January 27 is known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is a solemn occasion that commemorates the lives lost during World War II of the millions of civilians including some six million Jews who lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis from 1933 to 1945 – all in pursuit of a Socialist and atheistic ideal of racial supremacy.

Here are some important facts you need to know to commemorate these lives properly and respectfully:

70 to 85 million people died in World War II

Piles of Dead Prisoners from a Nazi Concentration Camp (Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WWII_Europe,_Germany,_Concentration_Camps,_%22Piles_of_dead_prisoners%22_-_NARA_-_195344.tif
Piles of Dead Prisoners from a Nazi Concentration Camp. (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s a well-known fact that World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history, with over 70 to 85 million military personnel and innocent civilians dying for the war. Forty million were said to be civilian deaths from genocide, bombings, starvation, and disease.

In terms of casualties by country, it was the Soviet Union who lost the most lives at 27 million people. Ironically, more civilians died when compared to military personnel, with civilian casualties at 19 million and 8.7 million for the Red Army. Germany, on the other hand, sustained 5.3 million military casualties. The Chinese also suffered 7.5 million deaths at the hands of the brutal Japanese Imperial Army, where the Nanking Massacre and Sanko Sakusen killed over 2.7 million people with 300 thousand Chinese civilians raped.

The total amount of casualties amounted to 3% of the world’s population at that time, where 85% of the dead were from the Allies, and 15% were from the Axis. The war marked the first time a nation attempted to exterminate whole populations on an industrial scale.

There Were Over 1,000 Concentration Camps

Map of Nazi concentration camps exhibited at Pohl Trial (Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_Nazi_concentration_camps.jpg
Map of Nazi concentration camps exhibited at Pohl Trial (Wikimedia Commons)

Contrary to popular belief that there were only a few concentration camps, the most infamous being the Auschwitz Concentration Camp located in Southern Poland, there were hundreds of smaller camps situated in various parts of German-occupied Europe.

First established in 1933, these concentration camps were run by the Schutzstaffel (SS) during World War II. However, these camps originally started during the Weimar Republic, when Hitler became chancellor. The Reichstag fire was used as the main reason to arrest various political rivals, mostly those who were part of the rival Communist Party of Germany. Seventy camps were said to be established during the early 1930s, and most of them did not include killing the prisoners but reeducating them in the ideology of Nationalist Socialism.

The real Nazi concentration camps were institutionalized in 1934 when anti-semitism was rapidly rising due to Nazi propaganda. In one instance in 1939, prisoners from these earlier prison camps were dressed as Polish soldiers and sent to the Polish border to set a false flag attack so that the Nazis could invade Poland. This was known as the Hochlinden incident, also known as Operation Himmler.