust distinctive because antisemitic policies were able to unfold without
the interference of countervailing forces of the kind normally found in advanced societies, such as industry, small
businesses, churches, and other vested interests and lobby groups.[20]
Ideology and scale
In other genocides, pragmatic considerations such as control of territory and resources were central to the genocide
policy. Yehuda Bauer argues that:
The basic motivation [of the Holocaust] was purely ideological, rooted in an illusionary world of Nazi
imagination, where an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world was opposed to a parallel Aryan
quest. No genocide to date had been based so completely on myths, on hallucinations, on abstract,
nonpragmatic ideology—which was then executed by very rational, pragmatic means.[21]
German historian Eberhard Jäckel wrote in 1986 that one distinctive feature of the Holocaust was that
The Holocaust
never before had a state with the authority of its responsible leader decided and announced that a specific
human group, including its aged, its women and its children and infants, would be killed as quickly as
possible, and then carried through this resolution using every possible means of state power.[22]
The slaughter was systematically conducted in virtually all areas of Nazi-occupied territory in what are now 35
separate European countries.[23] It was at its most severe in Central and Eastern Europe, which had more than seven
million Jews in 1939. About five million Jews were killed there, including three million in occupied Poland and over
one million in the Soviet Union. Hundreds of thousands also died in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Yugoslavia
and Greece. The Wannsee Protocol makes it clear that the Nazis intended to carry their "final solution of the Jewish
question" to Britain and all the other neutral states in Europe, such as Ireland, Switzerland, Turkey, Sweden, Portugal
and Spain.[24]
Anyone with three or four Jewish grandparents was to be exterminated without exception. In other genocides, people
were able to escape death by converting to another religion or in some other way assimilating. This option was not
available to the Jews of occupied Europe,[25] unless their grandparents had converted before January 18, 1871. All
persons of recent Jewish ancestry were to be exterminated in lands controlled by Germany.[26]
Extermination camps
The use of camps equipped with gas chambers for the purpose of systematic mass extermination of peoples was a
unique feature of the Holocaust and unprecedented in history. Never before in history had there existed places with
the express purpose of killing people en masse. These were established at Auschwitz, Belzec, Chełmno, Jasenovac,
Majdanek, Maly Trostenets, Sobibor, and Treblinka.
Medical experiments
Further information: Nazi human experimentation
Another distinctive feature of Nazi genocide was the extensive use of human subjects in "medical" experiments.
"German physicians were highly Nazified, compared to other professionals, in terms of party membership,"[27] and
some even carried out experiments at Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Ravensbrück, Sachsenhausen and
Natzweiler concentration camps.[28]
The most notorious of these physicians was Dr. Josef Mengele, who worked in Auschwitz. His experiments included
placing subjects in pressure chambers, testing drugs on them, freezing them, attempting to change eye color by
injecting chemicals into children's eyes and various amputations and other brutal surgeries.[28] The full extent of his
work will never be known because the truckload of records he sent to Dr. Otmar von Verschuer at the Kaiser
Wilhelm Institute was destroyed by von Verschuer.[29] Subjects who survived Mengele's experiments were almost
always killed and dissected shortly afterwards.
He seemed particularly keen on working with Romani children. He would bring them sweets and toys, and
personally take them to the gas chamber. They would call him "Onkel Mengele".[30] Vera Alexander was a Jewish
inmate at Auschwitz who looked after 50 sets of Romani twins:
I remember one set of twins in particular: Guido and Ina, aged about four. One day, Mengele took them away.
When they returned, they were in a terrible state: they had been sewn together, back to back, like Siamese
twins. Their wounds were infected and oozing pus. They screamed day and night. Then their parents – I
remember the mother's name was Stella – managed to get some morphine and they killed the children in order
to end their suffering.[30]
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Development and execution
Yehuda Bauer, Raul Hilberg and Lucy Dawidowicz maintained that
from the Middle Ages onward, German society and culture were
suffused with antisemitism, and that there was a direct link from
medieval pogroms to the Nazi death camps.[32][33][34]
The second half of the 19th century saw the emergence in Germany
and Austria-Hungary of the so-called Völkisch movement, which was
developed by such thinkers as Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Paul
de Lagarde, presented a pseudo-scientific, biologically-based racism
At 10 a.m. on April 1, 1933, members of the
that saw Jews as a "race" locked into mortal combat with the "Aryan"
Sturmabteilung moved into place all over
Germany, positioning themselves outside
race for world domination.[35] Völkisch antisemitism, though drawing
Jewish-owned businesses to deter customers.
upon stereotypes from Christian antisemitism, differed from the latter
These stormtroopers are outside Israel's
in that Jews were considered to be a "race" rather than a religion.[36] In
Department Store in Berlin. The signs read:
1895, one of the völkisch leaders, Hermann Ahlwardt, in a speech
"Germans! Defend yourselves! Don't buy from
Jews." ("Deutsche! Wehrt Euch! Kauft nicht bei
before the Reichstag, called Jews "predators" and "cholera bacilli" who
The store was ransacked during
should be "exterminated" for the good of the German people.[37] In his
Kristallnacht in 1938, then handed over to a
best-selling 1912 book Wenn ich der Kaiser wär (If I were the Kaiser),
non-Jewish family.
Heinrich Class, the leader of one of the more powerful völkisch groups,
the Alldeutscher Verband, urged that all German Jews be stripped of their German citizenship and be reduced to
Fremdenrecht (alien status).[38] Class also urged that Jews be excluded from all aspects of German life, forbidden to
own land, hold public office, or participate in journalism, banking, and the liberal professions.[38] Class defined a
Jew as anyone who was a member of the Jewish religion on the day the German Empire was proclaimed in 1871, or
anyone with at least one such person as a grandparent.[38] During the German Empire, völkisch notions and
"scientific" racism had become very common and accepted in many quarters in Germany,[39] with the educated
professional classes of the country, in particular, adopting an ideology of human inequality.[40] Though the völkisch
parties suffered a crushing defeat in the 1912 Reichstag elections, being all but wiped out, this had less to do with the
unpopularity of their antisemitism than the way the mainstream German parties had incorporated it into their own
platforms—which helps to explain why Nazi antisemitism created so little opposition during the Weimar
Republic.[39] The National Socialist German Workers' Party was founded in 1919 as an offshoot of the völkisch
movement, and adopted their antisemitism.[41] In a 1986 essay, the German historian Hans Mommsen wrote about
the situation in post–World War I Germany that:
If one emphasizes the indisputably important connection in isolation, one should not then force a connection
with Hitler's weltanschauung [worldview], which was in no ways original itself, in order to deprive from it the
existence of Auschwitz ... Thoughts about the extermination of the Jews had long been current, and not only
for Hitler and his satraps. Many of these found their way to the NSDAP from the Deutschvölkisch Schutz-und
Trutzbund [German Racial Union for Protection and Defiance], which itself had been called into life by the
Pan-German Union.[42]
The tremendous scientific and technological changes in Germany of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, together
with the growth of the welfare state, created widespread hopes that "utopia" was at hand and that soon all social
problems could be solved.[43] At the same time, owing to the great prestige of science, a scientific racist, social
Darwinist and eugenicist world-view which declared some people to be more biologically "valuable" than others was
common amongst German elites.[44] The historian Detlev Peukert in his 1989 essay "The Genesis of the 'Final
Solution' from the Spirit of Science" declared that the Shoah was not the result solely of antisemitism, but was
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instead a product of the "cumulative radicalization" in which "numerous smaller currents" fed into the "broad
current" that led to genocide.[45] After the First World War, the pre-war mood of optimism gave way to
disillusionment as German bureaucrats found social problems to be more insoluble than previously thought, which in
turn led them to place increasing emphasis on saving the biologically "fit" while the biologically "unfit" were to be
written off.[46] The economic strains caused by the Great Depression had led to many in the German medical
establishment to advocate with increasing vigor the idea of selective killings of the "incurable" mentally and
physically disabled as a cost-saving measure in order to free up money to care for the curable.[47] Thus by the time
the Nazis had come to power in 1933, a huge boost was given to the already existing tendency in German social
policy to save the racially "valuable" while seeking to rid society of the racially "undesirable".[48]
The persecution and exodus of Germany's 525,000 Jews began almost as soon as the Nazis came to power on
January 30, 1933. In Mein Kampf, Hitler had been open about his hatred of Jews, and gave ample warning of his
intention to drive them from Germany's political, intellectual, and cultural life. He did not write that he would
attempt to exterminate them, but he is reported to have been more explicit in private. As early as 1922, he allegedly
told Major Joseph Hell, at the time a journalist:
Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews. As soon as I have
the power to do so, I will have gallows built in rows – at the Marienplatz in Munich, for example – as many as
traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged indiscriminately, and they will remain hanging until they stink;
they will hang there as long as the principles of hygiene permit. As soon as they have been untied, the next
batch will be strung up, and so on down the line, until the last Jew in Munich has been exterminated. Other
cities will follow suit, precisely in this fashion, until all Germany has been completely cleansed of Jews.[49]
The German historian Hans Mommsen claimed that there were three types of antisemitism in Germany:
One should differentiate between the cultural antisemitism symptomatic of the German conservatives — found
especially in the German officer corps and the high civil administration — and mainly directed against the
Eastern Jews on the one hand, and völkisch antisemitism on the other. The conservative variety functions, as
Shulamit Volkov has pointed out, as something of a "cultural code." This variety of German antisemitism later
on played a significant role insofar as it prevented the functional elite from distancing itself from the
repercussions of racial antisemitism. Thus, there was almost no relevant protest against the Jewish persecution
on the part of the generals or the leading groups within the Reich government. This is especially true with
respect to Hitler's proclamation of the "racial annihilation war" against the Soviet Union.
Besides conservative antisemitism, there existed in Germany a rather silent anti-Judaism within the Catholic
Church, which had a certain impact on immunising the Catholic population against the escalating persecution.
The famous protest of the Catholic Church against the euthanasia program was, therefore, not accompanied by
any protest against the Holocaust.
The third and most vitriolic variety of antisemitism in Germany (and elsewhere) is the so-called völkisch
antisemitism or racism, and this is the foremost advocate of using violence. Anyhow, one has to be aware that
even Hitler until 1938 and possibly 1939 still relied on enforced emigration to get rid of German Jewry; and
there did not yet exist any clear-cut concept of killing them. This, however, does not mean that the Nazis
elsewhere on all levels did not hesitate to use violent methods, and the inroads against Jews, Jewish shops, and
institutions show that very clearly. But there did not exist any formal annihilation program until the second
year of the war. It came into being after the "reservation" projects had failed. That, however, does not mean
that those methods did not include a lethal component.[50]
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Legal repression and emigration
Further information: Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany, Racial policy of Nazi Germany, Nuremberg
Laws, and Haavara Agreement
Right from the beginning of the Third Reich, Nazi leaders had proclaimed the existence of a Volksgemeinschaft
(People's Community). Nazi policies divided the population into two categories, the Volksgenossen ("National
Comrades") who belonged to the Volksgemeinschaft and the Gemeinschaftsfremde ("Community Aliens") who did
not. Nazi policies about repression divided into three types of enemies, the "racial" enemies such as the Jews and the
Gypsies who were viewed as enemies because of their "blood"; political opponents such as Marxists, liberals,
Christians and the "reactionaries" who were viewed as wayward "National Comrades"; and moral opponents such as
homosexuals, the "work-shy" and habitual criminals, also seen as wayward "National Comrades".[51] The last two
groups were to be sent to concentration camps for "re-education", with the aim of eventual absorption into the
Volksgemeinschaft, though some of the moral opponents were to be sterilized as they were regarded as "genetically
inferior".[51] "Racial" enemies such as the Jews could, by definition, never belong to the Volksgemeinschaft, thus
requiring their total removal from society.[51] The German historian Detlev Peukert wrote that the National
Socialists' "goal was an utopian Volksgemeinschaft, totally under police surveillance, in which any attempt at
nonconformist behaviour, or even any hint or intention of such behaviour, would be visited with terror".[52] In
support of this, Peukert quoted policy documents on the "Treatment of Community Aliens" from 1944, which
(though never implemented) showed the full intentions of Nazi social policy: "persons who ... show themselves [to
be] unable to comply by their own efforts with the minimum requirements of the national community" were to be
placed under police supervision, and if this did not reform them, they were to be taken to a concentration camp.[53]
Leading up to the March 1933 Reichstag elections, the Nazis
intensified their campaign of violence against the opposition. With the
co-operation of local authorities, they set up concentration camps for
extrajudicial imprisonment of their opponents. One of the first was
Dachau, which opened on 9 March 1933.[54] During its first few
months of life, Dachau contained primarily communists and Social
Democrats.[55] Other early prisons—for example, basements and
storehouses run by the SA and less commonly by SS—were
consolidated by mid-1934 into purpose-built camps outside the cities,
exclusively run by the SS. The main purposes of the concentration
Jewish refugees from Czechoslovakia being
marched away by British police at Croydon
camps was to serve as a deterrent by terrorizing those Germans who
airport in March 1939. They were put on a flight
were unable or unwilling to join the Volksgemeinschaft in
to Warsaw.
conformity.[56] Those sent to the concentration camps were in turn
divided into the "educable" whose wills could be broken into becoming
"National Comrades" and the "biologically depraved" were to be sterilized, were to be held permanently, and over
time were increasingly subject to "annihilation through labour", i.e. being worked to death.[56]
Throughout the 1930s, the legal, economic, and social rights of Jews were steadily restricted. In legally defining who
is a Jew, the Nazis considered anyone of Jewish descent. Even the descendants of converts who converted from
Judaism after January 18, 1871 (the founding of the German Empire), were still considered Jews. The Israeli
historian Saul Friedländer writes that, for the Nazis, Germany drew its strength "from the purity of its blood and
from its rootedness in the sacred German earth."[57] On April 1, 1933, there occurred a boycott of Jewish businesses,
which was the first national antisemitic campaign, initially planned for a week, but called off after one day owing to
lack of popular support. In 1933, a series of laws were passed which contained "Aryan paragraphs" to exclude Jews
from key areas: the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, the first antisemitic law passed in the
Third Reich; the Physicians' Law; and the Farm Law, forbidding Jews from owning farms or taking part in
agriculture. Jewish lawyers were disbarred, and in Dresden, Jewish lawyers and judges were dragged out of their
The Holocaust
offices and courtrooms, and beaten.[58] At the insistence of then president Hindenburg, Hitler added an exemption
allowing Jewish civil servants who were veterans of the First World War, or whose fathers or sons had served, to
remain in office. Hitler revoked this exemption in 1937. Jews were excluded from schools and universities (the Law
to Prevent Overcrowding in Schools), from belonging to the Journalists' Association, and from being owners or
editors of newspapers.[57] The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of April 27, 1933 wrote:
A self-respecting nation cannot, on a scale accepted up to now, leave its higher activities in the hands of
people of racially foreign origin . . . Allowing the presence of too high a percentage of people of foreign origin
in relation to their percentage in the general population could be interpreted as an acceptance of the superiority
of other races, something decidedly to be rejected.[59]
In July 1933, the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring calling for compulsory sterilization of
the "inferior" was passed. This major eugenic policy led to over 200 Hereditary Health Courts
(Erbgesundheitsgerichte) being set up, under whose rulings over 400,000 people were sterilized against their will
during the Nazi period.[60]
In 1935, Hitler introduced the Nuremberg Laws, which:
prohibited Jews from marrying or having sex with
"Aryans" (the Law for the Protection of German Blood
and German Honor), stripped German Jews of their
citizenship and deprived them of all civil rights. Hitler
described the "Blood Law" in particular "the attempt at
a legal regulation of a problem, which in the event of
further failure would then have through law to be
transferred to the final solution of the National Socialist
Part."Hitler said that if the "Jewish problem" cannot be
solved by these laws, it "must then be handed over by
law to the National-Socialist Party for a final
1935: Nazi definition of Jew, Mischling, and German and legal
consequences as per the Nuremberg Laws, simplified in a 1935 chart
solution."[61] The "final solution", or "Endlösung",
became the standard Nazi euphemism for the
extermination of the Jews. In January 1939, he said in a public speech: "If international-finance Jewry inside and
outside Europe should succeed once more in plunging the nations into yet another world war, the consequences will
not be the Bolshevization of the earth and thereby the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation (vernichtung) of the
Jewish race in Europe."[62] Footage from this speech was used to conclude the 1940 Nazi propaganda movie The
Eternal Jew (Der ewige Jude), whose purpose was to provide a rationale and blueprint for eliminating the Jews from
Jewish intellectuals were among the first to leave. The philosopher Walter Benjamin left for Paris on March 18,
1933. Novelist Leon Feuchtwanger went to Switzerland. The conductor Bruno Walter fled after being told that the
hall of the Berlin Philharmonic would be burned down if he conducted a concert there: the Frankfurter Zeitung
explained on April 6 that Walter and fellow conductor Otto Klemperer had been forced to flee because the
government was unable to protect them against the mood of the German public, which had been provoked by
"Jewish artistic liquidators."[64] Albert Einstein was visiting the U.S. on January 30, 1933. He returned to Ostende in
Belgium, never to set foot in Germany again, and calling events there a "psychic illness of the masses"; he was
expelled from the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and the Prussian Academy of Sciences, and his citizenship was
rescinded.[65] When Germany annexed Austria in 1938, Sigmund Freud and his family fled from Vienna to England.
