Holocaust Holocast - How Many People Died in the Holocast?

March 14, 2024

When the four-part miniseries starring Meryl Streep aired in March 1978, it reintroduced Americans to Holocaust horrors. The holocast included footage from the real-life Dachau concentration camp and excerpts of testimonies from people who survived there or elsewhere in Nazi Germany.

In the early 1930s, the Nazis began to persecute Jewish people and other groups they viewed as inferior, including Roma and Sinti (also known as gypsies), people with disabilities, political opponents, Soviet prisoners of war and others. They systematically murdered and imprisoned them because of their religion, their race or their political views. The killings became so widespread that historians now refer to them as a genocide, or mass murder.

During the Holocaust, millions of Jews died in killing centers such as Auschwitz-Birkenau and other death camps, or in ghettos where life was miserable and often deadly. They were killed by beatings, torture and arbitrary shootings or starved to death from lack of food, exposure to extreme weather conditions or exhaustion from forced labor. Some died in a process called gassing, where they were killed with poison gases.

While six million Jews were killed, many more survived the Holocaust because they hid or lived in hiding. Others fled Europe by emigrating to the United States or other countries. Others were rescued by Soviet, American and other Allied forces. Despite the destruction of Germany's war machine and the defeat of the Nazis, the Nazi legacy of terror and genocide continued long after the war was over.

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