|The Holocaust was
the systematic annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazi
regime during World War 2. In 1933 approximately nine million
Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be occupied
by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three
European Jews had been killed. The European Jews were the
primary victims of the Holocaust.
The number of children killed during the Holocaust is not
fathomable and full statistics for the tragic fate of children
who died will never be known. Some estimates range as high as
1.5 million murdered children. This figure includes more than
1.2 million Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children
and thousands of institutionalized handicapped children who were
murdered under Nazi rule in Germany and occupied Europe.
But Jews were not the only group singled out for persecution by
Hitler’s Nazi regime. As many as one-half million Gypsies, at
least 250,000 mentally or physically disabled persons, and more
than three million Soviet prisoners-of-war also fell victim to
Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social Democrats,
Communists, partisans, trade unionists, Polish intelligentsia
and other undesirables were also victims of the hate and
aggression carried out by the Nazis.
became the killing centre where the largest numbers of European
Jews were killed. After an experimental gassing there in
September 1941 of 850 malnourished and ill prisoners, mass
murder became a daily routine.
By mid 1942, mass gassing of Jews using Zyklon-B began at
Auschwitz, where extermination was conducted on an industrial
scale with some estimates running as high as three million
persons eventually killed through gassing, starvation, disease,
shooting, and burning.
- Louis Bülow