Saul Friedländer writes that when Max Liebermann, honorary president of the Prussian Academy of Arts, resigned
his position, not one of his colleagues expressed a word of sympathy, and he was still ostracized at his death two
years later. When the police arrived in 1943 with a stretcher to deport his 85-year-old bedridden widow, she
committed suicide with an overdose of barbiturates rather than be taken.[65]
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Kristallnacht (1938)
On November 7, 1938, Jewish minor Herschel Grünspan assassinated
Nazi German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris.[66] This incident was
used by the Nazis as a pretext to go beyond legal repression to
large-scale physical violence against Jewish Germans. What the Nazis
claimed to be spontaneous "public outrage" was in fact a wave of
pogroms instigated by the Nazi party, and carried out by SA members
and affiliates throughout Nazi Germany, at the time consisting of
Germany proper, Austria and Sudetenland.[66] These pogroms became
A synagogue burns on November 10, 1938
known as Reichskristallnacht ("the Night of Broken Glass", literally
"Crystal Night"), or November pogroms. Jews were attacked and
Jewish property was vandalized, over 7,000 Jewish shops and 1,668 synagogues (almost every synagogue in
Germany) were damaged or destroyed. The death toll is assumed to be much higher than the official number of 91
dead.[66] 30,000 were sent to concentration camps, including Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, and Oranienburg
concentration camp,[67][68] where they were kept for several weeks, and released when they could either prove that
they were about to emigrate in the near future, or transferred their property to the Nazis.[69] Coinciding with
Kristallnacht was the November 11, 1938 passage of Regulations Against Jews' Possession of Weapons, which made
it illegal for Jews to possess firearms or other weapons (see The 1938 German Weapons Act).[70] German Jewry was
collectively made responsible for restitution of the material damage of the pogroms, amounting to several hundred
thousand Reichsmarks, and furthermore had to pay an "atonement tax" of more than a billion Reichsmarks.[66]
After these pogroms, Jewish emigration from Germany accelerated, while public Jewish life in Germany ceased to
Resettlement and deportation
Before the war, the Nazis considered mass exportation of German (and
subsequently the European) Jewry from Europe. Hitler's agreement to
the 1938–9 Schacht Plan, and the continued flight of thousands of Jews
from Hitler's clutches for an extended period when the Schacht Plan
came to nothing, indicate that the preference for a concerted genocide
of the type that came later did not yet exist.[71]
Plans to reclaim former German colonies such as Tanganyika and
South West Africa for Jewish resettlement were halted by Hitler, who
The 930 Jewish refugees aboard the St. Louis
argued that no place where "so much blood of heroic Germans had
were refused entry to Cuba, the United States and
been spilled" should be made available as a residence for the "worst
Canada, and the ship was forced to return to
enemies of the Germans".[72] Diplomatic efforts were undertaken to
convince the other former colonial powers, primarily the United
Kingdom and France, to accept expelled Jews in their colonies.[73] Areas considered for possible resettlement
included British Palestine,[74] Italian Abyssinia,[74] British Rhodesia,[75] French Madagascar,[74] and Australia.[76]
Of these areas, Madagascar was the most seriously discussed. Heydrich called the Madagascar Plan a "territorial
final solution"; it was a remote location, and the island's unfavorable conditions would hasten deaths.[77] Approved
by Hitler in 1938, the resettlement planning was carried out by Eichmann's office, only being abandoned once the
mass killing of Jews began in 1941. In retrospect, although futile, this plan did constitute an important psychological
step on the path to the Holocaust.[78] The end of the Madagascar Plan was announced on February 10, 1942. The
German Foreign Office was given the official explanation that, due to the war with the Soviet Union, Jews were to
be "sent to the east".[79]
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Nazi bureaucrats also developed plans to deport Europe's Jews to Siberia.[80] Palestine was the only location to
which any Nazi relocation plan succeeded in producing significant results, by means of an agreement begun in 1933
between the Zionist Federation of Germany (die Zionistische Vereinigung für Deutschland) and the Nazi
government, the Haavara Agreement. This agreement resulted in the transfer of about 60,000 German Jews and $100
million from Germany to Palestine, up until the outbreak of World War II.[81][82]
Early measures
In German occupied Poland
Further information: Invasion of Poland (1939), Occupation of Poland (1939–1945), and History of the Jews in
Germany's invasion of Poland in
September 1939 increased the urgency
of the "Jewish Question". Poland, was
home to about two million Jews
(nearly nine percent of the population),
in centuries-old communities.
Himmler's right-hand man, Reinhard
Heydrich, recommended concentrating
all the Polish Jews in ghettos in major
cities, where they would be put to
work for the German war industry. The
ghettos would be in cities located on
railway junctions in order to furnish, in
Heydrich's words, "a better possibility
of control and later deportation."[83]
During his interrogation in 1961, Adolf
Eichmann recalled that this "later
deportation" actually meant "physical
Nazi Germany 1941, including areas annexed from Poland and the General Government
'I ask nothing of the Jews except that they should disappear.
—Hans Frank, Nazi governor of Poland.'
In September, Himmler appointed Heydrich head of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt or
RSHA, not to be confused with the RuSHA). This body was to oversee the work of the SS, the Security Police (SD),
and the Gestapo in occupied Poland, and carry out the policy towards the Jews described in Heydrich's report. The
first organized murders of Jews by German forces occurred during Operation Tannenberg and through Selbstschutz
units. Later, the Jews were herded into ghettos, mostly in the General Government area of central Poland, where they
were put to work under the Reich Labor Office headed by Fritz Sauckel. Here many thousands died from
maltreatment, disease, starvation, and exhaustion, but there was still no program of systematic killing. There is no
doubt, however, that the Nazis saw forced labor as a form of extermination. The expression Vernichtung durch
Arbeit ("destruction through work") was frequently used.
Further information: Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland
The Holocaust
Although it was clear by 1941 that the SS hierarchy was determined to embark on a policy of killing all the Jews
under German control, there was still opposition to this policy within the Nazi regime, although the motive was
economic, not humanitarian. Hermann Göring, who had overall control of the German war industry, and the German
army's Economics Department, argued that the enormous Jewish labor force assembled in the General Government
area (more than a million able-bodied workers) was an asset too valuable to waste while Germany was preparing to
invade the Soviet Union.
In other occupied countries
When Germany occupied Norway, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, and France in 1940, and Yugoslavia and
Greece in 1941, antisemitic measures were also introduced into these countries, although the pace and severity
varied greatly from country to country according to local political circumstances. Jews were removed from economic
and cultural life and were subject to various restrictive laws, but physical deportation did not occur in most places
before 1942. The Vichy regime in occupied France actively collaborated in persecuting French Jews. Germany's
allies Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Finland were pressured to introduce antisemitic measures, but for the
most part they did not comply until compelled to do so. During the course of the war some 900 Jews and 300 Roma
passed through the concentration camp Banjica in Belgrade, intended primarily for Serbian communists, royalists
and other patriots who resisted occupation. The German puppet regime in Croatia, on the other hand, began actively
persecuting Jews on its own initiative, so the Legal Decree on the Nationalization of the Property of Jews and Jewish
Companies was declared on October 10, 1941 in the Independent State of Croatia.
General Government and Lublin reservation (Nisko plan)
"The Mass Extermination of Jews in German
Occupied Poland", report by the Republic of
Poland addressed to United Nations, 1942
On September 28, 1939, Germany gained control over the Lublin area
through the German-Soviet agreement in exchange for Lithuania.[86]
According to the Nisko Plan, they set up the Lublin-Lipowa
Reservation in the area. The reservation was designated by Adolf
Eichmann, who was assigned the task of removing all Jews from
Germany, Austria and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.[87]
They shipped the first Jews to Lublin less than three weeks later on
October 18, 1939. The first train loads consisted of Jews deported from
Austria and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.[88] By January
30, 1940, a total of 78,000 Jews had been deported to Lublin from
Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia.[89] On 12 and 13 February
1940, the Pomeranian Jews were deported to the Lublin reservation,
resulting in Pomeranian Gauleiter Franz Schwede-Coburg to be the
first to declare his Gau "judenrein" ("free of Jews").[90] On March 24,
1940 Hermann Göring put the Nisko Plan on hold, and abandoned it
entirely by the end of April.[91] By the time the Nisko Plan was
stopped, the total number of Jews who had been transported to Nisko
had reached 95,000, many of whom had died from starvation.[92]
In July 1940, due to the difficulties of supporting the increased population in the General Government, Hitler had the
deportations temporarily halted.[93]
In October 1940, Gauleiters Josef Bürckel and Robert Heinrich Wagner oversaw Operation Bürckel, the expulsion
of the Jews into unoccupied France from their Gaues and the parts of Alsace-Lorraine that had been annexed that
summer to the Reich.[94] Only those Jews in mixed marriages were not expelled.[94] The 6,500 Jews affected by
Operation Bürckel were given at most two hours warning on the night of October 22–23, 1940, before being rounded
up. The nine trains carrying the deported Jews crossed over into France "without any warning to the French
The Holocaust
authorities", who were not happy to receive them.[94] The deportees had not been allowed to take any of their
possessions with them, these being confiscated by the German authorities.[94] The German Foreign Minister Joachim
von Ribbentrop treated the ensuing complaints by the Vichy government over the expulsions in a "most dilatory
fashion".[94] As a result, the Jews expelled in Operation Bürckel were interned in harsh conditions by the Vichy
authorities at the camps in Gurs, Rivesaltes and Les Milles while awaiting a chance to return them to Germany.[94]
During 1940 and 1941, murder of large numbers of Jews in German-occupied Poland continued, and the deportation
of Jews to the General Government was undertaken. The deportation of Jews from Germany, particularly Berlin, was
not officially completed until 1943. (Many Berlin Jews were able to survive in hiding.) By December 1939, 3.5
million Jews were crowded into the General Government area.
Concentration and labor camps (1933–1945)
Further information: Nazi concentration camps, List of Nazi concentration camps, and Extermination through labor
From the beginning of the Third Reich concentration camps were
founded, initially as places of incarceration. Though the death rate in
the concentration camps was high, with a mortality rate of 50%, they
were not designed to be killing centres. (By 1942, six large
extermination camps had been established in Nazi-occupied Poland,
which were built solely for mass killings.) After 1939, the camps
increasingly became places where Jews and POWs were either killed
or made to work as slave laborers, undernourished and tortured.[95] It is
estimated that the Germans established 15,000 camps and subcamps in
April 12, 1945: Lager Nordhausen, where 20,000
the occupied countries, mostly in eastern Europe.[96][97] New camps
inmates are believed to have died.
were founded in areas with large Jewish, Polish intelligentsia,
communist, or Roma and Sinti populations, including inside Germany.
The transportation of prisoners was often carried out under horrifying conditions using rail freight cars, in which
many died before reaching their destination.
Extermination through labour was a policy of systematic extermination — camp inmates would literally be worked
to death, or worked to physical exhaustion, when they would be gassed or shot. Slave labour was used in war
production, for example producing V-2 rockets at Mittelbau-Dora, and various armaments around the
Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp complex.
Upon admission, some camps tattooed prisoners with a prisoner ID.[98] Those fit for work were dispatched for 12 to
14 hour shifts. Before and after, there were roll calls that could sometimes last for hours, with prisoners regularly
dying of exposure.[99]
Ghettos (1940–1945)
Main ghettos: Białystok, Budapest, Kraków, Kovno, Łódź, Lvov, Riga, Vilna, Warsaw
After the invasion of Poland, the Nazis established ghettos in which Jews and some Romani were confined until they
were eventually shipped to extermination camps. The first order for the establishment of the councils came in a letter
dated 29 September 1939 from Heydrich to the heads of the Einsatzgruppen.[100] Each ghetto was run by a Judenrat
(Jewish council) of German-appointed Jewish community leaders, who were responsible for the day-to-day running
of the ghetto, including the distribution of food, water, heat, medicine, and shelter. The basic strategy adopted by the
councils was one of trying to minimise losses, largely by cooperating with Nazi authorities (or their surrogates),
accepting the increasingly terrible treatment, and petitioning for better conditions and clemency.[101]
Councils were also expected to make arrangements for deportations to extermination camps,[102] thus the defining
moment that tested the courage and character of each Judenrat came when they were asked to provide a list of names
The Holocaust
of the next group to be deported. The Judenrat members went through the tried and tested methods of delay, bribery,
stonewalling, pleading, and argumentation, until finally a decision had to be made. Some, like Chaim Rumkowski,
argued that their responsibility was to save the Jews who could be saved, and that therefore others had to be
sacrificed; others argued, following Maimonides, that not a single individual should be handed over who had not
committed a capital crime. Judenrat leaders such as Dr. Joseph Parnas in Lviv, who refused to compile a list, were
shot. On October 14, 1942, the entire Judenrat of Byaroza committed suicide rather than cooperate with the
The importance of the councils in facilitating the persecution and murder of ghetto inhabitants was not lost on the
Germans: one official was emphatic that "the authority of the Jewish council be upheld and strengthened under all
circumstances",[104] another that "Jews who disobey instructions of the Jewish council are to be treated as
saboteurs."[102] When such cooperation crumbled, as happened in the Warsaw ghetto after the Jewish Combat
Organisation displaced the council's authority, the Germans lost control.[105]
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest, with 380,000 people, and the Łódź Ghetto the second largest, holding 160,000.
They were, in effect, immensely crowded prisons, described by Michael Berenbaum as instruments of "slow, passive
murder."[106] Though the Warsaw Ghetto contained 400,000 people—30% of the population of Warsaw—it
occupied only 2.4% of the city's area, averaging 9.2 people per room.[107]
From 1940 through 1942, starvation and disease, especially typhoid, killed hundreds of thousands. Over 43,000
residents of the Warsaw ghetto died there in 1941,[107] more than one in ten; in Theresienstadt, more than half the
residents died in 1942.[106]
The Germans came, the police, and they started banging houses: "Raus, raus, raus, Juden raus." ... [O]ne baby
started to cry ... The other baby started crying. So the mother urinated in her hand and gave the baby a drink to
keep quiet ... [When the police had gone], I told the mothers to come out. And one baby was dead ... from fear,
the mother [had] choked her own baby.
— Abraham Malik, describing his experience in the Kovno Ghetto.[108]
Himmler ordered the start of the deportations on July 19, 1942, and three days later, on July 22, the deportations
from the Warsaw Ghetto began; over the next 52 days, until September 12, 300,000 people from Warsaw alone were
transported in freight trains to the Treblinka extermination camp. Many other ghettos were completely depopulated.
Further information: Timeline of Treblinka
The first ghetto uprising occurred in September 1942 in the small town of Łachwa in south-east Poland. Though
there were armed resistance attempts in the larger ghettos in 1943, such as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the
Białystok Ghetto Uprising, in every case they failed against the overwhelming Nazi military force, and the remaining
Jews were either killed or deported to the death camps.[109]
Pogroms (1939–1942)
A number of deadly pogroms by local populations occurred during the Second World War, some with Nazi
encouragement, and some spontaneously. This included the Iaşi pogrom in Romania on June 30, 1941, in which as
many as 14,000 Jews were killed by Romanian residents and police, and the Jedwabne pogrom, in which between
380 and 1,600 Jews were killed by local Poles in July 1941.[110]
Death squads (1941–1943)
The German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 opened a new phase. The Holocaust intensified after the
Nazis occupied Lithuania, where close to 80% of the country's 220,000 Jews were exterminated before the end of the
year.[111][112] The Soviet territories occupied by early 1942, including all of Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Ukraine, and Moldova and most Russian territory west of the line Leningrad-Moscow-Rostov, contained about three
million Jews, including hundreds of thousands who had fled Poland in 1939.
The Holocaust
Executions of Kiev Jews by German army mobile
killing units (Einsatzgruppen) near Ivangorod in
Ukraine. The photo was mailed from the Eastern
Front to Germany and intercepted by a member
of the Polish resistance.
Members of the local populations in certain occupied Soviet territories
participated actively in the killings of Jews and others.[113] In
Lithuania, Latvia and western Ukraine, locals were deeply involved in
the murder of Jews from the very beginning of the German
occupation.[113] The Latvian Arajs Kommando was an example of an
auxiliary unit involved in these killings.[113] To the south, Ukrainians
killed approximately 24,000 Jews.[113] In addition, Latvian and
Lithuanian units left their own countries, and committed murders of
Jews in Belarus, and Ukrainians served as concentration and death
camp guards in Poland.[113] Ustaše militia in Croatian areas also
carried out acts of persecution and murder. Ultimately it was the
Germans who organized and channelled these local participants in the
Many of the mass killings were carried out in public, a change from previous practice.[113] German witnesses to
these killings emphasized the participation of the locals.[113] The massacres committed by the Einsatzgruppen were
usually justified under the grounds of anti-partisan or anti-bandit operations, but the German historian Andreas
Hillgruber wrote that this was merely an excuse for the German Army's considerable involvement in the Holocaust
in Russia and the terms "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" were indeed correct labels for what
happened.[114] Hillgruber maintained that the slaughter of about 2.2 million defenceless men, women and children
for the reasons of racist ideology cannot possibly be justified for any reason, and that those German generals who
claimed that the Einsatzgruppen were a necessary anti-partisan response were lying.[115]
Army co-operation with the SS in anti-partisan and anti-Jewish operations was close and intensive.[116] In the
summer of 1941, the SS Cavalry Brigade commanded by Hermann Fegelein during the course of "anti-partisan"
operations in the Pripyat Marshes killed 699 Red Army soldiers, 1,100 partisans and 14,178 Jews.[116] Before the
operation, Fegelein had been ordered to shoot all adult Jews while driving the women and children into the marshes.
After the operation, General Max von Schenckendorff, who commanded the rear areas of Army Group Centre
ordered on August 10, 1941 that all Wehrmacht security divisions when on anti-partisan duty to emulate Fegelein's
example, and organized in Mogilev between September 24–26, 1941 a joint SS-Wehrmacht seminar on how best to
murder Jews.[116] The seminar ended with the 7th Company of Police Battalion 322 shooting 32 Jews at village
called Knjashizy before the assembled officers as an example of how to "screen" the population for partisans.[117] As
the war diary of the Battalion 322 read:
The action, first scheduled as a training exercise was carried out under real-life conditions (ernstfallmässig) in
the village itself. Strangers, especially partisans could not be found. The screening of the population, however
resulted in 13 Jews, 27 Jewish women and 11 Jewish children, of which 13 Jews and 19 Jewish women were
shot in co-operation with the Security Service[117]
Based on what they had learned during the Mogilev seminar, one Wehrmacht officer told his men "Where the
partisan is, there is the Jew and where the Jew is, there is the partisan".[117] In Order #24 of November 24, 1941, the
commander of the 707th division declared:
Jews and Gypsies:...As already has been ordered, the Jews have to vanish from the flat country and the
Gypsies have to be annihilated too. The carrying out of larger Jewish actions is not the task of the divisional
units. They are carried out by civilian or police authorities, if necessary ordered by the commandant of White
Ruthenia, if he has special units at his disposal, or for security reasons and in the case of collective
punishments. When smaller or larger groups of Jews are met in the flat country, they can be liquidated by
divisional units or be massed in the ghettos near bigger villages designated for that purpose, where they can be
handed over to the civilian authority or the SD.[118]
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The German historian Jürgen Förster, a leading expert on the subject of Wehrmacht war crimes argued the
Wehrmacht played a key role in the Holocaust, and it is wrong to describe the Shoah as solely the work of the SS
with the Wehrmacht as a passive and disapproving bystander.[119]
Raul Hilberg writes that the German Einsatzgruppen commanders were
ordinary citizens: the great majority were professionals, most were
intellectuals, and they brought to bear all their skills and training,
becoming efficient killers.[120]
The large-scale killings of Jews in the occupied Soviet territories was
assigned to SS formations called Einsatzgruppen ("task groups"),
under the overall command of Heydrich. These had been used on a
limited scale in Poland in 1939, but were now organized on a much
larger scale. Einsatzgruppe A was assigned to the Baltic area,
Einsatzgruppe B to Belarus, Einsatzgruppe C to north and central
Ukraine, and Einsatzgruppe D to Moldova, south Ukraine, the Crimea,
and, during 1942, the north Caucasus.[121]
The mass murder of 2,749 Jews on the beach near
the city of Liepāja, in Latvia, on December 15
through 17, 1941.
