Six million Jews murdered. Millions more stripped of their livelihoods, their communities, their families, even their names. The horrors of the Holocaust are often expressed in numbers that convey the magnitude of Nazi Germany’s attempt to annihilate Europe’s Jews.
The Nazis and their collaborators killed millions of people whom they perceived as inferior—including Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men, people with disabilities, Slavic and Roma people, and Communists. However, historians use the term “Holocaust”—also called the Shoah, or “disaster” in Hebrew—to apply strictly to European Jews murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.
No single statistic can capture the true terror of the systematic killing of a group of human beings—and given its enormity and brutality, the Holocaust is difficult to understand.