The Holocaust

The Holocaust is the name applied to the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of the Jews of Europe along with other groups during World War II by Nazi Germany and collaborators[1]. Early elements of the Holocaust include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program, progressing to the later use of killing squads and extermination camps in a massive and centrally organized effort to exterminate every possible member of the populations targeted by the Nazis.

It is widely accepted among Holocaust historians that the Nazis systematically targeted three races of people for extinction in Europe. They were the Jews, the Poles, and the Gypsies. Some also include the homosexuals and the communists. The total number of people liquidated in the death camps is placed at approximately ten million with Jews numbering almost six million. This figure does not include the people who died fighting.

The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question". The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million, so much so that the phrase "six million" is now almost universally interpreted as referring to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, though mainstream estimates by historians of the exact number range from five million to seven million.

About 220,000 Sinti and Roma were killed in the Holocaust (some estimates are as high as 800,000), between a quarter to a half of the European population. Other groups deemed "racially inferior" or "undesirable", Soviet military prisoners of war including Russians and other Slavs, Poles, the mentally or physically disabled, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Communists and political dissidents and criminals, were also persecuted and killed. Many scholars do not include the Nazi persecution of all of these groups in the definition of the Holocaust, with some scholars limiting the Holocaust to the genocide of the Jews; some to genocide of the Jews, Roma, and disabled; and some to all groups targeted by Nazi racism.[2] Taking all these other groups into account, however, the total death toll rises considerably, estimates generally place the total number of Holocaust victims at 9 to 11 million, though some estimates have been as high as 26 million.[3]

Additionally, scholars disagree as to what proportion of the 1.8-1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilian deaths during the Nazi conquest and occupation of Poland were part of the Holocaust, though there is no doubt of the eventual genocidal intentions of the Nazis towards the Poles. At least 140,000 Poles were sent to Auschwitz, and the Polish intelligentsia were the first targets of the Einsatzgruppen death squads.[4]


Etymology and usage of the term

The word holocaust originally derived from the Greek word holokauston, meaning "a completely (holos) burnt (kaustos) sacrificial offering" to a god. Since the late 19th century, "holocaust" has primarily been used to refer to disasters or catastrophes. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was first used to describe Hitler's treatment of the Jews from as early as 1942, though did not become a standard reference until the 1950s. By the late 1970s, however, the conventional meaning of the word became the Nazi genocide. The term is also used by many in a narrower sense, to refer specifically to the unprecedented destruction of European Jewry in particular.

The biblical word Shoa (שואה), also spelled Shoah and Sho'ah, meaning "calamity" in Hebrew, became the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust as early as the early 1940s.[5] Shoa is preferred by many Jews and a growing number of others for a number of reasons, including the potentially theologically offensive nature of the original meaning of the word holocaust.

Child survivors of the Holocaust filmed during the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Red Army. January, 1945

Features of the Nazi Holocaust

There were several characteristics to the Nazi Holocaust which, taken together, distinguish it from other genocides in history.

Premeditation

In 1904, Alfred Ploetz founded the German Eugenics Society. Sixteen years later, a work seminal to the development of the German eugenics movement, The Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life, was published. Written by Karl Binding, a widely respected judge, and renowned psychiatrist Alfred Hoche, the work was key to the formulation of Nazi ideology, rhetoric and practice:

The work of Ploetz and the words of Binding and Hoche were the foreshadowings of Hitler's "final solution" two decades later.

Locations of mass killings carried out by the Nazi Einsatzgruppen death squads in Eastern Europe.

The Holocaust was an intentional and meticulously planned attempt to entirely eradicate the target groups based on ethnicity. It is estimated that die Endlösung der Judenfrage (the Final Solution of the Jewish Question), as the Nazis called it during the Wannsee conference of January 1942, saw the extermination of 64 percent of all the Jews in Europe, or 35 percent of the world's Jewish population.

In a speech in October 1943, Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (SS), told a group of senior SS men and Nazi party leaders: "What about the women and children? I decided to find an absolutely clear solution here too. I regard myself as having no right to exterminate (ausrotten) the men—in other words, to kill them or have them killed—and to let the avengers in the form of the children grow up for our sons and grandsons to deal with. The difficult decision had to be taken to make these people disappear from the earth."

The Holocaust was justified by claiming that the victims were Untermenschen, i.e., 'underlings' or 'subhumans', who were seen as both biologically inferior and (in the case of Jews) a potential challenge to the superiority of the 'Aryans'. Its perpetrators saw it as a form of eugenics—the creation of a better race by eliminating the designated "unfit"—along the same lines as their programs of compulsory sterilization, compulsory euthanasia, and "racial hygiene".

Efficiency

Ghettos established in Europe in which Jews were confined, in ghettos and later in temporary concentration centers and later shipped to extermination camps.

The Holocaust was characterized by the efficient and systematic attempt on an industrial scale to assemble and kill as many victims as possible, using all of the resources and technology available to the Nazi state.

For example, detailed lists of potential victims were made and maintained using Dehomag statistical machinery, and meticulous records of the killings were produced (for example, the precise counts of executed Jews in the Höfle Telegram). As prisoners entered the death camps, they were made to surrender all personal property to the Nazis, which was then precisely catalogued and tagged, and for which receipts were issued. In addition, considerable effort was expended over the course of the Holocaust to find increasingly efficient means of killing more people; for example, by switching from carbon monoxide poisoning in the Aktion Reinhard death camps of Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka to the use of Zyklon B at Majdanek and Auschwitz.

In his book Russia's War, British historian Richard Overy describes how the Nazis sought more efficient ways to kill people. In 1941, after occupying Belarus, they used mental patients from Minsk asylums as guinea pigs. Initially, they tried shooting them by having them stand one behind the other, so that several people could be killed with one bullet, but it was too slow. Then they tried dynamite, but few were killed and many were left wounded with hands and legs missing, so that the Germans had to finish them off with machine guns. In October 1941, in Mogilev, they tried the Gaswagen or "gas car". First they used a light military car, and it took more than 30 minutes for people to die. Then they used a larger truck exhaust and it took only eight minutes to kill all the people inside.[7]

Alleged corporate involvement in the Holocaust has created significant controversy in recent years. Rudolf Hoess, Auschwitz camp commandant, said that far from having to advertise their slave labour services, the concentration camps were actually approached by various large German businesses, some of which are still in existence. Technology developed by IBM also played a role in the categorization of prisoners, through the use of index machines.

Scale

Major deportation routes to the extermination camps in Europe.

The Holocaust was geographically widespread and methodically conducted in virtually all areas of Nazi-occupied territory, where Jews and other victims were targeted in what are now 35 separate European nations, and sent to labor camps in some nations or extermination camps in others. The mass killing was at its worst in Central and Eastern Europe, which had more than 7 million Jews in 1939; about 5 million Jews were killed there, including 3 million in Poland and over 1 million in the Soviet Union. Hundreds of thousands also died in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

Documented evidence suggests that the Nazis planned to carry out their 'final solution' in Britain, North America, and Palestine if these regions were conquered. The extermination continued in different parts of Nazi-controlled territory until the end of World War II, only completely ending when the Allies entered Germany itself and forced the Nazis to surrender in May 1945.

Cruelty

The Holocaust was carried out without any mercy or reprieve for children or babies, and victims were often made to suffer before finally being killed. Nazis carried out cruel and deadly medical experiments on prisoners, including children. Dr. Josef Mengele, medical officer at Auschwitz and chief medical officer at Birkenau, was known as the "Angel of Death" for his cruel and bizarre medical and eugenics experiments, e.g., trying to change people's eye colour by injecting dye into their eyes. Many of these experiments were intended to produce 'racially pure' babies and as research into weapons and techniques of war. Another way the Nazis killed Jews were by putting them in tanks and dropping gas on them for short periods of time. Many of these prisoners did not survive. Day to day life in the concentration camps was also brutal, with the Nazis regularly carrying out beatings and acts of torture.

Victims

The victims of the Holocaust were Jews, Polish, Russian, Communists, homosexuals, Roma (also known as gypsies), the mentally ill and the physically disabled, intelligentsia and political activists, Jehovah's Witnesses, some Catholic and Protestant clergy, trade unionists, psychiatric patients, some Africans, common criminals and people labeled as "enemies of the state". These victims all perished alongside one another in the camps, according to the extensive documentation left behind by the Nazis themselves (written and photographed), eyewitness testimony (by survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders), and the statistical records of the various countries under occupation. [8]

Jews

Nazis in uniform in Vienna, Austria 1938 mock Jews forced to scrub streets

Anti-Semitism was common in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s (though its roots go back much further). Adolf Hitler's fanatical brand of racial anti-Semitism was laid out in his 1925 book Mein Kampf, which, though largely ignored when it was first printed, became a bestseller in Germany once Hitler acquired political power. This Anti-Semitism was echoed by Nazi groups such as the Sturmabteilung by songs like "When Jewish blood drips off the blade" and the rallying cry "Juda verrecke" (Perish the Jew).

On April 1, 1933, shortly after Hitler's accession to power, the Nazis, led mainly by Julius Streicher, and the Sturmabteilung, organized a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany. A series of increasingly harsh racist laws were soon passed in quick succession. Under the “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service”, passed by the Reichstag on April 7, 1933, all Jewish civil servants at the Reich, Länder, and municipal levels of government were fired immediately. The "Law for the Restoration of a Professional Civil Service" marked the first time since Germany's unification in 1871 that an anti-Semitic law had been passed in Germany. This was followed by the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 that prevented marriage between any Jew and non-Jew, and stripped all Jews of German citizenships (their official title became "subject of the state") and of their basic civil rights, e.g., to vote.

In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, effectively preventing them exerting any influence in education, politics, higher education and industry. On 15 November of 1938, Jewish children were banned from going to normal schools. By April 1939, nearly all Jewish companies had either collapsed under financial pressure and declining profits, or had been forced to sell out to the Nazi-German government as part of the "Aryanization " policy inaugurated in 1937.

Heinrich Himmler (left), leader of the SS (responsible for rounding up Jews), with Adolf Hitler (right).

As the war started, large massacres of Jews took place, and, by December 1941, Hitler decided to completely exterminate European Jews. In January 1942, during the Wannsee conference, several Nazi leaders discussed the details of the "Final Solution of the Jewish question" (Endlösung der Judenfrage). Dr. Josef Bühler urged Reinhard Heydrich to proceed with the Final Solution in the General Government. They began to systematically deport Jewish populations from the ghettos and all occupied territories to the seven camps designated as Vernichtungslager, or extermination camps: Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Maly Trostenets, Sobibór and Treblinka II. Sebastian Haffner published the analysis in 1978 that Hitler from December 1941 accepted the failure of his goal to dominate Europe forever on his declaration of war against the United States, but that his withdrawal and apparent calm thereafter was sustained by the achievement of his second goal—the extermination of the Jews.[9]

Even as the Nazi war machine faltered in the last years of the war, precious military resources such as fuel, transport, munitions, soldiers and industrial resources were still being heavily diverted away from the war and towards the death camps.

By the end of the war, much of the Jewish population of Europe had been killed in the Holocaust. Poland, home of the largest Jewish community in the world before the war, had had over 90% of its Jewish population, or about 3,000,000 Jews, killed. Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Lithuania, Bohemia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Latvia each had over 70% of their Jewish population destroyed. Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Norway, and Estonia lost around half of their Jewish population, the Soviet Union over one third of its Jews, and even countries such as France and Italy had each seen around a quarter of their Jewish population killed. Some Jews outside Europe under Nazi occupation were also affected by the Holocaust.

Slavs

Poles were one of the first targets of extermination by Hitler, as outlined in the speech he gave the Wehrmacht commanders before the invasion of Poland in 1939. The intelligentsia and socially prominent or influential people were primarily targeted, although there were some mass murders committed against the general population, as well as against other groups of Slavs. The Nazi occupation of Poland (General Government, Reichsgau Wartheland) was one of the most brutal episodes of World War Two, resulting in over six million Polish deaths (over twenty percent of the country's inhabitants), including the extermination of three million Polish Jews, many in extermination camps like Auschwitz.

During Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Red Army prisoners of war were arbitrarily executed in the field by the invading German armies (in particular by the notorious Waffen SS), died under inhuman conditions in German prisoner-of-war camps, or were shipped to extermination camps for execution simply because they were of Slavic extraction. Thousands of Soviet peasant villages were annihilated by German troops for more or less the same reason. Bodan Wytwycky estimated that as many as one quarter of all Soviet civilian deaths at the hands of the Nazis and their allies were racially motivated, or 3 million Ukrainian deaths and 1.5 Belarusan deaths.[10]

At the same time, not all Slavs were targeted by the Nazis. The Slavs of Croatia and Slovakia were allies of Nazi Germany, and participated as collaborators in the Holocaust.

Roma, Sinti, and Manush ('Gypsies')

Gypsy arrivals in the Belzec death camp await instructions

Proportional to their population, the death toll of Romanies (Roma, Sinti, and Manush) in the Holocaust was the worst of any group of victims. Hitler's campaign of genocide against the Romani population of Europe involved a particularly bizarre application of Nazi "racial hygiene". Although, despite discriminatory measures, some Romani groups, including some of the Sinti and Lalleri of Germany, were spared deportation and death, the remaining Romani groups suffered much like the Jews. Between a quarter and a half of the Romani population was killed, upwards of 220,000 people.[11] In Eastern Europe, Roma were deported to the Jewish ghettoes, shot by SS Einsatzgruppen in their villages, and deported and gassed in Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Gay men

Gay (homosexual) men were also targets of the Holocaust, as homosexuality was deemed incompatible with Nazism because of their failure to reproduce the "master race." This was combined with homophobia and the belief among the Nazis that homosexuality could be contagious.

Initially homosexuality was discreetly tolerated while officially shunned, and the early Nazi leadership included a number of known homosexuals. By 1936, however, homosexual members of the party had been purged and Heinrich Himmler led an effort to persecute gays under existing and new anti-gay laws.

