Between all 4 camps, historians estimate the death toll to range between 2-4 million. The exact number will, of course, never be determined. Half are believed to have died in the gas chambers, the other half on account of the brutal working conditions and/or diseases that resulted from these conditions. And of all 4 camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau was known was the deadliest of all.In our wandering about the camp, I stumbled across this ‘block’, reserved for Polish women and children.
Historians report remarkable instances of resistance within the camps. I think that is what fascinates me most of all; that within the closet thing to Hell on Earth, hope still lingered and a bit of faith still remained.
During the Holocaust, Poland lost 6 million citizens – aproximately 1/5 of its population. 3 million of those killed were believed to be Jews, while the other 3 million were believed to be Christians (predominantly Catholic).
I don't think I ever fully realized just how many groups outside the Jewish population were targeted by the Nazis. Apart from Jews and Poles, the Nazis targeted the physically/mentally handicapped, homosexuals, Gypsies, Soviet POWs, and members of anti-Nazi political parties. I found myself wondering: if the Nazis hadn’t been stopped when they had, what and who would be left of Europe, what and who would remain in the world? Scary.
*Information on the general oversight of the ‘Polish Holocaust ‘ can be read here. Other general info. on the Polish victims of the Nazi era can be read here.