According to Otto Ohlendorf at his trial, "the Einsatzgruppen had the mission to protect the rear of the troops by
killing the Jews, Gypsies, Communist functionaries, active Communists, and all persons who would endanger the
security." In practice, their victims were nearly all defenseless Jewish civilians (not a single Einsatzgruppe member
was killed in action during these operations). By December 1941, the four Einsatzgruppen listed above had killed,
respectively, 125,000, 45,000, 75,000, and 55,000 people—a total of 300,000 people—mainly by shooting or with
hand grenades at mass killing sites outside the major towns.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tells the story of one survivor of the Einsatzgruppen in Piryatin,
Ukraine, when they killed 1,600 Jews on April 6, 1942, the second day of Passover:
I saw them do the killing. At 5:00 p.m. they gave the command, "Fill in the pits." Screams and groans were
coming from the pits. Suddenly I saw my neighbor Ruderman rise from under the soil ... His eyes were bloody
and he was screaming: "Finish me off!" ... A murdered woman lay at my feet. A boy of five years crawled out
from under her body and began to scream desperately. "Mommy!" That was all I saw, since I fell
The most notorious massacre of Jews in the Soviet Union was at a ravine called Babi Yar outside Kiev, where
33,771 Jews were killed in a single operation on 29–30 September 1941.[123] The killing of all the Jews in Kiev was
decided on by the military governor (Major-General Friedrich Eberhardt), the Police Commander for Army Group
South (SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln) and the Einsatzgruppe C Commander Otto Rasch. The killings
were carried out by a mixture of SS, SD and Security Police, assisted by Ukrainian police. In addition, men of the
6th Army through they not did participate in the killings, played a key role in rounding up the Jews of Kiev and
transporting them to be shot at Babi Yar.[124]
On Monday, the Jews of Kiev gathered by the cemetery, expecting to be loaded onto trains. The crowd was large
enough that most of the men, women, and children could not have known what was happening until it was too late;
by the time they heard the machine gun fire, there was no chance to escape. All were driven down a corridor of
soldiers, in groups of ten, and then shot. A truck driver described the scene, as
one after the other, they had to remove their luggage, then their coats, shoes, and outer garments and also
underwear ... Once undressed, they were led into the ravine which was about 150 meters long and 30 meters
wide and a good 15 meters deep ... When they reached the bottom of the ravine they were seized by members
of the Schutzpolizei and made to lie down on top of Jews who had already been shot ... The corpses were
literally in layers. A police marksman came along and shot each Jew in the neck with a submachine gun ... I
saw these marksmen stand on layers of corpses and shoot one after the other ... The marksman would walk
The Holocaust
across the bodies of the executed Jews to the next Jew, who had meanwhile lain down, and shoot him.[125]
In August 1941 Himmler travelled to Minsk, where he personally
witnessed 100 Jews being shot in a ditch outside the town, an event
described by Karl Wolff in his diary. "Himmler's face was green. He
took out his handkerchief and wiped his cheek where a piece of brain
had squirted up onto it. Then he vomited." After recovering his
composure, he lectured the SS men on the need to follow the "highest
moral law of the Party" in carrying out their tasks.
New methods of mass murder
From left to right; Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard
Heydrich, and Karl Wolff (second from the right)
at the Obersalzberg, May 1939. Wolff wrote in
his diary that Himmler had vomited after
witnessing the mass shooting of 100 Jews.
Starting in December 1939, the Nazis introduced new methods of mass
murder by using gas.[127] First, experimental gas vans equipped with
gas cylinders and a sealed trunk compartment, were used to kill mental
care clients of sanatoria in Pomerania, East Prussia, and occupied
Poland, as part of an operation termed Action T4.[127] In the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, larger vans holding
up to 100 people were used from November 1941, using the engine's exhaust rather than a cylinder.[127] These vans
were introduced to the Chełmno extermination camp in December 1941, and another 15 of them were used by the
Einsatzgruppen in the occupied Soviet Union.[127] These gas vans were developed and run under supervision of the
Reich Main Security Office, and were used to kill about 500,000 people, primarily Jews, but also Romani and
others.[127] The vans were carefully monitored and after a month of observation a report stated that "ninety seven
thousand have been processed using three vans, without any defects showing up in the machines".[128]
A need for new mass murder techniques was also expressed by Hans Frank, governor of the General Government,
who noted that this many people could not be simply shot. "We shall have to take steps, however, designed in some
way to eliminate them." It was this problem which led the SS to experiment with large-scale killings using poison
gas. Finally, Christian Wirth seems to have been the inventor of the gas chamber.
Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution (1942–1945)
Further information: Operation Reinhard, Wannsee Conference, and Final Solution
The Wannsee Conference was convened by Reinhard Heydrich on
January 20, 1942 in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee and brought
together some 15 Nazi leaders which included a number of state
secretaries, senior officials, party leaders, SS officers and other leaders
of government departments who were responsible for policies which
were linked to Jewish issues. The initial purpose of the meeting was to
discuss plans for a comprehensive solution to the "Jewish question in
Europe." Heydrich intended to "outline the mass murders in the various
occupied territories . . . as part of a solution to the European Jewish
question ordered by Hitler . . . to ensure that they, and especially the
ministerial bureaucracy, would share both knowledge and
responsibility for this policy."[132]
A copy of the minutes which were drawn up by Eichmann has
survived, but on Heydrich's instructions, they were written up in
The dining room of the Wannsee villa, where the
Wannsee conference took place. The 15 men
seated at the table on January 20, 1942 to discuss
the "final solution of the Jewish question"
were considered the best and the brightest in the
The Holocaust
not known.[133] However, Heydrich addressed the meeting indicating
the policy of emigration was superseded by a policy of evacuating
Jews to the east. This was seen to be only a temporary solution leading
up to a final solution which would involve some 11 million Jews living
not only in territories controlled then by the Germans, but to major
countries in the rest of the world including the UK, and the US.[134]
There was little doubt what the solution was: "Heydrich also made it
clear what was understood by the phrase 'Final Solution': the Jews
were to be annihilated by a combination of forced labour and mass
The officials were told there were 2.3 million Jews in the General
Government, 850,000 in Hungary, 1.1 million in the other occupied
countries, and up to 5 million in the USSR, although 2 million of these
were in areas still under Soviet control — a total of about 6.5 million.
These would all be transported by train to extermination camps
(Vernichtungslager) in Poland, where almost all of them would be
gassed at once. In some camps, such as Auschwitz, those fit for work
would be kept alive for a while, but eventually all would be killed.
Göring's representative, Dr. Erich Neumann, gained a limited
exemption for some classes of industrial workers.[136]
Facsimiles of the minutes of the Wannsee
Conference. This page lists the number of Jews in
every European country.
Auschwitz I
German public
In his 1983 book, Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third
Reich, Ian Kershaw examined the Alltagsgeschichte (history of
everyday life) in Bavaria during the Nazi period.[137] Describing the
attitudes of most Bavarians, Kershaw argued that the most common
viewpoint was indifference towards what was happening to the
Jews.[138] Kershaw argued that most Bavarians were vaguely aware of
the Shoah, but were vastly more concerned about the war than about
the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question".[138] Kershaw made the
analogy that "the road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with
The railway line leading to the death camp at
Auschwitz II (Birkenau).
Kershaw's assessment that most Bavarians, and by implication most Germans, were indifferent to the Shoah faced
criticism from the Israeli historian Otto Dov Kulka, an expert on public opinion in Nazi Germany, and the Canadian
historian Michael Kater. Kater contended that Kershaw downplayed the extent of popular antisemitism, and that
though admitting that most of the "spontaneous" antisemitic actions of Nazi Germany were staged, argued that
because these actions involved substantial numbers of Germans, it is wrong to see the extreme antisemitism of the
The Holocaust
argued that most Germans were more antisemitic than Kershaw
portrayed them in Popular Opinion and Political Dissent, and that
rather than "indifference", "passive complicity" would be a better term
to describe the reaction of the German people.[142]
In a study focusing only on the views about Jews of Germans opposed
to the Nazi regime, the German historian Christof Dipper in his 1983
essay "Der Deutsche Widerstand und die Juden" (translated into
English as "The German Resistance and the Jews" in Yad Vashem
Studies, Volume 16, 1984) argued that the majority of the anti-Nazi
national-conservatives were antisemitic.[141] Dipper wrote that for the
majority of the national-conservatives "the bureaucratic, pseudo-legal
deprivation of the Jews practiced until 1938 was still considered
acceptable".[141] Though Dipper noted no one in the German resistance
supported the Holocaust, he also commented that the
national-conservatives did not intend to restore civil rights to the Jews
after the planned overthrow of Hitler.[141] Dipper went on to argue that,
based on such views held by opponents of the regime, "a large part of
the German people...believed that a "Jewish Question" existed and had
to be solved...".[141]
Robert Gellately has argued that the German civilian population were,
by and large, aware of what was happening. According to Gellately,
the government openly announced the conspiracy through the media
and civilians were aware of its every aspect except for the use of gas
chambers.[143] In contrast, some historical evidence indicates that the
vast majority of Holocaust victims, prior to their deportation to
concentration camps, were either unaware of the fate that awaited them
or were in denial; they honestly believed that they were to be
Empty poison gas canisters used to kill inmates
and piles of hair shaven from their heads are
stored in the museum at Auschwitz II.
The ruins of the Crematorium II gas chamber at
Auschwitz II (Birkenau). Holocaust scholar
Robert Jan van Pelt comments that more people
lost their lives in this room than in any other
room on Earth: 500,000 people.
The Nazis methodically tracked the progress of
the Holocaust in thousands of reports and
In his 1965 essay "Command and Compliance", which originated in his
documents. Pictured is the Höfle Telegram sent to
work as an expert witness for the prosecution at the Frankfurt
Adolf Eichmann in January, 1943, that reported
Auschwitz Trials, the German historian Hans Buchheim wrote there
that 1,274,166 Jews had been killed in the four
Aktion Reinhard camps during 1942.
was no coercion to murder Jews and others, and all who committed
such actions did so out of free will.[147] Buchheim wrote that chances
to avoid executing criminal orders "...were both more numerous and more real than those concerned are generally
prepared to admit...",[147] and that he found no evidence that SS men who refused to carry out criminal orders were
sent to concentration camps or executed.[148] Moreover, SS rules prohibited acts of gratuitous sadism, as Himmler
wished for his men to remain "decent", and that acts of sadism were taken on the individual initiative of those who
were either especially cruel or who wished to prove themselves ardent National Socialists.[147] Finally, he argued
that those of a non-criminal bent who committed crimes did so because they wished to conform to the values of the
group they had joined and were afraid of being branded "weak" by their colleagues if they refused.[149]
In his 1992 book Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, Christopher
Browning examined the German Ordnungspolizei Reserve Battalion 101, used to massacre and round up Jews for
deportation to the Nazi death camps. The men of the battalion were middle-aged men of working-class background
The Holocaust
from Hamburg, who were unfit for military duty and were given no special training for genocide. The commander of
the unit gave his men the choice of opting out of direct participation if they found it too unpleasant (for example, by
being part of a passive cordon round the area of the killing). The majority chose not to exercise that option— fewer
than 15 men out of a battalion of 500 did so.[150] Influenced by the work of Stanley Milgram, Browning argued that
the men of the battalion killed out of obedience to authority and peer pressure, not blood-lust or hatred. The general
implication of the book is that when placed in a cohesive group setting, most people will obey commands given by
an authority-figure seen as legitimate, even if they find them morally reprehensible— a hypothesis studied in the
Milgram Experiment.
The Russian historian Sergei Kudryashov studied the guards trained at the Trawniki concentration camp, who
provided the bulk of personnel for the Operation Reinhard death camps. Some Trawniki guards were Red Army
POWs who volunteered to join the SS in order to get out of the POW camps.[151] The majority of the Trawniki men
were Ukrainians or Volksdeutche, though there were also Russians, Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians, Tartars, Georgians,
Armenians and Azerbaijanis amongst them.[152] Kudryashov reported that he found there was little sign of
antisemitism or any attraction to National Socialism among the Trawniki men, many of whom prior to their capture
had been Communists.[153] Despite the generally apathetic views of the Trawniki guards, the vast majority faithfully
carried out the SS's expectations of how to mistreat Jews; the mistreatment of Jews by the Trawniki guards was
"systematic and without any particular cause".[153] Many, though not all of the Trawniki men executed Jews, and
almost all of them while working as guards in the Operation Reinhard camps personally killed dozens of Jews.[154]
Following Christopher Browning, Kudryashov argued that the Trawniki men were examples of ordinary people
becoming willing killers out of peer pressure and obedience to authority.[155]
Extermination camps
Approx. number killed at each extermination camp
Camp name
Auschwitz II
1,000,000 50°2′9″N 19°10′42″E
600,000 50°22′18″N 23°27′27″E
320,000 52°9′27″N 18°43′43″E
58–97,000 45°16′54″N 16°56′6″E
360,000 51°13′13″N 22°36′0″E
65,000 53°51′4″N 27°42′17″E
250,000 51°26′50″N 23°35′37″E
870,000 52°37′35″N 22°2′49″E
Maly Trostinets
During 1942, in addition to Auschwitz, five other camps were designated as extermination camps
(Vernichtungslager) for the carrying out of the Reinhard plan.[174][175] Two of these, Chełmno (also known as
Kulmhof) and Majdanek were already functioning as labor camps: these now had extermination facilities added to
them. Three new camps were built for the sole purpose of killing large numbers of Jews as quickly as possible, at
Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. A seventh camp, at Maly Trostinets in Belarus, was also used for this purpose.
Jasenovac was an extermination camp where mostly ethnic Serbs were killed.
Extermination camps are frequently confused with concentration camps such as Dachau and Belsen, which were
mostly located in Germany and intended as places of incarceration and forced labor for a variety of enemies of the
Nazi regime (such as Communists and homosexuals). They should also be distinguished from slave labor camps,
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which were set up in all German-occupied countries to exploit the labor of prisoners of various kinds, including
prisoners of war. In all Nazi camps there were very high death rates as a result of starvation, disease and exhaustion,
but only the extermination camps were designed specifically for mass killing.
There was a place called the ramp where the trains with the Jews were coming in. They were coming in day
and night, and sometimes one per day and sometimes five per day . . . Constantly, people from the heart of
Europe were disappearing, and they were arriving to the same place with the same ignorance of the fate of the
previous transport. And the people in this mass . . . I knew that within a couple of hours . . . ninety percent
would be gassed.
— Rudolf Vrba, who worked on the Judenrampe in Auschwitz from August 18, 1942 to June 7, 1943.[106]
The extermination camps were run by SS officers, but most of the guards were Ukrainian or Baltic auxiliaries.
Regular German soldiers were kept well away.
Gas chambers
At the extermination camps with gas chambers all the prisoners arrived by train. Sometimes entire trainloads were
sent straight to the gas chambers, but usually the camp doctor on duty subjected individuals to selections, where a
small percentage were deemed fit to work in the slave labor camps; the majority were taken directly from the
platforms to a reception area where all their clothes and other possessions were seized by the Nazis to help fund the
war. They were then herded naked into the gas chambers. Usually they were told these were showers or delousing
chambers, and there were signs outside saying "baths" and "sauna." They were sometimes given a small piece of
soap and a towel so as to avoid panic, and were told to remember where they had put their belongings for the same
reason. When they asked for water because they were thirsty after the long journey in the cattle trains, they were told
to hurry up, because coffee was waiting for them in the camp, and it was getting cold.[176]
According to Rudolf Höß, commandant of Auschwitz, bunker 1 held
800 people, and bunker 2 held 1,200.[177] Once the chamber was full,
the doors were screwed shut and solid pellets of Zyklon-B were
dropped into the chambers through vents in the side walls, releasing
toxic HCN, or hydrogen cyanide. Those inside died within 20 minutes;
the speed of death depended on how close the inmate was standing to a
gas vent, according to Höß, who estimated that about one third of the
victims died immediately.[178] Joann Kremer, an SS doctor who
oversaw the gassings, testified that: "Shouting and screaming of the
victims could be heard through the opening and it was clear that they
fought for their lives."[179] When they were removed, if the chamber
had been very congested, as they often were, the victims were found
half-squatting, their skin colored pink with red and green spots, some
foaming at the mouth or bleeding from the ears.[178]
Picture of Auschwitz–Birkenau taken by an
American surveillance plane, September 13,
The gas was then pumped out, the bodies were removed (which would take up to four hours), gold fillings in their
teeth were extracted with pliers by dentist prisoners, and women's hair was cut.[180] The floor of the gas chamber
was cleaned, and the walls whitewashed.[179] The work was done by the Sonderkommando, which were work units
of Jewish prisoners. In crematoria 1 and 2, the Sonderkommando lived in an attic above the crematoria; in crematoria
3 and 4, they lived inside the gas chambers.[181] When the Sonderkommando had finished with the bodies, the SS
conducted spot checks to make sure all the gold had been removed from the victims' mouths. If a check revealed that
gold had been missed, the Sonderkommando prisoner responsible was thrown into the furnace alive as
At first, the bodies were buried in deep pits and covered with lime, but between September and November 1942, on
the orders of Himmler, they were dug up and burned. In the spring of 1943, new gas chambers and crematoria were
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built to accommodate the numbers.[183]
Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our gas chambers to accommodate 2,000
people at one time, whereas at Treblinka their 10 gas chambers only accommodated 200 people each. The way
we selected our victims was as follows: we had two SS doctors on duty at Auschwitz to examine the incoming
transports of prisoners. The prisoners would be marched by one of the doctors who would make spot decisions
as they walked by. Those who were fit for work were sent into the Camp. Others were sent immediately to the
extermination plants. Children of tender years were invariably exterminated, since by reason of their youth
they were unable to work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka was that at Treblinka the
victims almost always knew that they were to be exterminated and at Auschwitz we endeavored to fool the
victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they realized our
true intentions and we sometimes had riots and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women would hide
their children under the clothes but of course when we found them we would send the children in to be
exterminated. We were required to carry out these exterminations in secrecy but of course the foul and
nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the people living
in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz.
— Rudolf Höß, Auschwitz camp commandant, Nuremberg testimony.[184]
Jewish resistance
In his seminal study of the Holocaust, The Destruction of the European
Jews, the world's pre-eminent Holocaust scholar, Raul Hilberg, noted:
The reaction pattern of the Jews is characterized by almost
complete lack of resistance. In marked contrast to German
propaganda, the documentary evidence of Jewish resistance,
overt or submerged, is very slight. On a European-wide scale the
Jews had no resistance organization, no blueprint for armed
action, no plan even for psychological warfare. They were
completely unprepared. . . . Measured in German casualties,
Jewish armed opposition shrinks into insignificance. . . . A large
component of the entire [destruction] process depended on
Jewish participation, from the simple acts of individuals to the
organized activity in councils. . . . Jewish resistance
organizations attempting to reverse the mass inertia spoke the
words: "Do not be led like sheep to slaughter." Franz Stangl,
who had commanded two death camps, was asked in a West
German prison about his reaction to the Jewish victims. He said
that only recently he had read a book about lemmings. It
reminded him of Treblinka.[185]
Jews captured and forcibly pulled out from
dugouts by the Germans during the Warsaw
Ghetto uprising. The photo is from Jurgen
Stroop's report to Heinrich Himmler
In his important study, Peter Longerich observes likewise: "On the
Warsaw Ghetto uprising
Jewish side there was practically no resistance."[186] Hilberg accounts
for this compliant attitude by evoking the history of Jewish
persecution: as had been the case so many times before down through the centuries, simply appealing to their
oppressors, and complying with orders, would hopefully avoid inflaming the situation and so mitigate the damage
done to the Jews until the onslaught abated. "There were many casualties in these times of stress, but always the
Jewish community emerged once again like a rock from a receding tidal wave. The Jews had never disappeared from
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the earth." They were "caught in the straitjacket of their history", and the realisation that this time was different came
too late.[187]
Discussing the case of Warsaw, Timothy Snyder notes in a similar vein that it was only during the three months after
the massive deportations of July–September 1942 that general agreement on the need for armed resistance was
reached, and lays the passivity emanating from the conservative center of Jewish politics at the door of the overall
success the Jewish community had enjoyed by engaging in a quid pro quo with the pre-war Polish government.[188]
By the time of the biggest act of armed resistance, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of spring 1943, only a small minority
of Polish Jews were still alive.[186]
Yehuda Bauer and other historians argue that resistance consisted not only of physical opposition, but of any activity
that gave the Jews dignity and humanity in humiliating and inhumane conditions.[189]
In every ghetto, in every deportation train, in every labor camp, even in the death camps, the will to resist was
strong, and took many forms. Fighting with the few weapons that would be found, individual acts of defiance
and protest, the courage of obtaining food and water under the threat of death, the superiority of refusing to
allow the Germans their final wish to gloat over panic and despair.