More than one million gay German men were targeted, of whom at least 100,000 were arrested and 50,000 were serving prison terms as convicted gay men. An additional unknown number were institutionalized in state-run mental hospitals. Hundreds of European gay men living under Nazi occupation were castrated under court order. The deaths of at least an estimated 15,000 gay men in concentration camps were officially documented, but it is difficult to put an exact number on just how many gay men perished in death camps. Some gay men were also used in medical experiments. According to Heinz Heger, in the concentration camps gay men "suffered a higher mortality rate than other relatively small victim groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses and political prisoners."[12]. Lesbians were not normally treated as harshly as gay men. They were labeled "anti-social," but were rarely sent to camps for the engaging in homosexuality.

Jehovah's Witnesses

The Nazis also targeted some religious groups. Around 2,000 Jehovah's Witnesses perished in concentration camps, where they were held for political and ideological reasons. They refused involvement in politics, would not say "Heil Hitler", and did not serve in the German army.

Disabled people

Several hundred thousand mentally and physically disabled people also were exterminated. The Nazis believed that the disabled were a burden to society because they needed to be cared for by others, but first and foremost, the mentally and physically handicapped were considered an affront to Nazi notions of a society peopled by a perfect, superhuman Aryan race. Around 400,000 individuals were sterilized against their will for having mental deficiencies or illnesses deemed to be hereditary in nature. People with disabilities were among the first to be killed, and the United States Holocaust Memorial museum notes that the T-4 Program became the "model" for future exterminations by the Nazi regime.[13] The T-4 Euthanasia Program was established in 1939 in order to maintain the "purity" of the so-called Aryan race by systematically killing children and adults born with physical deformities or suffering from mental illness.

Others

Black and Asian residents in Germany, and black prisoners of war, were also victims; often being singled out in internment camps. [14] However, Japan was part of the Axis Pact with Germany, and no Japanese were known to be deliberately imprisoned or killed.

About 100,000 communists were killed. There had earlier been attempts at sterilizing them using X-rays.

Death toll

General (later US President) Dwight Eisenhower inspecting prisoners' corpses at a liberated concentration camp, 1945

The exact number of people killed by the Nazi regime will never be known, but scholars, using a variety of methods of determining the death toll, have generally agreed upon common range of the number of victims. Recently declassified British and Soviet documents have indicated the total may be somewhat higher than previously believed[15]. However, the following estimates are considered to be highly reliable. The estimates:

  • 5.1–6.0 million Jews, including 3.0–3.5 million Polish Jews[16]
  • 1.8 –1.9 million Gentile Poles (includes all those killed in executions or those that died in prisons, labor, and concentration camps, as well as civilians killed in the 1939 invasion and the 1944 Warsaw Uprising)[17]
  • 200,000–800,000 Roma & Sinti
  • 200,000–300,000 people with disabilities
  • 10,000–25,000 homosexual men
  • 2,000 Jehovah's Witnesses

Raul Hilberg, in the third edition of his ground-breaking three-volume work, The Destruction of the European Jews, estimates that 5.1 million Jews died during the Holocaust. This figure includes "over 800,000" who died from "Ghettoization and general privation;" 1,400,000 who were killed in "Open-air shootings;" and "up to 2,900,000" who perished in camps. Hilberg estimates the death toll in Poland at "up to 3,000,000."[18] } Hilberg's numbers are generally considered to be a conservative estimate, as they generally include only those deaths for which some records are available, avoiding statistical adjustment.[19] British historian Martin Gilbert used a similar approach in his Atlas of the Holocaust, but arrived at a number of 5.75 million Jewish victims, since he estimated higher numbers of Jews killed in Russia and other locations.[20]

Map titled "Jewish Executions Carried Out by Einsatzgruppe A" from the December 1941 Jager Report by the commander of a Nazi death squad. Marked "Secret Reich Matter," the map shows the number of Jews shot in the Baltic region, and reads at the bottom: "the estimated number of Jews still on hand is 128,000."

Lucy Davidowicz used prewar census figures to estimate that 5.934 million Jews died. Using official census counts may cause an underestimate since many births and deaths were not recorded in small towns and villages. Another reason some consider her estimate too low is that many records were destroyed during the war. Her listing of deaths by country is available in the article about her book, The War Against the Jews.[21]

One of the most authoritative German scholars of the Holocaust, Prof. Wolfgang Benz of the Technical University of Berlin, cites between 5.3 and 6.2 million Jews killed in Dimension des Volksmords (1991), while Yisrael Gutman and Robert Rozett estimate between 5.59 and 5.86 million Jewish victims in their Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (1990).[22]

The following groups of people were also killed by the Nazi regime, but there is little evidence that the Nazis planned to systematically target them for genocide as was the case for the groups above.

  • 3.5–6 million other Slavic civilians
  • 2.5–4 million Soviet POWs
  • 1–1.5 million political dissidents

Additionally, the Nazis' allies, the Ustaša regime in Croatia conducted its own campaign of mass extermination against the Serbs in the areas which it controlled, resulting in the deaths of at least 330,000–390,000 Serbs.

The summary of various sources' estimates on the number of Nazi regime victims is given in Matthew White's online atlas of 20th century history.

Searching for records of victims

Initially after World War II, there were millions of members of families broken up by the war or the Holocaust searching for some record of the fate and/or whereabouts of their missing friends and relatives. These efforts became much less intense as the years went by. More recently, however, there has a been a resurgence of interest by descendants of Holocaust survivors in researching the fates of their lost relatives. Yad Vashem provides a searchable database of three million names, about half of the known direct Jewish victims. Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims Names is searchable over the Internet at yadvashem.org or in person at the Yad Vashem complex in Israel.

Other databases and lists of victims' names, some searchable over the Web, are listed in Holocaust (resources).

Execution of the Holocaust

Concentration and Labor Camps (1933-1945)

Main articles: Concentration camp , Nazi concentration camp badges. Major concentration camps in Europe, 1944.

Starting in 1933, the Nazis set up concentration camps within Germany, many of which were established by local authorities, to hold political prisoners and "undesirables". These early concentration camps were eventually consolidated into centrally run camps, and by 1939, six large concentration camps had been established. After 1939, with the beginning of the Second World War, the concentration camps increasingly became places where the enemies of the Nazis, including Jews and POWs, were either killed or forced to act as slave laborers, and kept undernourished and tortured.

Concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust

During the War, concentration camps for Jews and other "undesirables" were spread throughout Europe, with new camps being created near centers of dense "undesirable" populations, often focusing on areas with large Jewish, Polish intelligentsia, communist, or Roma populations. Most of the camps were located in the area of General Government in Poland, but there were camps in every country occupied by the Nazis. The transportation of prisoners was often carried out under horrifying conditions using rail freight cars, in which many died before they reached their destination. Concentration camps also existed in Germany itself, and while not specifically designed for systematic extermination, many concentration camp prisoners died because of harsh conditions or were executed.

Pogroms (1938-1941)

Many scholars date the beginning of the Holocaust itself to the anti-Jewish riots of the Night of Broken Glass ("Kristallnacht") of November 9, 1938, in which Jews were attacked and Jewish property was vandalized across Germany. Approximately 100 Jews were killed, and another 30,000 sent to concentration camps, while over 7,000 Jewish shops and 1,574 synagogues (almost every synagogue in Germany) were damaged or destroyed. Similar events took place in Vienna at the same time.

A number of deadly pogroms by local, non-German populations occurred during the Second World War, some with German encouragement, and some spontaneously, such as the Iaşi pogrom in Romania on June 30, 1941 in which as many 14,000 Jews were killed by Romanian residents and police and the Jedwabne pogrom in which between 380 and 1,600 Jews were killed by their Polish neighbors.

Euthanasia (1939-1941)

The T-4 Euthanasia Program was established to "maintain the genetic purity" of the German population by systematically killing citizens who were physically deformed, disabled, handicapped, or suffering from mental illness. Between 1939 and 1941, over 200,000 people were killed.

Ghettos (1940-1945)

Main articles: Ghetto , Warsaw Ghetto , Vilna Ghetto. A child dying in the streets of the crowded Warsaw Ghetto, where hunger and disease were endemic.

After the invasion of Poland, the Nazis created ghettos to which Jews (and some Roma) were confined, until they were eventually shipped to death camps and killed. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest, with 380,000 people and the Łódź Ghetto, the second largest, holding about 160,000, but ghettos were instituted in many cities (list). The ghettos were established throughout 1940 and 1941, and were immediately turned into immensely crowded prisons; though the Warsaw Ghetto contained 30% of the population of Warsaw, it occupied only about 2.4% of city's area, averaging 9.2 people per room. From 1940 through 1942, disease (especially typhoid) and starvation killed hundreds of thousands of Jews confined in the ghettos.

On July 19, 1942, Heinrich Himmler ordered the start of the deportations of Jews from the ghettos to the death camps. On July 22, 1942, the deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto inhabitants began; in the next 52 days (until September 12, 1942) about 300,000 people were transported by train to the Treblinka extermination camp from Warsaw alone. Many other ghettos were completely depopulated. Though there were armed resistance attempts in the ghettos in 1943, such as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Białystok Ghetto Uprising, but in every case they failed against the Nazi military, and the remaining Jews were either slaughtered or sent to the extermination camps.

Death squads (1941-1943)

The 1941 massacre at Babi Yar was similar to many other mass killings of Jews. Over 33,000 Jews were shot in the course of two days by Nazi Einsatzgruppen and local Ukrainian forces.

As many as 1.6 million Jews were killed in open-air shootings by Nazis and their collaborators, especially in 1941 before the establishment of the concentration camps. During the invasion of the Soviet Union, over 3,000 special killing units (Einsatzgruppen) followed the Wehrmacht, conducting mass killings of Poles, Communist officials, and the Jewish population that lived in Soviet territory.

Poles were an early target in the AB Action, in which 30,000 Polish intellectual and political figures were rounded up, and 7,000 eventually killed. By the summer of 1941, the Einsatzgruppen turned to targeting Jews, starting with the extemination of 2,200 Jews in Bialystock on June 21, 1941, and quickly increased in scale. From September to the end of 1942, a series of mass killings took place throughout Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Latvia: over 33,000 Jews were killed at Babi Yar, 25,000 at Rumbula, over 36,000 at Odessa by Romanian forces, 9,000 at the Ninth Fort, and 40,000 (up to 100,000 by 1944) at Paneriai. These, and similar slaughters throughout Europe, killed around 100,000 Jews per month for five months. By the end of 1943, another 900,000 Jews would be killed in this manner, but the pace was not fast enough for the Nazi leadership, who, at the end of 1941 and the beginning of 1942, began the implementation of the Final Solution, the complete extermination of the Jews of Europe.

Extermination camps (1942-1945)

Selection at the Auschwitz-Birkenau ramp in 1944, where the Nazis chose who to kill immediately and who use as slave labor or for medical experiments. The entrance to the main camp is in the background.

In December, 1941, the Nazis opened Celmno, the first of what would soon be seven extermination camps, dedicated entirely to mass extermination on an industrial scale, as opposed to the labor or concentration camps. Over three million Jews would die in these extermination camps. The method of killing at these camps was by poison gas, usually in "gas chambers", although many prisoners were killed in mass shootings and by other means. The bodies of those killed were destroyed in crematoria (except at Sobibór where they were cremated on outdoor pyres), and the ashes buried or scattered.

In 1942, the Nazis began this most destructive phase of the Holocaust, with Aktion Reinhard, opening the extermination camps of Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. More than 1.7 million Jews were killed at the three Aktion Reinhard camps by October 1943. The largest death camp built was Auschwitz-Birkenau, which had both a labor camp (Auschwitz) and an extermination camp (Birkenau);

Empty Giftgas canisters and hair shaved from the victims, as seen in the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum

the latter possessing four gas chambers and crematoria. This camp was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1,000,000 Jews (including about 438,000 Jews from Hungary in the course of a few months), 75,000 Poles and gay men, and some 19,000 Roma. At the peak of operations, Birkenau's gas chambers killed approximately eight thousand a day.

Upon arrival in these camps, prisoners were divided into two groups: those too weak for work were immediately executed in gas chambers (which were sometimes disguised as showers) and their bodies burned, while others were first used for slave labor in factories or industrial enterprises located in the camp or nearby. The Nazis also forced some prisoners to work in the collection and disposal of corpses, and to mutilate them when required. Gold teeth were extracted from the corpses, and women's hair (shaved from the heads of victims before they entered the gas chambers) was recycled for use in products such as rugs and socks.

Death marches and liberation (1944-1945)

As the armies of the Allies closed in on the Reich at the end of 1944, the Germans decided to abandon the extermination camps, moving or destroying evidence of the atrocities they had committed there. The Nazis marched prisoners, already sick after months or years of violence and starvation, for tens of miles in the snow to train stations; then transported for days at a time without food or shelter in freight trains with open carriages; and forced to march again at the other end to the new camp. Prisoners who lagged behind or fell were shot. The largest and best known of the death marches took place in January 1945, when the Soviet army advanced on Poland. Nine days before the Soviets arrived at the death camp at Auschwitz, the Germans marched 60,000 prisoners out of the camp toward Wodzislaw, thirty-five miles away, where they were put on freight trains to other camps. Around 15,000 died on the way.

In July, 1944, the first major Nazi camp, Majdanek, was discovered by the advancing Soviets, who eventually liberated Auschwitz in January 1945. In most of the camps discovered by the Soviets, the prisoners had already been transported by death marches, leaving only a few thousand prisoners alive. Concentration camps were also liberated by American and British forces, including Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15. Some 60,000 prisoners were discovered at the camp, but 10,000 died from disease or malnutrition within a few weeks of liberation.

Resistance and rescuers

Resistance

SS officers walking through the destroyed Ghetto after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Due to the careful organization and overwhelming military might of the Nazi German state and its supporters, few Jews and other Holocaust victims were able to resist the killings. There are, however, many cases of attempts at resistance in one form or another.

The largest instance of organized Jewish resistance was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, from April to May of 1943, as the final deportation from the Ghetto to the death camps was about to commence. The ZOB and smaller organizations held out against the Nazis for 27 days, before all were killed. There were also other Ghetto Uprisings, though none were successful against the German military.

