Definition of ‘Holocaust Survivors’

Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 16:17:20 CDT
From: Adina Mishkoff mailto:[email protected]
Organization: AMCHA
Subject: Number of living Holocaust survivors
cc: AMCHA office mailto:[email protected]
To: Multiple recipients of list H-HOLOCAUST mailto:H [email protected]


We have seen several inquiries in the past regarding the number of living Holocaust survivors.

A recent committee put together by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office in relation to other research being conducted was charged with the task of defining who is a holocaust survivor and estimating the number of survivors living today worldwide.

The committee came up with the following based on discussions with researchers and experts in the field as well as commmissioning studies to complement existing data:

A. Definition of the term “Holocaust survivor”:

A Holocaust survivor will be defined as any Jew who lived in a country at the time when it was:

  • under Nazi regime
  • under Nazi occupation
  • under regime of Nazi collaborators as well as any Jew who fleed due to the above regime or occupation.
B. Estimates of living Holocaust survivors:
Israel: Between 360,000 — 380,000
FSU 184,000 — 220,000
USA 140,000 — 160,000
Western Europe 80,000 — 100,000
Eastern Europee 50,000 — 80,000
Other countries 20,000 — 20,000
TOTAL 834,000 — 960,000

Hopefully this will answer all those who have posed this question recently.

All the best,

Adina Mishkoff

Administrative Asst/AMCHA, Jerusalem

Webmaster note: By this definition, a Jew who lived under the Nazi regime or under Nazi occupation could have been a collaborator with the Nazis, and STILL be considered a “Holocaust survivor.”

On the other hand, Jews who were sent to the gulags by the Soviet state prior to the German invasion in 1941 are not considered “Holocaust survivors.” Presumably, Jews killed by the Soviet state are not “victims of the Holocaust.” They’re just dead.

Most amazingly, Jews who left Europe in 1933 or 1934 for America and elsewhere, and who lived a cushy life while the war raged in Europe, are considered “Holocaust survivors.”