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Gerda and her parents obtained visas to sail to Cuba on the "St. Louis" in May 1939. When the ship arrived in Havana harbor, most of the refugees were denied entry and the ship had to return to Europe. Gerda and her parents disembarked in Belgium. In May 1940, Germany attacked Belgium. Gerda and her mother escaped to Switzerland. After the war, they were told that Gerda's father had died during deportation.
The Nazi Party was one of a number of right-wing extremist political groups that emerged in Germany following World War I. Learn about the Nazi rise to power.
Diaries bear witness to some of the most heartbreaking experiences of the Holocaust. Read excerpts from the diary of an anonymous child in the Lodz ghetto.
Walter was the oldest of eight children born to Polish-Catholic immigrant parents in a town near Boston, Massachusetts. The family moved back to Poland when Walter was a child, and lived on a family farm near Ostroleka in northern Poland that Walter's mother had inherited. Because his father's American nickname was "Stetson," Walter was mistakenly registered as "Charles Stetson" on his American birth certificate. 1933-39: After Walter completed secondary school, his father sent him to the University of…
The Nazis used propaganda to promote their ideas and beliefs about a "national community." Read more about the principles, goals, and strategies of Nazi propaganda.
Learn about the background and traditional observances of Purim, a Jewish holiday marking the deliverance of the Jews from a royal death decree.
Norbert studied law and was a social worker in Berlin. He worked on the Kindertransport (Children's Transport) program, arranging to send Jewish children from Europe to Great Britain. His parents, who also lived in Berlin, were deported in December 1942. Norbert, his wife, and their child were deported to Auschwitz in March 1943. He was separated from his wife and child, and sent to the Buna works near Auschwitz III (Monowitz) for forced labor. Norbert survived the Auschwitz camp, and was liberated by US…
Rifka was raised in a religious family in Debrecen. In the early 1940s, her family moved to Cluj (Kolozsvar) in Northern Transylvania, annexed to Hungary from Romania in 1940. In 1944, she and her family were forced to leave their house in Cluj. They were rounded up by Hungarian troops helping the Nazis and taken to a brick factory where they stayed for a month. In June 1944, Rifka was transported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Eight months later she was transported to Switzerland. She sailed to…
Adolf Hitler established himself as absolute Führer, or leader, of the Nazi Party by 1921. Learn more about Hitler in the years 1919-1924.
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.
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.