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The Holocaust

Nazi Germany and the Jews 1933-1939

Non-Jewish Victims of Persecution in Germany

Jehova’s Witness Gertrud Poetzinger holding a child in the Oranienburg Concentration Camp, Germany.
Jehova’s Witness Gertrud Poetzinger holding a child in the Oranienburg Concentration Camp, Germany.
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Sinti and Roma (Gypsies)

 The Nazis considered the Sinti and Roma a socio-racial “problem” to be expurgated from the German nation. Nomadic Sinti and Roma were subjected to special depredations; their fate was tantamount to that of the Jews. Of the 44,000 Sinti and Roma who lived in the Reich, thousands were sent to concentration camps after the war began. Others were concentrated in transit camps before being sent to ghettos and extermination camps during the war. Between 90,000-150,000 Sinti and Roma were murdered by the Germans throughout Europe.

Homosexuals

Homosexuals were stripped of their civil rights because the Nazis considered homosexuality an affront to their goal of encouraging natural population growth and normal family life. Approximately 15,000 homosexuals were imprisoned in camps and thousands perished.

The Disabled

Between 200,000-350,000 mentally and physically disabled individuals were forcibly sterilized until 1939. Beginning in 1939, approximately 200,000 were murdered during the “Euthanasia” program either by gassing, lethal injection or starvation. The Nazis sought to increase the proportion of healthy and racially superior members of the national community (volksgemeinschaft) by quickly and unsentimentally eliminating the sick and the weak.

The Catholic Church

Beginning in 1933 the Nazi regime arrested thousands of members of the German Catholic central party, as well as Catholic priests. They disbanded schools and Catholic institutions as part of the totalitarian policy of the regime and its attempts to eliminate any competing authority. This took place despite the “Concordat” that had been signed with the Vatican in 1933. During World War II Catholic organizations were oppressed and thousands of Catholic priests were imprisoned and murdered throughout the areas occupied by the Nazis.

Another small minority that was oppressed because of their unique religious beliefs were the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They believed that in the eschaton non-members of the group would be judged, they opposed military service and took a clear stance opposing the regime. As a result, many of the group’s members were arrested and some were incarcerated in concentration camps.