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  • Wolfgang Kusserow

    ID Card

    When Wolfgang was an infant, his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses. His father moved the family to the small Westphalian town of Bad Lippspringe when Wolfgang was 9. Their home became the headquarters of a new Jehovah's Witness congregation. Wolfgang and his ten brothers and sisters grew up studying the Bible daily. 1933-39: The Kusserows were under close scrutiny by the Nazi secret police because of their religion. As a Jehovah's Witness, Wolfgang believed that his highest allegiance was to God and His…

    Wolfgang Kusserow
  • Oaths of Loyalty for All State Officials

    Article

    The Oath of Loyalty for All State Officials started to change in 1934. Learn more about the oath and Germany’s journey from democracy to a Nazi dictatorship.

    Oaths of Loyalty for All State Officials
  • Saul Ingber describes forced labor and brutality in the Gusen subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp

    Oral History

    Saul grew up in a religious Jewish family. He was trained as a tailor. In 1939 he was sent to forced labor along with most of the young men of his town. He worked in many different labor camps before being deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp system in 1944. While working there, Saul's hand was broken by an SS guard. He eventually ended up in the hospital in the Dachau camp. He was liberated by US troops in May 1945. After the war he returned to his hometown and was reunited with his sister. They…

    Saul Ingber describes forced labor and brutality in the Gusen subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp
  • Elie Wiesel

    Article

    Elie Wiesel was a human rights activist, author, and teacher who reflected on his experience during the Holocaust in more than 40 books. Learn more.

    Elie Wiesel
  • Propaganda for the Nazi Euthanasia Program

    Photo

    Photograph with the caption: "...because God cannot want the sick and ailing to reproduce." This image originates from a film, produced by the Reich Propaganda Ministry, that aimed through propaganda to develop public sympathy for the Nazi Euthanasia Program.

    Propaganda for the Nazi Euthanasia Program
  • Louis Fischer

    Article

    Louis Fischer was an American political historian. In May 1933, his work was burned in Nazi Germany for its sympathy toward Communism. Learn more.

  • Ernst Reiter

    ID Card

    Ernst was an only child born to atheist parents in southern Austria during the middle of World War I. Raised in Austria's second largest city, he loved the outdoors, especially skiing in the Alps. In the early 1930s Ernst became a Jehovah's Witness. Although Austria was then in a deep economic depression, he was fortunate to find a job as a sales clerk in a grocery store. 1933-39: Austria's Catholic government was hostile towards Jehovah's Witnesses. When the Germans annexed Austria in March 1938, their…

    Ernst Reiter
  • Wilhelm Kusserow

    ID Card

    Born at the beginning of World War I, Wilhelm was patriotically named after Germany's emperor, Wilhelm II. The eldest son, Wilhelm was raised a Lutheran, but after the war his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses and raised their children according to their faith. After 1931, their home in the rustic town of Bad Lippspringe became known as a center of Jehovah's Witness activity. 1933-39: The Kusserows were under close scrutiny by the Nazi police because Witnesses believed that their highest loyalty was to…

    Wilhelm Kusserow
  • Gregor Wohlfahrt

    ID Card

    Gregor was the second of six children born to Catholic parents in a village in the part of Austria known as Carinthia. His father was a farmer and quarryman. Disillusioned with Catholicism, his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses and raised their children according to that religion. As a boy, Gregor loved mountain climbing and skiing. 1933-39: Gregor attended school and worked as a waiter. The situation for Jehovah's Witnesses worsened after Germany annexed Austria in March 1938; Witnesses refused to swear…

    Gregor Wohlfahrt
  • Auschwitz fence posts and Elie Wiesel quote on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    Photo

    This photograph shows Auschwitz fence posts and a quote from Elie Wiesel's Night . They are on display in the third floor tower room of the Permanent Exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent…

    Auschwitz fence posts and Elie Wiesel quote on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • German Military Oaths

    Article

    In Nazi Germany, German military personnel swore an oath directly to Adolf Hitler. Learn about the oath and its impact.

    German Military Oaths
  • Albert Speer sworn in at Nuremberg

    Film

    Defendant Albert Speer is sworn in at the International Military Tribunal.

    Albert Speer sworn in at Nuremberg
  • Defendant Julius Streicher

    Film

    Defendant Julius Streicher is sworn in as a witness during the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

    Defendant Julius Streicher
  • Is It Ever Too Late to Seek Justice?

    Article

    Efforts to hold some of the remaining perpetrators of crimes of the Holocaust accountable continue today, raising the question: is it ever too late to seek justice?

