The 10 Most asked questions about the Holocaust
"Q: Who was Hitler and how did He get control
Special Feature: Adolph Hitler: Rise of A
1. Q: When Speaking about "The
Holocaust", what time period are we referring to?
A: The term Holocaust is used to refer to the period between January
30, 1933 --when Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany-- and May 8, 1945 (V-E
Day) when Germany surrendered and the War in Europe ended.
2. Q: How many Jews were murdered during
A: While it is impossible to ascertain the exact number of Jewish
victims, statistical documentation shows that the total was over 5,830,000. Six
million is the round figure that is accepted by most authorities.
3. Q: How many Jews were murdered in
each country, and what percentages did they constitute of that country's pre-War
4. Q: What is a Concentration Camp?
A: Concentration camps were special compounds established by the Nazis
to detain "undesireables" and those considered a threat to the order of the
Reich. The first such camp was Dachau, opened inside Germany in 1933. The first
inmates were political prisoners and anti-socials, as well as homosexuals and
Jehovah's Witnesses. In later years there were mass deportations of Jewish
citizens to these camps, leading up to the implementation of the Final Solution:
The systematic mass murder of Jews in the Death Camps. The Death Camps were all
located in Poland. There were six camps designated primarily for killing:
Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka.
5. Q: What were the first measures taken
by the Nazis against the Jews?
A: The Nazi Party was always antisemitic, and soon after their rise to
power in Germany they began to put their propaganda into the law of the land:
April 1, 1933 -- Nazi-sponsored boycott of
Jewish shops and businesses.
April 7, 1933 -- Jews expelled from all civil
service positions. Jews forbidden to practice law.
April 22, 1933 -- Medical services provided by
Jewish doctors no longer covered by national insurance.
April 25, 1933 -- Most Jewish public school
6. Q: Why were the Jews singled out for
destruction by the Nazis?
A: There are many answers to this complex question, but the most
direct goes back to the Nazi philosophy which looks at history and economics
through the twisted perspective of racism. The Nazis erroneously considered the
Jewish people a race, and ascribed to them sinister motivations of world control
and domination over others. The Nazis also considered the blond haired,
blue-eyed Nordic type to belong to a "pure" Aryan race, which had no basis in
fact. The Nazis wanted to promote the ascendence of their own "Aryan race" over
the so-called "Jewish race" which they claimed had been responsible for
Germany's misfortunes following the first World War.
7. Q: Did the Jews try to fight back
against the Nazis?
A: Despite the difficult conditions which Jews were subjected to in
Nazi-occupied Europe, there was Jewish resistance against the Nazis. There were
revolts in the ghettos and sabotage in the concentration camps; Jews joined the
armed partisans (guerrilla warriors) and played a part in the Underground. It is
important to understand that there was never any "Jewish Army" as such to
directly oppose the Nazis. The Nazis had a trained, armed military force in
place to enforce their edicts, and they were considered the offical, legitimate
government of Germany by most for many years.
8. Q: How did Germany's allies, Italy
and Japan, treat the Jews in the lands they occupied?
A: Neither the Italians nor the Japanese, who were Germany's military
allies in World War II, cooperated with the Nazi "Final Solution". Both
countries resisted German pressures to deport their Jews to concentration camps.
Conditions in the parts of France, Yugoslavia and Greece that Italy occupied
were relatively good for the Jews there until the Nazis overthrew the Italian
government in 1943. Thereafter the Jews in these areas were subject to the Final
Jewish refugees in Japan and Japanese-occupied
China and Malaysia were also treated fairly well. In 1943 they were forced to
live in the Hongkew ghetto, where conditions were harsher, but still much better
than in Nazi territory.
9: Q: Did anyone try to help the Jews
when they were being persecuted and killed?
A: "Righteous Among the Nations" or "Righteous Gentiles" is the term
used to refer to those non-Jews who aided Jews during the Holocaust. There were
Righteous people in every country or territory that the Nazis held, and their
deeds often saved Jewish lives.
By far the largest group that played a part in the Holocaust were the
Bystanders -- ordinary citizens of Nazi-controlled areas who did nothing to
oppose the Final Solution. Whether fearful or just apathetic to the plight of
the Jews, the fact remains that many chose to ignore what the Nazis were doing
to those around them.
10. Q: Were the Nazis ever punished for
A: We do not know the exact number of those who committed Nazi crimes
against humanity as the existing documentation in incomplete. Many of the
documents that pertain to the Final Solution were destroyed by the Nazis
themselves prior to the end of the War.
War Criminals can be divided into two main
groups -- those who planned and directed the killing of the European Jews, and
those who carried out their orders and did the killing directly. The first group
is made up of the high officials of the Nazi Party, the German Military, the
Gestapo and the S.S. The second group is much larger and includes hundreds of
thousands of Gestapo, S.S., Einsatzgruppen, police, and soldiers, as well as
civilians who aided and assisted the Nazi plan of murder.
Hilter himself escaped prosecution for all his crimes when he committed
suicide in his bunker at the end of the War. Others in his Nazi inner circle,
such as Himmler and Goebbels, also evaded justice through suicide. Over 5000
Nazi higher-ups were caught and convicted by the Allies between 1945 and 1949.
In all, about 80,000 Germans have been tried and convicted of War Crimes.