Paragraph 175 was a German statute that criminalized sexual relations between men. It did not criminalize sexual relations between women. Paragraph 175 predated the Nazi regime. However, the Nazis revised Paragraph 175 in 1935 to make it broader and harsher. It was one of the main tools that the Nazis used to persecute gay men and men accused of sexual relations with other men.
In 1933, Nazi students at more than 30 German universities pillaged libraries in search of books they considered to be "un-German." Among the writings thrown into the flames were political texts, literature, and even art books by or about such noted figures as Paul Klee.
Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was a German general who gained renown during World War I and later as President of the Weimar Republic. He is most relevant to Holocaust history through his dealings with Adolf Hitler. Although he did not approve of Hitler or his politics, Hindenburg became the man who made him Chancellor of Germany, enabling the Nazis’ takeover of power.
Pearl Harbor was was the site of the unprovoked aerial attack on the United States by Japan on December 7, 1941. Before the attack, many Americans were reluctant to become involved in the war in Europe. This all changed when the United States declared war on Japan, bringing the country into World War II.
The Nazi regime carried out a campaign against male homosexuality and persecuted gay men between 1933 and 1945. As part of this campaign, the Nazi regime closed gay bars and meeting places, dissolved gay associations, and shuttered gay presses. The Nazi regime also arrested and tried tens of thousands of gay men using Paragraph 175 of the German criminal code. Uncovering the histories of gay men during the Nazi era was difficult for much of the twentieth century because of continued prejudice against same-sex sexuality and the postwar German enforcement of Paragraph 175.
Despite great obstacles, Jews throughout occupied Europe attempted armed resistance against the Germans and their Axis partners. They faced overwhelming odds and desperate scenarios, including lack of weapons and training, operating in hostile zones, parting from family members, and facing an ever-present Nazi terror. Yet thousands resisted by joining or forming partisan units. Learn about some of their experiences.
Zionist and activist Peter H. Bergson advocated in the United States for the establishment of a Jewish Army and for the rescue of European Jews during the Holocaust. His aggressive lobbying tactics angered the leaders of many American Jewish organizations. Nevertheless, he successfully alerted Americans to the ongoing murder of European Jews and increased pressure on the Roosevelt administration to initiate rescue efforts.
During the Holocaust, some children went into hiding to escape Nazi persecution. With identities disguised, and often physically concealed from the outside world, these youngsters faced constant fear, dilemmas, and danger. Theirs was a life in shadows, where a careless remark, a denunciation, or the murmurings of inquisitive neighbors could lead to discovery and death.
For the Jews who survived the Holocaust, the end of World War II brought new challenges. Many could not or would not return to their former homelands, and options for legal immigration were limited. In spite of these difficulties, these Jewish survivors sought to rebuild their shattered lives by creating flourishing communities in displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy. In an unparalleled six-year period between 1945 and 1951, European Jewish life was reborn in camps such as Poking Pine City.
After defeating the Polish army in September 1939, the Germans ruthlessly suppressed the Poles by murdering thousands of civilians, establishing massive forced-labor programs, and relocating hundreds of thousands.
The Nazis demanded that Germans accept the premises of the Nazi worldview and live their lives accordingly. They tolerated no criticism, dissent, or nonconformity. Hitler's political opponents were the first victims of systematic Nazi persecution.
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