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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.
Oskar Schindler's actions to protect Jews during the Holocaust saved over 1,000 Jews from deportation. Learn more about Schindler's List.
Millions of people suffered and died in camps, ghettos, and other sites during the Holocaust....
Joseph Goebbels, Nazi politician, propagandist, and radical antisemite, was Reich Minister for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment from 1933 until 1945.
Gerd was the eldest of four children. His father, Josef, had left Ukraine in 1913 and opened a bicycle sales and repair shop in Bremen. His mother, Selma, was descended from a distinguished Jewish family and had been a kindergarten teacher and a bookkeeper for a large firm. As a child, Gerd experienced the hardships of the Depression and witnessed the violent street fights between the Nazis and their political opponents, the Communists and Socialists. 1933–39: When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Gerd…
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.
Israel was raised in Kovno, Lithuania, and graduated from law school there in 1933. Because of anti-Jewish discrimination, he was unable to practice law. The Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, occupying Lithuania. The Kovno ghetto was established that August. By claiming to be a mechanic, Israel escaped several massacres. He was forced to work on a wooden airport runway outside the ghetto. After he escaped, Israel, his wife, and son hid in a potato pit for 9 months until liberation by Soviet…
The Weimar Republic was a liberal democratic republic founded in Germany in the aftermath of WWI. Learn about the era’s political and economic crises and social trends.
Shortly after taking power in January 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis took control of German newspapers, detailing how the news was to be reported.
Learn about the Flossenbürg camp from its establishment until liberation in April 1945, including conditions, forced labor, subcamps, and death marches.
Listing of the 24 leading Nazi officials indicted at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Learn about the defendants and the charges against them.
Explore the story of over 2,000 Polish Jewish refugees who fled east to escape war-torn Europe. They sought safety in such distant places as China and Japan.
Explore a timeline of key events during 1942 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the world was faced with a challenge—how to seek justice for an almost unimaginable scale of criminal behavior, including the annihilation of European Jewry. Even as a vocabulary emerged to describe the atrocities that would come to be known as the Holocaust, legal experts sought to establish a new body of law to address the unprecedented crimes perpetrated by the Axis powers. A series of war crimes trials convened by the Allied powers and European governments…
Oradour-sur-Glane was a small farming village of around 350 inhabitants, located near Clermont-Ferrand, some 15 miles west-north-west of Limoges. During World War II, it was located in the German-occupied zone of France. On June 10, 1944, troops of the 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer Division (armored division), Das Reich, massacred 642 people, almost the entire population, and then destroyed the village. After the war, Oradour-sur-Glane rivaled Lidice as an iconic symbol of German crimes against civilians in…
Background During and immediately following World War I, British and Russian (later Soviet) troops occupied large pieces of once independent Persia, now known as Iran, despite the country’s declared neutrality. A military officer serving in the Persian Cossack Brigade and an ardent Persian nationalist, Reza Khan led a military conspiracy aimed at the reestablishment of Iran’s sovereignty under a strong central government. Backed by the British, Reza Khan led a coup d’etat in February 1921, seizing…
Vidkun Quisling, Minister President of Norway from 1942 to 1945, was a Norwegian fascist and Nazi collaborator. His last name has come to mean “traitor” or “collaborator.”
In May 1939, the German transatlantic liner St. Louis sailed from Germany to Cuba. Most of the passengers were Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Learn more about the voyage.
The Oranienburg concentration camp was established as one of the first concentration camps in Nazi Germany on March 21, 1933. Learn more
Learn about the history of Sighet, birthplace of Elie Wiesel. The Jewish population of Sighet was deported to Auschwitz in May 1944. Most of the deportees were gassed on arrival.
In March 1942, the Hodonin camp was classified as a camp for Roma. It was a transfer station during deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Learn about the camp and its history.
Explore a timeline of key events in the history of World War I and its aftermath. Learn about the conflict and its divisive peace.
The National Socialist German Worker’s Party, also known as the Nazi Party, was the far-right racist and antisemitic political party led by Adolf Hitler.
The Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service, SD) was a Nazi intelligence agency. Ideologically radical and part of the SS, it was a key perpetrator of the Holocaust.
The three principal partners in the Axis alliance were Germany, Italy, and Japan. Learn more about the Axis powers in WW2.
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.