The best-kept secret about the Holocaust is that Poland lost six million citizens or about one-fifth of its population: three million of the dead were Polish Christians, predominantly Catholic, and the other three million were Polish Jews. The second best-kept secret of the Holocaust is that the greatest number of Gentile rescuers of Jews were Poles, despite the fact that Poland was the only country where people were immediately executed if caught trying to save Jews. The Yad Vashem museum in Israel honors "the Righteous Among the Nations" and Poland ranks first among 40 nations with 5,503 men and women, almost one-third of the total, honored for their "compassion, courage and morality" and who "risked their lives to save the lives of Jews." Edward Lucaire
During their occupation of Poland (1939-1945), Nazi Germany built a varied system of camps throughout the country, including extermination camps, concentration camps, labor and POW camps. In short, occupied Poland was like a prison territory. In total there were 430 camp complexes. Some camps, such as Auschwitz and Stutthof, consisted of dozens of subsidiary camps.
Six death camps were constructed in Poland. Between 1941-42 they were used for mass extermination. None lasted longer than eighteen months. However, it was only after the majority of Jews from all the ghettos were exterminated that the gas chambers and crematoria were blown up to conceal evidence.
Jews, Romani peoples, Poles, along with all other Slavic people and anyone else who was not an “Aryan” according to Nazi race terminology were classified as Untermenschen (subhuman). The Nazis rationalized that they had a biological right to displace, eliminate or enslave inferiors. The “Big Plan,” Generalplan Ost, as it was called by the Nazis was to expel more than 50 million Eastern European Slavs and the adjacent Baltic peoples to Siberia. Part of the way of initiating the plan was to starve tens of millions of Slavs, not only to assure their deaths, but to ensure a steady food supply for the German people and troops.