Every year on January 27, the world commemorates the 11 million victims of the Holocaust with an International Day of Remembrance. Although 72 years have passed since the deadliest genocide in history, there is much people still don’t know about the tragic events.
The Holocaust is, without a doubt, one of the most shameful events in human history. As a result, many people do not like to speak about it. However, as the saying goes, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” With the racism and xenophobia that exists worldwide today, it’s more important than ever to reflect on the devastation of the Holocaust and the lives that were lost or irrevocably changed.
Here you’ll find 10 facts about the Holocaust that you probably didn’t learn in school. While many are heartbreaking, others speak to the courage, perseverance, and dignity of those who lived through it or died fighting.
1. Hitler offered to let the United States, Great Britain, and 30 other countries to take in Jewish refugees, but they refused.
In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the Évian Conference, bringing 32 countries together in France to discuss Hitler’s increasing persecution of the Jewish people. When Hitler heard of the conference he said, “We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals [Jews] at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, they can leave on luxury ships.” Sadly, the conference failed to come to agreement. The only countries to accept an influx of immigrants were Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
2. A high number of both Christians and Jews were killed during the Holocaust.
Approximately three to six million Jewish people lost their lives, which equated about one-third of the total Jewish population (or more based on certain estimates). Beyond that, three million Christians who denounced the Third Reich and five million other individuals were killed as well. Many that fell into the “other” category were deemed undesirable by the Third Reich due to mental or physical illness, homosexuality, or religious beliefs.
3. Hitler planned to open a “Museum of an Extinct Race” after the war.
It’s a well-known fact that Nazis seized Jewish art, literature, and more, but what they planned to do with it is beyond heinous. Sickeningly, Hitler had planned to open a “Museum of an Extinct Race,” believing that Jewish culture would still be interesting to study after their eradication was complete.