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Key dates in the life of Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Security Main Office, the SS and police agency most directly concerned with implementing Final Solution.
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.
On January 20, 1942, fifteen high-ranking Nazi Party and German government leaders gathered for an important meeting. They met in a wealthy section of Berlin at a villa by a lake known as Wannsee. Reinhard Heydrich, who was SS chief Heinrich Himmler's head deputy, held the meeting for the purpose of discussing the "final solution to the Jewish question in Europe" with key non-SS government leaders, including the secretaries of the Foreign Ministry and Justice, whose cooperation was needed. The "Final…
After deportation trains arrived at the killing centers, guards ordered the deportees to get out and form a line. The victims then went through a selection process. Men were separated from women and children. A Nazi, usually an SS physician, looked quickly at each person to decide if he or she was healthy and strong enough for forced labor. This SS officer then pointed to the left or the right; victims did not know that individuals were being selected to live or die. Babies and young children, pregnant…
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.
Moringen, Uckermark, and Litzmannstadt were reform camps established to confine young people who were deemed to have strayed from Nazi norms and ideals. Learn more
The 90th Infantry Division participated in major WWII campaigns and is recognized for liberating the Flossenbürg concentration camp in 1945.
The Sephardic Jewish community of Monastir was historically the largest Jewish community in Macedonia. Learn about the community before and during WWII and the Holocaust.
The Pohl Case was Case #4 of 12 Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings against leading German industrialists, military figures, SS perpetrators, and others.
Difficult debates took place within ghettos about whether and how to resist under the most adverse conditions. Read a rare account from the Lokacze ghetto.
A Project of the Miles Lerman Center Samuel Gruber (ne Munyo Gruber) was born in 1913, in Podhajce, Poland (Pidhaitsi, Ukraine). As a youth, Samuel belonged to the Zionist organizations Ha-Shomer ha-Tza'ir and He-halutz. When he was 14, Samuel went to Lvov, Poland (Lviv, Ukraine) to attend high school. After graduation, Samuel remained in Lvov for about two years. He then returned to Podhajce where he worked as a bookkeeper for a company that manufactured farm equipment and bicycles. Though very few…
Fighting began in North Africa on September 13, 1940, when Marshal Rodolfo Graziani's Italian 10th Army launched an attack from its bases in Libya on outnumbered British forces in western Egypt. A successful British counterattack initiated on December 9, 1940, led by General Sir Archibald Wavell, resulted in Italian defeat at Tobruk (Tubruq) in eastern Libya on January 22, 1941. On February 12, 1941, German General Erwin Rommel arrived in Libya to take command of troops sent to reinforce Germany's Italian…
Key dates illustrating the relationship between Germany’s professional military elite and the Nazi state, and the German military’s role in the Holocaust.
In 1933 Barbara's family moved to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. They became friends of Anne Frank and her family. The Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940. Barbara's boyfriend, Manfred, had underground contacts and she got false papers. Her mother, sister, and father were deported to Westerbork and then to Auschwitz. Barbara survived using her false papers and worked for the resistance. She helped take Jews to hiding places and also hid Jews in an apartment held in her false name.
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.
Learn about the Freiburg subcamp of Flossenbürg, including its establishment, prisoner population, and conditions there.
The German-Soviet Pact paved the way for the joint invasion and occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939.
Hermann Göring was head of the German air force. He was one of 22 major war criminals tried by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Here, Göring testifies about his order of July 31, 1941, authorizing Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reich Security Main Office, to plan a so-called "solution to the Jewish question in Europe." The Tribunal found Göring guilty on all counts and sentenced him to death. Göring committed suicide shortly before his execution was to take place.
Mendel was raised in a large, Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish family in Sokolow Podlaski, a manufacturing town in central Poland with a large Jewish population of about 5,000. Upon completing school, Mendel worked as a shoemaker. He was also active in a local Zionist organization. 1933-39: Mendel was married and had a family when the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Aircraft bombed the town's market and other civilian targets before victorious German troops marched into Sokolow Podlaski on…
Benjamin, called "Benno" by his family and friends, grew up in a religious Jewish household in Amsterdam. Benno's father, a successful diamond manufacturer, was president of the Amsterdam Jewish community. Benno had two younger sisters and enjoyed collecting stamps. 1933-39: After he obtained some work experience in a department store, Benno joined his father in the diamond business. Benno adhered strictly to Jewish law. He loved tennis and skiing, and in 1938, while skiing in Switzerland, he met a girl…
Channah was one of six children born to a Jewish family. In 1914, a year after her father died, the family fled during World War I to Russia. After the war they returned to Lithuania and settled in the village of Pampenai in a house owned by Channah's grandparents. When Channah's three oldest siblings moved to South Africa in the 1920s, Channah helped support the family by sewing. 1933-39: Channah was working as a seamstress in Pampenai when, in the mid 1930s, she met and married Channoch Zaidel. The…
Rachel, born Rachel Karpus, was born to a Jewish family in the northeastern Polish city of Vilna. At the age of 16, Rachel married Reuven Galperin, a typesetter for a Jewish newspaper in the city, and the couple subsequently had 16 children. Only nine of the children lived to the 1930s. 1933-39: In addition to caring for her children, Rachel also operated a small grocery on Nowigorod Street. In 1938 Rachel's husband died. One year later, on September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and 17 days after that…