Even passivity was a form of resistance. To die with dignity was a form of resistance. To resist the
demoralizing, brutalizing force of evil, to refuse to be reduced to the level of animals, to live through the
torment, to outlive the tormentors, these too were acts of resistance. Merely to give a witness of these events in
testimony was, in the end, a contribution to victory. Simply to survive was a victory of the human spirit.
— Martin Gilbert. The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy.[190]
Hilberg argued against overstating the extent of Jewish resistance, or using all-encompassing definitions of it like
that deployed by Gilbert. "When relatively isolated or episodic acts of resistance are represented as typical, a basic
characteristic of the German measures is obscured", namely that the merciless slaughter of peaceable innocent
people is turned into some kind of battle. "The inflation of resistance has another consequence which has been of
concern to those Jews who have regarded themselves as the actual resisters. If heroism is an attribute that should be
assigned to every member of the European Jewish community, it will diminish the accomplishment of the few who
took action." Finally, the blending of the passive majority with the active few was "not merely a form of dilution,
which blurred the multitudinous problems of organizing a defense in a cautious, reluctant Jewish community; it was
also a way of shutting off a great many questions about that community, its reasoning and survival strategy."
Without posing these questions, Jewish history could not be written.[191]
The most famous example of Jewish armed resistance was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of January 1943, when
thousands of poorly armed Jewish fighters held the SS at bay for four weeks before being crushed by
overwhelmingly superior forces. According to Jewish accounts, several hundred Germans were killed, while the
Germans claimed to have lost 17 dead and 93 wounded. 13,000 Jews were killed during the uprising, and 57,885
were deported and gassed according to German figures. This uprising was followed by the uprising in the Treblinka
extermination camp in May 1943, when about 200 inmates escaped from the camp after overpowering the guards.
They killed a number of German guards and set the camp buildings ablaze, but 900 inmates were also killed, and out
of the 600 who successfully escaped, only 40 survived the war. Two weeks later, there was an uprising in the
Białystok Ghetto. In September, there was a short-lived uprising in the Vilna Ghetto. In October, 600 Jewish
prisoners, including Jewish Soviet prisoners of war, attempted an escape at the Sobibor death camp. The prisoners
killed 11 German SS officers and a number of camp guards. However, the killings were discovered, and the inmates
were forced to run for their lives under heavy fire. 300 of the prisoners were killed during the escape. Most of the
survivors either died in the minefields surrounding the camp or were recaptured and executed. About 60 survived
and joined the Soviet partisans. On October 7, 1944, 250 Jewish Sonderkommandos (laborers) at Auschwitz attacked
their guards and blew up Crematorium IV with explosives that female prisoners had smuggled in from a nearby
factory. Three German guards were killed during the uprising, one of whom was stuffed into an oven. The
Sonderkommandos attempted a mass breakout, but all 250 were killed soon after.
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An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Jewish partisans (see the list at the top of this section) actively fought the Nazis and
their collaborators in Eastern Europe.[192][193] They engaged in guerilla warfare and sabotage against the Nazis,
instigated Ghetto uprisings, and freed prisoners. In Lithuania alone, they killed approximately 3,000 German
soldiers. As many as 1.4 million Jewish soldiers fought in the Allied armies.[194] Of these, approximately 40%
served in the Red Army.[194] About 200,000 Jewish soldiers serving in the Red Army died in the war.[195] The
Jewish Brigade, a unit of 5,000 Jewish volunteers from the British Mandate of Palestine, fought in the British Army.
German-speaking Jewish volunteers from the Special Interrogation Group performed commando and sabotage
operations against the Nazis behind front lines in the Western Desert Campaign.
In occupied Poland and Soviet territories, thousands of Jews fled into the swamps or forests and joined the partisans,
although the partisan movements did not always welcome them. In Lithuania and Belarus, an area with a heavy
concentration of Jews, and also an area which suited partisan operations, Jewish partisan groups saved thousands of
Jewish civilians from extermination. No such opportunities existed for the Jewish populations of cities such as
Budapest. However in Amsterdam, and other parts of the Netherlands, many Jews were active in the Dutch
Resistance.[196] Timothy Snyder wrote that "Other combatants in the Warsaw Uprising were veterans of the ghetto
uprising of 1943. Most of these Jews joined the Home Army; others found the People's Army, or even the antisemitic
National Armed Forces. Some Jews (or Poles of Jewish origin) were already enlisted in the Home Army and the
People's Army. Almost certainly, more Jews fought in the Warsaw Uprising of August 1944 than in the Warsaw
Ghetto Uprising of April 1943."[197] Joining the partisans was an option only for the young and the fit who were
willing to leave their families. Many Jewish families preferred to die together rather than be separated.
French Jews were also highly active in the French Resistance, which conducted a guerilla campaign against the
Nazis and Vichy French authorities, assisted the Allies in their sweep across France, and supported Allied including
Free French forces in the liberation of many occupied French cities. Although Jews made up only one percent of the
French population, they made up fifteen to twenty percent of the French Resistance.[198] The Jewish youth
movement EEIF, which had originally shown support for the Vichy regime, was banned in 1943, and many of its
older members formed armed resistance units. Zionist Jews also formed the Armee Juive (Jewish Army), which
participated in armed resistance under a Zionist flag, and smuggled Jews out of the country. Both organizations
merged in 1944, and participated in the liberation of Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Grenoble, and Nice.[199]
Many people think the Jews went to their deaths like sheep to the slaughter, and that's not true—it's absolutely
not true. I worked closely with many Jewish people in the Resistance, and I can tell you, they took much
greater risks than I did.
— Pieter Meerburg[200]
For the great majority of Jews resistance could take only the passive forms of delay, evasion, negotiation, bargaining
and, where possible, bribery of German officials. The Nazis encouraged this by forcing the Jewish communities to
police themselves, through bodies such as the Reich Association of Jews (Reichsvereinigung der Juden) in Germany
and the Jewish Councils (Judenräte) in the urban ghettos in occupied Poland. They held out the promise of
concessions in exchange for each surrender, enmeshing the Jewish leadership so deeply in well-intentioned
compromise that a decision to stand and fight was never possible. Holocaust survivor Alexander Kimel wrote: "The
youth in the Ghettos dreamed about fighting. I believe that although there were many factors that inhibited our
responses, the most important factors were isolation and historical conditioning to accepting martyrdom."
The historical conditioning of the Jewish communities of Europe to accept persecution and avert disaster through
compromise and negotiation was the most important factor in the failure to resist until the very end. The Warsaw
Ghetto uprising took place only when the Jewish population had been reduced from 500,000 to 100,000, and it was
obvious that no further compromise was possible. Paul Johnson writes: "The Jews had been persecuted for a
millennium and a half and had learned from long experience that resistance cost lives rather than saved them. Their
history, their theology, their folklore, their social structure, even their vocabulary trained them to negotiate, to pay, to
plead, to protest, not to fight."[201]
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The Jewish communities were also systematically deceived about German intentions, and were cut off from most
sources of news from the outside world. The Germans told the Jews that they were being deported to work camps –
euphemistically calling it "resettlement in the East" – and maintained this illusion through elaborate deceptions all
the way to the gas chamber doors (which were marked with labels stating that the chambers were for removal of lice)
to avoid uprisings. As photographs testify, Jews disembarked at the railway stations at Auschwitz and other
extermination camps carrying sacks and suitcases, clearly having no idea of the fate that awaited them. Rumours of
the reality of the extermination camps filtered back only slowly to the ghettos, and were usually not believed, just as
they were not believed when couriers such as Jan Karski, the Polish resistance fighter, conveyed them to the western
Heydrich was assassinated in Prague in June 1942. He was succeeded as head of the RSHA by Ernst Kaltenbrunner.
Kaltenbrunner and Eichmann, under Himmler's close supervision, oversaw the climax of the Final Solution. During
1943 and 1944, the extermination camps worked at a furious rate to kill the hundreds of thousands of people shipped
to them by rail from almost every country within the German sphere of influence. By the spring of 1944, up to 8,000
people were being gassed every day at Auschwitz.[203]
Despite the high productivity of the war industries based in the Jewish ghettos in the General Government, during
1943 they were liquidated, and their populations shipped to the camps for extermination. The largest of these
operations, the deportation of 100,000 people from the Warsaw Ghetto in early 1943, provoked the Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising, which was suppressed with great brutality. Approximately 42,000 Jews were shot during the Operation
Harvest Festival on November 3–4, 1943.[204] At the same time, rail shipments arrived regularly from western and
southern Europe. Few Jews were shipped from the occupied Soviet territories to the camps: the killing of Jews in this
zone was left in the hands of the SS, aided by locally recruited auxiliaries. In any case, by the end of 1943 the
Germans had been driven from most Soviet territory.
Shipments of Jews to the camps had priority on the German railways, and continued even in the face of the
increasingly dire military situation after the Battle of Stalingrad at the end of 1942 and the escalating Allied air
attacks on German industry and transport. Army leaders and economic managers complained at this diversion of
resources and at the killing of irreplaceable skilled Jewish workers. By 1944, moreover, it was evident to most
Germans not blinded by Nazi fanaticism that Germany was losing the war. Many senior officials began to fear the
retribution that might await Germany and them personally for the crimes being committed in their name. But the
power of Himmler and the SS within the German Reich was too great to resist, and Himmler could always evoke
Hitler's authority for his demands.
In October 1943, Himmler gave a speech to senior Nazi Party officials
gathered in Posen (now Poznań in western Poland). Here he came
closer than ever before to stating explicitly that he was intent on
exterminating the Jews of Europe:
I may here in this closest of circles allude to a question which
you, my party comrades, have all taken for granted, but which
has become for me the most difficult question of my life, the
Jewish question ... I ask of you that what I say in this circle you
Budapest, Hungary – Captured Jewish women in
Wesselényi Street, October 20–22, 1944
really only hear and never speak of ... We come to the question:
how is it with the women and children? I have resolved even
here on a completely clear solution. I do not consider myself justified in eradicating the men—so to speak
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ordering them to be killed—and allowing the avengers in the
shape of the children to grow up ... The difficult decision had to
be taken, to cause this people to disappear from the earth.
The audience for this speech included Admiral Karl Dönitz and
Armaments Minister Albert Speer. Dönitz successfully claimed at the
Nuremberg trials that he had had no knowledge of the Final Solution.
Speer, however, declared at the trial and in a subsequent interview that
"If I didn't see it, then it was because I didn't want to see it."[205] The
text of this speech was not known at the time of their trials.
Budapest, Hungary – Hungarian and German
soldiers drive arrested Jews into the municipal
theatre. October 1944.
The scale of extermination slackened somewhat at the beginning of
1944 once the ghettos in occupied Poland were emptied, but on March
19, 1944, Hitler ordered the military occupation of Hungary, and Eichmann was dispatched to Budapest to supervise
the deportation of Hungary's 800,000 Jews. Hitler had personally complained to the Hungarian regent Admiral
Miklós Horthy on the previous day, March 18, 1944, that:
Hungary did nothing in the matter of the Jewish problem, and was not prepared to settle accounts with the
large Jewish population in Hungary.[206]
More than half of them were shipped to Auschwitz in the course of the year. The commandant, Rudolf Höß, said at
his trial that he killed 400,000 Hungarian Jews in three months.
"Blood for Goods"
The operation to kill Hungarian Jews met strong opposition within the Nazi hierarchy, and there were some
suggestions that Hitler should offer the Allies a deal where they would be spared in exchange for a favorable peace
settlement. There were unofficial negotiations in Istanbul between Himmler's agents, British agents, and
representatives of Jewish organizations; at one point an attempt by Eichmann to exchange one million Jews for
10,000 trucks—the so-called "blood for goods" proposal—but there was no real possibility of such a deal being
struck on this scale.
Escapes, publication of existence (April–June 1944)
Escapes from the camps were few, but not unknown. In 1940, the
Auschwitz commandant reported that "the local population is
fanatically Polish and . . . prepared to take any action against the hated
SS camp personnel. Every prisoner who managed to escape can count
on help the moment he reaches the wall of a first Polish
farmstead."[208] According to Ruth Linn, however, escapees,
particularly Jewish ones, could not rely on help from the local
population or the Polish underground.[209]
Bratislava, June–July 1944. Rudolf Vrba (right)
escaped from Auschwitz on April 7, 1944,
bringing the first credible news to the world of
the mass murder that was taking place there.
Arnost Rosin (left), escaped on May 27,
In February 1942, an escaped inmate from the Chełmno extermination
camp, Jacob Grojanowski, reached the Warsaw Ghetto, where he gave
detailed information about the Chełmno camp to the Oneg Shabbat
group. His report, which became known as the Grojanowski Report,
was smuggled out of the ghetto through the channels of the Polish
underground to the Delegatura, and reached London by June 1942. It is unclear what was done with the report at that
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the meantime, by February 1, the United States Office of War
Information had decided not to release information about the
extermination of the Jews because it was felt that it would mislead the
public into thinking the war was simply a Jewish problem.[213]
By at least October 9, 1942, British radio had broadcast news of
gassing of Jews to the Netherlands.[214] In December 1942, the western
Allies released the Joint Declaration by Members of the United
Nations, that described how "Hitler's oft-repeated intention to
exterminate the Jewish people in Europe" was being carried out and
which declared that they "condemn in the strongest possible terms this
bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination."[215]
In 1942, Jan Karski reported to the Polish, British and U.S.
governments on the situation in Poland, especially the destruction of
the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust of the Jews. He met with Polish
"The Mass Extermination of Jews in German
politicians in exile including the prime minister, as well as members of
Occupied Poland", note of Republic of Poland
political parties such as the Socialist Party, National Party, Labor
addressed to United Nations, 1942
Party, People's Party, Jewish Bund and Poalei Zion. He also spoke to
Anthony Eden, the British foreign secretary, and included a detailed
statement on what he had seen in Warsaw and Bełżec.[216] In 1943 in London he met the then-well-known journalist
Arthur Koestler. He then traveled to the United States and reported to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His report
was a major factor in informing the West.
In July 1943, Karski again personally reported to Roosevelt about the situation in Poland. During their meeting
Roosevelt suddenly interrupted his report and asked about the condition of horses in occupied Poland.[217][218][219]
He also met with many other government and civic leaders in the United States, including Felix Frankfurter, Cordell
Hull, William Joseph Donovan, and Stephen Wise. Karski also presented his report to media, bishops of various
denominations (including Cardinal Samuel Stritch), members of the Hollywood film industry and artists, but without
success. Many of those he spoke to did not believe him, or supposed that his testimony was much exaggerated or
was propaganda from the Polish government in exile.[220]
News about gassing Jews was also published in illegal newspapers of the Dutch resistance, like in the issue of Het
Parool of September 27, 1943. However, the news was so unbelievable that many assumed it was merely war
propaganda. The publications were halted because they were counter-productive for the Dutch resistance.
Nevertheless, many Jews were warned that they would be murdered, but as escape was impossible for most of them,
they preferred to believe that the warnings were false.[221][222]
In September 1940, Captain Witold Pilecki, a member of the Polish underground and a soldier of the Polish Home
Army, worked out a plan to enter Auschwitz and volunteered to be sent there, the only known person to volunteer to
be imprisoned at Auschwitz. He organized an underground network Związek Organizacji Wojskowej (translation:
"Union of Military Organizations") that was ready to initiate an uprising but it was decided that the probability of
success was too low for the uprising to succeed. UMO's numerous and detailed reports became later a principal
source of intelligence on Auschwitz for the Western Allies. Pilecki escaped from Auschwitz with information that
became the basis of a two-part report in August 1943 that was sent to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in
London. The report included details about the gas chambers, about "selection", and about the sterilization
experiments. It stated that there were three crematoria in Birkenau able to burn 10,000 people daily, and that 30,000
people had been gassed in one day. The author wrote: "History knows no parallel of such destruction of human
life."[223] When Pilecki returned to Poland after the war the communist authorities arrested and accused him of
spying for the Polish government in exile. He was sentenced to death in a show trial and was executed on May 25,
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Before Pilecki escaped from Auschwitz the most spectacular escape took place on June 20, 1942, when Ukrainian
Eugeniusz Bendera and three Poles, Kazimierz Piechowski, Stanisław Gustaw Jaster and Józef Lempart made a
daring escape.[224] The escapees were dressed as members of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, fully armed and in an SS
staff car. They drove out the main gate in a stolen Rudolf Hoss automobile Steyr 220 with a smuggled first report
from Witold Pilecki to Polish resistance about the Holocaust. The Germans never recaptured any of them.[225]
Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, Jewish inmates, escaped from Auschwitz in April 1944, eventually reaching
Slovakia. The 32-page document they dictated to Jewish officials about the mass murder at Auschwitz became
known as the Vrba-Wetzler report. Vrba had an eidetic memory and had worked on the Judenrampe, where Jews
disembarked from the trains to be "selected" either for the gas chamber or slave labor. The level of detail with which
he described the transports allowed Slovakian officials to compare his account with their own deportation records,
and the corroboration convinced the Allies to take the report seriously.[226]
Two other Auschwitz inmates, Arnost Rosin and Czesław Mordowicz escaped on May 27, 1944, arriving in Slovakia
on June 6, the day of the Normandy landing (D-Day). Hearing about Normandy, they believed the war was over and
got drunk to celebrate, using dollars they'd smuggled out of the camp. They were arrested for violating currency
laws, and spent eight days in prison, before the Judenrat paid their fines. The additional information they offered the
Judenrat was added to Vrba and Wetzler's report and became known as the Auschwitz Protocols. They reported that,
between May 15 and May 27, 1944, 100,000 Hungarian Jews had arrived at Birkenau, and had been killed at an
unprecedented rate, with human fat being used to accelerate the burning.[227]
The BBC and The New York Times published material from the Vrba-Wetzler report on June 15[228] June 20, July
3[229] and July 6[230] 1944. The subsequent pressure from world leaders persuaded Miklós Horthy to bring the mass
deportations of Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz to a halt on July 9, saving up to 200,000 Jews from the
extermination camps.[227]
On November 14, 2001, in the 150th anniversary issue, The New York Times ran an article by former editor Max
Frankel reporting that before and during World War II, the Times had maintained a strict policy in their news
reporting and editorials to minimize reports on the Holocaust.[231] The Times accepted the detailed analysis and
findings of journalism professor Laurel Leff, who had published an article the year before in the Harvard
International Journal of the Press and Politics, that The New York Times had deliberately suppressed news of the
Third Reich's persecution and murder of Jews.[232] Leff concluded that New York Times reporting and editorial
policies made it virtually impossible for American Jews to impress Congress, church or government leaders with the
importance of helping Europe's Jews.[233]
Further information: The New York Times and the Holocaust
Death marches (1944–1945)
By mid 1944, the Final Solution had largely run its course. Those Jewish communities within easy reach of the Nazi
regime had been largely exterminated, in proportions ranging from about 25 percent in France to more than 90
percent in Poland. On 5 May, Himmler claimed in a speech that "The Jewish question has in general been solved in
Germany and in the countries occupied by Germany."[234] During 1944, in any case, the task became steadily more
difficult. German armies were evicted from the Soviet Union, the Balkans and Italy, and German forces--as well as
forces aligned with them--were either defeated or were switching sides to the Allies. In June, the western Allies
landed in France. Allied air attacks and the operations of partisans made rail transport increasingly difficult, and the
objections of the military to the diversion of rail transport for carrying Jews to Poland more urgent and harder to
At this time, as the Soviet armed forces approached, the camps in eastern Poland were closed down, any surviving
inmates being shipped west to camps closer to Germany, first to Auschwitz and later to Gross Rosen in Silesia.