There were also major resistance efforts in three of the extermination camps. In August 1943 an uprising also took place at the Treblinka extermination camp. Many buildings were burnt to the ground, and seventy inmates escaped to freedom, but 1,500 were killed. Gassing operations were interrupted for a month. In October 1943 another uprising took place at Sobibór extermination camp. This uprising was more successful; 11 SS guards were killed, and roughly 300 of the 600 inmates in the camp escaped, with about 50 surviving the war. The escape forced the Nazis to close the camp. On October 7, 1944, the Jewish Sonderkommandos (those prisoners kept separate from the main camp and involved in the operation of the gas chambers and crematoria) at Auschwitz staged an uprising. Female prisoners had smuggled in explosives from a weapons factory, and Crematorium IV was partly destroyed by an explosion. The prisoners then attempted a mass escape, but all 250 were killed soon after.

There were a number of Jewish partisan groups operating in many countries (see Eugenio Calò for the story of a Jewish Italian partisan). Also, Jewish volunteers from the Palestinian Mandate, most famously Hannah Szenes, parachuted into Europe in an attempt to organize resistance.

Rescuers

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg and his colleagues saved as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews by providing them with diplomatic passes.

In two cases, entire countries resisted the deportation of their Jewish population. The King of Denmark and his subjects saved the lives of most of the 7,500 Danish Jews by spiriting them to safety in Sweden via fishing boats in October 1943. When the Jews returned home at war's end, they found their houses and possessions waiting for them, exactly as they left them. In the second case, the Nazi-allied government of Bulgaria, led by Dobri Bozhilov, refused to deport its 50,000 Jewish citizens, saving them as well, though Bulgaria did deport Jews to concentration camps from areas in conquered Greece and Macedonia.

Some towns and churches also helped hide Jews and protect others from the Holocaust, such as the French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon which sheltered several thousand Jews. Similar individual and family acts of rescue were repeated throughout Europe, as illustrated in the famous cases of Anne Frank, often at great risk to the rescuers. In a few cases, individual diplomats and people of influence, such as Oskar Schindler or Nicholas Winton, protected large numbers of Jews. Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, the Italian Giorgio Perlasca, Chinese diplomat Ho Fengshan and others saved tens of thousands of Jews with fake diplomatic passes. Chiune Sugihara saved several thousands of Jews by issuing them with Japanese visas against the will of his Nazi-aligned government.

There were also groups, like members of the Polish Zegota organization, that took drastic and dangerous steps to rescue Jews and other potential victims from the Nazis. Witold Pilecki, member of Armia Krajowa (the Polish Home Army), organized a resistance movement in the Auschwitz concentration camp from 1940, and Jan Karski tried to spread word of the Holocaust.

Since 1963, a commission headed by an Israeli Supreme Court justice has been charged with the duty of awarding such people the honorary title Righteous Among the Nations.

Perpetrators and collaborators

Who was directly involved in the killings?

A wide range of German soldiers, officials, and civilians were involved in the Holocaust, from clerks and officials in the government to units of the army, the police, and the SS. Many ministries, including those of armaments, interior, justice, railroads, and foreign affairs, had substantial roles in orchestrating the Holocaust; similarly, German physicians participated in medical experiments and the T-4 euthanasia program. And, though there was no single military unit in charge of the Holocaust, the SS under Himmler was the closest. From the SS came the Totenkopfverbände concentration camp guards, the Einsatzgruppen killing squads, and many of the administrative offices behind the Holocaust. The Wehrmacht, or regular German army, participated less directly than the SS in the Holocaust (though it did directly massacre Jews in Russia, Serbia, and Greece), but it supported the Eisatzgruppen, helped form the ghettos, ran prison camps, and used substantial slave labor. German police units also directly participated in the Holocaust, for example Reserve Police Battalion 101 in just over a year shot 38,000 Jews and deported 45,000 more to the extermination camps.[23]

In addition to the direct involvement of Nazi forces, most European countries allied with or occupied by the Axis Powers collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust. Collaboration took the form of either rounding up of the local Jews for deportation to the German extermination camps or a direct participation in the killings.

The Romanian Antonescu regime was directly responsible for the deaths of between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews. An official report[24]. released by the Romanian government concluded, "Of all the allies of Nazi Germany, Romania bears responsibility for the deaths of more Jews than any country other than Germany itself. The exterminations committed in Iasi, Odessa, Bogdanovka, Domanovka, and Peciora, for example, were among the most hideous acts committed against Jews anywhere during the Holocaust."[25]In cooperation with German Einsatzgruppen and Ukrainian auxiliaries, Romanians killed hundreds of thousands of Jews in Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and Transnistria. Some of the larger massacres included 54,000 Jews killed in Bogdanovka, a Romanian concentration camp along the Bug River in Transnistria, between 21 and 31 December 1941. Nearly 100,000 Jews were killed in occupied Odessa and over 10,000 were killed in the Iasi pogrom. The Romanians also massacred Jews in the Domanevka and Akhmetchetka concentration camps.

In Italy a law from 1938 restricted civil liberties of Jews, but after the fall of Mussolini and his creation of the Italian Social Republic, Jews started being deported to German camps. The deported numbered about 8,369, and only about a thousand survived. Several small camps were built in Italy and the so-called Risiera di San Sabba hosted a crematorium; from 3,000 to 5,000 people were killed in San Sabba, only a few of whom were Jews.

Bulgaria, despite saving its own Jewish population, deported 11,000 Jews from occupied Greek and Yugoslavian territories. The Vichy French government and French police in Nazi-occupied France participated in the roundups of 75,000 Jews. The Netherlands civilian administration and police participated in the roundups of 100,000 Jews. A Dutch group, Henneicke Column, hunted and "delivered" 9,000 Jews for deportation[26]. Norwegian police rounded up 750 Jews. Slovakia's Tiso regime deported approximately 70,000 Jews, of whom 65,000 were killed.[27]

The Hungarian Horthy regime deported 20,000 Jews from annexed Transcarpathian Ukraine in 1941 to Kamianets-Podilskyi in the German-occupied Ukraine, where they were shot by the German Einsatzgruppen detachments. Hungarian army and police units killed several thousand Jews and Serbs in Novi Sad in January 1942. However Horthy resisted German demands for mass deportation of Hungarian Jews, and most survived until 1944, when the Horthy fell from power and was replaced by the Arrow Cross regime. At this late date in the war with German defeat appearing likely, Hungarian police nevertheless participated fully with SS in the roundups of 440,000 Jews for deportation to the extermination camps. Moreover, 20,000 Budapest Jews were shot by the banks of the Danube by Hungarian forces. 70,000 Jews were forced on a death march to Austria—thousands were shot and thousands more died of starvation and exposure. [28]

Killing of 5,000 Jews in Kovno by Lithuanian nationalists in June 1941. The SS urged anti-communist partisan leader Klimatis to attack the Jews to show that "the liberated population had resorted to the most severe measures against the ... Jewish enemy."

The Croatian Ustaše regime killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs (estimates vary widely, but a minimum of 330,000-390,000 is generally accepted), over 20,000 Jews and 26,000 Roma, primarily in the Ustase's Jasenovac concentration camp near Zagreb. The Ustase also deported 7,000 more Jews to German extermination camps.[29]

Ukrainian nationalists killed 4,000 Lviv Jews in July 1941, and an additional 2,000 in late July 1941 during the so-called Petliura Days pogrom. German Einsatzgruppen, together with Ukrainian auxiliary units, killed 33,000 Kievan Jews in Babi Yar in September 1941. Ukrainian auxiliaries participated in a number of killings of Jews, among them in Romanian concentration camps in Bogdanovka and in Latvia.

Lithuanian and Latvian auxiliary military units with German Einsatzgruppen detachments participated in the extermination of the Jewish population in their countries, as well as assisting the Nazis elsewhere, such as deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto. The Arajs Commando, a Latvian volunteer police unit, for example, killed 26,000 Latvian Jews and was responsible for assisting in the killing of 60,000 more Jews.[30]

About 75% of Estonia's Jewish community, aware of the fate that otherwise awaited them, managed to escape to the Soviet Union; virtually all the remainder (between 950 and 1000 people) were killed by Einsatzgruppe A and local collaborators before the end of 1941. (source: Max Jakobson Commission Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity)

Who authorized the killings?

Hitler authorized the mass killing of those labelled by the Nazis as "undesirables" in the T-4 Euthanasia Program. Hitler encouraged the killings of the Jews of Eastern Europe by the Einsatzgruppen death squads in a speech in July, 1941, though he almost certainly approved the mass shootings earlier. A mass of evidence suggests that sometime in the fall of 1941, Himmler and Hitler agreed in principle on the complete mass extermination of the Jews of Europe by gassing, with Hitler explicitly ordering the "annihilation of the Jews" in a speech on December 12, 1941 (see Final Solution). To make for smoother intra-governmental cooperation in the implementation of this "Final Solution" to the "Jewish Question", the Wannsee conference was held near Berlin on January 20, 1942, with the participation of fifteen senior officials, led by Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann, the records of which provide the best evidence of the central planning of the Holocaust. Just five weeks later on February 22, Hitler was recorded saying "We shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jews" to his closest associates.

Arguments that no documentation links Hitler to "the Holocaust" ignore the records of his speeches kept by Nazi leaders such as Joseph Goebbels and rely on artificially limiting the Holocaust to exclude what we do have documentation on, such as the T-4 Euthanasia Program and the Kristallnacht pogrom.

Who knew about the killings?

Some claim that the full extent of what was happening in German-controlled areas was not known until after the war. However, numerous rumors and eyewitness accounts from escapees and others gave some indication that Jews were being killed in large numbers. Since the early years of the war the Polish government-in-exile published documents and organised meetings to spread word of the fate of the Jews. By early 1941, the British had received information via an intercepted Chilean memo that Jews were being targeted, and by late 1941 they had intercepted information about a number of large massacres of Jews conducted by German police. In the summer of 1942 a Jewish labor organization (the Bund) got word to London that 700,000 Polish Jews had already died, and the BBC took the story seriously, though the United States State Department did not take the news seriously[31]. By the end of 1942, however, the evidence of the Holocaust had become clear and on December 17, 1942 the Allies issued a statement that the Jews were being transported to Poland and killed. The US State Department was aware of the use and the location of the gas chambers of extermination camps, but refused pleas to bomb them out of operation. On May 12, 1943, Polish government-in-exile and Bund leader Szmul Zygielbojm committed suicide in London to protest the inaction of the world with regard to the Holocaust, stating in part in his suicide letter:

Debate also continues on how much average Germans knew about the Holocaust. Recent historical work suggests that the majority of Germans knew that Jews were being indiscriminately killed and persecuted, even if they did not know of the specifics of the death camps. Robert Gellately, a historian at Oxford University, conducted a widely-respected survey of the German media before and during the war, concluding that there was "substantial consent and active participation of large numbers of ordinary Germans" in aspects of the Holocaust, and documenting that the sight of columns of slave laborers were common, and that the basics of the concentration camps, if not the extermination camps, were widely known[32].

Historical interpretations

Why did people participate in, authorize, or tacitly accept the killing?

Obedience

Stanley Milgram was one of a number of post-war psychologists and sociologists who tried to address why people obeyed immoral orders in the Holocaust. Milgram's findings demonstrated that reasonable people, when instructed by a person in a position of authority, obeyed commands entailing what they believed to be the death or suffering of others. These results were confirmed in other experiments as well, such as the Stanford prison experiment.

Functionalism versus intentionalism

A major issue in contemporary Holocaust studies is the question of functionalism versus intentionalism. The terms were coined in a 1981 article by the British Marxist historian Timothy Mason to describe two schools of thought about the origins of the Holocaust. Intentionalists hold that the Holocaust was the result of a long-term masterplan on the part of Hitler's and that Hitler was the driving force behind the Holocaust. Functionalists hold that Hitler was anti-Semitic, but that he did not have a masterplan for genocide. Functionalists see the Holocaust as coming from below in the ranks of the German bureaucracy with little or no involvement on the part of Hitler. Functionalists stress that the Nazi anti-Semitic policy was constantly evolving in ever more radical directions and the end product was the Holocaust.

Intentionalists like Lucy Dawidowicz argue that the Holocaust was planned by Hitler from the very beginning of his political career, at very least from 1919 on, if not earlier. Later Dawidowicz was to date the decision for genocide back to November 11, 1918. Other Intentionalists like Andreas Hillgruber, Karl Dietrich Bracher and Klaus Hildebrand suggested that Hitler had decided upon the Holocaust sometime in the early 1920s. More recent intentionalist historians like Eberhard Jäckel continue to emphasize the relative earliness of the decision to kill the Jews, although they are not willing to claim that Hitler planned the Holocaust from the beginning. Yet another group of intentionalist historians such as the American Arno J. Mayer claimed Hitler only ordered the Holocaust in December 1941.

Functionalists like Hans Mommsen, Martin Broszat, Götz Aly, Raul Hilberg and Christopher Browning hold that the Holocaust was started in 1941-1942 as a result of the failure of the Nazi deportation policy and the impending military losses in Russia. They claim that what some see as extermination fantasies outlined in Hitler's Mein Kampf and other Nazi literature were mere propaganda and did not constitute concrete plans. In Mein Kampf Hitler repeatly states his inexorable hatred of the Jewish people, but no-where does he proclaim his intention to exterminate the Jewish people.

Furthermore, Functionalists point to the fact that in the 1930s, Nazi policy aimed at trying to make life so unpleasant for German Jews that they would leave Germany. Adolf Eichmann was in charge of faciliating Jewish emigration by whatever means possible from 1937 on, until October 3, 1941 were German Jews forbidden to leave, when Reinhard Heydrich issued a order to that effect. Functionalists point to the SS's support for a time in the late 1930s for Zionist groups as the preferred solution to the "Jewish Question" as another sign that there was no masterplan for genocide. The SS only ceased their support for German Zionist groups in May 1939 when Joachim von Ribbentrop informed Hitler of this, and Hitler ordered Himmler to cease and desist as the creation of Israel was not a goal Hitler thought worthy of German foreign policy.

