The Holocaust is one of the most heart-wrenching events in history. It was the brutal, state-sanctioned murder of millions of Jews by Nazis who believed that Germans were “racially superior” than Jews. Other minority groups that were deemed inferior to the Germans were also targeted during the Holocaust, including the gypsies and the disabled, while others were persecuted because of their political and socio-cultural beliefs.
In honor of the 11 million victims of the Holocaust, the world observes the International Day of Remembrance every year on January 27. Now, three scores and twelve years later, there are still a lot of people who remain unaware of the dreadful events that occurred back then.
Here is a compilation of ten facts about the Holocaust. Though some stories are tragic, some depict the courage and tenacity of those who fought and of those who survived.
1. Adolf Hitler offered at least 30 countries, including the United States and Great Britain, to take in Jewish refugees but they said no.
President Franklin Roosevelt called for the Évian Conference in France in 1938 to discuss oppression that Jews were experiencing under Hitler’s regime. Representatives from 32 countries attended the said event.
In response, Hitler said,
“We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals [Jews] at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, they can leave on luxury ships.”
Unfortunately, the assembly failed to arrive at a consensus, hence the Jews remained in Germany. Fortunately, some countries, including the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica opened their doors to Jewish refugees back then.
2. Countless Jews and Christians were massacred during the Holocaust.
Apart from the nearly six million Jews that were killed during the Holocaust, three million Christians who condemned the Nazi state were also murdered. Another estimated five million were killed because the Third Reich found them undesirable due to a multitude of reasons, such as homosexuality, physical or mental illness, and religious beliefs.
3. Hitler wanted to open a “Museum of an Extinct Race” after the war.
As the Nazis raided Germany, they seized the possessions of the Jewish people that they murdered, including literary works and pieces of artworks. As sick as it sounds, Hitler wanted to open a “Museum of an Extinct Race” that will feature the seized Jewish articles, believing that it may still be interesting to learn about Jewish culture long after their race is eradicated.
4. Leica Camera Company saved hundreds of Jews by hiring them for jobs abroad.
The Leica Camera is a German-owned optics enterprise and manufacturing company that hired hundreds of Jews for jobs abroad at the beginning of World War II in an attempt to keep them safe from the killings. Ernst Leitz II, the owner, was not a Jew so he felt safe from the persecution. What he did was work incessantly to help save his associates’ lives. Today, this brave act is known as the Leica Freedom Train.
5. In 1945, President Eisenhower encouraged the media to document the Holocaust as he predicted that one day, people would deny that it happened.
As unbelievable as it may sound, there are groups of people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. Such historical revisionism allegedly originated from the Ku Klux Clan and is considered a crime in at least 17 countries, including Germany.
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