Auschwitz itself was closed as the Soviets advanced through Poland. The last 13 prisoners, all women, were killed in
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Auschwitz II on November 25, 1944; records show they were "unmittelbar getötet" ("killed outright"), leaving open
whether they were gassed or otherwise disposed of.[235]
Despite the desperate military situation, great efforts were made to conceal evidence of what had happened in the
camps. The gas chambers were dismantled, the crematoria dynamited, mass graves dug up and the corpses cremated,
and Polish farmers were induced to plant crops on the sites to give the impression that they had never existed. Local
commanders continued to kill Jews, and to shuttle them from camp to camp by forced "death marches" until the last
weeks of the war.[236]
Already sick after months or years of violence and starvation, prisoners were forced to march for tens of miles in the
snow to train stations; then transported for days at a time without food or shelter in freight trains with open carriages;
and forced to march again at the other end to the new camp. Those who lagged behind or fell were shot. Around
250,000 Jews died during these marches.[237]
The largest and best-known of the death marches took place in January 1945, when the Soviet army advanced on
Poland. Nine days before the Soviets arrived at Auschwitz, the SS marched 60,000 prisoners out of the camp toward
Wodzislaw, 56 km (35 mi) away, where they were put on freight trains to other camps. Around 15,000 died on the
way. Elie Wiesel and his father, Shlomo, were among the marchers:
An icy wind blew in violent gusts. But we marched without faltering. . . .
Pitch darkness. Every now and then, an explosion in the night. They had orders to fire on any who could not
keep up. Their fingers on the triggers, they did not deprive themselves of this pleasure. If one of us had
stopped for a second, a sharp shot finished off another filthy son of a bitch. . . .
Near me, men were collapsing in the dirty snow. Shots.[238]
The first major camp, Majdanek, was discovered by the advancing
Soviets on July 23, 1944. Chełmno was liberated by the Soviets on
January 20, 1945. Auschwitz was liberated, also by the Soviets, on
January 27, 1945;[239] Buchenwald by the Americans on April 11;[240]
Bergen-Belsen by the British on April 15;[241] Dachau by the
Americans on April 29;[242] Ravensbrück by the Soviets on the same
day; Mauthausen by the Americans on May 5;[243] and Theresienstadt
by the Soviets on May 8.[244] Treblinka, Sobibor, and Bełżec were
never liberated, but were destroyed by the Nazis in 1943. Colonel
Starving prisoners in Mauthausen camp liberated
William W. Quinn of the U.S. 7th Army said of Dachau: "There our
on May 5, 1945
troops found sights, sounds, and stenches horrible beyond belief,
cruelties so enormous as to be incomprehensible to the normal mind."[245][246]
In most of the camps discovered by the Soviets, almost all the prisoners had already been removed, leaving only a
few thousand alive—7,600 inmates were found in Auschwitz,[247] including 180 children who had been
experimented on by doctors. Some 60,000 prisoners were discovered at Bergen-Belsen by the British 11th Armoured
Division,[248] 13,000 corpses lay unburied, and another 10,000 died from typhus or malnutrition over the following
weeks.[249] The British forced the remaining SS guards to gather up the corpses and place them in mass graves.[250]
The BBC's Richard Dimbleby described the scenes that greeted him and the British Army at Belsen:
Here over an acre of ground lay dead and dying people. You could not see which was which . . . The living lay
with their heads against the corpses and around them moved the awful, ghostly procession of emaciated,
aimless people, with nothing to do and with no hope of life, unable to move out of your way, unable to look at
the terrible sights around them . . . Babies had been born here, tiny wizened things that could not live . . . A
mother, driven mad, screamed at a British sentry to give her milk for her child, and thrust the tiny mite into his
The Holocaust
arms . . . He opened the bundle and found the baby had been dead for days. This day at Belsen was the most
horrible of my life.[251]
Victims and death toll
Further information: The Destruction of the European Jews and The War Against the Jews
Soviet POWs
Ethnic Poles
5.9 million
2–3 million
1.8–2 million [254][255]
220,000–1,500,000 [256][257]
The number of victims depends on which definition of "the Holocaust" is used. Donald Niewyk and Francis Nicosia
write in The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust that the term is commonly defined as the mass murder of more than 5
million European Jews. They further state that 'Not everyone finds this a fully satisfactory definition.'[263] According
to Martin Gilbert the total number of victims is just under six million—around 78 percent of the 7.3 million Jews in
occupied Europe at the time.[264]
Broader definitions include approximately 2 to 3 million Soviet POWs, 2 million ethnic Poles, up to 1,500,000
Romani, 200,000 handicapped, political and religious dissenters, 15,000 homosexuals and 5,000 Jehovah's
Witnesses, bringing the death toll to around 11 million. The broadest definition would include 6 million Soviet
civilians, raising the death toll to 17 million.[263] R.J. Rummel estimates the total democide death toll of Nazi
Germany to be 21 million. Other estimates put total casualties of Soviet Union's citizens alone to about 26
Since 1945, the most commonly cited figure for the total number of Jews killed has been six million. The Yad
Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, writes that there is no precise figure
for the number of Jews killed. The figure most commonly used is the six million attributed to Adolf Eichmann, a
senior SS official.[266] Early calculations range from 5.1 million from Raul Hilberg, to 5.95 million from Jacob
Leschinsky. Yisrael Gutman and Robert Rozett in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust estimate 5.59–5.86 million.[267]
A study led by Wolfgang Benz of the Technical University of Berlin suggests 5.29–6.2 million.[268][269] Yad
Vashem writes that the main sources for these statistics are comparisons of prewar and postwar censuses and
population estimates, and Nazi documentation on deportations and murders.[268] Its Central Database of Shoah
Victims' Names currently holds close to 3 million names of Holocaust victims, all accessible online. Yad Vashem
continues its project of collecting names of Jewish victims from historical documents and individual memories.[270]
The Holocaust
Hilberg's estimate of 5.1 million, in the third edition of The Destruction
of the European Jews, includes over 800,000 who died from
"ghettoization and general privation"; 1,400,000 killed in open-air
shootings; and up to 2,900,000 who perished in camps. Hilberg
estimates the death toll of Jews in Poland as up to 3,000,000.[271]
Hilberg's numbers are generally considered to be a conservative
estimate, as they typically include only those deaths for which records
are available, avoiding statistical adjustment.[272]
Entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1945
British historian Martin Gilbert arrived at a "minimum estimate" of
over 5.75 million Jewish victims.[273] Lucy S. Dawidowicz used pre-war census figures to estimate that 5.934
million Jews died (see table below).[274]
There were about 8 to 10 million Jews in the territories controlled directly or indirectly by Germany (the uncertainty
arises from the lack of knowledge about how many Jews there were in the Soviet Union). The six million killed in
the Holocaust thus represent 60 to 75 percent of these Jews. Of Poland's 3.3 million Jews, over 90 percent were
killed. The same proportion were killed in Latvia and Lithuania, but most of Estonia's Jews were evacuated in time.
Of the 750,000 Jews in Germany and Austria in 1933, only about a quarter survived. Although many German Jews
emigrated before 1939, the majority of these fled to Czechoslovakia, France or the Netherlands, from where they
were later deported to their deaths. In Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands, and Yugoslavia, over 70 percent
were killed. 50 to 70 percent were killed in Romania, Belgium and Hungary. It is likely that a similar proportion
were killed in Belarus and Ukraine, but these figures are less certain. Countries with notably lower proportions of
deaths include Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Italy, and Norway. Albania was the only country occupied by Germany
that had a significantly larger Jewish population in 1945 than in 1939. About two hundred native Jews and over a
thousand refugees were provided with false documents, hidden when necessary, and generally treated as honored
guests in a country whose population was roughly 60% Muslim.[275] Additionally, Japan, as an Axis member, had its
own unique response to German policies regarding Jews; see Shanghai Ghetto.
Jews killed
under 100,000
Extermination Camp
Estimate of number killed
1 million;
79,000 – 235,000;
The Holocaust
This gives a total of over 3.8 million; of these, 80–90% were estimated to be Jews. These seven camps thus
accounted for half the total number of Jews killed in the entire Nazi Holocaust. Virtually the entire Jewish population
of Poland died in these camps.[252]
In addition to those who died in the above extermination camps, at least half a million Jews died in other camps,
including the major concentration camps in Germany. These were not extermination camps, but had large numbers
of Jewish prisoners at various times, particularly in the last year of the war as the Nazis withdrew from Poland.
About a million people died in these camps, and although the proportion of Jews is not known with certainty, it was
estimated to be at least 50 percent. Another 800,000 to one million Jews were killed by the Einsatzgruppen in the
occupied Soviet territories (an approximate figure, since the Einsatzgruppen killings were frequently
undocumented).[279] Many more died through execution or of disease and malnutrition in the ghettos of Poland
before they could be deported.
By country
Jewish Holocaust death toll as a % of the total
pre-war Jewish population
The following figures from Lucy Dawidowicz show the annihilation of the Jewish
population of Europe by (pre-war) country:[252]
Estimated Estimated Percent
killed killed
3,300,000 3,000,000
Baltic countries
Germany & Austria
Bohemia & Moravia
Byelorussian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
The Holocaust
Russian SFSR
8,861,800 5,933,900
In the 1990s, the opening of government archives in Eastern Europe resulted in the adjustment of the death tolls
published in the pioneering work by Hilberg, Dawidowicz and Gilbert (e.g. compare Gilbert's estimation of 2 million
deaths in Auschwitz-Birkenau with the updated figure of 1 million in the Extermination Camp data box). As pointed
out above, Wolfgang Benz has been carrying out work on the more recent data. He concluded in 1999:
The goal of annihilating all of the Jews of Europe, as it was proclaimed at the conference in the villa Am
Grossen Wannsee in January 1942, was not reached. Yet the six million murder victims make the holocaust a
unique crime in the history of mankind. The number of victims—and with certainty the following represent the
minimum number in each case—cannot express that adequately. Numbers are just too abstract. However they
must be stated in order to make clear the dimension of the genocide: 165,000 Jews from Germany, 65,000
from Austria, 32,000 from France and Belgium, more than 100,000 from the Netherlands, 60,000 from
Greece, the same number from Yugoslavia, more than 140,000 from Czechoslovakia, half a million from
Hungary, 2.2 million from the Soviet Union, and 2.7 million from Poland. To these numbers must be added all
those killed in the pogroms and massacres in Romania and Transitrien (over 200,000) and the deported and
murdered Jews from Albania and Norway, Denmark and Italy, from Luxembourg and Bulgaria.
—Benz, Wolfgang The Holocaust: a German historian examines the genocide[280]
Effect on Yiddish language
As the significant majority of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were speakers of Yiddish, the Holocaust had a
profound and permanent effect on the fate of Yiddish language and culture (see Yiddish Renaissance). On the eve of
World War II, there were 11 to 13 million Yiddish speakers in the world.[281] The Holocaust led to a dramatic,
sudden decline in the use of Yiddish, as the extensive Jewish communities, both secular and religious, that used it in
their day-to-day life were largely destroyed. Around 5 million (85%) of the victims of the Holocaust were speakers
of Yiddish.[282] Of the remaining non-Yiddish population, the Ladino speaking populations of Greece and the
Balkans were also destroyed, which contributed to the extinction of this Judaeo-Spanish language.
The Holocaust
Non Jewish
Himmler's Generalplan Ost (General Plan East), which was enthusiastically agreed to by Hitler in the summer of
1942, involved exterminating, expelling, or enslaving most or all Slavs from their native lands so as to make living
space for German settlers, something that would be carried out over a period of 20–30 years.[283][284]
William W. Hagen wrote:
Generalplan Ost . . . forecast the diminution of the targeted east European peoples' populations by the
following measures: Poles – 85 percent; Belarusians – 75 percent; Ukrainians – 65 percent; Czechs – 50
percent. These enormous reductions would result from "extermination through labor" or decimation through
malnutrition, disease, and controls on reproduction. . . . The Russian people, once subjugated in war, would
join the four Slavic-speaking nations whose fate Generalplan Ost foreshadowed.[285]
It is a question of existence, thus it will be a racial struggle of pitiless severity, in the course of which 20 to 30
million Slavs and Jews will perish through military actions and crises of food supply.
— Heinrich Himmler spoke about Operation Barbarossa, June 1941[286]
Ethnic Poles
Further information: Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles, Occupation of
Poland (1939–1945), Pacification operations in German-occupied
Poland, and Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen
German planners had in November 1939 called for "the complete
destruction" of all Poles.[287] "All Poles", Heinrich Himmler swore,
"will disappear from the world".[288] The Polish state under German
occupation was to be cleared of ethnic Poles and settled by German
colonists.[289] Of the Poles, by 1952 only about 3–4 million of them
were to be left in the former Poland, and only to serve as slaves for
German settlers. They were to be forbidden to marry, the existing ban
on any medical help to Poles in Germany would be extended, and
eventually Poles would cease to exist. On 22 August 1939, just over a
week before the onset of war, Hitler declared that "the object of the
war is . . . physically to destroy the enemy. That is why I have
prepared, for the moment only in the East, my 'Death's Head'
formations with orders to kill without pity or mercy all men, women,
and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we
obtain the living space we need."[290] Nazi planners decided against a
genocide of ethnic Poles on the same scale as against ethnic Jews; it
could not proceed in the short run since "such a solution to the Polish
question would represent a burden to the German people into the
distant future, and everywhere rob us of all understanding, not least in
that neighbouring peoples would have to reckon at some appropriate
time, with a similar fate".[291]
The actions taken against ethnic Poles were not on the scale of the
genocide of the Jews. Most Polish Jews (perhaps 90% of their pre-war
Execution of Poles by Einsatzkommando, Leszno,
October 1939
Announcement of death penalty for
Poles helping Jews
The Holocaust
population) perished during the Holocaust, while most Christian Poles survived
the brutal German occupation.[292] Between 1.8 and 2.1 million non-Jewish
Polish citizens perished in German hands during the course of the war, about
four-fifths of whom were ethnic Poles with the remaining fifth being ethnic
minorities of Ukrainians and Belarusians, the vast majority of them
civilians.[254][255] At least 200,000 of these victims died in concentration camps
with about 146,000 being killed in Auschwitz. Many others died as a result of
general massacres such as in the Warsaw Uprising where between 120,000 and
Polish civilians executed in Warsaw
200,000 civilians were killed.[293][294] The policy of the Germans in Poland
included diminishing food rations, conscious lowering of the state of hygiene and
depriving the population of medical services. The general mortality rate rose
from 13 to 18 per thousand.[295] Overall, about 5.6 million of the victims of
World War II were Polish citizens,[255] both Jewish and non-Jewish, and over the
course of the war Poland lost 16 percent of its pre-war population; approximately
3.1 million of the 3.3 million Polish Jews and approximately 2 million of the
31.7 million non-Jewish Polish citizens died at German hands during the
Auschwitz I patch with the letter "P",
war.[296] According to recent (2009) estimates by IPN, over 2.5 million
required wear for Polish inmates
non-Jewish Polish citizens died as a result of the German occupation.
90 percent of the death toll came through non-military losses, as most of the
civilians were targeted by various deliberate actions by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.[293]
A few days before the invasion of Poland, on August 22, 1939, Adolf Hitler said to his generals:
Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter—with premeditation and a happy heart.
History sees in him solely the founder of a state. ... Our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but
in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in
readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without
compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living
space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? ...
Poland will be depopulated and settled with Germans. ... As for the rest, gentlemen, the fate of Russia will be
exactly the same as I am now going through with in the case of Poland.[298][299]
Ethnic Serbs and other South Slavs
In the Balkans, up to 581,000 Yugoslavs were killed by the Nazis
and their Croatian fascist allies in Yugoslavia.[300][301] German
forces, under express orders from Hitler, fought with a special
vengeance against the Serbs, who were considered
Untermensch.[302] The Ustaše collaborators conducted a
systematic extermination of large numbers of people for political,
religious or racial reasons. The most numerous victims were Serbs.
Bosniaks, Croats and others were also victims of the Jasenovac
concentration camp. According to the U.S. Holocaust Museum:
Ustaše soldiers sawing off the head of Branko Jungić,
"The Ustaša authorities established numerous concentration camps
an ethnic Serb from Bosnia.
in Croatia between 1941 and 1945. These camps were used to
isolate and murder Serbs, Jews, Roma, Muslims [Bosniaks], and
other non-Catholic minorities, as well as Croatian political and religious opponents of the regime."
The Holocaust
The USHMM and Jewish Virtual Library report between 56,000 and 97,000 persons were killed at the Jasenovac
concentration camp.[303][304][305] Yad Vashem reports an overall number of over 500,000 murders of Serbs "in
horribly sadistic ways" at the hands of the Ustaša.[306]
As per the most recent study, Bosnjaci u Jasenovackom logoru ("Bosniaks in Jasenovac concentration camp") by the
author Nihad Halilbegovic, at least 103,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslim Slavs) perished during Holocaust at the
hands of the Nazi regime and Croatian Ustaše. According to the study "unknown is the full number of Bosniaks who
were murdered under Serb or Croat alias or national name" and "large numbers of Bosniaks were killed and listed
under Roma populations", therefore in advance sentenced to death and extermination.[307][308]
Excluding Slovenes under Italian rule, between 20,000 and 25,000 Slovenes were killed by Nazis or fascists
(counting only civilian victims).[309]
The Nazi and Albanian cooperation entity was followed by extensive persecution of non-Albanians (mostly Serbs)
by Albanian fascists. Most of the war crimes were perpetrated by the Skenderbeg SS Division and the Balli
Kombëtar. Albanian Fascists killed 40,000 to 60,000 Serbs and another 200,000 were driven out.[310][311]
East Slavs
Soviet civilian populations in the occupied areas were also heavily persecuted (in addition to the barbarity of the
Eastern Front frontline warfare manifesting itself in episodes such as the siege of Leningrad in which more than 1
million civilians died).[312] Thousands of peasant villages across Russia, Belarus and Ukraine were annihilated by
German troops. Bohdan Wytwycky has estimated that as many as one quarter of all Soviet civilian deaths at the
hands of the Nazis and their allies were racially motivated.[263] The Russian Academy of Sciences in 1995 reported
civilian victims in the USSR at German hands, including Jews, totaled 13.7 million dead, 20% of the 68 million
persons in the occupied USSR. This included 7.4 million victims of Nazi genocide and reprisals.[313]
In Belarus, Nazi Germany imposed a regime in the country that was responsible for burning down some 9,000
villages, deporting some 380,000 people for slave labour, and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. More than
600 villages, like Khatyn, were burned along with their entire population and at least 5,295 Belarusian settlements
were destroyed by the Nazis and some or all of their inhabitants killed. Tim Snyder states: "Of the nine million
people who were on the territory of Soviet Belarus in 1941, some 1.6 million were killed by the Germans in actions
away from battlefields, including about 700,000 prisoners of war, 500,000 Jews, and 320,000 people counted as
partisans (the vast majority of whom were unarmed civilians."[314]
The German racists assigned the Slavs to the lowest rank of human life, from which the Jews were altogether
excluded. The Germans thus looked upon Slavs as people not fit to be educated, not able to govern themselves,
worthy only as slaves whose existence would be justified because they served their German masters. Hitler's
racial policy with regard to the Slavs, to the extent that it was formulated, was "depopulation." The Slavs were
to be prevented from procreating, except to provide the necessary continuing supply of slave laborers.
