Read ‘Ten Interesting Facts . . .The Holocaust’ online or through this printable handout.
Raoul Wallenberg was the First Secretary to the Swedish Embassy in Budapest in July 1944. He is credited with rescuing more Jewish people during the Holocaust than any other person or nation. Wallenberg rescued around 100,000 people. He did this by issuing “protective passports.” Wallenberg also rented over 30 buildings to house Jewish refugees. In front of these buildings, he flew the Swedish flag. He also put up fake signs reading “The Swedish Research Institute.”
Giovanni Palatucci was an Italian police official and lawyer. He used his authority as Chief of the Foreigners’ Office to forge travel papers for Jewish people. This permitted hundreds of Jews an escape to Fiume where they settled. Palatucci also destroyed documented records for 5,000 Jewish refugees. This prevented them from being sent to concentration camps.
Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist. He had originally hired Jewish slave laborers for his ammunition factory in Poland. When he witnessed innocent people packed onto trains heading for concentration camps, he began smuggling children out of the ghettos. He spent millions bribing and paying off the Nazis. Schindler allowed Jewish women and children along with disabled and unskilled workers to work in his factory. He even moved the workers several times to keep them out of harm’s way. Schindler died penniless because he spent his wealth helping the Jews.
Andre Trocmé was a French Protestant pastor. He arranged for the rescue of between 3,000 to 5,000 Jews. He asked private families to take in the refugees and children.
Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker. She began helping Jewish families by producing thousands of false documents. She joined a resistance group Zegota (Council for Aid to Jews). Sendler was appointed head of the children’s department. Sendler organized 2,500 children to be smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto. She gave these children new identities and placed them with Polish families. They also were sent to orphanages and convents.
Nicholas Winton was a British Stockbroker. He was visiting Prague when he saw a large number of refugees. A group of British had set up camps for the elderly and vulnerable, but nothing was being done for the children. Winton organized the Czech Kindertransport. This was a train transport which saved 669 children. The train brought the children to England and Sweden. He found foster parents for these children. Winston’s work had to stop with the outbreak of World War II.
Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat. He began issuing visas to help refugees leave Lithuania. When the Soviets took over Lithuania, he was reassigned to Berlin. As Sugihara headed to the train station, he discovered a mob of refugees with unstamped passports. Sugihara threw the official stamp into the crowd. This action saved between 2,000 to 10,000 Jews.
Varian Fry was an American Journalist. He witnesses the Nazi treatment of the Jews on his trip to Berlin in 1935. Fry raised funds for a European anti-Nazi movement. After France was invaded in 1940, Fry went to Marseille to run his network. Fry was able to secure visas for around 3,000 anti-Nazi and Jewish refugees. Many were prominent artists and intellectuals.
An estimated eleven million people were killed during the Holocaust. Hitler’s plan was to eliminate any population of people he felt was inferior.
Victims Killed Slavs 10.547 million Jews 5.9 million Soviet POWs 2–3 million Ethnic Poles 1.8–2 million Romani 220,000–1,500,000 Disabled 200,000–250,000 Freemasons 80,000–200,000 Slovenes 20,000–25,000 Homosexuals 5,000–15,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses 2,500–5,000 Spanish Republicans 7000
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