3 Graphs That Show the Shocking Price Paid by Poland in the Holocaust

As the Nazis advanced across Europe seizing more and more territory the Holocaust came to affect people from across the continent. As Jews were the main targets of the persecution, countries with large Jewish populations, like Poland, suffered the worst of the massacres.

Additionally, Jews in Eastern Europe were more vulnerable because they tended to be poorer and less integrated than westerners. Even so, western Jews’ ability to blend in was no guarantee of safety and thousands were murdered in death camps miles from their homes.

Holocaust Deaths by Country (excluding USSR and Poland)

The Holocaust’s reach stretched all the way from the western-most point of France well into the Russia in the east. In total, citizens of 15 different countries died in the genocide, often in camps in Poland or eastern Germany but also in more local massacres at the hands of their own countrymen who had joined with the invaders.

Holocaust Deaths by Country

Poland and the USSR were the most badly affected and their populations accounted for around two thirds of all Holocaust victims together and around half in Poland alone.

The 4 Worst-Affected Countries

The Nazi focus on the war in the East, combined with a high Jewish population there led to a concentration of killing in the region. Of those killed, a little over 80% came from only 4 of the 15 nations affected; Poland, USSR, Hungary and Romania.

Alex is a history student at King's College London focusing on Europe and the Near East in the Middle Ages. He currently works writing and editing content for madefromhistory.

  • Tim Bucknall

    Thank you for highlighting this, are Jewish deaths in Kresy added to the Polish or USSR Totals?

    • Marta Es Igrek

      Kresy was mostly affected by NKWD and UPA formations. It is another black card of our history …Yews not always was with Poles on this time. But cruelty of the war can sometimes excuse some of desperation acts and we should not judge every case of breach of human rights . It sounds irrationally maybe , but we as a pampered civilisation never experienced the real fear and the fight for life so we never know how we could behave in such as situation …

      • Tim Bucknall

        exactly, In Darkness explains this really well (IMO)
        Wolyn & Jedwabne were made possible because society was decapitated and brutalised , all the moderates had been deported to Siberia or murdered by the Soviets or the Nazis