    Is It Ever Too Late to Seek Justice?
  • Arnold Zweig

    Article

    Arnold Zweig was a German novelist and playwright. The Nazis denounced him as a pacifist, and his works were burned in 1933. Learn more.

  • Bella Jakubowicz Tovey describes a meeting between her father and the Jewish council leader in Sosnowiec

    Oral History

    Bella was the oldest of four children born to a Jewish family in Sosnowiec. Her father owned a knitting factory. After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, they took over the factory. The family's furniture was given to a German woman. Bella was forced to work in a factory in the Sosnowiec ghetto in 1941. At the end of 1942 the family was deported to the Bedzin ghetto. Bella was deported to the Graeben subcamp of Gross-Rosen in 1943 and to Bergen-Belsen in 1944. She was liberated in April 1945.

    Tags: ghettos police
    Bella Jakubowicz Tovey describes a meeting between her father and the Jewish council leader in Sosnowiec
  • Sandor (Shony) Alex Braun describes the death of his father in Kochendorf, a subcamp of Natzweiler

    Oral History

    Shony was born to religious Jewish parents in a small Transylvanian city. He began to learn the violin at age 5. His town was occupied by Hungary in 1940 and by Germany in 1944. In May 1944, he was deported to the Auschwitz camp in Poland. He was transferred to the Natzweiler camp system in France and then to Dachau, where he was liberated by US troops in April 1945. In 1950, he immigrated to the United States, and became a composer and a professional violinist.

    Sandor (Shony) Alex Braun describes the death of his father in Kochendorf, a subcamp of Natzweiler
  • Karl-Heinz Kusserow

    ID Card

    Karl-Heinz was born during World War I, while his father was in the German army. After the war, his Lutheran parents became Jehovah's Witnesses and gave their children daily Bible lessons. When Karl-Heinz was 13, the family moved to the rustic Westphalian town of Bad Lippspringe. Their home became the headquarters of a new Jehovah's Witness congregation. 1933-39: Because of the Jehovah's Witnesses' missionary work, and because their sole allegiance was to God and His commandments, their activities were…

    Karl-Heinz Kusserow
  • Ruth Warter

    ID Card

    Ruth lived in Uzliekniai, a village in the Memelland, a region in southwestern Lithuania ruled by Germany until 1919. An avid reader, Ruth was distressed by news of postwar political turmoil. In 1923, when Uzliekniai became part of Lithuania, she joined the Jehovah's Witnesses. She married Eduard Warter, another Jehovah's Witness, in 1928. They had four children over the next five years. 1933-39: Ruth was busy raising her children and making sure they did their Bible studies. On March 22, 1939, the German…

    Ruth Warter
  • Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany: From the 1890s to the 1930s

    Article

    The Nazi regime targeted Jehovah’s Witnesses for persecution. Learn about the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany before and after the Nazi rise to power.

    Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany: From the 1890s to the 1930s
  • David Bayer

    Article

    David Bayer lived in Kozienice, Poland. Explore his biography and learn about his experiences during World War II and the Holocaust.

    David Bayer
  • Antisemitism in History: From the Early Church to 1400

    Article

    The word antisemitism means prejudice against or hatred of Jews. Sometimes called "the longest hatred," it has persisted in many forms for over 2,000 years. Learn more.

    Tags: antisemitism
  • Lion Feuchtwanger

    Article

    Lion Feuchtwanger was a bestselling German Jewish author who was persecuted under the Nazi regime. His works were burned in the Nazi book burnings of May 1933.

    Lion Feuchtwanger
  • Jewish Badge: Origins

    Article

    Decrees that ordered Jews to wear special badges for purposes of identification existed before the Nazi era. Learn about this history.

    Tags: badges
    Jewish Badge: Origins
  • Life After the Holocaust: Blanka Rothschild

    Article

    After WWII and the fall of the Nazi regime, Holocaust survivors faced the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. Listen to Blanka Rothschild's story.

    Life After the Holocaust: Blanka Rothschild
  • Bart Stern describes the role of friendships in survival at Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Following the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944, Bart was forced into a ghetto established in his home town. From May to July 1944, the Germans deported Jews from Hungary to the Auschwitz killing center in occupied Poland. Bart was deported by cattle car to Auschwitz. At Auschwitz, he was selected to perform forced labor, drilling and digging in a coal mine. As Soviet forces advanced toward the Auschwitz camp in January 1945, the Germans forced most of the prisoners on a death march out of the…

    Tags: Auschwitz
    Bart Stern describes the role of friendships in survival at Auschwitz
  • Sandor (Shony) Alex Braun describes playing the violin for SS guards in Dachau. after two prisoners before him had been killed

    Oral History

    Shony was born to religious Jewish parents in a small Transylvanian city. He began to learn the violin at age 5. His town was occupied by Hungary in 1940 and by Germany in 1944. In May 1944, he was deported to the Auschwitz camp in Poland. He was transferred to the Natzweiler camp system in France and then to Dachau, where he was liberated by US troops in April 1945. In 1950, he immigrated to the United States, and became a composer and a professional violinist.