— Lucy Dawidowicz, The Holocaust and the historians[315]
Soviet POWs
According to Michael Berenbaum, between two and three million
Soviet prisoners-of-war—or around 57 percent of all Soviet
POWs—died of starvation, mistreatment, or executions between June
1941 and May 1945, and most those during their first year of captivity.
According to other estimates by Daniel Goldhagen, an estimated 2.8
million Soviet POWs died in eight months in 1941–42, with a total of
3.5 million by mid-1944.[316] The USHMM has estimated that 3.3
Naked Soviet POWs in Mauthausen
concentration camp. Unknown date
The Holocaust
million of the 5.7 million Soviet POWs died in German custody—compared to 8,300 of 231,000 British and
American prisoners.[317] The death rates decreased as the POWs were needed to work as slaves to help the German
war effort; by 1943, half a million of them had been deployed as slave labor.[253]
Romani people
[T]hey wish to toss into the Ghetto everything that is characteristically dirty, shabby, bizarre, of which one ought to be frightened and
which anyway had to be destroyed.
—Emmanuel Ringelblum on the Roma.
Because the Roma and Sinti are traditionally a secretive people with a culture based on oral history, less is known
about their experience of the genocide than about that of any other group.[319] Yehuda Bauer writes that the lack of
information can be attributed to the Roma's distrust and suspicion, and to their humiliation, because some of the
basic taboos of Romani culture regarding hygiene and sexual contact were violated at Auschwitz. Bauer writes that
"most [Roma] could not relate their stories involving these tortures; as a result, most kept silent and thus increased
the effects of the massive trauma they had undergone."[320]
The treatment of Romanis was not consistent in the
different areas that Nazi Germany conquered. In
some areas (e.g. Luxembourg and the Baltic
countries), the Nazis killed virtually the entire
Romani population. In other areas (e.g. Denmark,
Greece), there is no record of Romanis being
subjected to mass killings.[321]
Donald Niewyk and Frances Nicosia write that the
death toll was at least 130,000 of the nearly one
million Roma and Sinti in Nazi-controlled
Europe.[319] Michael Berenbaum writes that
Map of persecution of the Roma
serious scholarly estimates lie between 90,000 and
A study by Sybil Milton, senior
historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, calculated a death toll of at least 220,000 and possibly closer to
500,000, but this study explicitly excluded the Independent State of Croatia where the genocide of Romanies was
intense.[323][256] Martin Gilbert estimates a total of more than 220,000 of the 700,000 Romani in Europe.[324] Ian
Hancock, Director of the Program of Romani Studies and the Romani Archives and Documentation Center at the
University of Texas at Austin, has argued in favour of a higher figure of between 500,000 and 1,500,000.[257]
Hancock writes that, proportionately, the death toll equaled "and almost certainly exceed[ed], that of Jewish
The Holocaust
Romani arrivals in the Belzec extermination
camp, 1940
Before being sent to the camps, the victims were herded into ghettos,
including several hundred into the Warsaw Ghetto.[107] Further east,
teams of Einsatzgruppen tracked down Romani encampments and
murdered the inhabitants on the spot, leaving no records of the victims.
They were also targeted by the puppet regimes that cooperated with the
Nazis, e.g. the Ustaše regime in Croatia, where a large number of
Romani were killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp. The
genocide analyst Helen Fein has stated that the Ustashe killed virtually
every Romani in Croatia.[326]
In May 1942, the Romani were placed under the same labor and social
laws as the Jews. On December 16, 1942, Heinrich Himmler, Commander of the SS and regarded as the "architect"
of the Nazi genocide,[327] issued a decree that "Gypsy Mischlinge (mixed breeds), Romani, and members of the clans
of Balkan origins who are not of German blood" should be sent to Auschwitz, unless they had served in the
Wehrmacht.[328] On January 29, 1943, another decree ordered the deportation of all German Romani to Auschwitz.
This was adjusted on November 15, 1943, when Himmler ordered that, in the occupied Soviet areas, "sedentary
Gypsies and part-Gypsies (Mischlinge) are to be treated as citizens of the country. Nomadic Gypsies and
part-Gypsies are to be placed on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps."[329] Bauer argues that
this adjustment reflected Nazi ideology that the Roma, originally an Aryan population, had been "spoiled" by
non-Romani blood.[330]
Persons of color
The number of black people in Germany when the Nazis came to power is variously estimated at 5,000–25,000.[331]
It is not clear whether these figures included Asians. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
Washington, D.C., "The fate of black people from 1933 to 1945 in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied territories
ranged from isolation to persecution, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality, and murder.
However, there was no systematic program for their elimination as there was for Jews and other groups."[332]
Meanwhile, Afrikaaners, Berbers, Iranians and Pre-Partition Indians were classified as Aryans, so not persecuted
(see main article).
Disabled and mentally ill
"60,000 RM is what this person with
genetic defects costs the community
during his lifetime. Fellow
that's your money too
The Holocaust
Our starting-point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty
or clothe the naked—those are not our objectives. Our objectives are entirely different. They can be put most crisply in the sentence:
we must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world.
—Joseph Goebbels, 1938.
Action T4 was a program established in 1939 to maintain the genetic "purity" of the German population by killing or
sterilizing German and Austrian citizens who were judged to be disabled or suffering from mental disorder.[336]
Between 1939 and 1941, 80,000 to 100,000 mentally ill adults in institutions were killed; 5,000 children in
institutions; and 1,000 Jews in institutions.[337] Outside the mental health institutions, the figures are estimated as
20,000 (according to Dr. Georg Renno, the deputy director of Schloss Hartheim, one of the euthanasia centers) or
400,000 (according to Frank Zeireis, the commandant of Mauthausen concentration camp).[337] Another 300,000
were forcibly sterilized.[338] Overall it has been estimated that over 200,000 individuals with mental disorders of all
kinds were put to death, although their mass murder has received relatively little historical attention. Along with
physically disabled, people suffering from dwarfism were persecuted as well. Many were put on display in cages and
experimented on by the Nazis.[339] Despite not being formally ordered to take part, psychiatrists and psychiatric
institutions were at the center of justifying, planning and carrying out the atrocities at every stage, and "constituted
the connection" to the later annihilation of Jews and other "undesirables" in the Holocaust.[340] After strong protests
by the German Catholic and Protestant churches on August 24, 1941 Hitler ordered the cancellation of the T4
The program was named after Tiergartenstraße 4, the address of a villa in the Berlin borough of Tiergarten, the
headquarters of the General Foundation for Welfare and Institutional Care,[342] led by Philipp Bouhler, head of
Hitler's private chancellery (Kanzlei des Führer der NSDAP) and Karl Brandt, Hitler's personal physician.
Brandt was tried in December 1946 at Nuremberg, along with 22 others, in a case known as United States of
America vs. Karl Brandt et al., also known as the Doctors' Trial. He was hanged at Landsberg Prison on June 2,
Between 5,000 and 15,000 homosexuals of German nationality are
estimated to have been sent to concentration camps.[261] James D.
Steakley writes that what mattered in Germany was criminal intent or
character, rather than criminal acts, and the "gesundes
Volksempfinden" ("healthy sensibility of the people") became the
leading normative legal principle.[343] In 1936, Himmler created the
Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and
Abortion.[344] Homosexuality was declared contrary to "wholesome
popular sentiment,"[261] and homosexuals were consequently regarded
The Homomonument in Amsterdam, a memorial
as "defilers of German blood." The Gestapo raided gay bars, tracked
to the homosexual victims of Nazi Germany.
individuals using the address books of those they arrested, used the
subscription lists of gay magazines to find others, and encouraged
people to report suspected homosexual behavior and to scrutinize the behavior of their neighbours.[261][343]
Tens of thousands were convicted between 1933 and 1944 and sent to camps for "rehabilitation", where they were
identified by yellow armbands[345] and later pink triangles worn on the left side of the jacket and the right trouser
leg, which singled them out for sexual abuse.[343] Hundreds were castrated by court order.[346] They were
humiliated, tortured, used in hormone experiments conducted by SS doctors, and killed.[261] Steakley writes that the
full extent of gay suffering was slow to emerge after the war. Many victims kept their stories to themselves because
homosexuality remained criminalized in postwar Germany. Around two percent of German homosexuals were
The Holocaust
persecuted by Nazis.[343]
The political left
German communists, socialists and trade unionists were among the earliest domestic opponents of Nazism[347] and
were also among the first to be sent to concentration camps. Hitler claimed that communism was a Jewish ideology
which the Nazis termed "Judeo-Bolshevism". Fear of communist agitation was used as justification for the Enabling
Act of 1933, the law which gave Hitler his original dictatorial powers. Hermann Göring later testified at the
Nuremberg Trials that the Nazis' willingness to repress German communists prompted President Paul von
Hindenburg and the German elite to cooperate with the Nazis. MI6 assisted the Gestapo via "the exchange of
information about Communism", and, as late as October 1937, the head of the British agency's Berlin station, Frank
Foley, described his relationship with Heinrich Müller's so-called communism expert as "cordial".[348]
Hitler and the Nazis also hated German leftists because of their resistance to the party's racism. Many leaders of
German leftist groups were Jews, and Jews were especially prominent among the leaders of the Spartacist uprising in
1919. Hitler already referred to Marxism and "Bolshevism" as a means of "the international Jew" to undermine
"racial purity" and survival of the Nordics or Aryans, as well to stir up socioeconomic class tension and labor unions
against the government or state-owned businesses. Within the concentration camps such as Buchenwald, German
communists were privileged in comparison to Jews because of their "racial purity".[349]
Whenever the Nazis occupied a new territory, members of communist, socialist, or anarchist groups were normally
to be the first persons detained or executed. Evidence of this is found in Hitler's infamous Commissar Order, in
which he ordered the summary execution of all political commissars captured among Soviet soldiers, as well as the
execution of all Communist Party members in German held territory.[350][351] Einsatzgruppen carried out these
executions in the east.
Nacht und Nebel (German for "Night and Fog") was a directive (German: Erlass) of Hitler on December 7, 1941
signed and implemented by Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Wilhelm Keitel, resulting in kidnapping and
disappearance of many political activists throughout Nazi Germany's occupied territories.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that Freemasonry had "succumbed" to the
Jews: "The general pacifistic paralysis of the national instinct of
self-preservation begun by Freemasonry is then transmitted to the
masses of society by the Jewish press."[352] Within the Reich, however,
the "threat" posed by Freemasons was not considered serious from the
mid-1930s onwards.[353] Heydrich even established a Freemasonry
museum—at which Eichmann spent some time early in his SD
career[354]—for what he regarded as a "disappeared cult".[355]
Similarly, Hitler was happy to issue a proclamation on 27 April 1938
whose third point lifted restrictions on Party membership for former
A memorial for Loge Liberté chérie, founded in
Freemasons, "provided the applicants had not served with the Lodge as
November 1943 in Hut 6 of Emslandlager VII
highdegree members."
The Führer still maintained Freemasonry
Esterwegen), one of two Masonic Lodges
within his conspiratorial outlook,[357] but its adherents were not
founded in a Nazi concentration camp.
persecuted in a systematic fashion like groups such as the Jews.[353]
Those Freemasons who were sent to concentration camps as political prisoners were forced to wear an inverted red
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum believes that, "because many of the Freemasons who were arrested
were also Jews and/or members of the political opposition, it is not known how many individuals were placed in
Nazi concentration camps and/or were targeted only because they were Freemasons."[359] However, the Grand
The Holocaust
Lodge of Scotland estimates the number of Freemasons executed between 80,000 and 200,000.[259]
Jehovah's Witnesses
Refusing to pledge allegiance to the Nazi party or to serve in the military, roughly 12,000 Jehovah's Witnesses were
forced to wear a purple triangle and were placed in camps where they were given the option of renouncing their faith
and submitting to the state's authority. Between 2,500 and 5,000 were killed.[262] Historian Detlef Garbe, director at
the Neuengamme (Hamburg) Memorial, writes that "no other religious movement resisted the pressure to conform to
National Socialism with comparable unanimity and steadfastness."[360]
Dr. Shimon Samuels, director for International Liaison of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, describes the acrimonious
debate that exists between "specifists" and "universalists". The former fear debasement of the Holocaust by invidious
comparisons, while the latter places the Holocaust alongside non-Jewish experiences of mass extermination as part
and parcel of the global context of genocide. Dr. Samuels considers the debate, ipso facto, to dishonour the memory
of the respective victims of each genocide. In his words, "Each case is specific as a threshold phenomenon, while
each also adds its unique memory as signposts along an incremental continuum of horror."[361] Peter Novick argued:
"A moment's reflection makes clear that the notion of uniqueness is quite vacuous . . . [and], in practice, deeply
offensive. What else call all of this possibly mean except 'your catastrophe, unlike ours, is ordinary'".[362] Adam
Jones, professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, believes that claims of uniqueness for the
Holocaust have become less common since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.[363] In 1997, the publication of The Black
Book of Communism led to further debate on the comparison between Soviet and Nazi crimes; the book argued that
Nazi crimes were not very different from the Soviet ones, and that Nazi methods were to a significant extent adopted
from Soviet methods;[364] in the course of the debate, the term "Red Holocaust" appeared in discourse.[365][366] In
The Holocaust Industry, Norman Finkelstein writes that the uniqueness theory first appeared in public discourse in
1967, but that it does not figure in scholarship of the Nazi Holocaust.[367]
[1] Dawidowicz 1975, p. xxxvii
[2] Snyder 2010, pp. 412 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=BQ1HKmG9xZ8C& pg=PA412)
[3] Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p. 45 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=lpDTIUklB2MC& pg=PA45). "The Holocaust is commonly defined
as the murder of more than 5,000,000 Jews by the Germans in World War II"
[4] Dawidowicz 1975, p. 403
[5] Hedgepeth & Saidel 2010, p. 16 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=nLdJEZGkwrkC& pg=PA16). "If two million Jewish women were
murdered during the Holocaust, sexual molestation was the lot of a few but violence was the lot of the many"
[6] Fitzgerald 2011, p. 4 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=EeFmdKK-9WsC& pg=PT3). "More than a million Jewish children were
[7] Friedlander 1995, pp. xii–xiii
[8] Niewyk 2012, p. 191 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=6XYp-z5aP4MC& pg=PA191)
[9] Davies, Norman; Lukas, Richard C. (2001). The forgotten Holocaust: the Poles under German occupation, 1939-1944. New York (171
Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016): Hippocrene. ISBN 0-7818-0901-0.
[10] Wytwycky, Bohdan (1980). The Other Holocaust: Many Circles of Hell. The Novak Report.
[11] Snyder 2010, p. 384 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=BQ1HKmG9xZ8C& pg=PA384)
[12] The historian Timothy Snyder has argued the importance of giving different names to those atrocities: "The point is not that the Nazi
extermination of European Jews can never and in no way be usefully compared to other crimes. The point is that the word “Holocaust” means
precisely that, and not something else, and we have to preserve the terms to have a chance of understanding the history. Germany
implemented other policies of mass murder besides the Holocaust; we should and do give them other names. Snyder on Savegry (http:/ / www.
tnr. com/ article/ books-and-arts/ magazine/ 102134/ spanish-holocaust-francisco-franco])
[13] Berenbaum 2005, p. 103
[14] "What is the origin of the word 'Holocaust'?" (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ research/ library/ faq/ details. php?topic=01#02). United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum. . Retrieved 25 September 2012.
[15] Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p. 45 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=lpDTIUklB2MC& pg=PA45)
The Holocaust
[16] Steinweis 2001 provides a survey of this phenomenon.
[17] "The Holocaust: Definition and Preliminary Discussion" (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ yv/ en/ holocaust/ resource_center/ the_holocaust.
asp). Yad Vashem. . Retrieved 24 September 2012.
[18] For an opposing view on the allegedly offensive nature of the meaning of the word holocaust, see Peterie 2000.
[19] Berenbaum 2005, p. 104
[20] Friedländer 2007, p. xxi
[21] Bauer 2002, p. 48 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=WhvShlTeqesC& pg=PA48)
[22] Maier 1988, p. 53 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=gVLpGXHAti0C& pg=PA53)
[23] "Holocaust Map of Concentration and Death Camps" (http:/ / history1900s. about. com/ library/ holocaust/ blmap. htm). June 16, 2010. . Retrieved July 31, 2010.
[24] Dear & Foot 2001, p. ?
[25] For a summary of this point, see: Bauer, Yehuda (27 January 1998). "Address to the Bundestag" (http:/ / www. mfa. gov. il/ MFA/
MFAArchive/ 1990_1999/ 1998/ 1/ Address to the Bundestag- by Professor Yehuda Baue). Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. . Retrieved 21
September 2012.
[26] Bauer 2002, p. 49 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=WhvShlTeqesC& pg=PA49)
[27] Hilberg 1995, p. 66
[28] Harran 2000, p. 384 (http:/ / www. holocaustchronicle. org/ index. html)
[29] Müller-Hill 1998, p. 22
[30] Berenbaum 2005, pp. 194–5
[31] "Boycotts" (http:/ / www. chgs. umn. edu/ Educational_Resources/ Curriculum/ Broken_Threads/ Boycotts/ boycotts. html). Center for
Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota . . Retrieved 24 September 2012.
[32] Bauer 1982, pp. ??
[33] Hilberg 2003, p. 1, 5 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=J1iGlmLZ9I8C& pg=PA5). The relevant chapter is reprinted in Bartov, Omer,
ed. (2000). The Holocaust: Origins, Implementation, Aftermath. London: Routledge. pp. 21–42.
[34] Dawidowicz 1975, p. 47
[35] Fischer 2002, pp. 47–9 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=I0TDSnJFGGoC& pg=PA47)
[36] Gramel 1992, pp. 53–4
[37] Gramel 1992, p. 61
[38] Friedländer 1997, p. 76
[39] Evans 1989, p. 69
[40] Friedlander 1994, p. 495–6
[41] Fischer 2002, pp. 47–51 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=I0TDSnJFGGoC& pg=PA47)
[42] Mommsen 1993, p. 121
[43] Peukert 1994, pp. 280–4
[44] Peukert 1994, pp. 279–80
[45] Peukert 1994, p. 280
[46] Peukert 1994, p. 288
[47] Burleigh 2000, pp. 47–8
[48] Peukert 1994, p. 289
[49] Fleming 1987, p. 17 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=qPV_rGdhYpkC& pg=PA17)
[50] Mommsen, Hans (12 December 1997). "Interview with Hans Mommsen" (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ Microsoft Word 3850. pdf). Yad Vashem. . Retrieved 26 September 2012.
