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Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin introduced the word genocide in 1944 and lobbied tirelessly for its addition as a crime in international law.
The 1936 Olympics were the first to employ the torch relay. Learn more about this new ritual, Nazi propaganda, and the Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany.
Unlike camps in the concentration camp system, the Theresienstadt "camp-ghetto" was subordinate to the SS officials who ran the Prague branch of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. This reflected Theresienstadt's special status as a transit station. SS First Lieutenant Siegfried Seidl, who was responsible for establishing and commanding the camp-ghetto, reported directly to the chief of that office, SS Captain Hans Günther. Günther in turn reported to Adolf Eichmann at the Reich Security Main…
As of March 15, 1939, the Jewish religious community in Prague determined that approximately 125,000 Jews, as “defined” under the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935, lived on the territory of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. In Contrast, on October 1, 1941, the Jewish religious community could identify 88,105, a decrease of 37,000 persons, due primarily to legal (26,000) and illegal (5,000-6,000) emigration. More than half lived in Prague. Initially, the leadership of the Jewish religious community…
At the beginning of WWII, people with mental or physical disabilities were targeted for murder in what the Nazis called the T-4, or "euthanasia," program.
Explore a timeline of the history of the Ravensbrück camp in the Nazi camp system from its establishment in 1938 until the last of the Ravensbrück trials in 1966.
Ravensbrück was the largest concentration camp for women in the German Reich. Learn about the last months of the Ravensbrück camp and the postwar trials of camp staff.
Read the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation's short biography of Joe Kubryk.
American-Jewish journalist and author Ben Hecht co-wrote the We Will Never Die pageant and advocated for the rescue of Jewish victims from Nazism. Learn more.
Key dates illustrating the relationship between Germany’s professional military elite and the Nazi state, and the German military’s role in the Holocaust.
Explore a timeline of key events in the history of the Sobibor killing center in the General Government, the German-administered territory of occupied Poland.
Key dates in the use of the term genocide as part of the political, legal, and ethical vocabulary of responding to widespread threats of violence against groups.
At Babyn Yar in late September 1941, SS and German police units and their auxiliaries perpetrated one of the largest massacres of World War II.
Irena was the second of four children born to religious Roman Catholic parents in Poland's capital of Warsaw. Irena's father owned a successful textile business. When Irena was 10, her family moved to a comfortable apartment near the Royal Castle and the Vistula River. In 1930 Irena entered a private grade school. 1933-39: At 14 Irena began secondary school. She was a good student and wanted to be a doctor. On September 1, 1939, the day she was supposed to begin the new school year, the Germans attacked…
Odon was the third of four children born to Roman Catholic parents in Warsaw, Poland's capital. His father had worked for the Polish merchant marine before starting his own textile business in 1930. When Odon was 8, the family moved to a comfortable apartment located near the Royal Castle and Vistula River. In 1932 Odon began attending grade school. 1933-39: In September 1938 Odon began secondary school. Sensing growing danger from Germany, his father advised him to study German in addition to French. On…
Mieczyslaw was the eldest of three sons born to well-to-do Roman Catholic parents in Poland's capital of Warsaw. His father was a real estate developer and his mother was a housewife. Mieczyslaw, or Mieteck as he was nicknamed, began attending public elementary school in 1930 when he was 7 years old. 1933-39: Mieczyslaw's father urged him to study either German or Russian because he thought it was likely that there would be a German or Soviet invasion. Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. During…
Szlamach was one of six children born to Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish parents. Szlamach's father was a peddler, and the Radoszynski family lived in a modest apartment in Warsaw's Praga section on the east bank of the Vistula River. After completing his schooling at the age of 16, Szlamach apprenticed to become a furrier. 1933-39: During the 1930s Szlamach owned a fur business. Despite the Depression, he was hoping the economy would turn around so that he could make enough money to move into his own…
Learn about the origins and legacy of Pastor Martin Niemöller's famous postwar words, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out…”
The experiences of World War I and its aftermath would profoundly shape the attitudes and actions of leaders and ordinary people during the Holocaust.
Explore a timeline of key events during the history of the Treblinka killing center in German-occupied Poland.
Hermann Göring held many positions of power and leadership within the Nazi state. Learn about key dates in the life of Hermann Göring.
The Germans established the Blechhammer camp as a subcamp of Auschwitz in April 1941. Learn about the camp's history and conditions there.
The Nazi Party Platform was a 25-point program for the creation of a Nazi state and society. Hitler presented it at the Hofbräuhaus Beerhall in Munich in February 1920.
The “Tehran Children” is the name used to refer to a group of Polish Jewish children, mainly orphans, who escaped the Nazi German occupation of Poland. This group of children found temporary refuge in orphanages and shelters in the Soviet Union, a...
