World Facts

Most Horrific Genocides In Human History

When racism and xenophobia have been allowed to grow to their worst extremes, millions of innocent people have died for merely who they were.

10. Srebrenica Massacre (1995)

The Srebrenica Massacre was a dark episode of genocide during the Bosnian War when in July 1995, nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred by the Bosnian Serb army in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. The event also witnessed the expulsion of nearly 20,000 civilians in the region as a part of the“ethnic cleaning” practices by the army. Though massive international protests against this genocide led to the declaration of cease fire and end of the Bosnian War, deep scars were left behind in the memory of those who managed to escape this horrendous genocide.

9. German South-West Africa Genocide (1904 to 1908)

The German South-West Africa Genocide or the Herero and Namaqua Genocide involved the mass killing of Africans belonging to the Herero and Nama tribes by the armed forces of the colonial German Empire ruling in the German South West Africa region (now modern day Namibia. In 1904, the Herero people rebelled against the German colonial rule in their land. This was followed by the Battle of Waterberg where the Hereros were badly defeated by the German forces and forced to take refuge in the Namib Desert. Unable to return back as the German forces stopped them, the people died a long and painful death due to starvation and dehydration in the desert. A few months after this incident, an uprising of the Nama people followed only to be again easily suppressed by the Germans. It is estimated that the Germans claimed the lives of nearly 24,000 to 100,000 Hereros and nearly 10,000 Namas in this merciless genocide. Some accounts also claim that the German forces poisoned the wells in the Namib Desert which further killed the fleeing Africans in the desert.

8. Bangladeshi Massacre (1971)

After the British left India in 1947, the county was divided on the basis of religion into Pakistan and India. Pakistan included both Western Pakistan, bordering Jammu and Kashmir to the north of India and Eastern Pakistan which is now the independent country of Bangladesh. In 1971, the people of Eastern Pakistan revolted against their government demanding a separate, independent state for themselves. In the nine month Bangladeshi War of Independence fought by the Bengalis of the region, nearly 300,000 to 3,000,000 people were brutally killed by the military force of Western Pakistan. The genocide was launched on March 26, 1971, deemed as Operation Searchlight. A large number of women were also raped during this event. Clashes also broke out between Urdu-speaking Bihari Muslims and Bengali speaking Muslims in the region. The war ended with the formation of the newly independent nation of Bangladesh.

7. Hutu and Tutsi Massacres of Burundi (1972 and 1993)

The Hutu and the Tutsi massacres of Burundi took place over two episodes one in 1972 and the other in 1993. In 1972, the Hutu people inhabiting the country were killed en masse by the Tutsis while the opposite happened in 1993 when the Tutsi people suffered massive losses in the Hutu attacks. The 1972 event was triggered by the rebellion by a section of the Hutus against the Tutsis. The Hutu rebels started killing the Tutsis and other Hutus who did not support their action. To stop the rebels, the President of Burundi ordered for the killing of all Hutus and Hutus belonging to all socioeconomic classes were killed under this order. Nearly 80,000 to 210,000 Hutus are claimed to have died in this massacre. Clashes and skirmished between the Hutus and Tutsis continued but not to such large scales as the 1972 massacre. Again, in June 1993, a Hutu party won the elections in Burundi and soon after, tensions escalated between the two factions of society. Hutus started attacking Tutsis and vice versa. On October 21, 1993, the President of Burundi was assassinated and the country entered a dark period of civil war where nearly 25,000 Tutsis are believed to have been massacred while Hutu civilians were also not spared.

6. Croatian Ustasha Genocide (1941 to 1945)

The Croatian Ustasha Genocide, also known as the Holocaust in Croatia, was an episode of massacre of the Jews inhabiting the region between 1941 to 1945 during the Second World War. It was committed by the fascist Ustaše regime of the Independent State of Croatia, comprising what is today modern day Croatia, Herzegovina, Bosnia and parts of Serbia. The Jews were killed in both Ustaše run concentration camps or handed over to Nazi-run concentration camps for execution.

5. Zunghar Genocide (1755 to 1758)

The Zunghar Genocide took place in the 18th Century when the ruling Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang, ordered the mass killing of the Zunghars, a Tibetan Muslim Oirat who were considered to be the members of the last nomadic kingdom of Zunghars Khanate. The massacre was initiated in 1755, after a section of the of the Zunghars rebelled against the rule of the Qing dynasty. The Manchu Generals then suppressed the rebellion by killing off nearly 80% of the Zunghars population in the region, accounting for nearly 500,000 to 800,000 people.

4. Rwandan Genocide (1994)

The Rwandan genocide witnessed the death of nearly 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans, accounting for nearly 20% of the country’s population and 70% of the country’s Tutsi populace. The genocide took place over a period of 100 days from April 7th through mid-July of 1994. The massacre was initiated by the Rwandan Government comprising of a Hutu-led government against the Tutsis during the Rwandan Civil War in response to the rebellion by the Tutsi led Rwandan Patriotic Front. Moderate Hutu leaders were also executed during the Rwandan genocide. In the aftermath of the genocide, the economy of Rwanda was in despair, many households of the Tutsis were headed by only women or orphaned children and the ravages of genocidal rape led to a spike in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases in the country. Today, Rwanda mourns the death of the genocide victims on two public holidays, April 7th and July 4th.

3. Khmer Rouge Cambodian Genocide (1975 to 1979)

In the Cambodian Genocide between 1975 and 1979, between 1.5 and 3 million people were killed by the brutal policies of the Khmer Rouge regime. People were forced to relocate, forced into labor, subjected to inhumane torture and other forms of atrocities. Many people were by killed by mass executions while others died from disease, starvation and malnutrition. This killing spree by the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot was undertaken with an objective of establishing a form of agrarian socialism in Cambodia. The invasion of the country by Vietnamese forces finally ended the genocide and brought respite to the people of the country.

2. Ottoman Ethnic Persecution (1915 to 1923)

The Greek genocide between 1915 and 1923 was part of the Ottoman policy of eliminating the Christian Ottoman Greeks from Anatolia starting from the time of the First World War. Greeks were selectively executed, massacred, forced to flee their homes and deported in large numbers. Most of the expelled Greeks went back to Greece and some fled to the countries of the neighboring Russian Empire. This genocide resulted in the almost complete elimination of the Greek population from the Ottoman-occupied areas. Other ethnic groups like the Armenians and Assyrians were also affected during this ethnic persecution.

1. Nazi Holocaust (1933 to 1945)

The Nazi Holocaust was the deadliest and most infamous genocide of the 20th Century. Over 6 million Jews were massacred between 1933 and 1945 by German state sponsored policies headed by Adolf Hitler. The genocide was carried out initially in German occupied Europe and later with Hitler’s growing power, spread to other European countries. The Jews were shown no mercy and without any justification, they were brought to extermination camps where they were either shot by paramilitary death squads or killed by exposure to toxic gases, a process known as gassing. Nearly 78% of the Jews in Europe were killed in this genocide. Apart from 6 million Jews, it is estimated that around the same number of non-Jewish peoples were also killed over the course of the Nazi Holocaust, including various Slavic groups, Serbs, prisoners of war taken from the Soviet Union, African-Europeans, Middle Eastern peoples, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled persons, political prisoners (especially Communists and Spanish Republicans taken from France, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Free Masons.

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