There are many speculations, facts, stories, and conspiracy theories about the Holocaust. The literature readily available about this pentacle moment in history is countless. And, still, there are many that know little to nothing about this historical genocide of the Jewish people. In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, here are 10 facts you may not know about the Holocaust.
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10 Facts About the Holocaust
The term “Holocaust” comes from the Greek words “holos” meaning whole and “kaustos” meaning burned. It is used to describe the mass murder of over six million Jews by the German Nazis led by Adolf Hitler during World War II.
- Mary Berg, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, wrote one of the earliest accounts of the Holocaust to be published in English. Her diary was published in American newspapers in 1944 and as a book in 1945 (seven years before Anne Frank’s diary was published in English in 1952). Update: Her diary has been published into a book: The Diary of Mary Berg: Growing Up in the Warsaw Ghetto.
- Mary Berg’s collection of photographs, which contained hundreds of photos from the Warsaw Ghetto, sold at an estate sale in 2014 for $10.
- Many people including a vast majority of Germans deny the events of the Holocaust ever happening despite vast amounts of evidence and survivors’ recounts.
- Hitler was part Jewish and even fell in love with a Jewish girl at one point.
- Adam Czerniakow, chairman of the Warsaw Ghetto, recorded the daily events of the ghetto. It is the only document kept by a high position of authority of a major ghetto that is as detailed as Czerniakow’s diaries. His collection of notebooks is a total of 1,009 pages.
- Though German soldiers and Nazi members viewed the Jewish people as unworthy to live, the Jewish women were repeatedly raped by their captors oftentimes becoming pregnant.
- Babies born from unwanted pregnancies caused by rape were drowned, smothered, or killed by other methods by the women prisoners in order to prevent a more morbid death by the German soldiers.
- When babies died in the ghettos, the mothers would oftentimes hide their bodies for up to eight days in order to receive their rations.
- Only nine, out of 780 Norwegian Jews imprisoned at Auschwitz, returned home alive.
- Despite ordering the deaths of millions of Jews, Hitler did not witness one, or order, a single execution of a Jewish person.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Another inspiring story from a Holocaust survivor to add to my collection. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is a true story about a man who was responsible for tattooing all the men and women who passed through the gates of the most infamous concentration camps, Auschwitz. A man who was a prisoner same as the ones he marked with a number that would forever stay with them for their remaining lives, and how this man found his one true love in an unlikely place.
These stories are horrific, yes; but more so they tell about strength, perseverance, and love. I can never imagine what they experienced, but I will not forget their stories.