Victims of the Holocaust.
The Holocaust was the killing of approximately six million European Jews, as well as six million others who were deemed “unworthy of life” (including the disabled and mentally ill, Soviet POWs, homosexuals, Freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Roma) as part of a program of deliberate extermination planned and executed by the National Socialist government in Germany led by Adolf Hitler. About 12 million forced laborers, most of whom were Eastern Europeans, were employed in the German war economy inside the Nazi Germany.
In addition to the Nazi concentration camps, the Soviet Gulag, or labor camps, led to the death of citizens of occupied countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as German prisoners of war (POW) and even Soviet citizens themselves who had been or were thought to be supporters of the Nazis. Sixty percent of Soviet POWs died during the war. Vadim Erlikman estimates the number at 2.6 million Soviet POWs that died in German Captivity. Richard Overy gives the number of 5.7 million Soviet POWs. Of those, 57% died or were killed, a total of 3.6 million. The survivors on their return to the USSR were treated as traitors (see Order No. 270).
Japanese POW camps also had high death rates, many were used as labour camps. According to the findings of the Tokyo tribunal, the death rate of Western prisoners was 27.1% (American POWs died at a rate of 37%), seven times that of POW’s under the Germans and Italians The death rate of Chinese was much larger as, according to the directive ratified on 5 August 1937 by Hirohito, the constraints of international law were removed on those prisoners. Thus, if 37,583 prisoners from the UK, 28,500 from Netherlands and 14,473 from USA were released after the surrender of Japan, the number for the Chinese was only 56.
According to a joint study of historians featuring Zhifen Ju, Mark Peattie, Toru Kubo, and Mitsuyoshi Himeta, more than 10 million Chinese were mobilized by the Japanese army and enslaved by the Kōa-in for slave labor in Manchukuo and north China. The U.S. Library of Congress estimates that in Java, between 4 and 10 million romusha (Japanese: “manual laborer”), were forced to work by the Japanese military. About 270,000 of these Javanese laborers were sent to other Japanese-held areas in South East Asia. Only 52,000 were repatriated to Java, meaning that there was a death rate of 80%. According to Mitsuyoshi Himeta, at least 2.7 million died during the Sankō Sakusen implemented in Heipei and Shantung by General Yasuji Okamura.
On February 19, 1942, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, interning thousands of Japanese, Italians, German Americans, and some emigrants from Hawaii who fled after the bombing of Pearl Harbor for the duration of the war. 150,000 Japanese-Americans were interned by the U.S. and Canadian governments, as well as nearly 11,000 German and Italian residents of the U.S.
Allied use of slave labor occurred mainly in the east, such as in Poland, but more than a million was also put to work in the west. By December 1945 it was estimated by French authorities that 2,000 German prisoners were being killed or maimed each month in mine-clearing accidents.