According to most figures, about 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis and their supporters in the Holocaust, one of the most disturbing examples of genocide in human history. But the Nazis took around 11 million lives, leaving another 5 million dead that are all too often overlooked or forgotten when in discussions of this grim period of history.
Terese Pencak Schwartz is a Polish-American Jew, born of two Holocaust survivors who were not Jewish. Because she identified strongly with her family history, Schwartz realized there was a crucial piece missing from the history of that time period. “The impression I got was that people were not aware of any other Holocaust victims except Jews,” she wrote on Remember.org in 1997. “This concerned me greatly.”
Schwartz acknowledged that the Nazis sought the total destruction of the Jews, “a significant fact that I do not repudiate, nor want to diminish in any way,” then continued: