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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.
Inge grew up in Vienna's Leopoldstadt, a large Jewish district located between the banks of the Danube Canal and the Danube River. The Scheers loved music, and Inge grew up listening to family members singing selections from popular operettas. 1933-39: Inge was 8 years old when the Germans annexed Austria in 1938 and her parents decided they'd better flee. They were smuggled illegally, via the Netherlands, to Brussels where the Jewish community helped to hide illegal refugees like Inge and her family.…
During World War II, SS and police leaders played a key role in the mass murder of Europe’s Jews. Learn how Himmler combined the SS and police to create a radical weapon for the Nazi regime.
The Warsaw ghetto uprising was the largest, symbolically most important Jewish uprising, and first urban uprising in German-occupied Europe.
In October 1940, Nazi authorities established the Warsaw ghetto. Learn more about life in the ghetto, deportations, armed resistance, and liberation.
Japan’s aerial attack on Pearl Harbor changed many Americans' attitudes toward involvement in WWII. Learn more about the events, facts, and background info.
The Jewish children of Lodz suffered harsh conditions after the German invasion of Poland. Read excerpts from diaries where they recorded their experiences.
Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44,000 camps and other incarceration sites (including ghettos). The perpetrators used these locations for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people deemed to be "enemies of the state," and mass murder. Millions of people suffered and died or were killed. Among them was the Herzogenbusch main camp (also known as Vught).
At the Berga-Elster subcamp of Buchenwald, prisoners were forced to do dangerous and brutal work in tunnels to support fuel production for the German war effort.
Millions of people suffered and died in camps, ghettos, and other sites during the Holocaust....
The Lackenbach internment and transit camp for Roma, located in what had been eastern Austria, was a departure point for deportations to Lodz and Auschwitz.
The Vichy regime introduced race laws to the North African territories in October of 1940. Learn about the impact of the laws on the region’s Jewish people.
German forces razed the town of Lidice in June 1942 in retaliation for the death of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich. Learn about the assassination and reprisal.
With help from allies and collaborators, German authorities deported Jews from across Europe to killing centers. The vast majority were gassed almost immediately after their arrival in the killing centers.
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