In particular, Functionalists have noted that in German documents from 1939 to 1941, the term "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" was clearly meant to be a "territorial solution", that is the entire Jewish population was to be expelled somewhere far from Germany and not allowed to come back. At first, the SS planned to create a gigantic "Jewish Reservation" in the Lublin, Poland area, but the so-called "Lublin Plan" was vetoed by Hans Frank, the Governor-General of Poland who refused to allow the SS to ship any more Jews to the Lublin area after November, 1939. The reason why Frank vetoed the "Lublin Plan" was not due to any humane motives, but rather because he was opposed to the SS "dumping" Jews into the Government-General. In 1940, the SS and the German Foreign Office had the so-called "Madagascar Plan" to deport the entire Jewish population of Europe to a "reservation" on Madagascar. The "Madagascar Plan" was cancelled because Germany could not defeat Britain and until the British blockade was broken, the "Madagascar Plan" could not be put into effect. Finally, Functionalist historians have made much of a memorandum written by Himmler in May, 1940 explicitly rejecting extermination of the entire Jewish people as "un-German" and going on to recommend to Hitler the "Madagascar Plan" as the preferred "territorial solution" to the "Jewish Question". Not until July 1941 did the term "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" come to mean extermination.

Recently, a synthesis of the two schools has emerged that has been championed by such diverse historians such as the Canadian historian Michael Marrus, the Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer and the British historian Ian Kershaw that contends that Hitler was the driving force behind the Holocaust, but that he did not have a long-term plan and that much of the initiative for the Holocaust came from below in an effort to meet Hitler's perceived wishes.

Another controversy was started by the sociologist Daniel Goldhagen, who argues that ordinary Germans were knowing and willing participants in the Holocaust, which he claims had its roots in a deep eliminationist German anti-Semitism. Most other historians have disagreed with Goldhagen's thesis, arguing that while anti-Semitism undeniably existed in Germany, Goldhagen's idea of a uniquely German "eliminationist" anti-Semitism is untenable, and that the extermination was unknown to many and had to be enforced by the dictatorial Nazi apparatus.

Revisionists and deniers

Holocaust denial, also called Holocaust revisionism, is the belief that the Holocaust did not occur, or, more specifically: that far fewer than around six million Jews were killed by the Nazis (numbers below one million, most often around 300,000 are typically cited); that there never was a centrally-planned Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews; and/or that there were not mass killings at the extermination camps. Those who hold this position often further claim that Jews and/or Zionists know that the Holocaust never occurred, yet that they are engaged in a massive conspiracy to maintain the illusion of a Holocaust to further their political agenda. These views are not accepted as credible by historians, with organizations such as the American Historical Association, the largest society of historians in the United States, stating that Holocaust denial is "at best, a form of academic fraud."

Holocaust deniers almost always prefer to be called Holocaust revisionists. Most scholars contend that the latter term is misleading. Historical revisionism is a well-accepted and mainstream part of the study of history; it is the reexamination of accepted history, with an eye towards updating it with newly discovered, more accurate, and/or less biased information, or viewing known information from a new perspective. In contrast, Holocaust deniers typically willfully misuse or ignore historical records in order to attempt to prove their conclusions, as Gordon McFee writes:

Public Opinion Quarterly summarized that: "No reputable historian questions the reality of the Holocaust, and those promoting Holocaust denial are overwhelmingly anti-Semites and/or neo-Nazis," though Holocaust denial has also become popular in recent years among Islamic fundamentalists. In late 2005, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced the Holocaust of European Jewry as a "myth". [34][35] The public advocacy of theories denying the Holocaust is a crime in some countries (including France, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany).

Aftermath

Displaced Persons and the State of Israel

The Holocaust and its aftermath left millions of refugees, including many Jews who had lost most or all of their family members and possessions, and often faced persistent anti-Semitism in their home countries. The original plan of the Allies was to repatriate these "Displaced Persons" to their country of origin, but many refused to return, or were unable to as their homes or communities had been destroyed. As a result, more than 250,000 languished in DP camps for years after the war ended.

Jews were smuggled into Palestine by Berihah using a number of routes.

While Zionism had been prominent before the Holocaust, afterwards it became almost universally accepted among Jews. Many Zionists, pointing to the fact that Jewish refugees from Germany and Nazi-occupied lands had been turned away by other countries, argued that if a Jewish state had existed at the time, the Holocaust could not have occurred on the scale it did. With the rise of Zionism, Palestine became the destination of choice for Jewish refugees, but local Arabs opposed the immigration, Britain refused to allow Jewish refugees into the Mandate, and many countries in the Soviet Bloc made any emigration illegal. Former Jewish partisans in Europe, along with the Haganah in Palestine, organized a massive effort to smuggle Jews into Palestine, called Berihah, which eventually transported 250,000 Jews (both DPs and those who hid during the war) to the Mandate. By 1952, the Displaced Persons camps were closed, with over 80,000 Jewish DPs in the United States, about 136,000 in Israel, and another 20,000 in other nations, including Canada and South Africa.

Legal proceedings against Nazis

Defendants at the Nuremberg Trials - Front row: Göring, Heß, von Ribbentrop, and Keitel. Second row: Dönitz, Raeder, Schirach, Sauckel.

There were a number of legal efforts established to bring Nazis and their collaborators to justice. Some of the higher ranking Nazi officials were tried as part of the Nuremberg Trials, presided over by an Allied court; the first international tribunal of its kind. In total, 5,025 Nazi criminals were convicted between 1945-1949 in the American, British and French zones of Germany. Other trials were conducted in the countries in which the defendants were citizens -- in West Germany and Austria, many Nazis were let off with light sentences, with the claim of "following orders" ruled a mitigating circumstance, and many returned to society soon afterwards. An ongoing effort to pursue Nazis and collaborators resulted, famously, in the trial of Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann in Israel in 1961.

Legal action against genocide

The Holocaust also galvanized the international community to take action against future genocide, including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. While international human rights law moved forward quickly in the wake of the Holocaust, international criminal law has been slower to advance; after the Nuremberg trials and the Japanese war crime trials it was over forty years until the next such international criminal procedures, in 1993 in Yugoslavia.

Impact on culture

Holocaust theology

On account of the magnitude of the Holocaust, many theologians have re-examined the classical theological views on God's goodness and actions in the world. Some believers and apostates question whether people can still have any faith after the Holocaust, and some
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Some believers and apostates question whether people can still have any faith after the Holocaust, and some . From Argentina to Malaysia to The United States, broadcasters around the world capitalized on the big event (see Live 8 broadcasters). On account of the magnitude of the Holocaust, many theologians have re-examined the classical theological views on God's goodness and actions in the world. ABC drew criticism when they broadcast The Who's performance of "Who Are You?" when they did not censor the lyric "who the fuck are you?" when they aired a highlights special in the evening of 2 July 2005 after Live 8 had ended. While international human rights law moved forward quickly in the wake of the Holocaust, international criminal law has been slower to advance; after the Nuremberg trials and the Japanese war crime trials it was over forty years until the next such international criminal procedures, in 1993 in Yugoslavia. The following weekend, MTV broadcast six hours of a commercial-free special devoted to Live 8 in response to the heavy criticism. The Holocaust also galvanized the international community to take action against future genocide, including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. In fact, very few of Live 8's songs were played in full by MTV and almost none of them were broadcast live, leading some to conclude that MTV may have covered the event but they did not broadcast it.

An ongoing effort to pursue Nazis and collaborators resulted, famously, in the trial of Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann in Israel in 1961. Criticism was also aimed at MTV for focusing too much on ill-informed VJs and not enough on the music. Other trials were conducted in the countries in which the defendants were citizens -- in West Germany and Austria, many Nazis were let off with light sentences, with the claim of "following orders" ruled a mitigating circumstance, and many returned to society soon afterwards. Criticism was also drawn from viewers of MTV (and possibly other networks), in which the broadcaster cut to commercials while bands were still performing, specifically Pink Floyd and The Who. In total, 5,025 Nazi criminals were convicted between 1945-1949 in the American, British and French zones of Germany. In the United States, MTV censored swear words from the performances it broadcast, except for the word "bullshit" as part of the lyrics to Pink Floyd's "Money". Some of the higher ranking Nazi officials were tried as part of the Nuremberg Trials, presided over by an Allied court; the first international tribunal of its kind. When Green Day's performance in Berlin was broadcast to the other venues, it was aired uncensored.

There were a number of legal efforts established to bring Nazis and their collaborators to justice. Several artists got their performances cut to one or two songs, including Bon Jovi and Dido. By 1952, the Displaced Persons camps were closed, with over 80,000 Jewish DPs in the United States, about 136,000 in Israel, and another 20,000 in other nations, including Canada and South Africa. Although the concerts in London and Philadelphia had the biggest stars lining up, both concerts are currently not available in their original, full version. Former Jewish partisans in Europe, along with the Haganah in Palestine, organized a massive effort to smuggle Jews into Palestine, called Berihah, which eventually transported 250,000 Jews (both DPs and those who hid during the war) to the Mandate. Midge Ure's "I find it amazing, that Bob can do his fantastic thing and then fucking turn this on for me" also remains from the Edinburgh concert. With the rise of Zionism, Palestine became the destination of choice for Jewish refugees, but local Arabs opposed the immigration, Britain refused to allow Jewish refugees into the Mandate, and many countries in the Soviet Bloc made any emigration illegal. Robbie Williams' "Hyde Park, you look fucking beautiful tonight" remains.

Many Zionists, pointing to the fact that Jewish refugees from Germany and Nazi-occupied lands had been turned away by other countries, argued that if a Jewish state had existed at the time, the Holocaust could not have occurred on the scale it did. In the official DVD release of the concerts, Madonna's cursing was not included and only half of Snoop Dogg's performance was made available. While Zionism had been prominent before the Holocaust, afterwards it became almost universally accepted among Jews. Robbie Williams and Razorlight also swore during their performances, but Williams' was after the watershed. As a result, more than 250,000 languished in DP camps for years after the war ended. The BBC apologised [17] for an instance when Madonna asked the audience "are you fucking ready, London?", and for Snoop Dogg's perfomance which contained the use of swear words without censorship. The original plan of the Allies was to repatriate these "Displaced Persons" to their country of origin, but many refused to return, or were unable to as their homes or communities had been destroyed. Despite the show being broadcast before the watershed in many countries, there was no attempt at censorship.

The Holocaust and its aftermath left millions of refugees, including many Jews who had lost most or all of their family members and possessions, and often faced persistent anti-Semitism in their home countries. The Daily Mail commented on the event for running two hours late, with a frontpage headline reading 'Live L8'. [34][35] The public advocacy of theories denying the Holocaust is a crime in some countries (including France, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany). The "Hey Jude" finale ended up finishing at around midnight after George Michael dueted with Paul McCartney. In late 2005, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced the Holocaust of European Jewry as a "myth". The early ending would have meant fans missing out on bands including The Who and Pink Floyd. Public Opinion Quarterly summarized that: "No reputable historian questions the reality of the Holocaust, and those promoting Holocaust denial are overwhelmingly anti-Semites and/or neo-Nazis," though Holocaust denial has also become popular in recent years among Islamic fundamentalists. This panic was due to the chance of London being gridlocked if people missed their train.

In contrast, Holocaust deniers typically willfully misuse or ignore historical records in order to attempt to prove their conclusions, as Gordon McFee writes:. She then held a meeting and it was decided that the show would go on. Historical revisionism is a well-accepted and mainstream part of the study of history; it is the reexamination of accepted history, with an eye towards updating it with newly discovered, more accurate, and/or less biased information, or viewing known information from a new perspective. Backstage crew had to run into the Golden Circle to find the minister for outdoor events. Most scholars contend that the latter term is misleading. There was a large panic backstage, as revealed on the BBC 1 documentary. Holocaust deniers almost always prefer to be called Holocaust revisionists. The show ran much later after Bob Geldof performed and many of the acts decided to give speeches.

These views are not accepted as credible by historians, with organizations such as the American Historical Association, the largest society of historians in the United States, stating that Holocaust denial is "at best, a form of academic fraud.". Due to the need to send them a few weeks early, the tickets had the original 8pm finishing time printed on them. Those who hold this position often further claim that Jews and/or Zionists know that the Holocaust never occurred, yet that they are engaged in a massive conspiracy to maintain the illusion of a Holocaust to further their political agenda. The show was originaly scheduled to end at around 8:00pm, but due to new artists being added, the planned finishing time was extended to 9:30pm. Holocaust denial, also called Holocaust revisionism, is the belief that the Holocaust did not occur, or, more specifically: that far fewer than around six million Jews were killed by the Nazis (numbers below one million, most often around 300,000 are typically cited); that there never was a centrally-planned Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews; and/or that there were not mass killings at the extermination camps. One of Quo's reasons for wanting to appear stemmed from their inability to remember the first gig due to drink and drugs. Most other historians have disagreed with Goldhagen's thesis, arguing that while anti-Semitism undeniably existed in Germany, Goldhagen's idea of a uniquely German "eliminationist" anti-Semitism is untenable, and that the extermination was unknown to many and had to be enforced by the dictatorial Nazi apparatus. Quo's response was that there wasn't a lot of drugs, there were "fucking shed-loads".

Another controversy was started by the sociologist Daniel Goldhagen, who argues that ordinary Germans were knowing and willing participants in the Holocaust, which he claims had its roots in a deep eliminationist German anti-Semitism. There was also the rumour that the reason space on the show wasn't made was partially down to Geldof's anger at Quo's reference to there being "a lot of drugs" at Live Aid in 1985. Recently, a synthesis of the two schools has emerged that has been championed by such diverse historians such as the Canadian historian Michael Marrus, the Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer and the British historian Ian Kershaw that contends that Hitler was the driving force behind the Holocaust, but that he did not have a long-term plan and that much of the initiative for the Holocaust came from below in an effort to meet Hitler's perceived wishes. Quo had reportedly asked for "four fucking minutes". Not until July 1941 did the term "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" come to mean extermination. Naming their petition "No Quo, No Show", it became an unsuccessful success. Finally, Functionalist historians have made much of a memorandum written by Himmler in May, 1940 explicitly rejecting extermination of the entire Jewish people as "un-German" and going on to recommend to Hitler the "Madagascar Plan" as the preferred "territorial solution" to the "Jewish Question". The Daily Mirror's petition was backed by thousands though eventually nothing came about.