[51] Noakes & Pridham 1983, p. 499
[52] Peukert 1987, p. 220
[53] Peukert 1987, p. 221
[54] Gilbert 1986, p. 32
[55] Longerich 2012, p. 155 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=GBQchepZ-7EC& pg=PA155& dq="above+ all")
[56] Peukert 1987, p. 214
[57] Friedländer 1997, p. 33
[58] Friedländer 1997, p. 29
[59] Friedländer 1997, p. 30–1
[60] Proctor 1988, p. 108 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=hogbxS2Gp1QC& pg=PA108)
[61] Kershaw 1998, p. 570 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=1GxdAsFVHpAC& pg=PT970& dq="further+ failure")
[62] Berenbaum 2005, p. 57
[63] Michael & Doerr 2002, p. 154
[64] Friedländer 1997, p. 1
[65] Friedländer 1997, p. 12
[66] Benz 2007, p. 97
[67] Benz 2007, p. 97. 26,000 to Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen
The Holocaust
[68] Buchholz 1999, p. 510. Pomeranian Jews to Oranienburg
[69] Buchholz 1999, p. 510
[70] Halbrook 2000, p. 528
[71] Bauer 1989, p. 7 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=wBHAaRhXDUEC& pg=PA7& dq="schacht+ plan"). For details of the original
Schacht Plan, see "Schacht 'ransom' Plan Seen Doomed to Failure; Opposed in Britain" (http:/ / archive. jta. org/ article/ 1938/ 12/ 19/
2844562/ schacht-ransom-plan-seen-doomed-to-failure-opposed-in-britain). Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 18 December 1938. Retrieved 30
September 2012.
[72] Brechtken 1998, pp. 200–1
[73] Brechtken 1998, p. 196ff
[74] Brechtken 1998, p. 205
[75] Poprzeczny 2004, p. 150 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=2arPruq8lhIC& pg=PA150)
[76] Brechtken 1998, p. 197
[77] Naimark 2001, p. 73 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=L-QLXnX16kAC& pg=PA73)
[78] Browning 2004, p. 81 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=jHQdRHNdK44C& pg=PA81)
[79] Hildebrand 2005, p. 70 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=xgkzMdZD3iQC& pg=PA70)
[80] Cesarani, David (17 February 2011). "From Persecution to Genocide" (http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ history/ worldwars/ genocide/
radicalisation_01. shtml). BBC History. . Retrieved 25 September 2012.
[81] Nicosia 2000, p. ? (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=8X2G1G_jD-4C& pg=PA)
[82] Black 2001, p. ?
[83] Browning 2004, p. 111 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=jHQdRHNdK44C& pg=PA111& dq="better+ possibility")
[84] Cesarani 2005, p. 99 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=-buw-s1L5SQC& pg=PA99& dq="emigration+ is""physical+
[85] Mann 2005, p. 246 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=cGHGPgj1_tIC& pg=PA246& dq="i+ ask+ nothing")
[86] Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p. 232 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=lpDTIUklB2MC& pg=PA232)
[87] Cesarani 2005, pp. 9 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=-buw-s1L5SQC& pg=PA9& dq="own+ idea"), 77–8 (http:/ / books. google.
co. uk/ books?id=-buw-s1L5SQC& pg=PA77& dq="eichmann+ and+ his+ team")
[88] Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p. 153 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=lpDTIUklB2MC& pg=PA153)
[89] Kats 1970, p. 35 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=m-q2qdBzfowC& pg=PA35)
[90] Yad ṿa-shem, rashut ha-zikaron la-Shoʾah ṿela-gevurah, Yad Vashem studies XXXI, Yad Vashem Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance
Authority, 2003, p.322
[91] Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p. 154 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=lpDTIUklB2MC& pg=PA154)
[92] Dwork and Jan van Pelt, Holocaust: A History, 208.
[93] Rubenstein, Richard L.; Roth, John K. (2003). "War and the Final solution" (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=IfoBx6skMCkC&
pg=PA163& dq=Madagascar+ Plan& sig=8wH0tmAnh4tUrBhkKANO7bVUbMU#PPA164,M1). Approaches to Auschwitz (http:/ / books.
google. com/ ?id=IfoBx6skMCkC) (2nd ed.). Westminster John Knox Press. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-664-22353-3. . Retrieved April 20, 2009.
[94] Krausnick 1968, p. 57
[95] Harran 2000, p. 321 (http:/ / www. holocaustchronicle. org/ index. html)
[96] "Concentration Camp Listing" (http:/ / www. jewishvirtuallibrary. org/ jsource/ Holocaust/ cclist. html), Jewish Virtual Library.
[97] "The Forgotten Camps" (http:/ / www. jewishgen. org/ ForgottenCamps/ ).
[98] Harran 2000, p. 461 (http:/ / www. holocaustchronicle. org/ index. html)
[99] ""Just a Normal Day in the Camps", JewishGen, January 6, 2007" (http:/ / www. jewishgen. org/ ForgottenCamps/ Camps/ DayEng. html). March 30, 1999. . Retrieved July 31, 2010.
[100] Trunk 1996, p. 1–6 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=D7bobfzrcCoC& pg=PA1)
[101] Hilberg 1995, p. 170
[102] Hilberg 1995, p. 106
[103] Berenbaum 2005, pp. 81–3
[104] Hilberg 2003, p. 1111 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=HinIpmliz2MC& pg=PA1111)
[105] Snyder 2010, p. 285 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=BQ1HKmG9xZ8C& pg=PA285). "Without an effective Jewish
administrative and coercive apparatus, the Germans could no longer do as they pleased in the ghetto"
[106] Berenbaum 2005, p. 114
[107] "Deportations to and from the Warsaw Ghetto" (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ wlc/ en/ article. php?ModuleId=10005413). Holocaust
Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
[108] Berenbaum 2005, pp. 115–6
[109] Berenbaum 2005, p. 116
[110] The inscription on the memorial stone raised in the place of the barn at Jedwabne read: "Place of torture and execution of the Jewish
population. The Gestapo and Nazi gendarmerie burned 1600 people alive on July 10, 1941." (Polish: Miejsce kaźni ludności żydowskiej.
Gestapo i żandarmeria hitlerowska spaliła żywcem 1600 osób 10.VII.1941.). In 2001 the stone was removed and deposited in the Polish Army
Museum in Białystok.
[111] Porat 2002, p. 161 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=3N9Xxc8wdu0C& pg=PA161)
The Holocaust
[112] Kwiet 1998, p. 4
[113] Matthäus 2004, p. 268–276 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=jHQdRHNdK44C& pg=PA268)
[114] Hillgruber, Andreas "War in the East and the Extermination of the Jews" pages 85–114 from The Nazi Holocaust Part 3, The "Final
Solution": The Implementation of Mass Murder Volume 1 edited by Michael Marrus, Mecler: Westpoint, CT 1989 pages 102–103.
[115] Hillgruber, Andreas "War in the East and the Extermination of the Jews" pages 85–114 from The Nazi Holocaust Part 3, The "Final
Solution": The Implementation of Mass Murder Volume 1 edited by Michael Marrus, Mecler: Westpoint, CT 1989 page 103.
[116] Förster 1998, p. 276 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=zkZC6bp3upsC& pg=PA276)
[117] Förster 1998, p. 277 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=zkZC6bp3upsC& pg=PA277)
[118] Förster 1998, p. 278 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=zkZC6bp3upsC& pg=PA278)
[119] Förster 1998, p. 280 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=zkZC6bp3upsC& pg=PA280)
[120] Hilberg 2003, p. 291 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=J1iGlmLZ9I8C& pg=PA291)
[121] Browning 2004, p. 225 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=d9Wg4gjtP3cC& pg=PA225)
[122] Berenbaum 2005, p. 93
[123] Evans 2008, pp. 226–7
[124] Murray & Millett 2000, p. 141 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=tdYkMPfUSUAC& pg=PA141)
[125] Berenbaum 2005, pp. 97–8
[126] Isaacs, Jeremy (23 November 2006). "Obituary: Susan McConachy" (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ news/ 2006/ nov/ 23/ obituaries.
mainsection). The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
[127] Benz 2007, p. 98
[128] Kogon, Langbein & Rueckerl 1993, p. ?
[129] Letter from Reinhard Heydrich to Martin Luther, Foreign Office, February 26, 1942, regarding the minutes of the [[Wannsee Conference
(http:/ / www. ghwk. de/ engl/ february-26-1942. htm)]].
[130] Berenbaum 2005, pp. 101–2
[131] Morris, Errol (12 May 1999). "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr." (http:/ / www. errolmorris. com/ film/ mrd_transcript.
html). Fourth Floor Productions. . Retrieved 25 September 2012.
[132] Longerich 2010, p. 305 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=cxYqYIn73SgC& pg=PA305)
[133] Longerich 2010, p. 306 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=cxYqYIn73SgC& pg=PA306)
[134] Longerich 2010, p. 307 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=cxYqYIn73SgC& pg=PA307)
[135] Longerich 2010, p. 308 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=cxYqYIn73SgC& pg=PA308)
[136] Cesarani 2005, pp. 113–4 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=-buw-s1L5SQC& pg=PA113& dq="neumann+ expressed")
[137] Marrus 2000, p. 89
[138] Marrus 2000, p. 89–90
[139] Marrus 2000, p. 91
[140] Evans 1989, p. 71
[141] Marrus 2000, p. 92
[142] Marrus 2000, p. 93
[143] Ezard, John (17 February 2001). "Germans knew of Holocaust horror about death camps" (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ uk/ 2001/ feb/
17/ johnezard). The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
[144] Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p. 26 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=lpDTIUklB2MC& pg=PA26)
[145] Yahil 1991, p. 257 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=e_aRvKpLUf0C& pg=PA257)
[146] Lower 2006, p. 245 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=MD76MR8nDeoC& pg=PA245)
[147] Buchheim 1968, pp. 372–3
[148] Buchheim 1968, p. 381
[149] Buchheim 1968, pp. 386–7
[150] Browning 1992, p. 57
[151] Kudryashov 2004, pp. 232–32
[152] Kudryashov 2004, p. 232
[153] Kudryashov 2004, p. 234
[154] Kudryashov 2004, pp. 234–5
[155] Kudryashov 2004, pp. 226–7, 234–5
[156] Source: Yad Vashem (http:/ / www. yadvashem. org/ ), Accessed May 7, 2007
[157] Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau (http:/ / en. auschwitz. org. pl/ h/ index. php?option=com_content& task=view& id=14&
Itemid=13& limit=1& limitstart=3)
[158] Per (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ education/ lessonplan/ english/ auschwitz/ auschwitz. htm), Auschwitz II total
numbers are "between 1.3M–1.5M", so we use the middle value 1.4M as estimate here.
[159] Coordinates from: Auschwitz concentration camp
[160] Belzec (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 5981. pdf), Yad Vashem.
[161] Coordinates from: Belzec extermination camp
[162] Chelmno (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 2494. pdf), Yad Vashem.
The Holocaust
[163] Coordinates from: Chełmno extermination camp
[164] Jasenovac (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 6358. pdf), Yad Vashem.
[165] Coordinates from: Jasenovac concentration camp
[166] Majdanek (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 6622. pdf), Yad Vashem.
[167] Coordinates from: Majdanek
[168] Maly Trostinets (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 6636. pdf), Yad Vashem.
[169] Coordinates from: Maly Trostenets extermination camp
[170] Sobibor (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 6030. pdf), Yad Vashem.
[171] Coordinates from: Sobibor extermination camp
[172] Treblinka (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 5886. pdf), Yad Vashem.
[173] Coordinates from: Treblinka extermination camp
[174] "Aktion Reinhard" (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 5724. pdf) (PDF). Yad Vashem. .
[175] Although Chełmno was not technically part of Aktion Reinhard, it began functioning as an extermination camp in December 1941. (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 5915. pdf)
[176] Piper 1998, p. 173 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA173)
[177] Piper 1998, p. 162 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA162)
[178] Piper 1998, p. 170 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA170)
[179] Piper 1998, p. 163 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA163)
[180] Piper 1998, p. 163 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA163). Also in Goldensohn, Leon. Nuremberg
Interviews, Vintage paperback 2005, p. 298: Goldensohn, an American psychiatrist, interviewed Rudolf Höß at Nuremberg on April 8, 1946.
Höß told him: "We cut the hair from women after they had been exterminated in the gas chambers. The hair was then sent to factories, where
it was woven into special fittings for gaskets." Höß said that only women's hair was cut and only after they were dead. He said he had first
received the order to do this in 1943
[181] Piper 1998, p. 172 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA172). For the living conditions of the
Sonderkommando, Piper quotes survivor testimony from the trial of Adolf Eichmann
[182] Piper 1998, p. 171 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA171)
[183] Piper 1998, p. 164 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA164)
[184] Pelt 2002, p. 4 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=83dvJxPm--EC& pg=PA4& dq="another+ improvement")
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[188] Snyder 2010, p. 283 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=BQ1HKmG9xZ8C& pg=PA283). "It seems likely that the deportations . . .
eliminated what had been the conservative center of Jewish politics: the religiously Orthodox and politically accommodationist Agudas Israel.
Its platform before the war had been cooperation with the Polish government in exchange for communal and religious autonomy. . . . Nothing
in Poland had prepared Agudas for the Nazis, who repaid compromises with murder"
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[190] Gilbert 1986, p. 828
[191] Hilberg 1996, p. 126–137
[192] Kennedy 2007, p. 780 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=0bRaa7UuD6EC& pg=PA780)
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[195] Pinkus 1990, p. 261 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=52Ew77pZsNUC& pg=PA261)
[196] Klempner 2006, pp. 145–6 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=5__xJKlybb8C& pg=PA145)
[197] Snyder 2010, p. 320 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=BQ1HKmG9xZ8C& pg=PA320)
[198] Suhl 1987, pp. 181-3
[199] Zuccotti 1999, p. 274 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=M97m1tD272UC& pg=PA274)
[200] Klempner 2006, p. 145 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=5__xJKlybb8C& pg=PA145)
[201] Johnson 1988, p. 506
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[207] Conway, John S. "The first report about Auschwitz" (http:/ / motlc. wiesenthal. com/ site/ pp. asp?c=gvKVLcMVIuG& b=394983),
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[208] Swiebocki 1998, p. 505 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA505)
[209] Linn 2004, p. 20 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=CGh3eaMwRFYC& pg=PA20)
[210] Grojanowski Report (http:/ / motlc. learningcenter. wiesenthal. org/ text/ x06/ xm0619. html)
[211] "Grojanowski Report" (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 6317. pdf). Yad Vashem. . Retrieved 26 September
[212] Farbstein 1998
[213] Memorandum, Arthur Sweetser to Leo Rosten, February 1, 1942, quoted in Eric Hanin, "War on Our Minds: The American Mass Media in
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[214] Frank 2007, 66–7 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=YhjPTghXnAwC& pg=PT66)
[215] Lemkin 2005, p. 89 n.45 (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=ChhmqYeVS80C& pg=PA89)
[216] Karski 2001, 552–64 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=G0RhaymiYIIC& pg=PT552)
[217] "" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080506070757/ http:/ / fzp. net. pl/ spot33. html). Archived from the original
(http:/ / fzp. net. pl/ spot33. html) on May 6, 2008. . Retrieved July 31, 2010.
[218] "Wspomnienia o Janie Karskim" (http:/ / google. com/ search?q=cache:BdqBqHR4r18J:www. uml. lodz. pl/ _plik. php?id=2064+
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[219] "" (http:/ / www. polishdailynews. com/ ppa. php?mode=archiwum& id=6979). . Retrieved
July 31, 2010.
[220] Wood & Jankowski 1994, p. 316
[221] Het Parool, September 27, page 4–5. Concentration camps: where the Nazi's bring their ideals in practice, NIOD (Dutch Institute of War
Documentation), Amsterdam
[222] Het 'Illegale Parool'-archief 1940–1945 (4) (http:/ / www. hetillegaleparool. nl/ archief/ 1943/ 430927-4. php) and Het 'Illegale
Parool'-archief 1940–1945 (5) (http:/ / www. hetillegaleparool. nl/ archief/ 1943/ 430927-5. php) (Het 'Illegale Parool'-archief 1940–1945,
September 27, 1943, p 4–5)
[223] Lewis 2002, 31–3 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=CTs4ltY8QUsC& pg=PT32)
[224] "Byłem Numerem: swiadectwa Z Auschwitz" by Kazimierz Piechowski, Eugenia Bozena Kodecka-Kaczynska, Michal Ziokowski,
Hardcover, Wydawn. Siostr Loretanek, ISBN 83-7257-122-8
[225] "Auschwitz-Birkenau – The Film about the Amazing Escape from Auschwitz—Now Available on DVD" (http:/ / en. auschwitz. org. pl/ m/
index. php?option=com_content& task=view& id=578& Itemid=8). January 13, 2009. . Retrieved July 31, 2010.
[226] Vrba 2006
[227] Linn, Ruth (13 April 2006). "Obituary: Rudolf Vrba" (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ news/ 2006/ apr/ 13/ guardianobituaries.
secondworldwar). The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
[228] According to Linn 2004, p. 30 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=CGh3eaMwRFYC& pg=PA30), the BBC first broadcast
information from the report on June 18, not June 15.
[229] Brigham, Daniel T. (3 July 1944). "Inquiry confirms Nazi death camps" (http:/ / select. nytimes. com/ gst/ abstract.
html?res=FB061FFD3554107B93C1A9178CD85F408485F9). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
[230] Brigham, Daniel T. (6 July 1944). "Two death camps places of horror" (http:/ / select. nytimes. com/ gst/ abstract.
html?res=F20912F83859147B93C4A9178CD85F408485F9). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
[231] Frankel, Max (14 November 2001). "Turning Away from the Holocaust" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2001/ 11/ 14/ specials/ onefifty/
20FRAN. html?pagewanted=all). The New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
[232] Leff 2005
[233] Leff, Laurel (4 April 2005). "How the NYT Missed the Story of the Holocaust While It Was Happening" (http:/ / hnn. us/ articles/ 10903.
html). History News Network, George Mason University. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
[234] Longerich 2012, p. 695 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=GBQchepZ-7EC& pg=PA695)
[235] Czech 1989, p. 920, 933, which uses information from a series called Hefte von Auschwitz, and cited in Kárný 1998, p. 564. The original
German is: 25. November Im KL Auschwitz II kommen 24 weibliche Häftlinge ums Leben, von denen 13 unmittelbar getötet werden.
[236] "Maps of the Death Marches" (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ wlc/ en/ media_nm. php?ModuleId=10005162& MediaId=382). Holocaust
Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2012. According to Krakowski 1989, p. 476 (http:/ /
books. google. co. uk/ books?id=wBHAaRhXDUEC& pg=PA476), death marches were a frequent occurrence throughout the war. The
inaugural one commenced on 14 January 1940 in occupied Poland, when the SS escorted 800 Jewish POWs from the Polish army from Lublin
The Holocaust
to Biała Podłaska—a distance of 100km in a matter of days in the depths of Polish winter. Massacred all along the way, less than 5% of the
800 survived the journey.
