Dr. Mohamed Helmy and Frieda Szturmann helped save a Jewish family in the heart of Nazi Germany. Helmy was the first Arab recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.
Explore Gideon Frieder’s biography and learn about his experiences as a child during the Holocaust in Slovakia.
The Slovak National Council for Social Solicitude issued this registration certificate to Mikulas Diamant on July 25, 1945, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. This view shows the front and back cover. The certificate ensured repatriation and safe return home.
HIAS immigration certificate issued to Manius Notowicz in Munich, Germany. The document states that Notowicz will travel on the Marine Flasher on February 22, 1947, to New York City.
Many refugees had difficulties replacing lost or invalidated personal identification documents. The certificate of Polish citizenship shown here was valid in place of a passport. A Polish Jewish refugee used this certificate to travel legally from Lithuania, through the Soviet Union, to Japan. It contains the Curacao notation needed to obtain Soviet and Japanese visas. The bearer of this certificate aimed to reach Palestine, but ended up spending most of the war in Calcutta, India, part of the British…
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,…
Polish citizenship certificate issued to Samuel Solc on December 16, 1939, by the Britannic Majesty's Legation in Kovno, charged with representing Polish interests in Lithuania. Samuel decided to emigrate to Palestine in late 1939. His journey lasted over two years and took him through eight countries. Samuel arrived in Palestine on February 6, 1942, after stays in Lithuania; Kobe, Japan; Shanghai, China; and Bombay, India. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]
This page of a Polish citizenship certificate issued to Samuel Solc contains two visas. The first (left), stamped by the British Passport control in Shanghai, allowed Samuel to travel to Palestine via Burma, India, Egypt, and Rangoon. The second visa (right) bears the British Mandate "Government of Palestine" stamp, dated February 6, 1942, and allowed Samuel to remain in Palestine permanently. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]
A certificate of "Aryan" descent, issued to Joseph Schäfer of Mühlheim, Germany. To prove one's "Aryan" racial status in Nazi Germany, an individual had to trace their ancestry back to 1800. Signed by an official justice of the peace, this certificate attests to Schäfer's parentage and baptism. Dated January 14, 1936.
Manon's Christian parents lived in Paris. Roger Marliac, her father, originally from a wealthy family, supported his family by selling produce at small marketplaces. Margarit, her mother (called Maguy by her friends), had a university degree in science. The family lived in a large apartment in a fashionable neighborhood near the Eiffel Tower. 1933-39: Manon, the Marliacs' second child, was born in 1937. She was 2 years old when her father was drafted into the French army as the country mobilized for a…
The Institute for Sexual Science was founded in Germany by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a leading researcher of sex, sexuality, and gender. In 1933, the Nazis looted the institute and forced it to close. Photo published in 1924.
A newspaper clipping with the headline "Against the Un-German Spirit" announces the plundering of the Institute for Sexual Science. The photo shows students marching to the institute's entrance before the looting began on May 6, 1933. The institute's books and documents were among those targeted during the Nazi book burnings.
A leading researcher of sex, sexuality, and gender, German Jewish doctor Magnus Hirschfeld was forced to live in exile after the Nazi rise to power.
Eugenics in Germany Following Germany’s defeat in World War I and during the political and economic crises of the Weimar Republic, ideas known as racial hygiene or eugenics began to inform population policy, public health education, and government-funded research. Proponents of eugenics argued that by keeping the “unfit” alive to reproduce and multiply, modern medicine and costly welfare programs interfered with natural selection. (Natural selection was the concept that Charles Darwin applied to the…
Helen was the oldest of three sisters. Her father owned a soap factory. After the Germans attacked Poland in 1939, they took over all Jewish businesses. Helen and her family fled from Lodz to a town between Lodz and Warsaw. After two years, in 1942, Helen's father heard that the Jews in the town to which they had fled were to be deported to labor camps. He bought false papers for Helen and her youngest sister. All three sisters survived the war.
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…
Racial antisemitism is the discriminatory idea that Jews are a separate and inferior race. This type of antisemitism dates back to the late 1800s.
German Jews trying to immigrate to the US in the late 1930s met extreme bureaucratic hurdles, including documentation that was often virtually impossible to obtain.
Each of Germany’s six European Axis allies participated in the “Final Solution” by murdering Jews or by transferring them to German custody. Learn more.
Nesse's family had a dairy business. The Germans occupied Lithuania in 1941 and established a ghetto in Siauliai. Nesse lived in the ghetto until 1943 when she was old enough to work. In 1944 Nesse, her mother, and a brother were deported to the Stutthof camp near Danzig. Nesse worked in several Stutthof subcamps until January 1945, when the inmates were put on a death march. She was liberated by the Soviets in March. Nesse, her mother, and two brothers survived, and she arrived in the United States in…
Leading German physicians and administrators were put on trial for their role during the Holocaust. The resulting Nuremberg Code was a landmark document on medical ethics. Learn more
Lucine was born to a Jewish family in Lublin. Her father was a court interpreter and her mother was a dentist. War began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Lucine's home was raided by German forces shortly thereafter. Soon after the German occupation of Lublin, Jews there were forced to wear a compulsory badge identifying them as Jews. A ghetto in Lublin was closed off in January 1942. Lucine survived a series of killing campaigns and deportations from the ghetto during March and…
Theories of eugenics shaped many persecutory policies in Nazi Germany. Learn about the radicalization and deadly consequences of these theories and policies
Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis. The Nazis abhorred his new science and Jewish heritage. His works were burned in Germany in 1933. Learn more.