The "Madagascar Plan" was cancelled because Germany could not defeat Britain and until the British blockade was broken, the "Madagascar Plan" could not be put into effect. This was not granted, sparking a fury amongst Quo fans who had seen the band open Live Aid explosively (with the aptly titled "Rockin' All Over The World") 20 years ago. In 1940, the SS and the German Foreign Office had the so-called "Madagascar Plan" to deport the entire Jewish population of Europe to a "reservation" on Madagascar. Originally offered a 6pm slot, the Quo had long since organized commitments in Ireland, therefore they requested an earlier slot. The reason why Frank vetoed the "Lublin Plan" was not due to any humane motives, but rather because he was opposed to the SS "dumping" Jews into the Government-General. In the weeks leading up to the extravaganza, The Daily Mirror began a petition, garnering support for British rock legends Status Quo. At first, the SS planned to create a gigantic "Jewish Reservation" in the Lublin, Poland area, but the so-called "Lublin Plan" was vetoed by Hans Frank, the Governor-General of Poland who refused to allow the SS to ship any more Jews to the Lublin area after November, 1939. None of the items appeared to have been fairly-traded, sweatshop-free or environmentally friendly.

In particular, Functionalists have noted that in German documents from 1939 to 1941, the term "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" was clearly meant to be a "territorial solution", that is the entire Jewish population was to be expelled somewhere far from Germany and not allowed to come back. While they received no monetary compensation, some were given gift bags containing lavish gifts and designer goodies - including Gibson guitars and Hugo Boss suits - valued at approximately $3000 (see "Fancy gifts at odds with cause?" The Philadelphia Inquirer). The SS only ceased their support for German Zionist groups in May 1939 when Joachim von Ribbentrop informed Hitler of this, and Hitler ordered Himmler to cease and desist as the creation of Israel was not a goal Hitler thought worthy of German foreign policy. More criticism has been leveled at some of the performers based on what they took home for participating in the Philadelphia concert. Functionalists point to the SS's support for a time in the late 1930s for Zionist groups as the preferred solution to the "Jewish Question" as another sign that there was no masterplan for genocide. Indeed, public figures and media have since called on the artists and their record labels to donate the profits of increased sales that followed appearance at the event (see "...Live 8 profits plea" BBC article, for example). Adolf Eichmann was in charge of faciliating Jewish emigration by whatever means possible from 1937 on, until October 3, 1941 were German Jews forbidden to leave, when Reinhard Heydrich issued a order to that effect. Live 8, it is important to note, is not a charity event.

Furthermore, Functionalists point to the fact that in the 1930s, Nazi policy aimed at trying to make life so unpleasant for German Jews that they would leave Germany. Damon Albarn also suggested that the performers' record labels should pay "a tariff" as the accompanying publicity would increase future record sales and hence their profits. In Mein Kampf Hitler repeatly states his inexorable hatred of the Jewish people, but no-where does he proclaim his intention to exterminate the Jewish people. Counter-critics, however, point out that these celebrities are still not rich enough to be able to cancel the debts of nations. They claim that what some see as extermination fantasies outlined in Hitler's Mein Kampf and other Nazi literature were mere propaganda and did not constitute concrete plans. Many believed that it was hypocrisy that many of the performing artists had tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars of "spare cash" lying in their bank accounts whilst wanting to "Make Poverty History". Functionalists like Hans Mommsen, Martin Broszat, Götz Aly, Raul Hilberg and Christopher Browning hold that the Holocaust was started in 1941-1942 as a result of the failure of the Nazi deportation policy and the impending military losses in Russia. For example, some fans and music critics feel that some of the lineups, such as that in Barrie, are not only largely ethnically homogeneous but not likely to connect with, or speak to, younger fans ("Live 8 organizer dismisses criticism..." Globe and Mail article).

Mayer claimed Hitler only ordered the Holocaust in December 1941. Geldof is criticised for using Africa as "a catwalk" which is more about reviving the careers of ageing rock stars than about helping the poor in Africa. Yet another group of intentionalist historians such as the American Arno J. [16]. More recent intentionalist historians like Eberhard Jäckel continue to emphasize the relative earliness of the decision to kill the Jews, although they are not willing to claim that Hitler planned the Holocaust from the beginning. Indeed, Geldof appears not to be interested in Africa's strengths, only in an Africa on its knees. Other Intentionalists like Andreas Hillgruber, Karl Dietrich Bracher and Klaus Hildebrand suggested that Hitler had decided upon the Holocaust sometime in the early 1920s. I am coming, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Live 8 is as much to do with Geldof showing off his ability to push around presidents and prime ministers as with pointing out the potential of Africa.

Later Dawidowicz was to date the decision for genocide back to November 11, 1918. However, some criticisms are directed at Geldof himself and the motives for Live 8:. Intentionalists like Lucy Dawidowicz argue that the Holocaust was planned by Hitler from the very beginning of his political career, at very least from 1919 on, if not earlier. Some of these criticisms are not specific to Live 8 but representative of a particular point of view concerning western attitudes towards Africa. Functionalists stress that the Nazi anti-Semitic policy was constantly evolving in ever more radical directions and the end product was the Holocaust. As with many charity events before it, Live 8 has come in for some criticism in the media. Functionalists see the Holocaust as coming from below in the ranks of the German bureaucracy with little or no involvement on the part of Hitler. [15].

Functionalists hold that Hitler was anti-Semitic, but that he did not have a masterplan for genocide. They still believe us to be like children that they must save, as if we don't realize ourselves what the source of our problems is. Intentionalists hold that the Holocaust was the result of a long-term masterplan on the part of Hitler's and that Hitler was the driving force behind the Holocaust. Who here [in Africa] wants a concert against poverty when an African is born, lives and dies without ever being able to vote freely? But the truth is that it was not for us, for Africa, that the musicians at Live 8 were singing; it was to amuse the crowds and to clear their own consciences, and whether they realized it or not, to reinforce dictatorships. The terms were coined in a 1981 article by the British Marxist historian Timothy Mason to describe two schools of thought about the origins of the Holocaust. A Cameroonian op-ed appearing in the New York Times stated:. A major issue in contemporary Holocaust studies is the question of functionalism versus intentionalism. The concert was also been criticized by African intellectuals for not addressing issues such as corruption and governance.

These results were confirmed in other experiments as well, such as the Stanford prison experiment. Incidentally, artist 50 Cent cancelled his appearance due to a clash with his acting commitment for the upcoming film Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. Milgram's findings demonstrated that reasonable people, when instructed by a person in a position of authority, obeyed commands entailing what they believed to be the death or suffering of others. [14]. Stanley Milgram was one of a number of post-war psychologists and sociologists who tried to address why people obeyed immoral orders in the Holocaust. Bob Geldof has been accused of compounding the original error by announcing an entirely African line-up ("Africa Calling") at a concert to be held at the Eden Project in Cornwall on the same day as the main Live 8 concerts. Robert Gellately, a historian at Oxford University, conducted a widely-respected survey of the German media before and during the war, concluding that there was "substantial consent and active participation of large numbers of ordinary Germans" in aspects of the Holocaust, and documenting that the sight of columns of slave laborers were common, and that the basics of the concentration camps, if not the extermination camps, were widely known[32]. Bob Geldof originally said that this was because he had aimed for the biggest-selling, most popular artists to ensure a large television audience; but critics noted that even if this was acceptable as the sole criterion for inclusion, some of the minor white artists signed up were substantially less well-known than some major African artists.

Recent historical work suggests that the majority of Germans knew that Jews were being indiscriminately killed and persecuted, even if they did not know of the specifics of the death camps. However, Youssou N'Dour and Dave Matthews of Dave Matthews Band, remained the only African-born artists signed to perform at the main concerts. Debate also continues on how much average Germans knew about the Holocaust. A Live 8 spokesman said that a number of black performers had been approached to participate and that the event would feature a "large urban element", and pointed to the number of artists of African descent like Ms Dynamite. On May 12, 1943, Polish government-in-exile and Bund leader Szmul Zygielbojm committed suicide in London to protest the inaction of the world with regard to the Holocaust, stating in part in his suicide letter:. Live 8 will make a difference – it's already created a debate that we're all involved in. The US State Department was aware of the use and the location of the gas chambers of extermination camps, but refused pleas to bomb them out of operation. In some way that's been addressed and that's really good..

By the end of 1942, however, the evidence of the Holocaust had become clear and on December 17, 1942 the Allies issued a statement that the Jews were being transported to Poland and killed. I have said certain things in relation to the density of African performers.. In the summer of 1942 a Jewish labor organization (the Bund) got word to London that 700,000 Polish Jews had already died, and the BBC took the story seriously, though the United States State Department did not take the news seriously[31]. He told a reporter on 21 June:. By early 1941, the British had received information via an intercepted Chilean memo that Jews were being targeted, and by late 1941 they had intercepted information about a number of large massacres of Jews conducted by German police. Albarn is now reportedly happy about Live 8 now that they have addressed his criticism. Since the early years of the war the Polish government-in-exile published documents and organised meetings to spread word of the fate of the Jews. [13] Stevie Wonder, Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Destiny's Child, Jay-Z and Kanye West also turned up at Philadelphia to perform while Will Smith, Don Cheadle, Black Ice, Kami, and Chris Tucker made appearances as presenters.

However, numerous rumors and eyewitness accounts from escapees and others gave some indication that Jews were being killed in large numbers. So why is the bill so damn Anglo-Saxon?". Some claim that the full extent of what was happening in German-controlled areas was not known until after the war. "More than ever, black culture is an integral part of society. Arguments that no documentation links Hitler to "the Holocaust" ignore the records of his speeches kept by Nazi leaders such as Joseph Goebbels and rely on artificially limiting the Holocaust to exclude what we do have documentation on, such as the T-4 Euthanasia Program and the Kristallnacht pogrom. Damon Albarn re-iterated this criticism, saying that "This country [the UK] is incredibly diverse," he said. Just five weeks later on February 22, Hitler was recorded saying "We shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jews" to his closest associates. London-based group Black Information Link described the list of performers at the Hyde Park event as "hideously white" [12], noting that Mariah Carey, Ms Dynamite and Snoop Dogg are the only non-white performers scheduled to perform at the event.

To make for smoother intra-governmental cooperation in the implementation of this "Final Solution" to the "Jewish Question", the Wannsee conference was held near Berlin on January 20, 1942, with the participation of fifteen senior officials, led by Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann, the records of which provide the best evidence of the central planning of the Holocaust. These artists did not sing the same songs but still performed at both events:. A mass of evidence suggests that sometime in the fall of 1941, Himmler and Hitler agreed in principle on the complete mass extermination of the Jews of Europe by gassing, with Hitler explicitly ordering the "annihilation of the Jews" in a speech on December 12, 1941 (see Final Solution). Songs are listed with their Live Aid performers, with the artists who sang the songs at Live 8 (if different) in brackets:. Hitler encouraged the killings of the Jews of Eastern Europe by the Einsatzgruppen death squads in a speech in July, 1941, though he almost certainly approved the mass shootings earlier. These songs were sang at both Live Aid and Live 8 (although some not by their original artists). Hitler authorized the mass killing of those labelled by the Nazis as "undesirables" in the T-4 Euthanasia Program. Geldof was immediately criticised by Lothian and Borders Police chief constable Ian Dickenson for encouraging such a large crowd to assemble in Edinburgh with such little notice and no consultation with local authorities about how to accommodate so many people.

(source: Max Jakobson Commission Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity). On June 1, Bob Geldof called for a million people to descend upon Edinburgh in a "Long Walk to Justice", on July 6, the first day of the G8 summit at Gleneagles, in a separate protest to the one held on the 2nd [11]. About 75% of Estonia's Jewish community, aware of the fate that otherwise awaited them, managed to escape to the Soviet Union; virtually all the remainder (between 950 and 1000 people) were killed by Einsatzgruppe A and local collaborators before the end of 1941. I also want to pay tribute to the organizers of the march who have achieved their objectives through meticulous planning and cooperation. The Arajs Commando, a Latvian volunteer police unit, for example, killed 26,000 Latvian Jews and was responsible for assisting in the killing of 60,000 more Jews.[30]. I want to pay tribute to the crowd of 225,000 who came and cooperated with the police to make this a successful and memorable occasion. Lithuanian and Latvian auxiliary military units with German Einsatzgruppen detachments participated in the extermination of the Jewish population in their countries, as well as assisting the Nazis elsewhere, such as deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto. They raised applause from the marchers by stopping to bow before Starbucks and McDonald's while chanting "Two, four, six, eight, we really must accumulate." .

Ukrainian auxiliaries participated in a number of killings of Jews, among them in Romanian concentration camps in Bogdanovka and in Latvia. A group at the head of the procession through the city were dressed in business suits. German Einsatzgruppen, together with Ukrainian auxiliary units, killed 33,000 Kievan Jews in Babi Yar in September 1941. Marchers were addressed by celebrities, political and religious leaders who supported the reduction of world poverty. Ukrainian nationalists killed 4,000 Lviv Jews in July 1941, and an additional 2,000 in late July 1941 during the so-called Petliura Days pogrom. The marchers had been asked to wear white to make a symbolic ring of white through the city, matching the Make Poverty History white wrist band. The Ustase also deported 7,000 more Jews to German extermination camps.[29]. An estimated total of 225,000 people took part, making it the largest ever protest in the Scottish capital.

The Croatian Ustaše regime killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs (estimates vary widely, but a minimum of 330,000-390,000 is generally accepted), over 20,000 Jews and 26,000 Roma, primarily in the Ustase's Jasenovac concentration camp near Zagreb. This protest had been organised by the Make Poverty History group and local authorities as part of a series of events in Edinburgh commemorating the G8 conference, and had been planned for months before the announcement of Live 8. [28]. On July 2, the same day as the Live 8 concerts, a rally and protest march was held in central Edinburgh, near the Gleneagles venue for the G8 conference later that week. 70,000 Jews were forced on a death march to Austria—thousands were shot and thousands more died of starvation and exposure. [10]. Moreover, 20,000 Budapest Jews were shot by the banks of the Danube by Hungarian forces. In fact, the 35,000 free tickets for the Canadian show were all distributed in just 20 minutes on 23 June 2005, Ticketmaster reported.