    Tags: music Dachau
    Sandor (Shony) Alex Braun describes playing the violin for SS guards in Dachau. after two prisoners before him had been killed
  • Johann Stossier

    ID Card

    Johann was born to Catholic parents in the part of Austria known as Carinthia, where he was raised on the family farm. Johann enjoyed acting and belonged to a theater group in nearby Sankt Martin, which also happened to have a Jehovah's Witness congregation. He became a Jehovah's Witness during the late 1920s, actively preaching in the district around Sankt Martin. 1933-39: Johann continued to do missionary work for the Jehovah's Witnesses even after this was banned by the Austrian government in 1936. The…

    Johann Stossier
  • Hitler Youth proficiency badge

    Artifact

    This Hitler Youth proficiency badge would have been awarded for the successful completion of a series of tests measuring physical and ideological proficiency. Success in these tests was rated according to criteria in the Hitler Youth identity document and performance book known as the Leistungsbuch. On this badge, the arrow shape (the tyr-rune) represents the warrior god Tyr.  Beginning in 1933, the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls had an important role to play in the new Nazi regime. Through…

    Hitler Youth proficiency badge
  • Truman proclaims victory in Europe

    Film

    World War II began with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ended in Allied victory in Europe with the German surrender in May 1945. May 8 was proclaimed VE (Victory in Europe) Day. In this footage, United States president Harry S. Truman proclaims victory in Europe and promises to continue the war in the pacific until the unconditional surrender of Japan.

    Truman proclaims victory in Europe
  • Japanese surrender

    Film

    World War II in the Pacific theater ended with the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945. The surrender was signed in Tokyo Bay aboard the American battleship USS "Missouri." Foreign Minister Shigemitsu headed the Japanese delegation. General Douglas MacArthur accepted the surrender on behalf of the Allies. Admiral Nimitz signed for the US and Admiral Fraser for Britain. Representatives of all the Allied nations attended the signing.

    Japanese surrender
  • Harold Herbst describes meeting a prisoner on the verge of death (known as a "Muselmann") in Buchenwald

    Oral History

    After studying medicine at Wayne State University in Michigan, Harold joined the army in 1942. He was attached to the 107th Evacuation Hospital. The unit trained in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and then tracked the US First Army after the June 1944 Normandy invasion. Harold was attached to the US Third Army under George S. Patton in December. He went to Buchenwald shortly after the SS guards fled the camp in April 1945.

    Tags: Buchenwald
    Harold Herbst describes meeting a prisoner on the verge of death (known as a "Muselmann") in Buchenwald
  • Elie Wiesel: On the Atrocities in Sudan

    Article

    Transcript of 2004 remarks delivered by Elie Wiesel, at a convening of the Darfur Emergency Summit, calling attention to atrocities in Sudan.

  • Nazi Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses

    Article

    Jehovah's Witnesses were subjected to intense persecution under the Nazi regime. Read more to learn why and how the Nazi regime targeted them.

    Nazi Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Corrie ten Boom

    Article

    Corrie ten Boom was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations for her efforts to shelter Jews during the German occupation of the Netherlands

    Corrie ten Boom
  • Purim

    Article

    Learn about the background and traditional observances of Purim, a Jewish holiday marking the deliverance of the Jews from a royal death decree.

    Tags: Judaism
    Purim
  • Wilhelm Keitel: Biography

    Article

    Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel was commander of all German armed forces during World War II. Learn about his military career and postwar trial.

    Wilhelm Keitel: Biography
  • Mein Kampf

    Article

    Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is the best known and most popular Nazi text ever published with over 12 million copies sold from 1925 to 1945.

    Mein Kampf
  • Introduction to Judaism

    Article

    Learn more about Judaism and its practices and beliefs.

    Introduction to Judaism
  • United States Declares War on Japan

    Timeline Event

    December 8, 1941. On this date, Franklin D. Roosevelt asked the US Congress to declare war on Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    United States Declares War on Japan
  • Life After the Holocaust: Norman Salsitz

    Article

    After WWII and the fall of the Nazi regime, Holocaust survivors faced the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. Listen to Norman Salsitz's story.

