The Holocaust is widely considered to be one of the worst events in human history. Over the course of several years the Nazi government of Germany committed genocide against European Jews. Over 6 million Jews were estimated to have been killed. This chart shows the breakdown of Jewish Holocaust victims by country.
The beginnings of the Holocaust date back to the takeover of the German government by the Nazi party. Antisemitism had long been a feature throughout Europe though the Nazi party brought this doctrine to the forefront. They made little effort to hide their thoughts on their racial superiority over the Jews. They also blamed the Jews for Germany’s struggles following World War I, including the hyperinflation of the German Mark in 1923.
Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor in 1933. At this time the Nazis began to build concentration camps to hold political opponents and enemies. Later, these would be some of the locations the Jews were sent and held to either work in forced labor camps, or be exterminated.
Jewish Holocaust Victims by Country
The killings of the Jews in the Holocaust did not immediately begin when Hitler arose to power. Instead, it was a gradual process. At first Jews were ostracized from society. They were discriminated against, their businesses boycotted, and were encouraged to leave the country, sometimes through violent measures.
This all culminated on November 9-10, 1938 during an events called “Kristallnacht”, or “the Night of Broken Glass”. Jewish businesses, homes and communities were attacked and destroyed during this event, as the Nazi’s became even more overt of their intentions.
As World War II broke out the Nazis spread their ideology in all their captured territories and rounded up Jews wherever they went. The Jews were forced into ghettos where they could be controlled, or forced labor camps.
The Final Solution, or mass killing of all Jews was not officially implemented until January 1942. Mass murders, executions, and transportations to death camps followed, with horrifying results.
The two most affected countries were Poland and the Soviet Union which combined for over 4.3 million of all Jewish people that were killed. The 3 million Polish Jews killed represented nearly 90% of their prewar population – a stunning figure.