The SS Men wore black uniforms with a skeleton's head on their hats, the motto Unsere Ehre heisst Treue on their belts and their symbol was the double S-rune. They had sworn eternal faith to Adolf Hitler and they were his most ruthless henchmen, men often seen as the very personifications of evil. A violent group who rose to power in a democracy and established institutions of legitimized terror.
These masterminds of death were found to be quite psychologically normal. They were men of fine standing, husbands who morning and night kissed their wives, fathers who tucked their children into bed.
But murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhuman acts were an everyday occurrence.
In 1933 approximately nine million Jews lived in the countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed by the SS Men. The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews.
The Holocaust Children
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 the Nazis.
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.
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