    Life After the Holocaust: Norman Salsitz
  • Abraham Malnik

    ID Card

    Abraham was born to a Jewish family in Kovno, a city picturesquely situated at the confluence of two rivers. With an opera company, chic stores and lively nightclubs, it was often called "Little Paris." The city had a large Jewish community of 38,000 and was known for its extensive Hebrew school system. Abraham's father was a barber, and his mother was a beautician. 1933-39: When Abraham was a kid his family used to go to his grandparents' house for Sunday dinner. In the winter they would take a…

    Tags: Kovno children
    Abraham Malnik
  • Abraham Bergman

    ID Card

    Abraham was born to a Jewish family in Krasnik, a town in the Lublin district of Poland. The town had a large Jewish population. Abraham's father was a tailor. When Abraham was 2, his mother died and he was raised by his grandmother. At the age of 7, Abraham started public school. 1933-39: Abraham liked school but found it difficult. The Christian children often yelled at the Jews, "You killed our God." One year, on the day before Christmas break, some kids brought ropes tied to iron weights to school.…

    Tags: Lublin
    Abraham Bergman
  • Saul Ingber

    ID Card

    Saul was born to a Jewish family in the small northern Transylvanian town of Moisei, famous for its 18th-century monastery, to which many Christians came on pilgrimage. Saul's family was religious. His father transported lumber to several mills in the area. 1933-39: Saul and his brothers attended a Jewish school held at their neighbor's home. A rabbi led them in prayers and they learned quotations from holy texts. After his schooling he needed to learn a trade, so he decided to become a tailor. Jews were…

    Saul Ingber
  • Elias (Elya) Grosmann

    ID Card

    Elias was born in a small town in the hill country of northeastern Slovakia. His family was Jewish, and he grew up in a religious home in which both Yiddish and Hungarian were spoken. His father was a peddler and his mother ran a small general store. Besides attending public schools, Elias received a formal Jewish education and attended Medzilaborce's rabbinical academy. 1933-39: The townspeople were mostly Jewish and worried about Nazi Germany. The German annexation of Austria in March 1938 alarmed them.…

    Elias (Elya) Grosmann
  • Franz Wohlfahrt

    ID Card

    The eldest of six children born to Catholic parents, Franz was raised in a village in the part of Austria known as Carinthia. His father was a farmer and quarryman. Disillusioned with Catholicism, his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses during Franz's childhood and raised their children in their new faith. As a teenager, Franz was interested in painting and skiing. 1933-39: Franz was apprenticed to be a house painter and decorator. After Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938, like other Jehovah's…

    Franz Wohlfahrt
  • Helene Gotthold

    ID Card

    Helene lived in Herne and Bochum in western Germany, where she was married to a coal miner who was unemployed between 1927 and 1938. Following their disillusionment with the Lutheran Church during World War I, Helene, who was a nurse, and her husband became Jehovah's Witnesses in 1926. Together, they raised their two children according to the teachings of the Scripture. 1933-39: Under the Nazis, Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted for their missionary work and because they believed their sole allegiance…

    Helene Gotthold
  • Simone Arnold

    ID Card

    Simone was born in the Alsatian village of Husseren-Wesserling. In 1933 when she was three, her parents moved to the nearby city of Mulhouse. There, her father worked in a printing factory. Her parents were Jehovah's Witnesses and instilled in her the teachings of the faith. Above all, she was taught the importance of placing obedience to God before allegiance to any earthly authority. 1933-39: Simone grew up in a home full of love. Her parents would read the Bible to her. Their life included music, art,…

    Simone Arnold
  • Magdalena Kusserow

    ID Card

    One of 11 children, Magdalena was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. When she was 7, her family moved to the small town of Bad Lippspringe. Her father was a retired postal official and her mother was a teacher. Their home was known as "The Golden Age" because it was the headquarters of the local Jehovah's Witness congregation. By age 8 Magdalena could recite many Bible verses by heart. 1933-39: The Kusserow's loyalty was to Jehovah, so the Nazis marked them as enemies. At 12 Magdalena joined her parents and…

    Magdalena Kusserow
  • Isachar Herszenhorn (Irving Horn)

    ID Card

    Isachar was born to a Jewish family in the Polish city of Radom, approximately 75 miles south of Warsaw. The city was the center of Poland's leather-tanning industry. Isachar's father worked as a salesman for a nearby tanning factory. His father was a successful salesman and the family lived comfortably. 1933-39: During registration for Isachar's first-grade class in 1934, a Jewish boy was pushed down the stairs. When his mother confronted the principal about the incident, all he said was that the boy had…

    Tags: Radom Dachau
    Isachar Herszenhorn (Irving Horn)

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