is the Holocaust?
The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six
million Jews by the Nazi regime during World War 2. In
1933 approximately nine million Jews lived in the 21
countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany
during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European
Jews had been killed. The European Jews were the primary
victims of the Holocaust.
But Jews were not the only group singled out for
persecution by Hitler’s Nazi regime. As many as
one-half million Gypsies, at least 250,000 mentally or
physically disabled persons, and more than three million
Soviet prisoners-of-war also fell victim to Nazi
genocide. Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social
Democrats, Communists, partisans, trade unionists,
Polish intelligentsia and other undesirables were
also victims of the hate and aggression carried out by
many Jews were murdered during the Holocaust?
While it is impossible to ascertain the exact number of
Jewish victims, statistics indicate that the total was
over 5,830,000. Six million is the round figure accepted
by most authorities.
does Final Solution mean?
The term Final Solution (Die Endlosung) refers to
the Germans’ plan to physically liquidate all Jews in
Europe. The term was used at the Wannsee
Conference held in Berlin on January 20, 1942, where
German officials discussed its implementation.
many children were murdered during 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.
did Hitler hate the Jews?
Holocaust happened because Hitler and the Nazis were
racist. They believed the German people were a
'master race', who were superior to others. They even
created a league table of 'races' with the Aryans at the
top and with Jews, Gypsies and black people at the
bottom. These 'inferior' people were seen as a threat to
the purity and strength of the German nation. When the
Nazis came to power they persecuted these people, took
away their human rights and eventually decided that they
should be exterminated.
did the Nazis carry our their policy of genocide?
In the late 1930's the Nazis killed thousands of
handicapped Germans by lethal injection and poisonous
gas. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in
June 1941, mobile killing units following in the wake of
the German Army began shooting massive numbers of Jews
and Gypsies in open fields and ravines on the outskirts
of conquered cities and towns.
Eventually the Nazis created a more secluded and
organized method of killing. Six extermination centers
were established in occupied Poland where large-scale
murder by gas and body disposal through cremation were
conducted systematically. Victims were deported to these
centers from Western Europe and from the ghettos in
Eastern Europe which the Nazis had established. In
addition, millions died in the ghettos and concentration
camps as a result of forced labor, starvation, exposure,
brutality, disease, and execution.
was the first concentration camp established?
Dachau was the first concentration camp established and
was opened on March 22, 1933. The camp's first inmates
were primarily political prisoners (Communists or Social
Democrats), habitual criminals, homosexuals, Jehovah's
Witnesses, and anti-socials (beggars, vagrants,
hawkers). Others considered problematic by the Nazis
were also included (Jewish writers and journalists,
lawyers, unpopular industrialists).
What is a death
camp? How many? Where?
A death camp camp is a concentration camp with special
apparatus especially designed for mass murder. Six such
camps existed: Auschwitz-Birkenau,
Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor,
All were located in Poland.
Auschwitz-Birkenau became the killing centre where the
largest numbers of European Jews were killed. After an
experimental gassing there in September 1941 of 850
malnourished and ill prisoners, mass murder became
a daily routine. By mid 1942, mass gassing of Jews using
Zyklon-B began at Auschwitz, where extermination was
conducted on an industrial scale with some estimates
running as high as three million persons eventually
killed through gassing, starvation, disease, shooting,
the Jews resist?
Many Jews simply could not believe that Hitler really
meant to kill them all. But once the Nazis had complete
control and the Jews were being relocated to ghettos,
rations were reduced, conditions were horrible and
the Jews did not have the strength, physically,
emotionally, or militarily, to resist. There were uprisings
in the camps, but it was incredibly difficult and rarely
Elie Wiesel put it this way: "The question is
not why all the Jews did not fight, but how so many of
them did. Tormented, beaten, starved, where did they
find the strength - spiritual and physical - to resist?"
Those attempting to resist faced almost impossible
Chenu: The Book of Christian Martyrs, London:
SCM Press, 1988
P. Whalen: New Catholic Encyclopedia,
Maxmilian Kolbe, New York
Craig: Blessed Maximilian Kolbe, Priest hero
of a death camp
Ranjan James: The Martyrdom of Fr. Maximilian
Murray Stone: Maximilian Kolbe, Paulist