The Holocaust was the
systematic annihilation of six million Jews during the Nazi genocide - in 1933
nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be occupied by
Nazi Germany during World War 2. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews
had been killed.
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.
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.
In his book Sheltering The Jews the Holocaust historian Mordecai Paldiel
before in history had children been singled out for destruction for no other
reason than having been born. Children, of course, were no match for the Nazis'
mighty and sophisticated killing machine .."
Dachau was the first concentration camp established in Nazi Germany - the camp was opened on March 22,
1933. The camp's first inmates were primarily political prisoners,
Social Democrats, Communists, trade unionists,
habitual criminals, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, beggars, vagrants, hawkers.
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. Extermination centers were established in occupied Poland with
special apparatus especially designed for mass murder. Giant death machines.
such death camps existed: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno,
Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. Large-scale murder
by gas and body disposal through cremation were conducted systematically by the
Nazis and Adolf Hitler's SS
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.