Betje and her sister Saartje were born to Jewish parents in the town of Zwolle in the Netherlands' north central province of Overijssel. Betje was known affectionately as "Bep" to her friends. The Jakobs family owned a successful sporting goods store. 1933-39: As a young girl, Betje enjoyed playing the piano, knitting and tennis. At age 16, while still in secondary school, she began to date Maurits Wijnberg, a boy two years her senior, whose family owned Zwolle's Hotel Wijnberg. 1940-42: The Germans…
Marriage certificate obtained by Dr. Mohamed Helmy stating that Anna Gutman (Boros) married an Egyptian man in a ceremony held in Helmy’s home. Dr. Helmy also received certification from the Central Islamic Institute in Berlin attesting to Anna’s conversion to Islam, which the marriage certificate reflects. Translation: Marriage certificate On Wednesday June 16, 1943, we have certified the marriage contract between Abdelaziz Helmy Hammad, 36 years old, who was born on May 6th, 1906, in Faqous,…
Elka was raised in a large, Yiddish-speaking Jewish family in Sokolow Podlaski, a manufacturing town in central Poland with a large Jewish population of some 5,000. Elka was 14 when she graduated from middle school. After completing her schooling, she became a tailor. Working at home, she made clothes for different clothiers in town. 1933-39: Elka was unmarried and living with her parents when war between Germany and Poland broke out on September 1, 1939. German aircraft bombed Sokolow Podlaski's market…
Sally was an only son born to Jewish parents in the Baltic port of Liepaja. When Sally was a child, his family moved to Aizpute, a small town 25 miles northeast of Liepaja. There his parents, along with a partner, opened a dry-goods store. Sally attended a German-language private Jewish school in Aizpute. 1933-39: The Izikowitz's store was well-known in the city. People purchased fabric there to be made into clothes or furniture coverings. In 1939 Sally graduated secondary school. Germany invaded Poland…
Henry Morgenthau Jr had a key role in creating and operating the War Refugee Board, a government agency tasked with rescuing and providing relief for Jews during the Holocaust.
These tiny black, white, gold, and clear glass beads were used by Rachel “Chelly” de Groot from November 1942 to April 1944 and recovered by her brother Louis after the war. Chelly used the beads to make handicrafts. On November 16, 1942, Chelly, then 15, Louis, 13, and their parents Meijer and Sophia left Arnhem and went into hiding after the Dutch police warned them of a raid. Meijer and Sophia hid in Amsterdam while Chelly and Louis moved around to different locations. In summer or fall 1943,…
Ben Ferencz investigated and prosecuted Nazi crimes and devoted his career to creating an international system of justice. Learn about his activities and impact.
October 15, 1941. On this date, Walter Stahlecker submitted a report on the killing of Jewish civilians in the northwestern Soviet Union.
April 13, 1945. On this date, Otto Wolf, a teen diarist who chronicled his family's experience in hiding, wrote his last diary entry before his death.
April 17, 1945. On this date, Felicitas Wolf wrote her first entry in her brother Otto's diary after his disappearance.
April 20-21, 1945. On this date, SS guards evacuated prisoners from the Sachsenausen concentration camp in Germany.
Key dates in the history of the SS (Schutzstaffel; Protection Squadrons), charged with the leadership of the “Final Solution,” the murder of European Jews.
Adolf Eichmann was a key figure in implementing the “Final Solution,” the Nazi plan to kill Europe's Jews. Learn more through key dates and events.
Learn about photographs contained in Karl Höcker’s album depicting official visits, ceremonies, and the social activities of the Auschwitz camp staff.
Learn about the establishment of the Theresienstadt camp/ghetto, which served multiple purposes from 1941-45 and had an important propaganda function for the Germans.
Trials of top surviving German leaders for Nazi Germany’s crimes began in Nuremberg after World War II. Read about the Nuremberg trials.
The Warsaw ghetto uprising was the largest uprising by Jews during World War II. 100s of ghetto fighters fought heavily armed and well-trained Germans for nearly a month.
Earl G. Harrison, Commissioner for Immigration and Naturalization under FDR, is known for a report harshly criticizing the US and British treatment of Jewish DPs.
The liberation of concentration camps toward the end of the Holocaust revealed unspeakable conditions. Learn about liberators and what they confronted.
During the Holocaust, the creation of ghettos was a key step in the Nazi process of ultimately destroying Europe's Jews. Learn about the Vilna ghetto.
Learn about the Stutthof camp from its establishment until liberation in May 1945, including conditions, forced labor, subcamps, and death marches.
German policies varied from country to country, including direct, brutal occupation and reliance upon collaborating regimes. In Greece, over 80% of its prewar Jewish population was murdered.
During the first three years of World War II, from September 1939 through November 1942, a series of military victories permitted German domination of the European continent. In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Within weeks the Poles surrendered. The Germans annexed the former free city of Danzig and all of western Poland, including the provinces of West Prussia, Poznan, Upper Silesia, and Lodz (renamed Litzmannstadt). Central and southern Poland were organized into the Generalgouvernement…
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in April 1993. Explore the history of the nation's memorial to the millions murdered during the Holocaust.
Learn about the background and traditional observances of Purim, a Jewish holiday marking the deliverance of the Jews from a royal death decree.
Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel was commander of all German armed forces during World War II. Learn about his military career and postwar trial.
A Project of the Miles Lerman Center Summary extract from the testimony of Eliezer Breslin given to detectives from New Scotland Yard in Israel on May 22, 1995, during the investigation into Semion Serafinowicz, the former chief of the Belorussian police in Mir. The first ghetto was established three weeks after the German invasion and consisted only of a few streets, Zavalne Street and Visoka Street. It was not exactly a ghetto; it wasn't enclosed by a barbed wire fence. In this area the houses were…
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