The Jewish children of Lodz suffered unfolding harsh realities after the German invasion of Poland. Some of the children, among them Chaim Kozienicki, recorded their experiences in diaries. Their voices offer a view into the struggle of a community and its young to live in spite of the most difficult circumstances.
Chaim Yelin was well-known among Kovno's Jews both as a promising Yiddish writer as as leader of the ghetto's underground resistance movement again the Germans. During the German occupation, Yelin led the Communist underground until his capture and murder in the spring of 1944.
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. Among them was Charles Bedzow.
Throughout the 1930s, Charles E. Coughlin was one of the most influential men in the United States. He was a Catholic priest in the metro Detroit area who became politically active. Foreshadowing modern talk radio and televangelism, Coughlin led radio broadcasts that reached tens of millions listeners. He broadcast religious services with political overtones and expressed antisemitic views. He also voiced pro-Nazi opinions that made him a person of interest for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1942.
To carry out the mass murder of Europe's Jews, the SS established killing centers devoted exlusively or primarily to the destruction of human beings in gas chambers. Chelmno was among these killing centers. It was the first stationary facility where poison gas was used for the mass murder of Jews.
Children were especially vulnerable to Nazi persecution. Some were targeted on supposed racial grounds, such as Jewish youngsters. Others were targeted for biological reasons, such as patients with physical or mental disabilities, or because of their alleged resistance or political activities. As many as 1.5 million Jewish children alone were murdered or died at the hands of Nazi officials or their collaborators.
Founded in Russia in 1912 by Jewish doctors and intellectuals, the Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants (Society for Assistance to Children; OSE) had a history of providing aid to Jewish families in need. During World War II, it operated fourteen children's homes throughout France to save Jewish children from internment and deportation to killing centers.
Of the millions of children who suffered persecution at the hands of the Nazis and their Axis partners, a small number wrote diaries and journals that have survived. These young writers documented their experiences, confided their feelings, and reflected on the trauma they endured during these nightmare years.
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 Cinecittà.
German authorities required the assistance of the Axis nations and of local collaborators in the regions they occupied to implement the "Final Solution." Collaborators committed some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust era.
Shortly after World War II, an American intelligence officer living in Germany uncovered a personal album of photographs chronicling SS officers’ activities at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Museum received this photograph album in 2007. The rare images show Nazis singing, hunting, and even trimming a Christmas tree. They provide a chilling contrast to the photographs of thousands of Hungarian Jews deported to Auschwitz at the same time.
Millions of people suffered and died in camps, ghettos, and other sites during the Holocaust. The Nazis and their allies oversaw more than 44,000 camps, ghettos, and other sites of detention, persecution, forced labor, and murder. Among them was Columbia-Haus.
The Holocaust is the best documented case of genocide. During the trials held in Nuremberg after the war, Allied prosecutors submitted thousands of German documents proving that the Nazi regime had carried out the systematic persecution and destruction of the Jewish people. This evidence included numerous photographs and films created by Nazi Germans. It also included eyewitness accounts by survivors and perpetrators.
Communism is an economic and political philosophy grounded in the belief that societies are shaped by their economic systems. According to communism, capitalism creates social problems by dividing wealth unfairly between two classes of people. Therefore, the economic system must be reformed to distribute wealth equally. Communist ideas spread rapidly in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, offering an alternative to both capitalism and far-right fascism and setting the stage for a political conflict with global repercussions.
The camp system was extensive. It included concentration camps, labor camps, prisoner-of-war camps, transit camps, and killing centers.
During the first six years of the Nazi regime, thousands of Germans were detained or confined extra-legally. The conditions were usually harsh and there was no regard to the legal norms of arrest and imprisonment of a constitutional democracy in terms of arrest and imprisonment.
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