Prisoners faced inhuman conditions in the concentration camps. This photo, showing cramped sleeping arrangements, was taken at Buchenwald Concentration Camp near Berlin after its liberation by American infantry.
@ Holocaust Facts
A breakdown of Holocaust deaths. @ Holocaust Facts4. OTHERS KILLED: Although the term “Holocaust” is often used to refer to the Jewish tragedy, between five and 11 million members other minority groups were victims of Nazi genocide. These included Polish, blacks, homosexuals, Romani and other “gypsy” groups, people with disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Freemasons, criminals, political prisoners and Soviet civilians and prisoners of war.
5. SYMBOLS: Imprisoned Jews were identified by a yellow star on their uniforms. Homosexuals had to wear pink inverted triangles and Jehovah’s Witnesses wore purple ones. Criminals wore green triangles, Roma and other groups wore black or brown.
6. RELOCATION: Jews were often first sent to ghettos or concentration or labor camps, where they would either be worked or starved to death or sent on to extermination camps (also called death camps).
7. GHETTOS: These were parts of a city where Jews were compelled to live. In the beginning many ghettos were “open” meaning Jews were allowed to come and go, but later they were all walled off. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest with other 445,000 Jews packed into 3.4 square km (1.3 square miles). In just two months in 1942 over 250,000 Jews were sent from the Warsaw Ghetto to their deaths at the Treblinka extermination camp.
A Zyklon-B container on display at Auschwitz-Birkenau,
which is now a Holocaust museum. @ Holocaust Facts11. ZYKLON-B: This was the cyanide-based pesticide used in gas chambers at Auschwitz and other camps. In quantitative terms only 5% of Zyklon-B delivered to Auschwitz was used in the gas chambers, the rest was used for delousing prisoners. This poison has become a central symbol of the Holocaust.
12. HIMMER: SS commander Heinrich Himmler is, other than Hitler, the Nazi considered most responsible for the Holocaust. Himmler considered the annihilation of the Jews a necessary step in the Germanization of Eastern Europe. He was arrested by British soldiers at the end of the war and committed suicide in his cell. In 2008 German news magazine Der Spiegel called Himmler “the greatest mass murderer of all time”.
13. COLLABORATION: Practically every part of Nazi German society was in some way, at least indirectly, involved with the Holocaust. Universities refused to admit Jews, the Post Office delivered deportation and denaturalization orders, churches and the Interior Ministry supplied birth records to show who was Jewish. In addition, companies fired Jewish workers, drug companies used camp prisoners as guinea pigs and the victims’ personal property was sent back to Germany to be reused.
A punishment at Dachau Concentration
Camp. This prisoner was forced to stand
for hours on end without moving .
All part of daily life during the Holocaust.
@ Holocaust Facts14. PUBLIC REACTION: Despite this after the war most Germans claimed to be at most “vaguely aware” of the genocide. The common belief was that the concentration camps in Germany itself were just prisons and the Jews were being “resettled” in the East.
15. OTHERS RESPONSIBLE: Holocaust killings were not only perpetrated by Germans. Local populations in occupied Soviet territories, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania were also involved in the genocide.
16. EXCEPTED: People of Jewish ancestry were sometimes able to escape being sent to the camps if their grandparents had converted to christianity before 18 January, 1871. This date marked the start of Germany’s unification and the start of the German Empire
17. ORIGINS: Some scholars maintain that anti-Semitism had pervaded German society since the Middle Ages. In the 1800s something called the Völkisch movement arose viewing the Jews as locked into mortal combat with the “Aryans” for world domination. Scientific racists also believed that some people were more “valuable” than others.
18. SOLITARY HORROR: Never before in word history had there been places like the Holocaust extermination camps – places which existed for the sole purpose of killing en masse.
19. EXTERMINATION CAMPS: There were three types of extermination camps. At Aktion Reinhardt extermination camps prisoners were gassed upon arrival. At Concentration–extermination camps some prisoners were chosen for slave labor instead of immediate death and minor extermination camps operated as prisons and transit camps until late in the war, when portable gas chambers and gas vans were used to execute the prisoners.
20. NUMBERS OF VICTIMS: The deadliest extermination camps were Auschwitz-Birkenau (where 1,100,000 died), Treblinka (700,00 – 800,000), Majdanek (360,000), Chelmno (320,000) and Sobibor (250,000).
21. AHNIHILATION: About 90 per cent of Jews living in Germany, Austria, Poland and the Baltic states were annihilated in the Holocaust.
The "Angel of Death" Josef
Mengele. @ Holocaust Facts23. ANGEL OF DEATH: One of the most notorious of these physicians was Josef Mengele, known as the “Angel of Death”. Mengele had a particular fascination with twins and performed experiments on nearly 1500 sets of twins at Auschwitz. He escaped after the war and lived in South America until 1979, despite being hunted as a Nazi war criminal.
24. RESISTANCE: Jews often tried to resist the genocide. The most famous case of resistance was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in January 1943 which went on for four weeks. Jews also fought as partisans in Eastern Europe and were highly active in the French Resistance.
25. DENIAL: Some people believe the Holocaust never happened and is the work of deliberate Jewish conspiracy. Holocaust denial is universally condemned by scholars and is a crime in Germany, France, Poland, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and Lithuania.
26. SCHINDLER: German businessman Oskar Schindler was a German businessman who secretly opposed the Holocaust and saved over 1000 mostly Polish-Jewish refugees by employing them in his factories. The film Schindler’s List, based on the novel Schindler’s Ark, tells his story.
• Auschwitz - The Nazis and The Final Solution, (DVD), 2005
• Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews, Peter Longerich, 2010
• The Nazis - A Warning From History, Laurence Rees, 2006
• Buchenwald sleeping conditions en.wikipedia.org
• Holocaust deaths chart http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WWII-HolocaustDeaths-Pie-All.png
•Warsaw Ghetto Uprising http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_09.jpg
• Zykon-B container http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/Zyklon_B_Container.jpg
• Punishment in a concentration camp http://history1900s.about.com/library/holocaust/bldachau8.htm
• Jews arriving at Auschwitz http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:May_1944_-_Jews_from_Carpathian_Ruthenia_arrive_at_Auschwitz-Birkenau.jpg
• Josef Mengele http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Josef_Mengele.jpg
Unless otherwise stated, all photos used on the page 26 Holocaust Facts are, to our knowledge, in the public domain. If you think otherwise, please let us know.