[237] Friedländer 2007, p. 649
[238] Wiesel 2012, 122 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=ubrzucaPUAcC& pg=PT122)
[239] Hitchcock 2009, p. 283
[240] Hitchcock 2009, p. 297
[241] Hitchcock 2009, p. 340
[242] Gilbert 1986, p. 798
[243] Gilbert 1986, pp. 808–9
[244] Stone, Dan G.; Wood, Angela (2007). Holocaust: The events and their impact on real people, in conjunction with the USC Shoah
Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. p. 144. ISBN 0-7566-2535-1.
[245] OSS Section, Seventh Army (1945). Dachau. United States Army. p. 2 (http:/ / archive. org/ stream/ Dachau_675/ Dachau#page/ n3/
mode/ 2up)
[246] A film with scenes from the liberation of Dachau, Buchenwald, Belsen and other Nazi concentration camps, supervised by the British
Ministry of Information and the American Office of War Information, was begun but never finished or shown. It lay in archives until first
aired on PBS's Frontline on May 7, 1985. The film, partly edited by Alfred Hitchcock, can be seen online at Memory of the Camps (http:/ /
www. pbs. org/ wgbh/ pages/ frontline/ camp/ view/ #lower).
[247] Hitchcock 2009, p. 289
[248] "The 11th Armoured Division (Great Britain)" (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ wlc/ en/ article. php?ModuleId=10006188). Holocaust
Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
[249] "Bergen-Belsen" (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ wlc/ en/ article. php?ModuleId=10005224). Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
[250] Wiesel 2002, p. 41
[251] Dimbleby, Richard (15 April 1945). "Liberation of Belsen" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 1/ hi/ in_depth/ 4445811. stm). BBC News.
Retrieved 25 September 2012.
[252] Dawidowicz, Lucy. The War Against the Jews, Bantam, 1986.p. 403
[253] Berenbaum 2005, p. 125
[254] 1.8–1.9 million non-Jewish Polish citizens are estimated to have died as a result of the Nazi occupation and the war. Estimates are from
Polish scholar, Franciszek Piper, the chief historian at Auschwitz. Poles: Victims of the Nazi Era (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ education/
resource/ poles/ poles. php?menu=/ export/ home/ www/ doc_root/ education/ foreducators/ include/ menu. txt& bgcolor=#CD9544) at the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
[255] Piotrowski, Tadeusz. "Project InPosterum: Poland WWII Casualties" (http:/ / www. projectinposterum. org/ docs/
poland_WWII_casualties. htm), accessed March 15, 2007; and Łuczak, Czesław. "Szanse i trudności bilansu demograficznego Polski w latach
1939–1945", Dzieje Najnowsze, issue 1994/2.
[256] "Genocide of European Roma (Gypsies)" (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ wlc/ en/ article. php?ModuleId=10005219). Holocaust Encyclopedia.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2012. The USHMM places the scholarly estimates at 220,000–500,000.
According to Berenbaum 2005, p. 126, "serious scholars estimate that between 90,000 and 220,000 were killed under German rule."
[257] Hancock 2004, pp. 383–96 (http:/ / www. radoc. net/ radoc. php?doc=art_e_holocaust_porrajmos& lang=en& articles=true)
[258] Ryan & Schuchman 2002, p. 62 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=8d56MtJWQ7sC& pg=PA62)
[259] "" (http:/ / www. grandlodgescotland. com/ index. php?option=com_content& task=view& id=91& Itemid=125). . Retrieved July 31, 2010.
[260] The number of Slovenes estimated to have died as a result of the Nazi occupation (not including those killed by Slovene collaboration
forces and other Nazi allies) is estimated between 20,000 and 25,000 people. This number only includes civilians: killed Slovene partisan
POW and resistance fighters killed in action are not included (their number is estimated to 27,000). These numbers however include only
Slovenes from present-day Slovenia: it does not include Carinthian Slovene victims, nor Slovene victims from areas in present-day Italy and
Croatia. These numbers are result of a 10 year long research by the Institute for Contemporary History (Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino) from
Ljubljana, Slovenia. The partial results of the research have been released in 2008 in the volume Žrtve vojne in revolucije v Sloveniji
(Ljubljana: Institute for Conetmporary History, 2008), and officially presented at the Slovenian National Council
([File:ttp://]). The volume is also available online: [File:http:/ / www. ds-rs. si/ dokumenti/
publikacije/ Zbornik_05-1. pdf]
[261] The Holocaust Chronicle, Publications International Ltd., p. 108.
[262] Shulman, William L. A State of Terror: Germany 1933–1939. Bayside, New York: Holocaust Resource Center and Archives.
[263] Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p. 45–52 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=lpDTIUklB2MC& pg=PA45)
[264] Gilbert 1988, pp. 242–4
[265] Dear & Foot 2001, p. 341
[266] Wilhelm Höttl, an SS officer and a Doctor of History, testified at the Nuremberg Trials and Eichmann's trial that at a meeting he had with
Eichmann in Budapest in late August 1944, "Eichmann ... told me that, according to his information, some 6,000,000 (six million) Jews had
perished until then – 4,000,000 (four million) in extermination camps and the remaining 2,000,000 (two million) through shooting by the
Operations Units and other causes, such as disease, etc." (http:/ / www. nizkor. org/ hweb/ people/ e/ eichmann-adolf/ transcripts/
The Holocaust
Testimony-Abroad/ Wilhelm_Hoettl-07. html) (http:/ / david-kahn. com/ articles-secret-history-author-front. htm) (http:/ / www. nizkor. org/
hweb/ imt/ tgmwc/ tgmwc-02/ tgmwc-02-20-05. shtml)
[267] Israel Gutman. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Macmillan Reference Books; Reference edition (October 1, 1995.
[268] "How many Jews were murdered in the Holocaust?" (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ yv/ en/ holocaust/ resource_center/ faq. asp), FAQs
about the Holocaust, Yad Vashem.
[269] Benz, Wolfgang (1996). Dimension des Völkermords. Die Zahl der jüdischen Opfer des Nationalsozialismus.. Dtv. ISBN 3-423-04690-2.
[270] About: The Central Database of Shoah Victims Names (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ yv/ en/ remembrance/ hall_of_names. asp), Yad
Vashem web site.
[271] Hilberg 2003, p. 1320–1 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=HinIpmliz2MC& pg=PA1320)
[272] Piper 1998, p. 71 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA71)
[273] Martin Gilbert (2002). The Routledge atlas of the Holocaust, 3rd Ed.. London: Routledge. p. 245. ISBN 0-415-28145-8. "By the most exact
estimates of recent research, the number of Jews killed in Europe between September 1939 and May 1945 was nearly six million. This
estimate is a minimum; the deaths shown opposite total just over 5,750,000, and are based on such country-by-country and region-by-region
records as survive."
[274] Dawidowicz, Lucy S. (1986). The war against the Jews, 1933–1945. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-34302-5.p. 403
[275] Shoah Research Center;– Albania (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ Microsoft Word - 5725. pdf) The Jews of Albania during the
Zogist and Second World War Periods (http:/ / www. heimat. de/ home/ illyria/ i. php3?s=e& p=2004_01_09_fisher_jews_in_albania) and see
also Norman H. Gershman's book Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II – for reviews etc (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ dp/
0815609345) (all consulted June 24, 2010)
[276] Hilberg 2003, p. 1322
[277] Piper 1998, p. 62 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=mub823JQrdUC& pg=PA62)
[278] Reszka, Paweł (December 23, 2005). "Majdanek Victims Enumerated. Changes in the history textbooks?" (http:/ / en. auschwitz. org. pl/
m/ index. php?option=com_content& task=view& id=44& Itemid=8). Gazeta Wyborcza. Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. . Retrieved
April 13, 2010.
[279] Rhodes, Richard (2002). Masters of death: the SS-Einsatzgruppen and the invention of the Holocaust. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
ISBN 0-375-40900-9.
[280] Benz, Wolfgang (1999). The Holocaust: a German historian examines the genocide. New York: Columbia University Press.
ISBN 0-231-11214-9.pp. 152–153
[281] Jacobs 2005, p. 3 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=ijVn2KP0FocC& pg=PA3)
[282] Salomo Birnbaum, Grammatik der jiddischen Sprache (4., erg. Aufl., Hamburg: Buske, 1984), p. 3.
[283] Müller & Ueberschär 2002, p. 285 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=IfHaDYVfGlgC& pg=PA285)
[284] Mazower 2008, pp. 204–11
[285] Hagen 2012, p. 313 (http:/ / books. google. cz/ books?id=zBgr3kL-PP4C& pg=PA313)
[286] Cesarani 2004, p. 366 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Y8bLEld50rIC& pg=PA366)
[287] Gellately 2001, pp. 153 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=jCiGWtxyQv0C& pg=PT269& dq="complete destruction")
[288] Phayer 2000, p. 21 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=aZTD96Upq9AC& pg=PA21& dq"all+ poles")
[289] Berghahn 1999, p. 32–3 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=j6VCNno2DVMC& pg=PA32)
[290] Piotrowski 1998, p. 115 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=NBbnrEMswbUC& pg=PA115& dq="only+ in+ this+ way")
[291] Gellately 2001, pp. 154 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=jCiGWtxyQv0C& pg=PT270& dq="such+ a+ solution")
[292] Israel Gutman, Unequal Victims Holocaust Library 1985
[293] Piotrowski 1998, p. 295 (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=A4FlatJCro4C& pg=PA295)
[294] review (http:/ / www. history. ucsb. edu/ projects/ holocaust/ Resources/ BookReviews/ jessica. htm)
[295] Nurowski, Roman. 1939–1945 War Losses in Poland, Warsaw 1960,
[296] Poland-World War II-casualties, Piotrowski, Tadeusz. "Project InPosterum: Poland WWII Casualties" (http:/ / www. projectinposterum.
org/ docs/ poland_WWII_casualties. htm)
[297] Polska 1939–1945. Straty osobowe i ofiary represji pod dwiema okupacjami, ed. Tomasz Szarota and Wojciech Materski, Warszawa, IPN
2009, ISBN 978-83-7629-067-6 ( Introduction reproduced here (http:/ / niniwa2. cba. pl/ polska_1939_1945. htm))
[298] Gaymon Bennett, Ted Peters, Martinez J. Hewlett, Robert John Russell (2008). "The evolution of evil". Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p.318.
ISBN 3-525-56979-3
[299] Pinkus 2005, p. 57 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=gPnjXC1lEJ8C& pg=PA57)
[300] Žerjavić, VladimirYugoslavia manipulations with the number Second World War victims, Zagreb: Croatian Information center,1993 ISBN
0-919817-32-7 (http:/ / www. hic. hr/ books/ manipulations/ ) and (http:/ / www. vojska. net/ ww2/ losses/ )
[301] Kočović,Bogoljub-Žrtve Drugog svetskog rata u Jugoslaviji 1990 ISBN 86-01-01928-5
[302] Tomasevich, Jozo. War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941–1945: Occupation and Collaboration. Stanford: Stanford University Press,
2001. ISBN 0-8047-3615-4
[303] United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – Holocaust Era in Croatia: 1941–1945, Jasenovac (go to section III Concentration Camps) (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ museum/ exhibit/ online/ jasenovac/ frameset. html)
[304] "Jasenovac" (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ wlc/ en/ article. php?ModuleId=10005449). Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
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[305] (http:/ / www. jewishvirtuallibrary. org/ jsource/ Holocaust/ Jasenovac. html), Jasenovac
[306] "Croatia" (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ Microsoft Word - 5930. pdf). Shoah Resource Center, The International School for
Holocaust Studies. Yad Vashem. .
[307] * Bosniaks in Jasenovac Concentration Camp (http:/ / www. interliber. com/ catlistdetail. asp?SID=Interliber^57473-57473&
ProductID=30790& ml=b)—Congress of Bosniak Intellectuals, Sarajevo. ISBN 978-9958-47-102-5. October 2006. (Holocaust Studies)
[308] of Bosniak victims of Jasenovac (http:/ / www. bosnjaci. net/ egt. php?id=1169& polje=Commemoration) (Bosnian) Meliha Pihura, Magazine, April 13, 2007.
[310] http:/ / www. rastko. rs/ kosovo/ istorija/ savic_skenderbeyss. html
[311] http:/ / www. pravoslavlje. org. rs/ broj/ 912/ tekst/ nacisticki-gen-ocid-nad-srbima/ print/ lat
[312] Evans 2008, p. 406 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=HZmXOPGTGjIC& pg=PT657& dq="german+ estimates")
[313] The Russian Academy of Science Rossiiskaia Akademiia nauk. Liudskie poteri SSSR v period vtoroi mirovoi voiny:sbornik statei.
Sankt-Peterburg 1995 ISBN 5-86789-023-6
[314] Snyder 2010, pp. 250–1 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=BQ1HKmG9xZ8C& pg=PA250)
[315] Dawidowicz 1981, p. 10 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=oA3HituGJXQC& pg=PA10& dq="german+ racists")
[316] "Soviet Prisoners of war" (http:/ / www. gendercide. org/ case_soviet. html). .
[317] "Nazi Persecution of Soviet Prisoners of War |work= Holocaust Encyclopedia" (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ wlc/ en/ article.
php?ModuleId=10007178). Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
[318] Kermish 1968, pp. 177–8 (http:/ / www1. yadvashem. org/ odot_pdf/ microsoft word - 3727. pdf)
[319] Niewyk & Nicosia 2000, p. 47 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=lpDTIUklB2MC& pg=PA47)
[320] Bauer 1998, p. 453
[321] See History of the Holocaust: a Handbook and a Dictionary, Edelheit, Edelheit & Edelheit, p.458, Free Press, 1995
[322] Berenbaum 2005, p. 126
[323] cited in Re. Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks) Special Master's Proposals, September 11, 2000 (http:/ / www. nyed.
uscourts. gov/ pub/ rulings/ cv/ 1996/ 685455. pdf).
[324] Gilbert, Martin (2002). The Routledge Atlas of the Holocaust. Routledge, London & New York. ISBN 0-415-28145-8. (ref Map 182 p 141
with Romani deaths by country & Map 301 p 232) Note: formerly The Dent Atlas of the Holocaust; 1982, 1993.
[325] Hancock, Ian. Jewish Responses to the Porajmos (The Romani Holocaust) (http:/ / www. chgs. umn. edu/
Histories__Narratives__Documen/ Roma___Sinti__Gypsies_/ Jewish_Responses_to_the_Porraj/ jewish_responses_to_the_porraj. html),
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota.
[326] Helen Fein, Accounting for Genocide, New York, The Free Press, 1979, pp.79, 105
[327] Breitman 1991
[328] Bauer 1998, p. 444
[329] Bauer 1998, p. 445
[330] Bauer 1998, p. 446
[331] Lusane 2003, p. 97–8 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=Dq6HzrFu_z4C& pg=PA97)
[332] "Blacks During the Holocaust" (http:/ / www. ushmm. org/ wlc/ en/ article. php?ModuleId=10005479). Holocaust Encyclopedia. United
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[333] The word translated here as "fellow German" is Volksgenosse, a term used by the Nazis to signify pure German blood. The
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kann nur sein, wer deutschen Blutes ist, ohne Rücksichtnahme auf die Konfession. Kein Jude kann daher Volksgenosse sein." (A "citizen must
be Volksgenosse. Volksgenosse must be of German blood, without regard to religious affiliation. No Jew can therefore be Volksgenosse.")
[334] Poster advertising Neues Volk, the monthly magazine of the Bureau for Race Politics of the NSDAP.
[335] Burleigh & Wippermann 1991, p. 69 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=DGJy5Ptzqp0C& pg=PA69)
[336] Kershaw 2000, pp. 252–61 (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=vkdkQOi7REUC& pg=PT437)
[337] Lifton 2000, p. 142
[338] Neugebauer 1998
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[341] Lifton 2000, p. 95
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[346] Giles 1992, p. 46. "[A] large proportion of those formally convicted of homosexuality by nazi courts were not actual homosexuals. Many
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External links
• Online documents available from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library (http://eisenhower.archives.
• Guide to materials available at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library (
• The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide ( - The
World's Oldest Holocaust Memorial Institution
• External links, references, and other resources are listed at Holocaust (resources).
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File:WW2-Holocaust-Europe.png Source: License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Contributors:
File:Bundesarchiv Bild 102-14469, Berlin, Boykott-Posten vor jüdischem Warenhaus.jpg Source:,_Berlin,_Boykott-Posten_vor_jüdischem_Warenhaus.jpg License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0
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File:Jewish refugees at Croydon airport 1939.jpg Source: License: anonymous-EU
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File:Nuremberg laws.jpg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors: German Government ("Entwurf Willi
Hackenberger", "Copyright by Reichsauschuss für Volksgesundheitsdienst", government agency apparently part of the Reichs- und Preußisches Ministerium des Innern)
File:Burning Synagoge Kristallnacht 1938.jpg Source: License: anonymous-EU Contributors:
Apdency, Mtsmallwood, Tasja, 2 anonymous edits
File:Jewish refugees aboard the SS St. Louis in Cuba.jpg Source: License: Public
Domain Contributors: WilliamH
File:Germany1941.png Source: License: GNU Free Documentation License Contributors: Morty, Mackler, Lucius1976
File:The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied .pdf Source:
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File:Rows of bodies of dead inmates fill the yard of Lager Nordhausen, a Gestapo concentration camp.jpg Source:,_a_Gestapo_concentration_camp.jpg License: Public Domain
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File:Kiev Jew Killings in Ivangorod (1942).jpg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors:
Photographer unknown Often attributed to Jerzy Tomaszewski who discovered it.
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File:Liepaja December 1941 massacres 01.jpeg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors:
generally ascribed to Carl Strott (Nazi war criminal), but some sources differ.
File:Obersalzberg meeting - May 1939.png Source: License: Public Domain Contributors: Beosmrx,
Bility, Bleh999, BrokenSphere, CharlieRCD, Kam Solusar, TheDJ, Vearthy, 1 anonymous edits
File:Wannsee-room.jpg Source: License: GNU Free Documentation License Contributors: Conscious, John Vandenberg,
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File:Wannsee Conference - List of Jews in European countries.JPG Source: License: Public domain Contributors: User:GeorgHH, User:LeonardoG
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File:Hoefletelegram.jpg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors: Hermann Höfle (1911–1962)
File:Birkenau Extermination Camp - Oswiecim, Poland - NARA - 305904.jpg Source:,_Poland_-_NARA_-_305904.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Kulmalukko, Racelaser
File:Stroop Report - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 06b.jpg Source: License: Public Domain
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File:RudolfVrbawithArnostRosin.jpg Source: License: GNU Free Documentation License Contributors:
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File:Ebensee concentration camp prisoners 1945.jpg Source: License: Public Domain
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File:Execution of Poles by German Einsatzkomanndo Oktober1939.jpg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors: Andros64, Bohème, Jarekt, Piotrus,
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File:Death penalty for Jews outside ghetto and for Poles helping Jews anyway 1941.jpg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors: German Nazi
Governor for district of Warsaw Ludwig Fischer
File:Polish civilians murdered by German-SS-troops in Warsaw Uprising Warsaw August 1944.jpg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors:
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File:Persecution of Roma.gif Source: License: Public Domain Contributors: Just a member, Myrabella, Olahus, 1
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