In 1933, approximately 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe, comprising 1.7% of the total European population. This number represented more than 60 percent of the world’s Jewish population at that time, estimated at 15.3 million. The majority of Jews in prewar Europe resided in eastern Europe.
During this period, the largest Jewish communities in this area were in :
Soviet Union, 2.525.000
Great Britain, 300.000
Before the Nazis seized power in 1933, Europe had a richly diverse set of Jewish cultures, many of which were dynamic and highly developed, that drew from hundreds and, in some areas, a thousand or more years of Jewish life on the continent. The diverse nature of individual Jewish communities in occupations, religious practices, involvement and integration in regional and national life, and other areas made for fruitful and multifarious Jewish life across Europe. In many countries, Jews stood as cultural and political luminaries, and had marched alongside non-Jews in World War I. In little more than a decade, most of Europe would be conquered, occupied, or annexed by Nazi Germany and its Axis partners, and the majority of European Jews – two out of every three – would be dead.