Architect James Ingo Freed designed the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
On December 17, 1941, the Romanian government issued a decree requiring a census of all those with "Jewish blood.” All persons having one or two Jewish parents or two Jewish grandparents were ordered to register at the Central Jewish Office. This is a census certificate issued by that office in 1942.
On December 17, 1941, the Romanian government issued a decree requiring a census of all those with “Jewish blood.” All persons having one or two Jewish parents or two Jewish grandparents were ordered to register at the Central Jewish Office. This is a census certificate issued by that office in 1942.
Explore firsthand testimony about the occupation of Mlynów, the establishment of the ghetto, resistance activities, and the destruction of the ghetto.
Walther Rathenau was a liberal democratic politician and the first Jew to hold a cabinet post in Germany. His books were burned in Nazi Germany in 1933. Learn more.
The Medical Case, or Doctors Trial, was Case #1 of 12 Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings against leading German industrialists, military figures, SS perpetrators, and others.
H.G. Wells was an author best known for science fiction titles. The Nazis objected to "The Outline of History," a non-fiction work, which was burned in 1933.
Millions of people suffered and died in camps, ghettos, and other sites during the Holocaust....
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.
Read the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation's short biography of Silvio Ortona.
Benno Müller-Hill, professor of Genetics, University of Cologne, and author of Murderous Science, discusses genetics and eugenics. [Photo credits: Getty Images, New York City; Yad Vashem, Jerusalem; Max-Planck-Institut für Psychiatrie (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Psychiatrie), Historisches Archiv, Bildersammlung GDA, Munich; Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Germany; Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes, Vienna; Kriemhild Synder: Die Landesheilanstalt Uchtspringe und ihre Verstrickung in…
Learn more about the shared foundational element of eugenics on the history of racial antisemitism in Germany and racism in the United States
Franz was raised in a town in eastern Germany. The son of Jewish parents, he earned a law degree from Breslau University and a doctorate of jurisprudence from Geneva University in Switzerland. At the age of 35 he married Ilse Luise Citroen, a woman of Dutch-Jewish ancestry. The couple settled in Berlin where Franz had a successful law practice. The Ledermanns had two daughters. 1933-39: The Nazis came to power in January 1933. Ilse's Dutch relatives encouraged the Ledermanns to immigrate to the…
Prominent SS physician Josef Mengele, called the "Angel of Death" by his victims, conducted inhumane medical experiments on prisoners in the Auschwitz camp.
Iranian diplomat Abdol Hossein Sardari gave critical assistance to Iranian Jews in occupied France (1940-1944) to protect them from Nazi persecution.
Dr. J. Rebhan, chair of the Jewish council in Przemysl, Poland, signed this document certifying that Max Diamant had stable employment in the Jewish clinic. The certificate identifies Diamant as a dentist and is dated June 4, 1942. During World War II, the Germans established Jewish councils to ensure that Nazi orders and regulations were implemented. Jewish council members also sought to provide basic community services for ghettoized Jewish populations.
A Black expatriate artist living in Belgium upon the outbreak of WWII, Josef Nassy was held in German internment camps during the war. Learn about his experiences.
Righteous Among the Nations are non-Jewish individuals honored by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, for risking their lives to aid Jews during the Holocaust.
After WWII, many Holocaust survivors, unable to return to their homes, lived in displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Read about Santa Maria di Bagni DP camp.
Germans crowd around a truck filled with "un-German" books, confiscated from the library of the Institute for Sexual Science, for burning by the Nazis. The books were publically burned at Berlin's Opernplatz (Opera Square). Berlin, Germany, May 10, 1933.
December 1941 saw both defeat of the German army in its attempt to take Moscow and the entry of the United States into World War II. It became clear to German authorities that Germany would have to fight a long war. Facing growing labor shortages and the ongoing need to produce armaments, machinery, airplanes, and ships to replace German losses, the SS established more SS-owned firms. It also signed contracts with state and private firms to produce goods and provide labor for the German armaments and…
At great risk, George Kadish secretly documented life in the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania, creating a key photographic record of ghetto life during the Holocaust.
Persecution of Roma (Gypsies) in Prewar Germany and throughout Europe preceded the Nazi takeover of power in 1933. For example, in 1899, the police in the German state of Bavaria, formed the Central Office for Gypsy Affairs (Zigeunerzentrale) to coordinate police action against Roma in the city of Munich. This office compiled a central registry of Roma that grew to include data on Roma and Sinti from other German states. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, police in Germany began more rigorous…
To implement their policies, the Nazis had help from individuals across Europe, including professionals in many fields. Learn about the role of doctors and nurses.
Yiddish writer Chaim Yelin was a leader of the Kovno ghetto underground resistance movement again the Germans.
Explore Frank Liebermann’s biography and learn about his experiences of antisemitism in his home town in Germany before World War II.
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