Causes of Death in the Holocaust

The following charts is based on estimates compiled by Raul Hilberg concerning the number and cause of death in the Holocaust. These percentages include only the deaths of Jewish victims, not those of other victim groups, such as Gypsies, gays, or political opponents of the Nazi regime (The Destruction of the European Jews). Estimating the total numbers of victims is a task fraught with difficulty, and historians have offered a range of estimates. Among historians who approach this problem in good faith -- a criterion that excludes Holocaust deniers and minimizers -- estimates of the total cost in lives range between 5.1 and 6.2 million. The most recent estimates are based on country-by-country case studies, and yield the following estimated totals:

Victims by Country of Origin

Germany  165,000
Austria 65,459
Luxembourg 1,200
France (including aliens, mostly Jews from Germany) 76,134
Belgium (including aliens, mostly Jews from Germany) 28,518
The Netherlands 102,000
Denmark 116
Norway 758
Albania  591 (deported)
Italy 6,513
Greece 59,185
Bulgaria (all deported from annexed territories) 11,393
Yugoslavia 60-65,000
Hungary 550,000
The Czech lands and Slovakia (excluding Sudetenland) 143,000
Romania 211,214
Poland 2,700,000
Soviet Union 2,100,000

If one breaks down these totals by cause of death and distinguishes among the principal sites of genocidal killing in Poland, the following distribution emerges. Together, a majority were killed in Auschwitz and the "Operation Reinhard" camps -- Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzec and Treblinka. Open-air shootings by Einsatzgruppen, mostly in the territory of the occupied Soviet Union, accounted for about a quarter of all deaths in the Holocaust.

Places of Death

Chart Causes of Death in the Holocaust

The following chart reproduces Raul Hilberg's estimates of the mortality at each of the principle killing centers, and is augmented by the somewhat higher estimates of Ino Arndt, Wolfgang Scheffler, and Henry Friedlander.

Camps and Vicitms

Camp Origin of Victims Period of Killing Number Killed (Low) Number Killed (High)
Chelmno Wartheland district (Poland; annexed to Germany)
Germany, via Lodz ghetto
December 1941-March 1943;
June-July 1944
150,000 152,000
Belzec Galicia
Krakow district (Poland)
March-December 1942 550,000 600,000
Sobibor Lublin district (Poland)
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
April-June 1942;
October 1942-October 1943
200,000 250,000
Treblinka Warsaw district (Poland)
Radom district (Poland)
Bialystok district (Poland, annexed to Germany)
Lublin district (Poland)
July 1942-October 1943 750,000 900,000
Lublin-Majdanek Warsaw district (Poland)
Lublin district (Poland)
September 1942-September 1943;
November 1943
50,000 60,000-80,000
Auschwitz-Birkenau Hungary
Bialystok district (Poland, annexed to Germany)
Wartheland district (Poland; annexed to Germany)
Upper Silesia (Germany)
East Prussia (Germany)
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
February 1942-November 1944 1,000,000 1,100,000

Sources: Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, rev. ed., 3 vols. (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985); Wolfgang Benz, ed., Dimensionen des Völkermordes: Die Zahl der jüdischen Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1991).