At this late date in the war with German defeat appearing likely, Hungarian police nevertheless participated fully with SS in the roundups of 440,000 Jews for deportation to the extermination camps. Similar scalper situations arose for the Edinburgh and Canadian shows, and eBay halted sales of those tickets as well. However Horthy resisted German demands for mass deportation of Hungarian Jews, and most survived until 1944, when the Horthy fell from power and was replaced by the Arrow Cross regime. Others have argued, though, that selling the tickets would not have done any harm to the people Live 8 is supposed to be helping and it would have allowed those who missed the random selection a chance to go to the concert. Hungarian army and police units killed several thousand Jews and Serbs in Novi Sad in January 1942. It was later announced that eBay, under pressure from the British government, the public, as well as Geldof himself, would withdraw all auctions of the tickets. The Hungarian Horthy regime deported 20,000 Jews from annexed Transcarpathian Ukraine in 1941 to Kamianets-Podilskyi in the German-occupied Ukraine, where they were shot by the German Einsatzgruppen detachments. Many people, angered by others seemingly using Live 8 to make money, placed fake bids for millions of pounds for such auctions in an attempt to force the sellers to take them off sale.

Slovakia's Tiso regime deported approximately 70,000 Jews, of whom 65,000 were killed.[27]. They also promised to make a donation to Live 8 that would be "at least equal to any fees" they would be making for such sales. Norwegian police rounded up 750 Jews. Initially, eBay defended their decision to allow the auctions to go ahead, stating that there were no laws against their sale. A Dutch group, Henneicke Column, hunted and "delivered" 9,000 Jews for deportation[26]. This was heavily criticised by the organisers of the event, including Bob Geldof. The Netherlands civilian administration and police participated in the roundups of 100,000 Jews. Some lucky people who won tickets immediately placed them for sale on the Internet auction site eBay, with the intention of making a profit.

The Vichy French government and French police in Nazi-occupied France participated in the roundups of 75,000 Jews. Funds raised beyond the £1.6m "will go to pay for the costs of Live 8, as it is a free event", according to the Live 8 website. Bulgaria, despite saving its own Jewish population, deported 11,000 Jews from occupied Greek and Yugoslavian territories. The £1.6m donation will act as a quid pro quo. Several small camps were built in Italy and the so-called Risiera di San Sabba hosted a crematorium; from 3,000 to 5,000 people were killed in San Sabba, only a few of whom were Jews. This event was cancelled in 2005 to make way for Live 8. The deported numbered about 8,369, and only about a thousand survived. The Prince's Trust usually host the Party in the Park concert in Hyde Park in July.

In Italy a law from 1938 restricted civil liberties of Jews, but after the fall of Mussolini and his creation of the Italian Social Republic, Jews started being deported to German camps. The first £1.6m raised is to be given to the Prince's Trust, who in turn will donate to the Help A London Child charity. The Romanians also massacred Jews in the Domanevka and Akhmetchetka concentration camps. Thus texters had a roughly one-in-28 chance of winning a pair of tickets. Nearly 100,000 Jews were killed in occupied Odessa and over 10,000 were killed in the Iasi pogrom. Over two million texts were sent during the competition, raising £3 million. Some of the larger massacres included 54,000 Jews killed in Bogdanovka, a Romanian concentration camp along the Bug River in Transnistria, between 21 and 31 December 1941. Winners were drawn at random from those correctly answering the question.

The exterminations committed in Iasi, Odessa, Bogdanovka, Domanovka, and Peciora, for example, were among the most hideous acts committed against Jews anywhere during the Holocaust."[25]In cooperation with German Einsatzgruppen and Ukrainian auxiliaries, Romanians killed hundreds of thousands of Jews in Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and Transnistria. Entry involved sending the answer to a multiple choice question via a text message costing £1.50. released by the Romanian government concluded, "Of all the allies of Nazi Germany, Romania bears responsibility for the deaths of more Jews than any country other than Germany itself. Although the concerts were free, 66,500 pairs of tickets for the Hyde Park concert were allocated from the 13 June 2005 to 15 June 2005, to winners of a mobile phone text message competition that began on Monday, 6 June 2005. An official report[24]. Millions of paper petitions and emails have already been submitted. The Romanian Antonescu regime was directly responsible for the deaths of between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews. Named the "Live 8 List", this can be reached via the Live8 List page.

Collaboration took the form of either rounding up of the local Jews for deportation to the German extermination camps or a direct participation in the killings. An enormous petition with (presently) over 38 million names is available to be signed on the Internet. In addition to the direct involvement of Nazi forces, most European countries allied with or occupied by the Axis Powers collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust. The event coincided with the 2005 G8 summit at the Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland, and the idea behind it was to overwhelm the eight politicans attending with the amount of public support for the principles of the Make Poverty History campaign. German police units also directly participated in the Holocaust, for example Reserve Police Battalion 101 in just over a year shot 38,000 Jews and deported 45,000 more to the extermination camps.[23]. The Live 8 concert was not a fundraising event of any kind; rather, the organisers were hoping that it would spur people's political interest. The Wehrmacht, or regular German army, participated less directly than the SS in the Holocaust (though it did directly massacre Jews in Russia, Serbia, and Greece), but it supported the Eisatzgruppen, helped form the ghettos, ran prison camps, and used substantial slave labor. The Live Aid concert, held in 1985, was a massive fundraising effort which accumulated approximately £79 million, which was sent to the world's poorest countries in aid.

From the SS came the Totenkopfverbände concentration camp guards, the Einsatzgruppen killing squads, and many of the administrative offices behind the Holocaust. We don't want your money, we want your voice. And, though there was no single military unit in charge of the Holocaust, the SS under Himmler was the closest. It featured further performances from some of the artists from the other concerts, and was the closest of the eleven to the actual location of the G8 summit. Many ministries, including those of armaments, interior, justice, railroads, and foreign affairs, had substantial roles in orchestrating the Holocaust; similarly, German physicians participated in medical experiments and the T-4 euthanasia program. The final event was held in Edinburgh on 6 July 2005 and went by the name Edinburgh 50,000 - The Final Push. A wide range of German soldiers, officials, and civilians were involved in the Holocaust, from clerks and officials in the government to units of the army, the police, and the SS. The band's last show was at Earls Court in London on June 17, 1981.

Since 1963, a commission headed by an Israeli Supreme Court justice has been charged with the duty of awarding such people the honorary title Righteous Among the Nations. Included in the line-up were Pink Floyd playing for the first time together in over 24 years. Witold Pilecki, member of Armia Krajowa (the Polish Home Army), organized a resistance movement in the Auschwitz concentration camp from 1940, and Jan Karski tried to spread word of the Holocaust. Guest presenters, ranging from sporting stars to comedians, also introduced acts. There were also groups, like members of the Polish Zegota organization, that took drastic and dangerous steps to rescue Jews and other potential victims from the Nazis. Special guests appeared throughout the concerts, with Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Bill Gates making a speech at the London show and Nelson Mandela appearing in the South African venue. Chiune Sugihara saved several thousands of Jews by issuing them with Japanese visas against the will of his Nazi-aligned government. Some of these were also shown to other venues.

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, the Italian Giorgio Perlasca, Chinese diplomat Ho Fengshan and others saved tens of thousands of Jews with fake diplomatic passes. Bob Geldof was at the event in Hyde Park, London and made numerous appearances on stage, including a performance of "I Don't Like Mondays". In a few cases, individual diplomats and people of influence, such as Oskar Schindler or Nicholas Winton, protected large numbers of Jews. This was to represent the death of a child every three seconds, due to poverty. Similar individual and family acts of rescue were repeated throughout Europe, as illustrated in the famous cases of Anne Frank, often at great risk to the rescuers. During the opening of the Philadelphia concert, Will Smith led the combined audiences of London, Philadelphia, Berlin, Rome, Paris and Barrie (outside Toronto) in a synchronised finger click. Some towns and churches also helped hide Jews and protect others from the Holocaust, such as the French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon which sheltered several thousand Jews. The first to begin was held at the Makuhari Messe in Japan, with Rize being the first of all the Live 8 performers.

In the second case, the Nazi-allied government of Bulgaria, led by Dobri Bozhilov, refused to deport its 50,000 Jewish citizens, saving them as well, though Bulgaria did deport Jews to concentration camps from areas in conquered Greece and Macedonia. There were ten concerts held on 2 July 2005, most of them simultaneously. When the Jews returned home at war's end, they found their houses and possessions waiting for them, exactly as they left them. . The King of Denmark and his subjects saved the lives of most of the 7,500 Danish Jews by spiriting them to safety in Sweden via fishing boats in October 1943. It was released almost a year to the day after the release of the DVD of Live Aid on November 8, 2004. In two cases, entire countries resisted the deportation of their Jewish population. An official Live 8 DVD set was released on 7 November 2005 internationally, 8 November 2005 in the United States.

Also, Jewish volunteers from the Palestinian Mandate, most famously Hannah Szenes, parachuted into Europe in an attempt to organize resistance. However, it is important to note that Live 8, unlike Live Aid, wasn't intended to raise money, but awareness and political pressure. There were a number of Jewish partisan groups operating in many countries (see Eugenio Calò for the story of a Jewish Italian partisan). Indeed, as some of the performers involved had been out of the public eye, some may have perceived the concert as a way of getting back "into the spotlight". The prisoners then attempted a mass escape, but all 250 were killed soon after. Other critics say that millionaire rock stars would make greater contribution by donating parts of their personal fortunes. Female prisoners had smuggled in explosives from a weapons factory, and Crematorium IV was partly destroyed by an explosion. eBay later removed the tickets, after some controversy.

On October 7, 1944, the Jewish Sonderkommandos (those prisoners kept separate from the main camp and involved in the operation of the gas chambers and crematoria) at Auschwitz staged an uprising. Some ticket holders placed their tickets on the auction site eBay, creating an uproar which included Geldof demanding that the company remove the auctions, even encouraging hackers to attack eBay. The escape forced the Nazis to close the camp. Names from the list also appeared on the giant televisions at each concert during the broadcast. This uprising was more successful; 11 SS guards were killed, and roughly 300 of the 600 inmates in the camp escaped, with about 50 surviving the war. This is a list of names compiled from around the world of people who have voiced support of the Live 8 mission to "Make Poverty History" www.live8list.com. In October 1943 another uprising took place at Sobibór extermination camp. Organizers of Live 8 presented the "Live 8 List" to the world leaders at the G8 summit.

Gassing operations were interrupted for a month. Many of the Live 8 backers were also involved in the largely forgotten NetAid concerts. Many buildings were burnt to the ground, and seventy inmates escaped to freedom, but 1,500 were killed. These concerts are the start point for The Long Walk To Justice, the one way we can all make our voices heard in unison." [4]. In August 1943 an uprising also took place at the Treblinka extermination camp. Geldof said "This is not Live Aid 2. There were also major resistance efforts in three of the extermination camps. However Geldof and co-organiser Midge Ure have since explicitly said they don't think of the event as the same as Live Aid.

There were also other Ghetto Uprisings, though none were successful against the German military. [2] [3]) referred to the event as Live Aid 2. The ZOB and smaller organizations held out against the Nazis for 27 days, before all were killed. Prior to the official announcement of the event many news sources (see e.g. The largest instance of organized Jewish resistance was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, from April to May of 1943, as the final deportation from the Ghetto to the death camps was about to commence. Many former Live Aid acts offered their services to the cause. There are, however, many cases of attempts at resistance in one form or another. Live Aid and Band Aid organizer Bob Geldof announced the event on 31 May 2005.

Due to the careful organization and overwhelming military might of the Nazi German state and its supporters, few Jews and other Holocaust victims were able to resist the killings. [1]. Some 60,000 prisoners were discovered at the camp, but 10,000 died from disease or malnutrition within a few weeks of liberation. More than 1,000 musicians performed at the concerts, which were broadcast on 182 television networks and 2,000 radio networks. Concentration camps were also liberated by American and British forces, including Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15. On 7 July the G8 leaders pledged to double 2004 levels of aid to Africa from US$25 to US$50 billion by the year 2010. In most of the camps discovered by the Soviets, the prisoners had already been transported by death marches, leaving only a few thousand prisoners alive. Ten simultaneous concerts were held on 2 July and one on 6 July.

In July, 1944, the first major Nazi camp, Majdanek, was discovered by the advancing Soviets, who eventually liberated Auschwitz in January 1945. Running parallel with the UK's Make Poverty History campaign, the shows planned to pressure world leaders to drop the debt of the world's poorest nations, increase and improve aid, and negotiate fairer trade rules in the interest of poorer countries. Around 15,000 died on the way. They were timed to precede the G8 Conference and Summit held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland from July 6-8, 2005; they also coincided with the 20th anniversary of Live Aid. Nine days before the Soviets arrived at the death camp at Auschwitz, the Germans marched 60,000 prisoners out of the camp toward Wodzislaw, thirty-five miles away, where they were put on freight trains to other camps. Live 8 was a series of concerts that took place in July 2005, in the G8 nations and South Africa. The largest and best known of the death marches took place in January 1945, when the Soviet army advanced on Poland. U2.

Prisoners who lagged behind or fell were shot. Pink Floyd's David Gilmour (played with Bryan Ferry in 1985, and with Pink Floyd in 2005). The Nazis marched prisoners, already sick after months or years of violence and starvation, for tens of miles in the snow to train stations; then transported for days at a time without food or shelter in freight trains with open carriages; and forced to march again at the other end to the new camp. Paul McCartney. As the armies of the Allies closed in on the Reich at the end of 1944, the Germans decided to abandon the extermination camps, moving or destroying evidence of the atrocities they had committed there. Neil Young. Gold teeth were extracted from the corpses, and women's hair (shaved from the heads of victims before they entered the gas chambers) was recycled for use in products such as rugs and socks. Madonna.

