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How Many People Died in the Holocaust

How Many People Died in the Holocaust: The Sad and Shocking Truth

Join us as we make our way through annals of history to find out how many people died in the Holocaust; by far one of the most intricate questions about the horrific incident ever posed to humanity, with an answer no less horrifying.
Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: Apr 20, 2018
Even today, the Holocaust is remembered as one of the most tragic events of world history, wherein as many as 11 million people were killed in a systematic state-sponsored genocide. It is very difficult to determine how many deaths occurred, but estimates suggest that somewhere between 10 and 17 million people lost their lives. A term which actually refers to an act of mass destruction and loss of life in war or by fire, 'Holocaust' has now become a synonym for the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II; that in itself speaks volumes about the brutality involved.
Holocaust Death Toll

Most of the historical sources put the number of people who died in Holocaust at 6 million, but the actual figure is considered to be way beyond that. In what can be defined as one of the most gruesome events ever witnessed in the world, as many as 6 million Jews were exterminated in this state-sponsored genocide in Nazi Germany, which was carried out over a course of 4 years between 1941 and 1945.
Other than Nazi Germany, even German-occupied Poland, Austria, Romania, USSR, and Hungary were either directly or indirectly involved in this mass extermination of Jews (and non-Jews).

Even though the Jews were subjected to legal oppression since a long time, the actual violence against them began on the Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) on November 7, 1938. What followed was the shocking well-planned incident which was carried out in different phases and involved step-by-step identification, segregation, relocation to concentration camps, and extermination of Jews in Europe.

All these Jews were killed only because Hitler thought they were an inferior race and Germany had to suffer the humiliating defeat in World War I because of them. Though the term Holocaust, in a broad sense, refers to the killing of 6 million Jews in Europe during the World War II, you also need to take into consideration the fact that Jews were not the only ones who had to bear the brunt of Nazi hatred.
Other than Jews, Soviet prisoners of war (3,300,000), Romanian gypsies (270,000), and about 2,000,000 non-Jewish Poles and Slavs lost their lives in the Holocaust. Even homosexuals (250,000) and people with physical or mental disabilities (15,000) were not spared. All these people were exterminated only because the Nazi's, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, believed that they were undesirable and it was necessary to eradicate them. Hitler also got rid of his political and religious opponents during the Holocaust.
When we say that around 6,000,000 people were exterminated by Nazis during World War II, we most often refer to mass killings of Jews in Europe during this period. However, if we take into consideration the number of non-Jewish people who were killed during this genocide (estimates put this number at a staggering 5,000,000), we realize that approximately 11,000,000 people were killed brutally over the span of 4 years.
It is virtually impossible to come up with an accurate number of deaths; at the best, we can estimate the figure based on different sources. Even historians seem to be divided over the number of Holocaust deaths though, with some scholars putting the death toll at a whopping 17 million. Irrespective of what the actual number was, one thing is for sure, the genocide resulted in death of millions of innocent people, and that in itself is a shame for humanity.