There is a lot of information out there about the Holocaust, but a lot of people don’t know the most interesting facts about it. By learning these facts you can find out more about what happened in the forefront and behind the scenes. Although this did happen a long time ago, it’s always important to learn about history and what things happened that shaped our world into what it is today.
The Holocaust Facts
1. Insecticide was Used in Gas Chambers
While in the beginning of the Holocaust carbon monoxide was used in gas chambers, this changed with the creation of Zyklon B. Pellets of this insecticide would be dropped into the gas chambers and into the vents to kill anyone who was inside of the chamber. The toxic gas that would release from Zyklon B pellets would kill people, but they suffered while they died. Their ears and mouths would bleed out, causing immense pain. The developers of Zyklon B were tried on genocide for supplying this insecticide to the Nazis. They were found guilty and were hanged in 1946.
2. One Huge Killing Murdered Over 33,000 People in Two Days
In September of 1941, 33,000 Jewish people were killed in only 48 hours. This horrific event took place at the Babi Yar Ravine, which is right outside of Kiev, Ukraine. German troops forced all of the Jews to undress and walk over to the edge of the ravine. After they all lined up, the troops shot them and their bodies fell down off of the edge. After this, they pushed the ravine wall down to bury anyone who was living as well as those who were already dead. Many troops would grab children and throw them into the ravine as well, just to make sure there were no survivors.
3. Children were Targets
The Nazis targeted Jews in particular, but they especially wanted to make sure kids were murdered. This is because they knew if the children lived they would have children and spark a new generation of Jews. So, the Nazis first transported kids in crowded cattle cars that caused them to suffocate and die. If the children happened to survive the cattle car to the camp, then they would be taken to a gas chamber immediately. This resulted in over 1.1 children dying from the Holocaust.
4. Transportation was an Issue
Labor and death camps relied on cattle wagons to transport victims. The wagons had nothing on them to provide comfort or basic necessities, including a toilet, food or water. Sometimes transport took longer than a week, and many people would die while just waiting for the wagons to come around. In fact, some victims had to wait in a switching yard where they could only stand for days. Without this form of mass transportation, the Holocaust would not have been possible.
5. The Night of Broken Glass
On November 9, 1938 the Nazis attacked Jewish communities throughout Austria and Germany. Otherwise known as Kristallnacht, their purpose was to burn synagogues and destroy businesses. The results were destroying over 7,000 businesses, burning 1,000 synagogues, killing 96 Jews and arresting 30,000 Jews. They also ruined hospitals and any other businesses that were owned and ran by Jewish individuals.
6. Victims Were Tricked Into Gas Chambers by other Victims
In order to get victims to go into the gas chambers where they would die, guards would tell them that they were being washed and disinfected to avoid panic. The guards would then bring in other Jewish prisoners who formed a “Special Detachment Team”. This team would be used to keep the group calm and convince stubborn victims to take their clothes off. They would even comfort children, play with kids and tell jokes in order to get people inside. Some kids even went into the gas chamber with their toys still in their hands. Once people were in the gas chambers they were locked inside where they would ultimately die.
7. “Holocaust” Wasn’t Used Until 1978
The term “holocaust” was not a household word until it was first used in 1978 by NBC television network. They originally used it as the title of a miniseries that was a documentary and story about what happened during the Nazi’s tirade.
8. Victims Were Experimented on and then Murdered
Dr. Josef Mengele was responsible for performing experiments on victims who were in the death camps. He also personally chose those who would be gassed and who would work for a while instead. His interest in the study of genes resulted in him performing many different experiments on people. He did these experiments on more than three thousand sets of twins, giving them sweets and other goods in order to calm them down. Once they were at the surgery site they would have to go through surgery, blood transfusions, injections of lethal germs and even sex-change operations all without the use of anesthetics.
One of the most notable experiments was the sewing together of a set of twins, who were only four years old. Mengele’s goal was to see if he could create Siamese twins. The twins died as a result of their parents having to kill them just to end their suffering. By the end of the war, he had two truckloads full of “findings” that he got from all of his experiments, which were burned.
9. The Strong Trampled the Weak in Gas Chambered
In the gas chambers, the gas rose from the bottom to the top, so victims would frantically try to reach the top in order to breathe. This resulted in many people trampling over each other, creating a large pile of bodies. The strongest people would usually be found at the top of the piles, as they were able to fight people and climb higher in order to have a chance to breathe.
10. Refugees Had Nowhere to Go
After Hitler took control, 32 countries got together to discuss the Jewish refugee crisis. Great Britain said they would not help, Australians said they would not help and Canada said they would not help. In fact, only the Dominican Republic offered aid, and that was only to 100,000 Jews. Eventually, they became overwhelmed with so many refugees that they couldn’t offer much help.