Hundreds of laws, decrees, guidelines, and regulations increasingly restricted the civil and human rights of Jews in Germany from 1933-39. Learn more.
Behind the number of victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution are people whose hopes and dreams were destroyed. Learn about the toll of Nazi policies.
In October 1940, Nazi authorities established the Warsaw ghetto. Learn more about life in the ghetto, deportations, armed resistance, and liberation.
Ion Antonescu governed Romania from 1940 until 1944. Antonescu aligned Romania with the Axis powers in November 1940, and became one of Nazi Germany's closest allies. Romania joined in the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. It also implemented harsh anti-Jewish policies against Jews in Romania. While Antonescu ultimately refused to hand Jews over to the Germans, Romanian forces brutally killed hundreds of thousands of Jews, mainly residents of Bessarabia, Bukovina, and the western Ukraine. As the…
On August 1, 1944, the Armia Krajowa (Polish Home Army) launched an uprising in Warsaw against the German occupiers. Although the Western allies dropped ammunition and supplies and the Soviet army was within sight of the city, the uprising was crushed. This German newsreel footage shows the German suppression of the uprising.
Announcement dropped by American planes on Shanghai near the end of the war. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]
Emanuel Ringelblum was a Warsaw-based historian and social welfare worker before WWII. Learn about the secret archive he would establish in the Warsaw ghetto.
The Wannsee Protocol documents the 1942 Wannsee Conference participants and indicates their agreement to collaborate on a continental scale in the Final Solution.
Nazi efforts to control forms of communication through censorship and propaganda included control of publications, art, theater, music, movies, and radio.
Drexel Sprecher was educated at the University of Wisconsin, the London School of Economics, and at the Harvard School of Law before receiving a position at the US Government's Labor Board in 1938. He enlisted in the American military after the United States declared war on Germany, and was posted to London. After the war, Sprecher served as a prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.
Marcelle Bock (born Marcelle Burakowski) was born in 1931. She was the oldest of three girls. She had twin sisters, two years younger than herself, named Berthe and Jenny. Her father worked as a tailor of men's overcoats. Marcelle is ten years old in this photograph. Her sisters are eight years old. Marcelle, her mother, and sisters were arrested during the roundup of July 16-17, 1942, and taken to the Vélodrome d'Hiver in Paris, France. Marcelle managed to escape during transit from…
View of the Olympic Stadium, centerpiece of Berlin's Reich Sports Field. Berlin, Germany, 1936. The Nazis made elaborate preparations for the August 1–16 Summer Olympic Games. A huge sports complex was constructed, including the new stadium and state-of-the art Olympic village for housing the athletes. Olympic flags and swastikas bedecked the monuments and houses of a festive, crowded Berlin. Most tourists were unaware that the Nazi regime had temporarily removed anti-Jewish signs, nor would…
Survivors of the Holocaust faced huge obstacles in rebuilding their lives. Learn about the challenges they faced in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
German physicians conducted inhumane experiments on prisoners in the camps during the Holocaust. Learn more about Nazi medical experiments during WW2.
The American Jewish Congress led anti-Nazi protest rallies in the 1930s and 1940s. Learn about the AJC's creation, leadership, activities, and rescue efforts.
Leon Jakubowicz began constructing a model of the Lodz ghetto in the spring of 1940, after the ghetto was sealed. Explore the artifact and Leon's story.
Explore a timeline of key events in the history of the Trawniki in German-occupied Poland.
Heinrich Himmler was the leader of the dreaded SS of the Nazi Party from 1929 until 1945. Learn more about key dates in the life of Heinrich Himmler.
Jews were the main targets of Nazi genocide. Learn about other individuals from a broad range of backgrounds who were imprisoned in the Nazi camp system.
Explore a timeline of key events during 1940 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.
The Law for the Imposition and Implementation of the Death Penalty was one of a seri...
The term Kielce pogrom refers to a violent massacre of Jews in the southeastern Polish town of Kielce on July 4, 1946. Introduction Pogrom is a Russian word meaning “to wreak havoc, to demolish violently.” Historically, the term refers to violent attacks by local non-Jewish populations on Jews in the Russian Empire. During the Kielce incident, a mob of Polish soldiers, police officers, and civilians murdered at least 42 Jews and injured over 40 in the worst outburst of anti-Jewish violence in…
The Armenian genocide is sometimes called the first genocide of the twentieth century.
By a decree of the Reich Ministry of the Interior in May 1939, the Reich Center for Comba...
A newspaper advertisement for the Damenklub Violetta, a Berlin club frequented by lesbians, 1928. Before the Nazis came to power in 1933, lesbian communities and networks flourished in Germany.
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