Chaim was the third of seven boys born to religious Jewish parents. They lived in a town near Warsaw called Gabin, where Chaim's father worked as a cap maker. Gabin had one of Poland's oldest synagogues, built of wood in 1710. Like most of Gabin's Jews, Chaim's family lived close to the synagogue. The family of nine occupied a one-room apartment on the top floor of a three-story building. 1933-39: In September 1939, two months before Chaim was 12, Germany invaded Poland. In Gabin 10 people were shot in…
Herman was the fourth of eight children born to a religious Jewish family in the small town of Sirma, located near the city of Sevlus. The Kleins had a small plot of land, which they farmed, and they also ran a shoe shop. At age four Herman began attending religious school. When he started public elementary school, he continued his religious lessons in the afternoons. 1933-39: In March 1939, the region of Czechoslovakia in which Herman lived was annexed to Hungary. His teacher at school was replaced by a…
Germany invaded Belgium in May 1940. After the Germans seized her mother, sister, and brother, Lilly went into hiding. With the help of friends and family, Lilly hid her Jewish identity for two years. But, in 1944, Lilly was denounced by some Belgians and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau via the Mechelen camp. After a death march from Auschwitz, Lilly was liberated at Bergen-Belsen by British forces.
In 1938-39, Hungary annexed the area of Czechoslovakia in which Helen lived. After Germany occupied Hungary in 1944, Helen and her family were deported to the Uzhgorod ghetto. As Jews, they were soon transferred to various camps, where much of the family perished. Although at times Helen was too weak to walk, she and her older sister survived Auschwitz, forced labor at a camp munitions factory, and Bergen-Belsen.
Learn about some of the origins of Holocaust denial, including the euphemistic language the Nazis used to describe their policies and actions.
The Nazis utilized the German police for mass repression and genocide. Learn more about the Nazification of the police force from 1933-1939.
"Learn more about Stanisławów during World War II. This article is an excerpt from Nechama Tec’s Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust (2003). "
Reinhard Heydrich, Reich Security Main Office chief, was one of the main architects of the “Final Solution," the Nazi plan to murder the Jews of Europe.
A Polish soldier, Samuel was wounded in action and taken by Germany as a prisoner of war. As the war continued, he and other Jewish prisoners received increasingly harsh treatment. Among the camps in which he was interned was Lublin-Lipowa, where he was among those forced to build the Majdanek concentration camp. In 1942, he escaped from the Germans, spending the rest of the war as the leader of an armed partisan group.
Susan was 19 years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Her boyfriend, Nathan, was in Lvov when the Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland. Nathan sent a guide to Warsaw to bring Susan to the Soviet zone of occupied Poland. Her parents reluctantly agreed after Susan promised to return to Warsaw within two weeks. Upon her arrival in Lvov, Susan married Nathan. The couple then fled across the Lithuanian border to Vilna, where they stayed for a year. They received a visa for transit through Japan…
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