- The genocidal policies of the Nazis resulted in the deaths of about as many Polish Gentiles as Polish Jews, thus making them co-victims in a Forgotten Holocaust. This Holocaust has been largely ignored because historians who have written on the subject of the Holocaust have chosen to interpret the tragedy in exclusivistic terms--namely, as the most tragic period in the history of the Jewish Diaspora. To them, the Holocaust was unique to the Jews, and they therefore have had little or nothing to say about the nine million Gentiles, including three million Poles, who also perished in the greatest tragedy the world has ever known. Little wonder that many people who experienced these events share the feeling of Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, who anxious when the meaning of the word Holocaust undergoes gradual modifications, so that the word begins to belong to the history of the Jews exclusively, as if among the victims there were not also millions of Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, and prisoners of other nationalities. -- Richard C. Lukas, preface to The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944
Estimates of Non-Combatant Lives Lost During the Holocaust
Jews (of all countries) 6 million +
Russian POWs 3.3 million +
Russian Civilians 2 million +
Poles 3 million +
Yugoslavians 1.5 million +
Gypsies 200,000 - 500,000
Mentally/Physically Disabled 70,000- 250,000
Homosexuals Tens of thousands
Spanish Republicans Tens of thousands
Jehovah's Witnesses 2,500 - 5,000
Boy and Girl Scouts, Clergy, Communists, Czechs, Deportees, Greeks, Political Prisoners, Other POWs, Resistance Fighters, Serbs, Socialists, Trade Unionists, Others UnknownTable assembled from figures quoted by Milton; Lukas 38-39, 232; Gilbert 824; Berenbaum 123; and Holocaust Internet information sites.
The six million figure used in the Jewish death toll is an estimate for total lives lost. These Jewish lives were taken by a number of groups, not just Nazis. The six million figure includes Jewish lives lost in other countries as well, not just Germany, and by the various modes of killing, not just camp deaths. Ukrainian deaths were due to Russian and Nazi perpetrators alike, some killed on "acquired" German soil, others killed on Russian soil, some killed outright, others slowly worked or starved to death. If Russian Jews, killed on Russian soil by both Nazis and Russians, are considered Holocaust deaths, then the Ukrainians killed alongside them should also be categorized as Holocaust deaths. When groups of people are killed side by side -- in the same manner, by the same perpetrators, for the same reasons (their ethnic identity) -- one cannot separate some from the group and call it a Holocaust and say the others were merely victims of war, or worse, completely ignore their numbers and leave them no record in history. The criteria used to determine the six million Jewish deaths should be the same criteria used for the non-Jews. By using the same criteria for determining Holocaust deaths among all victims, the question of whether non-Jewish deaths were simply victims of war becomes irrelevant.