The Nazis also forced some prisoners to work in the collection and disposal of corpses, and to mutilate them when required. George Michael. Upon arrival in these camps, prisoners were divided into two groups: those too weak for work were immediately executed in gas chambers (which were sometimes disguised as showers) and their bodies burned, while others were first used for slave labor in factories or industrial enterprises located in the camp or nearby. Elton John. At the peak of operations, Birkenau's gas chambers killed approximately eight thousand a day. DMC (performed as part of Run DMC at Live Aid). This camp was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1,000,000 Jews (including about 438,000 Jews from Hungary in the course of a few months), 75,000 Poles and gay men, and some 19,000 Roma. "Won't Get Fooled Again" - The Who.

the latter possessing four gas chambers and crematoria. "We Will Rock You" - Queen (Robbie Williams). The largest death camp built was Auschwitz-Birkenau, which had both a labor camp (Auschwitz) and an extermination camp (Birkenau);. "Vienna" - Ultravox (Midge Ure). More than 1.7 million Jews were killed at the three Aktion Reinhard camps by October 1943. "Tears Are Not Enough" - Bryan Adams. In 1942, the Nazis began this most destructive phase of the Holocaust, with Aktion Reinhard, opening the extermination camps of Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. "Save A Prayer" - Duran Duran.

The bodies of those killed were destroyed in crematoria (except at Sobibór where they were cremated on outdoor pyres), and the ashes buried or scattered. "Rat Trap" - Boomtown Rats (Bob Geldof). The method of killing at these camps was by poison gas, usually in "gas chambers", although many prisoners were killed in mass shootings and by other means. "I Don't Like Mondays" - Boomtown Rats (Bob Geldof). Over three million Jews would die in these extermination camps. "Good Vibrations" - The Beach Boys (Brian Wilson). In December, 1941, the Nazis opened Celmno, the first of what would soon be seven extermination camps, dedicated entirely to mass extermination on an industrial scale, as opposed to the labor or concentration camps. "Every Breath You Take" - Sting and Phil Collins (Sting).

By the end of 1943, another 900,000 Jews would be killed in this manner, but the pace was not fast enough for the Nazi leadership, who, at the end of 1941 and the beginning of 1942, began the implementation of the Final Solution, the complete extermination of the Jews of Europe. "Driven To Tears" - Sting. These, and similar slaughters throughout Europe, killed around 100,000 Jews per month for five months. 8 November 2005: Official Live 8 DVD released in North America. From September to the end of 1942, a series of mass killings took place throughout Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Latvia: over 33,000 Jews were killed at Babi Yar, 25,000 at Rumbula, over 36,000 at Odessa by Romanian forces, 9,000 at the Ninth Fort, and 40,000 (up to 100,000 by 1944) at Paneriai. 7 November 2005: Official Live 8 DVD released internationally. By the summer of 1941, the Einsatzgruppen turned to targeting Jews, starting with the extemination of 2,200 Jews in Bialystock on June 21, 1941, and quickly increased in scale. 25 October 2005: Official Live 8 Africa Calling at the Eden Project DVD released.

Poles were an early target in the AB Action, in which 30,000 Polish intellectual and political figures were rounded up, and 7,000 eventually killed. 8 July 2005: Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof thanks the G8 for meeting the Live 8 goal. During the invasion of the Soviet Union, over 3,000 special killing units (Einsatzgruppen) followed the Wehrmacht, conducting mass killings of Poles, Communist officials, and the Jewish population that lived in Soviet territory. Leaders pledge to increase aid to developing countries by US$50 billion overall by 2010, including an increase of US$25 billion in aid for Africa. As many as 1.6 million Jews were killed in open-air shootings by Nazis and their collaborators, especially in 1941 before the establishment of the concentration camps. 8 July 2005: The G8 summit ends. Though there were armed resistance attempts in the ghettos in 1943, such as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Białystok Ghetto Uprising, but in every case they failed against the Nazi military, and the remaining Jews were either slaughtered or sent to the extermination camps. 6 July 2005: Edinburgh 50,000 - The Final Push concert in Edinburgh takes place.

Many other ghettos were completely depopulated. 3 July 2005: Sail 8 flops. On July 22, 1942, the deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto inhabitants began; in the next 52 days (until September 12, 1942) about 300,000 people were transported by train to the Treblinka extermination camp from Warsaw alone. Main concerts start. On July 19, 1942, Heinrich Himmler ordered the start of the deportations of Jews from the ghettos to the death camps. 2 July 2005: The march against poverty in Edinburgh starts and continues mostly peacefully, with an estimate of 200,000 people involved with the march. From 1940 through 1942, disease (especially typhoid) and starvation killed hundreds of thousands of Jews confined in the ghettos. 2 July 2005: AOL Music begins broadcasting streams from each city live and on-demand at Aolmusic.com[9].

The ghettos were established throughout 1940 and 1941, and were immediately turned into immensely crowded prisons; though the Warsaw Ghetto contained 30% of the population of Warsaw, it occupied only about 2.4% of city's area, averaging 9.2 people per room. 28 June 2005: ABC say they will broadcast a two-hour highlights event at 8pm ET on 2 July in prime time. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest, with 380,000 people and the Łódź Ghetto, the second largest, holding about 160,000, but ghettos were instituted in many cities (list). Acts include Pet Shop Boys, The Red Elvises and Bravo. After the invasion of Poland, the Nazis created ghettos to which Jews (and some Roma) were confined, until they were eventually shipped to death camps and killed. 27 June 2005: Live 8 Russia, in Moscow's Red Square, announced. Between 1939 and 1941, over 200,000 people were killed. Acts in Japan concert include Björk, Good Charlotte, while acts in Johannesburg concert include African stars such as 4Peace Ensemble and Oumou Sangare.

The T-4 Euthanasia Program was established to "maintain the genetic purity" of the German population by systematically killing citizens who were physically deformed, disabled, handicapped, or suffering from mental illness. 24 June 2005: Live 8 Japan and South Africa announced. A number of deadly pogroms by local, non-German populations occurred during the Second World War, some with German encouragement, and some spontaneously, such as the Iaşi pogrom in Romania on June 30, 1941 in which as many 14,000 Jews were killed by Romanian residents and police and the Jedwabne pogrom in which between 380 and 1,600 Jews were killed by their Polish neighbors. 23 June 2005: All 35,000 tickets for Canadian show are taken within 20 minutes of being made available online [8]. Similar events took place in Vienna at the same time. Country Music Television and VH1 Classic will show highlights on July 3 in favor of their viewer's genres. Approximately 100 Jews were killed, and another 30,000 sent to concentration camps, while over 7,000 Jewish shops and 1,574 synagogues (almost every synagogue in Germany) were damaged or destroyed. 22 June 2005: In the United States, MTV, MTV2, mtvU, and VH1 all confirm that they will broadcast Live 8 starting at Noon ET.

Many scholars date the beginning of the Holocaust itself to the anti-Jewish riots of the Night of Broken Glass ("Kristallnacht") of November 9, 1938, in which Jews were attacked and Jewish property was vandalized across Germany. Albarn's band Blur was originally a part of the Live 8 line-up, but withdrew after complaining of the event being too "Anglo-Saxon". Concentration camps also existed in Germany itself, and while not specifically designed for systematic extermination, many concentration camp prisoners died because of harsh conditions or were executed. Live 8 will make a difference - it's already created a debate that we're all involved in." [7]. The transportation of prisoners was often carried out under horrifying conditions using rail freight cars, in which many died before they reached their destination. In some way that's been addressed and that's really good.. Most of the camps were located in the area of General Government in Poland, but there were camps in every country occupied by the Nazis. He told a reporter: "I have said certain things in relation to the density of African performers..

During the War, concentration camps for Jews and other "undesirables" were spread throughout Europe, with new camps being created near centers of dense "undesirable" populations, often focusing on areas with large Jewish, Polish intelligentsia, communist, or Roma populations. 21 June 2005: Damon Albarn, who recently criticised Live 8 for the lack of African artists, is now reportedly happy about Live 8 now that they have addressed his criticism. After 1939, with the beginning of the Second World War, the concentration camps increasingly became places where the enemies of the Nazis, including Jews and POWs, were either killed or forced to act as slave laborers, and kept undernourished and tortured. The event will be hosted by comedians Dan Aykroyd and Tom Green. These early concentration camps were eventually consolidated into centrally run camps, and by 1939, six large concentration camps had been established. Acts include Bryan Adams, Barenaked Ladies, and more. Starting in 1933, the Nazis set up concentration camps within Germany, many of which were established by local authorities, to hold political prisoners and "undesirables". 21 June 2005: "Live 8 Canada" announced.

Other databases and lists of victims' names, some searchable over the Web, are listed in Holocaust (resources). 17 June 2005: The LIVE 8 List, a petition to the G8 leaders, is launched. Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims Names is searchable over the Internet at yadvashem.org or in person at the Yad Vashem complex in Israel. 16 June 2005: Geldof announces three more concerts for 2 July, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, Makuhari, Japan, and Toronto/Barrie, Canada. Yad Vashem provides a searchable database of three million names, about half of the known direct Jewish victims. [6]. More recently, however, there has a been a resurgence of interest by descendants of Holocaust survivors in researching the fates of their lost relatives. Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour will host the event, which will also feature performances by African performers Maryam Mursal, Salif Keita and Thomas Mapfumo.

These efforts became much less intense as the years went by. The event is to be held in Cornwall, southwest England, on 2 July. Initially after World War II, there were millions of members of families broken up by the war or the Holocaust searching for some record of the fate and/or whereabouts of their missing friends and relatives. 15 June 2005: It is announced that Peter Gabriel will organize a sixth simultaneous Live 8 concert dubbed "Africa Calling" featuring all African artists, to counter criticisms that most performers announced to date are white. The summary of various sources' estimates on the number of Nazi regime victims is given in Matthew White's online atlas of 20th century history. 14 June 2005: eBay announces that they will block the selling-on of tickets after Geldof calls on the public to rally against the internet auction site. Additionally, the Nazis' allies, the Ustaša regime in Croatia conducted its own campaign of mass extermination against the Serbs in the areas which it controlled, resulting in the deaths of at least 330,000–390,000 Serbs. 11 June 2005: G8 finance ministers agree to cancel the debt owed by 18 of the poorest countries.

The following groups of people were also killed by the Nazi regime, but there is little evidence that the Nazis planned to systematically target them for genocide as was the case for the groups above. 7 June 2005: Midge Ure announces a concert to be held in Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland on 6 July as the climax to the proposed rally. Wolfgang Benz of the Technical University of Berlin, cites between 5.3 and 6.2 million Jews killed in Dimension des Volksmords (1991), while Yisrael Gutman and Robert Rozett estimate between 5.59 and 5.86 million Jewish victims in their Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (1990).[22]. 1.5 million text messages are received in the first day. One of the most authoritative German scholars of the Holocaust, Prof. 6 June 2005: Text lottery launched in the UK for tickets for the London concert. Her listing of deaths by country is available in the article about her book, The War Against the Jews.[21]. [5] He also supported Geldof's call for a peaceful protest rally in Scotland.

Another reason some consider her estimate too low is that many records were destroyed during the war. He estimates that this will save the organisers £500,000. Using official census counts may cause an underestimate since many births and deaths were not recorded in small towns and villages. 3 June 2005: British Chancellor Gordon Brown announces that VAT will be waived on the cost of the London concert. Lucy Davidowicz used prewar census figures to estimate that 5.934 million Jews died. Geldof calls for a coinciding march on Edinburgh to protest poverty, "What's better - two days of work? Two days of geometry? Or participating in something you will remember all your life," he says. Hilberg estimates the death toll in Poland at "up to 3,000,000."[18] } Hilberg's numbers are generally considered to be a conservative estimate, as they generally include only those deaths for which some records are available, avoiding statistical adjustment.[19] British historian Martin Gilbert used a similar approach in his Atlas of the Holocaust, but arrived at a number of 5.75 million Jewish victims, since he estimated higher numbers of Jews killed in Russia and other locations.[20]. 31 May 2005: Official announcement of Live 8 concerts by Bob Geldof.

This figure includes "over 800,000" who died from "Ghettoization and general privation;" 1,400,000 who were killed in "Open-air shootings;" and "up to 2,900,000" who perished in camps. Raul Hilberg, in the third edition of his ground-breaking three-volume work, The Destruction of the European Jews, estimates that 5.1 million Jews died during the Holocaust. The estimates:. However, the following estimates are considered to be highly reliable.

Recently declassified British and Soviet documents have indicated the total may be somewhat higher than previously believed[15]. The exact number of people killed by the Nazi regime will never be known, but scholars, using a variety of methods of determining the death toll, have generally agreed upon common range of the number of victims. There had earlier been attempts at sterilizing them using X-rays. About 100,000 communists were killed.

[14] However, Japan was part of the Axis Pact with Germany, and no Japanese were known to be deliberately imprisoned or killed. Black and Asian residents in Germany, and black prisoners of war, were also victims; often being singled out in internment camps. People with disabilities were among the first to be killed, and the United States Holocaust Memorial museum notes that the T-4 Program became the "model" for future exterminations by the Nazi regime.[13] The T-4 Euthanasia Program was established in 1939 in order to maintain the "purity" of the so-called Aryan race by systematically killing children and adults born with physical deformities or suffering from mental illness. Around 400,000 individuals were sterilized against their will for having mental deficiencies or illnesses deemed to be hereditary in nature.

The Nazis believed that the disabled were a burden to society because they needed to be cared for by others, but first and foremost, the mentally and physically handicapped were considered an affront to Nazi notions of a society peopled by a perfect, superhuman Aryan race. Several hundred thousand mentally and physically disabled people also were exterminated. They refused involvement in politics, would not say "Heil Hitler", and did not serve in the German army. Around 2,000 Jehovah's Witnesses perished in concentration camps, where they were held for political and ideological reasons.

The Nazis also targeted some religious groups. They were labeled "anti-social," but were rarely sent to camps for the engaging in homosexuality. Lesbians were not normally treated as harshly as gay men. According to Heinz Heger, in the concentration camps gay men "suffered a higher mortality rate than other relatively small victim groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses and political prisoners."[12].

