What is a "Holocaust Survivor"?

1. Unfortunately there is some confusion and disagreement about what this term means.

2. Some people use a narrow definition, including only those who at the start of WWII were living in or citizens of an area that came under Nazi control. (Note that this does not mean that they ever actually lived under Nazi control; they may have escaped after the war started but before the Nazis actually arrived.) Others use a much broader definition. They include everyone who was living in such an area at the time Hitler came to power, even if they emigrated to a safe area long before the start of the war.

Even within the narrow definition, not every Holocaust survivor is a concentration camp survivor. Any Jew who survived in hiding, or by passing as a Gentile, or as a member of the Soviet army, would be a Holocaust survivor without being a concentration camp survivor.

3. Some Holocaust deniers try to use this confusion over definition to dispute the death toll. "If six million really died," they argue, "there couldn't possibly be that many Holocaust survivors." This argument trades on the confusion about the meaning of the term "Holocaust survivor."

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