Calculating the numbers of individuals who were killed as the result of Nazi policies is a difficult task. There is no single wartime document created by Nazi officials that spells out how many people were killed in the Holocaust or World War II.
To accurately estimate the extent of human losses, scholars, Jewish organizations, and governmental agencies since the 1940s have relied on a variety of different records, such as census reports, captured German and Axis archives, and postwar investigations, to compile these statistics. As more documents come to light or as scholars arrive at a more precise understanding of the Holocaust, estimates of human losses may change.
The single most important thing to keep in mind when attempting to document numbers of victims of the Holocaust is that no one master list of those who perished exists anywhere in the world.
What follow are the current best estimates of civilians and disarmed soldiers killed by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
Jews: up to 6 million
Soviet civilians: around 7 million (including 1.3 Soviet Jewish civilians, who are included in the 6 million figure for Jews)
Soviet prisoners of war: around 3 million (including about 50,000 Jewish soldiers)
Non-Jewish Polish civilians: around 1.8 million (including between 50,000 and 100,000 members of the Polish elites)
Serb civilians (on the territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina): 312,000
People with disabilities living in institutions: up to 250,000
Roma (Gypsies): 196,000–220,000
Jehovah’s Witnesses: Around 1,900
Repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials: at least 70,000
German political opponents and resistance activists in Axis-occupied territory: undetermined
Homosexuals: hundreds, possibly thousands (possibly also counted in part under the 70,000 repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials noted above)
Jewish Loss by Location of Death
With regard to the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust, best estimates for the breakdown of Jewish loss according to location of death follow:
Auschwitz complex (including Birkenau, Monowitz, and subcamps): approximately 1 million
Treblinka 2: approximately 925,000
Sobibor: at least 167,000
Shooting operations at various locations in central and southern German-occupied Poland (the so-called Government General): at least 200,000
Shooting operations in German-annexed western Poland (District Wartheland): at least 20,000
Deaths in other facilities that the Germans designated as concentration camps: at least 150,000
Shooting operations and gas wagons at hundreds of locations in the German-occupied Soviet Union: at least 1.3 million
Shooting operations in the Soviet Union (German, Austrian, Czech Jews deported to the Soviet Union): approximately 55,000
Shooting operations and gas wagons in Serbia: at least 15,088
Shot or tortured to death in Croatia under the Ustaša regime: 23,000–25,000
Deaths in ghettos: at least 800,000
Other*: at least 500,000
I find it hard to believe it was 8 mill nazi criminals .
- How many Nazi criminals were there? How many were brought to justice?
Answer: We do not know the exact number of Nazi criminals since the available documentation is incomplete. The Nazis themselves destroyed many incriminating documents and there are still many criminals who are unidentified and/or unindicted.
Those who committed war crimes include those individuals who initiated, planned and directed the killing operations, as well as those with whose knowledge, agreement, and passive participation the murder of European Jewry was carried out.
Those who actually implemented the “Final Solution” include the leaders of Nazi Germany, the heads of the Nazi Party, and the Reich Security Main Office. Also included are hundreds of thousands of members of the Gestapo, the SS, the Einsatzgruppen, the police and the armed forces, as well as those bureaucrats who were involved in the persecution and destruction of European Jewry. In addition, there were thousands of individuals throughout occupied Europe who cooperated with the Nazis in killing Jews and other innocent civilians.
We do not have complete statistics on the number of criminals brought to justice, but the number is certainly far less than the total of those who were involved in the “Final Solution.” The leaders of the Third Reich, who were caught by the Allies, were tried by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg from November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946. Afterwards, the Allied occupation authorities continued to try Nazis, with the most significant trials held in the American zone (the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings). In total, 5,025 Nazi criminals were convicted between 1945-1949 in the American, British and French zones, in addition to an unspecified number of people who were tried in the Soviet zone. In addition, the United Nations War Crimes Commission prepared lists of war criminals who were later tried by the judicial authorities of Allied countries and those countries under Nazi rule during the war. The latter countries have conducted a large number of trials regarding crimes committed in their lands. The Polish tribunals, for example, tried approximately 40,000 persons, and large numbers of criminals were tried in other countries. In all, about 80,000 Germans have been convicted for committing crimes against humanity, while the number of local collaborators is in the tens of thousands. Special mention should be made of Simon Wiesenthal, whose activities led to the capture of over one thousand Nazi criminals.
Courts in Germany began, in some cases, to function as early as 1945. By 1969, almost 80,000 Germans had been investigated and over 6,000 had been convicted. In 1958, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; West Germany) established a special agency in Ludwigsburg to aid in the investigation of crimes committed by Germans outside Germany, an agency which, since its establishment, has been involved in hundreds of major investigations. One of the major problems regarding the trial of war criminals in the FRG (as well as in Austria) has been the fact that the sentences have been disproportionately lenient for the crimes committed. Some trials were also conducted in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR; East Germany), yet no statistics exist as to the number of those convicted or the extent of their sentences.