Some gay men were also used in medical experiments. The deaths of at least an estimated 15,000 gay men in concentration camps were officially documented, but it is difficult to put an exact number on just how many gay men perished in death camps. Hundreds of European gay men living under Nazi occupation were castrated under court order. An additional unknown number were institutionalized in state-run mental hospitals.

More than one million gay German men were targeted, of whom at least 100,000 were arrested and 50,000 were serving prison terms as convicted gay men. By 1936, however, homosexual members of the party had been purged and Heinrich Himmler led an effort to persecute gays under existing and new anti-gay laws. Initially homosexuality was discreetly tolerated while officially shunned, and the early Nazi leadership included a number of known homosexuals. Gay (homosexual) men were also targets of the Holocaust, as homosexuality was deemed incompatible with Nazism because of their failure to reproduce the "master race." This was combined with homophobia and the belief among the Nazis that homosexuality could be contagious.

Between a quarter and a half of the Romani population was killed, upwards of 220,000 people.[11] In Eastern Europe, Roma were deported to the Jewish ghettoes, shot by SS Einsatzgruppen in their villages, and deported and gassed in Auschwitz and Treblinka. Although, despite discriminatory measures, some Romani groups, including some of the Sinti and Lalleri of Germany, were spared deportation and death, the remaining Romani groups suffered much like the Jews. Hitler's campaign of genocide against the Romani population of Europe involved a particularly bizarre application of Nazi "racial hygiene". Proportional to their population, the death toll of Romanies (Roma, Sinti, and Manush) in the Holocaust was the worst of any group of victims.

The Slavs of Croatia and Slovakia were allies of Nazi Germany, and participated as collaborators in the Holocaust. At the same time, not all Slavs were targeted by the Nazis. Bodan Wytwycky estimated that as many as one quarter of all Soviet civilian deaths at the hands of the Nazis and their allies were racially motivated, or 3 million Ukrainian deaths and 1.5 Belarusan deaths.[10]. Thousands of Soviet peasant villages were annihilated by German troops for more or less the same reason.

During Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Red Army prisoners of war were arbitrarily executed in the field by the invading German armies (in particular by the notorious Waffen SS), died under inhuman conditions in German prisoner-of-war camps, or were shipped to extermination camps for execution simply because they were of Slavic extraction. The Nazi occupation of Poland (General Government, Reichsgau Wartheland) was one of the most brutal episodes of World War Two, resulting in over six million Polish deaths (over twenty percent of the country's inhabitants), including the extermination of three million Polish Jews, many in extermination camps like Auschwitz. The intelligentsia and socially prominent or influential people were primarily targeted, although there were some mass murders committed against the general population, as well as against other groups of Slavs. Poles were one of the first targets of extermination by Hitler, as outlined in the speech he gave the Wehrmacht commanders before the invasion of Poland in 1939.

Some Jews outside Europe under Nazi occupation were also affected by the Holocaust. Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Norway, and Estonia lost around half of their Jewish population, the Soviet Union over one third of its Jews, and even countries such as France and Italy had each seen around a quarter of their Jewish population killed. Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Lithuania, Bohemia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Latvia each had over 70% of their Jewish population destroyed. Poland, home of the largest Jewish community in the world before the war, had had over 90% of its Jewish population, or about 3,000,000 Jews, killed.

By the end of the war, much of the Jewish population of Europe had been killed in the Holocaust. Even as the Nazi war machine faltered in the last years of the war, precious military resources such as fuel, transport, munitions, soldiers and industrial resources were still being heavily diverted away from the war and towards the death camps. Sebastian Haffner published the analysis in 1978 that Hitler from December 1941 accepted the failure of his goal to dominate Europe forever on his declaration of war against the United States, but that his withdrawal and apparent calm thereafter was sustained by the achievement of his second goal—the extermination of the Jews.[9]. They began to systematically deport Jewish populations from the ghettos and all occupied territories to the seven camps designated as Vernichtungslager, or extermination camps: Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Maly Trostenets, Sobibór and Treblinka II.

Josef Bühler urged Reinhard Heydrich to proceed with the Final Solution in the General Government. Dr. In January 1942, during the Wannsee conference, several Nazi leaders discussed the details of the "Final Solution of the Jewish question" (Endlösung der Judenfrage). As the war started, large massacres of Jews took place, and, by December 1941, Hitler decided to completely exterminate European Jews.

By April 1939, nearly all Jewish companies had either collapsed under financial pressure and declining profits, or had been forced to sell out to the Nazi-German government as part of the "Aryanization " policy inaugurated in 1937. On 15 November of 1938, Jewish children were banned from going to normal schools. In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, effectively preventing them exerting any influence in education, politics, higher education and industry. This was followed by the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 that prevented marriage between any Jew and non-Jew, and stripped all Jews of German citizenships (their official title became "subject of the state") and of their basic civil rights, e.g., to vote.

The "Law for the Restoration of a Professional Civil Service" marked the first time since Germany's unification in 1871 that an anti-Semitic law had been passed in Germany. Under the “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service”, passed by the Reichstag on April 7, 1933, all Jewish civil servants at the Reich, Länder, and municipal levels of government were fired immediately. A series of increasingly harsh racist laws were soon passed in quick succession. On April 1, 1933, shortly after Hitler's accession to power, the Nazis, led mainly by Julius Streicher, and the Sturmabteilung, organized a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany.

This Anti-Semitism was echoed by Nazi groups such as the Sturmabteilung by songs like "When Jewish blood drips off the blade" and the rallying cry "Juda verrecke" (Perish the Jew). Adolf Hitler's fanatical brand of racial anti-Semitism was laid out in his 1925 book Mein Kampf, which, though largely ignored when it was first printed, became a bestseller in Germany once Hitler acquired political power. Anti-Semitism was common in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s (though its roots go back much further). [8].

These victims all perished alongside one another in the camps, according to the extensive documentation left behind by the Nazis themselves (written and photographed), eyewitness testimony (by survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders), and the statistical records of the various countries under occupation. The victims of the Holocaust were Jews, Polish, Russian, Communists, homosexuals, Roma (also known as gypsies), the mentally ill and the physically disabled, intelligentsia and political activists, Jehovah's Witnesses, some Catholic and Protestant clergy, trade unionists, psychiatric patients, some Africans, common criminals and people labeled as "enemies of the state". Day to day life in the concentration camps was also brutal, with the Nazis regularly carrying out beatings and acts of torture. Many of these prisoners did not survive.

Another way the Nazis killed Jews were by putting them in tanks and dropping gas on them for short periods of time. Many of these experiments were intended to produce 'racially pure' babies and as research into weapons and techniques of war. Josef Mengele, medical officer at Auschwitz and chief medical officer at Birkenau, was known as the "Angel of Death" for his cruel and bizarre medical and eugenics experiments, e.g., trying to change people's eye colour by injecting dye into their eyes. Dr.

Nazis carried out cruel and deadly medical experiments on prisoners, including children. The Holocaust was carried out without any mercy or reprieve for children or babies, and victims were often made to suffer before finally being killed. The extermination continued in different parts of Nazi-controlled territory until the end of World War II, only completely ending when the Allies entered Germany itself and forced the Nazis to surrender in May 1945. Documented evidence suggests that the Nazis planned to carry out their 'final solution' in Britain, North America, and Palestine if these regions were conquered.

Hundreds of thousands also died in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Yugoslavia, and Greece. The mass killing was at its worst in Central and Eastern Europe, which had more than 7 million Jews in 1939; about 5 million Jews were killed there, including 3 million in Poland and over 1 million in the Soviet Union. The Holocaust was geographically widespread and methodically conducted in virtually all areas of Nazi-occupied territory, where Jews and other victims were targeted in what are now 35 separate European nations, and sent to labor camps in some nations or extermination camps in others. Technology developed by IBM also played a role in the categorization of prisoners, through the use of index machines.

Rudolf Hoess, Auschwitz camp commandant, said that far from having to advertise their slave labour services, the concentration camps were actually approached by various large German businesses, some of which are still in existence. Alleged corporate involvement in the Holocaust has created significant controversy in recent years. Then they used a larger truck exhaust and it took only eight minutes to kill all the people inside.[7]. First they used a light military car, and it took more than 30 minutes for people to die.

In October 1941, in Mogilev, they tried the Gaswagen or "gas car". Then they tried dynamite, but few were killed and many were left wounded with hands and legs missing, so that the Germans had to finish them off with machine guns. Initially, they tried shooting them by having them stand one behind the other, so that several people could be killed with one bullet, but it was too slow. In 1941, after occupying Belarus, they used mental patients from Minsk asylums as guinea pigs.

In his book Russia's War, British historian Richard Overy describes how the Nazis sought more efficient ways to kill people. In addition, considerable effort was expended over the course of the Holocaust to find increasingly efficient means of killing more people; for example, by switching from carbon monoxide poisoning in the Aktion Reinhard death camps of Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka to the use of Zyklon B at Majdanek and Auschwitz. As prisoners entered the death camps, they were made to surrender all personal property to the Nazis, which was then precisely catalogued and tagged, and for which receipts were issued. For example, detailed lists of potential victims were made and maintained using Dehomag statistical machinery, and meticulous records of the killings were produced (for example, the precise counts of executed Jews in the Höfle Telegram).

The Holocaust was characterized by the efficient and systematic attempt on an industrial scale to assemble and kill as many victims as possible, using all of the resources and technology available to the Nazi state. Its perpetrators saw it as a form of eugenics—the creation of a better race by eliminating the designated "unfit"—along the same lines as their programs of compulsory sterilization, compulsory euthanasia, and "racial hygiene". The Holocaust was justified by claiming that the victims were Untermenschen, i.e., 'underlings' or 'subhumans', who were seen as both biologically inferior and (in the case of Jews) a potential challenge to the superiority of the 'Aryans'. The difficult decision had to be taken to make these people disappear from the earth.".

I regard myself as having no right to exterminate (ausrotten) the men—in other words, to kill them or have them killed—and to let the avengers in the form of the children grow up for our sons and grandsons to deal with. In a speech in October 1943, Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (SS), told a group of senior SS men and Nazi party leaders: "What about the women and children? I decided to find an absolutely clear solution here too. It is estimated that die Endlösung der Judenfrage (the Final Solution of the Jewish Question), as the Nazis called it during the Wannsee conference of January 1942, saw the extermination of 64 percent of all the Jews in Europe, or 35 percent of the world's Jewish population. The Holocaust was an intentional and meticulously planned attempt to entirely eradicate the target groups based on ethnicity.

The work of Ploetz and the words of Binding and Hoche were the foreshadowings of Hitler's "final solution" two decades later. Written by Karl Binding, a widely respected judge, and renowned psychiatrist Alfred Hoche, the work was key to the formulation of Nazi ideology, rhetoric and practice:. Sixteen years later, a work seminal to the development of the German eugenics movement, The Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life, was published. In 1904, Alfred Ploetz founded the German Eugenics Society.

There were several characteristics to the Nazi Holocaust which, taken together, distinguish it from other genocides in history. The biblical word Shoa (שואה), also spelled Shoah and Sho'ah, meaning "calamity" in Hebrew, became the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust as early as the early 1940s.[5] Shoa is preferred by many Jews and a growing number of others for a number of reasons, including the potentially theologically offensive nature of the original meaning of the word holocaust. The term is also used by many in a narrower sense, to refer specifically to the unprecedented destruction of European Jewry in particular. By the late 1970s, however, the conventional meaning of the word became the Nazi genocide.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was first used to describe Hitler's treatment of the Jews from as early as 1942, though did not become a standard reference until the 1950s. Since the late 19th century, "holocaust" has primarily been used to refer to disasters or catastrophes. The word holocaust originally derived from the Greek word holokauston, meaning "a completely (holos) burnt (kaustos) sacrificial offering" to a god. .


. At least 140,000 Poles were sent to Auschwitz, and the Polish intelligentsia were the first targets of the Einsatzgruppen death squads.[4]. Additionally, scholars disagree as to what proportion of the 1.8-1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilian deaths during the Nazi conquest and occupation of Poland were part of the Holocaust, though there is no doubt of the eventual genocidal intentions of the Nazis towards the Poles. Many scholars do not include the Nazi persecution of all of these groups in the definition of the Holocaust, with some scholars limiting the Holocaust to the genocide of the Jews; some to genocide of the Jews, Roma, and disabled; and some to all groups targeted by Nazi racism.[2] Taking all these other groups into account, however, the total death toll rises considerably, estimates generally place the total number of Holocaust victims at 9 to 11 million, though some estimates have been as high as 26 million.[3].

Other groups deemed "racially inferior" or "undesirable", Soviet military prisoners of war including Russians and other Slavs, Poles, the mentally or physically disabled, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Communists and political dissidents and criminals, were also persecuted and killed. About 220,000 Sinti and Roma were killed in the Holocaust (some estimates are as high as 800,000), between a quarter to a half of the European population. The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million, so much so that the phrase "six million" is now almost universally interpreted as referring to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, though mainstream estimates by historians of the exact number range from five million to seven million. The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question".

This figure does not include the people who died fighting. The total number of people liquidated in the death camps is placed at approximately ten million with Jews numbering almost six million. Some also include the homosexuals and the communists. They were the Jews, the Poles, and the Gypsies.

It is widely accepted among Holocaust historians that the Nazis systematically targeted three races of people for extinction in Europe. Early elements of the Holocaust include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program, progressing to the later use of killing squads and extermination camps in a massive and centrally organized effort to exterminate every possible member of the populations targeted by the Nazis. The Holocaust is the name applied to the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of the Jews of Europe along with other groups during World War II by Nazi Germany and collaborators[1]. 1–1.5 million political dissidents.

2.5–4 million Soviet POWs. 3.5–6 million other Slavic civilians. 2,000 Jehovah's Witnesses. 10,000–25,000 homosexual men.

200,000–300,000 people with disabilities. 200,000–800,000 Roma & Sinti. 1.8 –1.9 million Gentile Poles (includes all those killed in executions or those that died in prisons, labor, and concentration camps, as well as civilians killed in the 1939 invasion and the 1944 Warsaw Uprising)[17]. 5.1–6.0 million Jews, including 3.0–3.5 million Polish Jews[16].

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