The usual definition of Holocaust as “the systematic state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men, women, and children, and million of others, by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II” is far from complete. The list of millions of other victims include the Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, Polish and Soviet civilians, political prisoners, religious dissenters, the physically and mentally handicapped, and homosexuals. In War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust, the author Doris Bergen includes Jehova’s Witnesses and Freemasons to the long list of Holocaust victims.
There were nine million Jews living in 21 European countries in 1933. These countries were all occupied by Germany during the war. Twelve years later, by 1945, more than 60 percent of European Jews had been killed. More than 1.2 million Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children, and thousands of handicapped children were included in the mass slaughter. It has been an erroneous piece of information that Jews were the only victims of Nazism. As many as 15 million non-Jewish people were also killed, among them Slavs, ‘asiatics,’ and Germans of African descent. If Soviet civilian deaths are to be included in the list of victims of the Nazi network, the total number of deaths should be rightfully pegged at 17 million.
Adolf Hitler was the master architect of the Holocaust by authorizing the mass killings of what the Nazis called “undesirables” in the T-4 Euthanasia Program and ordering the “annihilation of the Jews.” He had accomplices. The Nuremberg Trials only tried twenty-two major Nazi criminals for crimes committed during the Holocaust, but the mass killings needed a massive network of people to carry out the grand effort. German soldiers, the German police, the SS, government officials, clerks, German doctors, and civilians were all involved in accomplishing the mass cleansing of the Jewish race in Europe. All those who obeyed the order to run the prison camps and exterminate the Jews were all complicit in the Holocaust complex crime.
The extent of guilt, however, is as complex as the crime itself. The government-in-exile of Poland, the British government, and the United States of America had all heard rumors of the gas chambers. Yet, they did not act on time. The Vatican failed, too. It admitted that the Church turned its back on the fate of the persecuted Jews because it wanted to protect its institution.
The free world was distant and quiet when the Jews were being summarily slaughtered. The Jews, on the other hand, only marched helplessly into the gas chambers.
The Holocaust, an industrial project of extermination, is a reminder that some men can do everything when the others do nothing.
Several Holocaust memorial museums and monuments of commemoration exist in the world today because Holocaust guilt still ravages humankind for not being able to do what could have been done.