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World War II in Europe During World War II, Germany overran much of Europe using a new tactic called the "Blitzkrieg" (lightning war). Blitzkrieg involved the massing of planes, tanks, and artillery. These forces would break through enemy defenses along a narrow front. Air power prevented the enemy from closing the breach. German forces encircled opposing troops, forcing them to surrender. Using the Blitzkrieg tactic, Germany defeated Poland (attacked in September 1939), Denmark (April 1940), Norway…
Auschwitz was the largest camp established by the Germans. It was a complex of camps, including a concentration camp, killing center, and forced-labor camp.
Explore a timeline of key events during 1944 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.
Now a national memorial site, the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome were the site of a German reprisal for a bombing by Italian resistance operatives in March 1944.
Rudolf Kasztner (1906–1957) was born in Cluj (then Kolozsvár) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was a Hungarian-Jewish journalist and Labor Zionist activist. He would become most well known for his controversial efforts to help Jewish refugees escape from Hungary in 1944. Before the German Occupation of Hungary Kasztner grew up in Transylvania (annexed to Hungary in 1940). He attended law school, but worked as a journalist. He became involved in Zionist politics in Hungary and joined the Labor…
The Vélodrome d'Hiver (or Vél d'Hiv) roundup was the largest French deportation of Jews during the Holocaust. It took place in Paris on July 16–17, 1942.
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.
Kovno had a rich and varied Jewish culture. Learn about the Soviet and German occupations of Kovno, ghettoization, secret archives, and resistance in Kovno during WWII and the Holocaust.
The War Refugee Board was a significant US attempt to rescue and relieve Jews and other endangered people under German occupation. Learn about its activities.
We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.