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The first conviction for the crime of genocide came after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when Jean-Paul Akayesu was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Key dates illustrating the relationship between Germany’s professional military elite and the Nazi state, and the German military’s role in the Holocaust.
The Jewish children of Lodz suffered harsh conditions after the German invasion of Poland. Read excerpts from diaries where they recorded their experiences.
Learn about some key dates in the life of Adolf Hitler, one of Europe's most ruthless dictators, who led the Nazis from 1921 and Germany from 1933-45.
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…
Chava's mother died when she was 2, and Chava went to live with her grandfather, who was a rabbi in the village of Matsiov. Her grandfather's second wife welcomed Chava. After first studying at a Polish public school, Chava attended a Jewish day school. When Chava was a teenager her adopted grandmother died, and Chava took over managing her grandfather's household until he remarried. 1933-39: Chava's grandfather's third wife was an unsympathetic woman. After she came to their home, Chava wanted to be…
Learn about conditions and the treatment of prisoners in Ravensbrück, the largest concentration camp for women in the German Reich.
Nazi Germany and its allies invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. They quickly conquered large expanses of Soviet territory. German forces waged a “war of annihilation” against the Soviet Union and its peoples, killing millions of civilians. However, the Soviet armed forces eventually pushed the German military back and finally conquered Berlin in spring 1945. Often referred to as the “eastern front,” the German-Soviet theater of war was the largest and deadliest of World War II.
African American athletes, facing racism at home, also debated whether to join or boycott the 1936 Olympic games in Germany, then under a racist dictatorship. Learn more.
Explore a timeline of key events in the history of the Auschwitz camp complex in German-occupied Poland.
Before June 1942, Protectorate Jews were the only "residents" of the Theresienstadt camp-ghetto. Beginning with a transport of 50 Berlin Jews arriving on June 2, 1942, the German authorities deported German, Austrian, Danziger, Luxembourger, and Sudeten Jews to Theresienstadt. Deportations In 1942, 47,478 Jews arrived in Theresienstadt from the Greater German Reich (from Germany, 32,878; Austria, 13,922; Luxembourg, 213; Danzig, 110; and the Sudetenland, 355). In 1943, 5,398 Jews arrived in the…
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…
Explore a timeline of key events during 1944 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.
In February/March 1943, non-Jewish Germans protest the incarceration of their Jewish family members at Rosenstrasse 2-4 in Berlin. Learn about the impact of the protest.
The German Armed Forces High Command, headed by Hitler, directed Germany’s armed forces before and during WWII. It was deeply complicit in the Holocaust and other crimes of the Third Reich.
Excerpt from Holocaust survivor Abraham Bomba's oral history testimony describing gas chambers at the Treblinka killing center.
France signed an armistice with Germany on June 22, 1940, recognizing the right of German authorities to oversee the French administration. Further, German military authorities held jurisdiction over matters of internal security. In this footage, a German military court in Paris tries French citizens charged with resisting measures of the military occupation. Despite harsh military justice, the Germans could not quell opposition in France, and resistance activities would reach a peak during the Allied…
Announcement dropped by American planes on Shanghai near the end of the war. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]
Einsatzgruppen, often called “mobile killing units,” are best known for their role in the murder of Jews in mass shooting operations during the Holocaust.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was the impetus for the United States...
German physicians conducted inhumane experiments on prisoners in the camps during the Holocaust. Learn more about Nazi medical experiments during WW2.
Originally a subcamp of Buchenwald, Dora-Mittelbau became the center of an extensive network of forced-labor camps for the production of V-2 missiles and other weapons.
The European rail network played a crucial role in the implementation of the Final Solution. Millions were deported by rail to killing centers and other sites.
The 82nd Airborne Division participated in major WWII campaigns and is recognized for liberating the Wöbbelin subcamp of Neuengamme in 1945.
The 30th Infantry Division participated in major WWII campaigns and is recognized for liberating the Weferlingen subcamp of Buchenwald in 1945.
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