The European Jews were the primary victims of the Holocaust. But Jews were not the only group singled out for persecution by Hitler’s Nazi regime. As many as one-half million Gypsies, at least 250,000 mentally or physically disabled persons, and more than three million Soviet prisoners-of-war also fell victim to Nazi genocide. Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social Democrats, Communists, partisans, trade unionists, Polish intelligentsia and other undesirables were also victims of the hate and aggression carried out by the Nazis.
The number of children killed during the
Holocaust is not fathomable and full statistics for the tragic fate of
children who died will never be known. Some estimates range as high as 1.5
million murdered children. This figure includes more than 1.2 million
Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children and thousands of
institutionalized handicapped children who were murdered under Nazi rule
in Germany and occupied Europe.
In Europe, rampant antisemitism incited citizens of many German-occupied countries to collaborate with the Nazis in their genocidal policies. There were, however, individuals and groups in every occupied nation who, at great personal risk, helped hide those targeted by the Nazis.
One nation, Denmark, saved most of its Jews in a nighttime rescue operation in 1943 in which Jews were ferried in fishing boats to safety in neutral Sweden.