(JTA) — Nearly 1.5 million Jews, or about a quarter of all those murdered during the Holocaust, were murdered in just three months in 1942, a new study found.
The expedited murder rate was part of Nazi Germany’s Operation Reinhard for annihilating the Jews of Poland, according to the study published this week by biomathematician Lewi Stone of Tel Aviv University and RMIT University.
During that time, there was “an intense, 100-day (about three months) surge” of killing in August, September and October of 1942, the scholars wrote in the study titled “Quantifying the Holocaust: Hyperintense kill rates during the Nazi genocide.” It was published Wednesday by Science Advances magazine.
In August and September, around half a million victims were killed each month.
The majority of the murders were done in three large death camps in western Poland, either by gassing victims or shooting them.
An estimated 5.4 million to 5.8 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust during World War II, according to the study, though scholars have struggled to estimate exact numbers as officials attempted to destroy much of the documentation and evidence.
According to Yad Vashem, Israel’s main state museum for the genocide, at least 6 million people died in the Holocaust.
The new study used railway transportation records to identify more accurate numbers of those killed, the authors said. Stone attempted to identify not only how many victims were killed, but also at “the rate in which the genocide proceeded,” he wrote in the study.