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  • Eugenics

    Article

    Theories of eugenics shaped many persecutory policies in Nazi Germany. Learn about the radicalization and deadly consequences of these theories and policies

    Eugenics
  • Diploma certifying vocational training issued to a DP

    Photo

    Diploma issued by the International Refugee Organization (IRO) certifying that Naftali Froimowicz was trained as a shoemaker in Turin, Italy on November 14, 1949. Froimowicz lived in several displaced persons (DP) camps in Italy after the war.   

    Diploma certifying vocational training issued to a DP
  • Magnus Hirschfeld

    Article

    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.

    Magnus Hirschfeld
  • The Institute for Sexual Science

    Photo

    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.

    The Institute for Sexual Science
  • Science as Salvation: Weimar Eugenics, 1919–1933

    Article

    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…

  • Antisemitism in History: Racial Antisemitism, 1875–1945

    Article

    Racial antisemitism is the discriminatory idea that Jews are a separate and inferior race. This type of antisemitism dates back to the late 1800s.

    Antisemitism in History: Racial Antisemitism, 1875–1945
  • Simone Weil's kindergarten teacher certification

    Document

    Simone Weil earned this diploma, which certified her to teach kindergarten in France, from the School of Social Work in Strasbourg in 1940. Weil assumed a false identity in late 1943 to facilitate her resistance activities as a member of the relief and rescue organization Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (Children's Aid Society; OSE). Among the papers documenting Weil's new identity was a forged version of this diploma bearing the name "Simone Werlin".

    Simone Weil's kindergarten teacher certification
  • Teacher certification forged for Simone Weil

    Document

    Simone Weil used this forged diploma and other false papers to document a new identity assumed in late 1943. As Simone Werlin, she could avoid arrest and change residence to facilitate her rescue of Jewish children as a member of the relief and rescue organization Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (Children's Aid Society; OSE). Weil had earned the diploma, which certified her to teach kindergarten in France, from the School of Social Work in Strasbourg in 1940. The director of the school willingly forged this…

    Teacher certification forged for Simone Weil
  • Plundering of the Institute for Sexual Science

    Photo

    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. 

    Plundering of the Institute for Sexual Science
  • Reinhard Heydrich: Key Dates

    Article

    Key dates in the life of Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Security Main Office, the SS and police agency most directly concerned with implementing Final Solution.

    Reinhard Heydrich: Key Dates
  • Sigmund Freud

    Article

    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.

    Sigmund Freud
  • The Doctors Trial: The Medical Case of the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings

    Article

    The Medical Case, or Doctors Trial, was Case #1 of 12 Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings against leading German industrialists, military figures, SS perpetrators, and others.

    The Doctors Trial: The Medical Case of the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings
  • H.G. Wells

    Article

    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.

  • Walther Rathenau

    Article

    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.

    Walther Rathenau
  • How did the shared foundational element of eugenics contribute to the growth of racism in Europe and the United States?

    Discussion Question

    Learn more about the shared foundational element of eugenics on the history of racial antisemitism in Germany and racism in the United States

    How did the shared foundational element of eugenics contribute to the growth of racism in Europe and the United States?
  • Leah Kohl Rapaport

    ID Card

    Leah and her four brothers were raised in a religious Jewish family in the city of Lvov. After obtaining her high school diploma, Leah attended university for one year. In 1931 she married Joseph Rapaport, and the couple settled in Warsaw. 1933-39: The Rapaports lived in the suburbs, and Joseph worked as a banker. Their daughter Zofia was born in May 1933. Each year at the Jewish holiday of Passover, they returned to Lvov to visit Leah's parents. Two days after Joseph was mobilized for military duty in…

    Tags: Lvov hiding
    Leah Kohl Rapaport
  • Persecution of Roma (Gypsies) in Prewar Germany, 1933–1939

    Article

    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…

    Persecution of Roma (Gypsies) in Prewar Germany, 1933–1939
  • George Kadish

    Article

    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.

    George Kadish
  • Mohamed Helmy

    Article

    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.

    Tags: Berlin
    Mohamed Helmy
  • Santa Maria di Bagni Displaced Persons Camp

    Article

    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.

  • Benno Müller-Hill discusses genetics and eugenics

    Oral History

    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…

    Tags: eugenics
    Benno Müller-Hill discusses genetics and eugenics
  • The Role of Doctors and Nurses

    Article

    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.

    The Role of Doctors and Nurses
  • Concentration Camps, 1942–45

    Article

    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…

    Concentration Camps, 1942–45
  • The Nazi Kripo (Criminal Police)

    Article

    The Nazi Kripo, or Criminal Police, was the detective force of Nazi Germany. During the Nazi regime and WWII, it became a key enforcer of policies based in Nazi ideology.

  • Agnes Mandl

    ID Card

    When Agnes was a teenager, she attended Budapest's prestigious Baar Madas private school, run by the Hungarian Reformed Church. Although she was the only Jewish student there, Agnes' parents believed that the superior education at the school was important for their daughter. Agnes' father, a textile importer, encouraged his daughter to think for herself. 1933-39: In 1936 Agnes studied educational techniques with Signora Maria Montessori in Italy and earned a diploma so she could teach. Hoping to improve…

    Tags: rescue
    Agnes Mandl
  • Bruna Sevini

    ID Card

    Bruna was the oldest of two children born to Italian-speaking Jewish parents who had settled in the cosmopolitan city of Trieste. Her father, born in Vienna, served in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I. He became a naturalized Italian during the 1920s after marrying Bruna's mother. Growing up in fascist Italy, Bruna attended public schools in Trieste and felt proud to be an Italian. 1933-39: In September 1938 Bruna was surprised to see anti-Jewish graffiti. Then anti-Jewish race laws were…

    Tags: Italy
    Bruna Sevini
  • Jeno Muhlrad

    ID Card

    Jeno was the youngest of five children born to Jewish parents living in a suburb of Budapest. His father was a wholesale merchant who sold beer to restaurants and stores. After receiving a university diploma, Jeno became a pharmacist. He and his wife, Aranka, and their two children, Eva and Andras, shared a large old house in Ujpest with Jeno's father and other members of the extended family. 1933-39: Jeno's friends and family have helped him raise the large amount of money he needs to lease his own…

    Jeno Muhlrad
  • Polish Refugees in Iran during World War II

    Article

    Background On September 1, 1939, German forces invaded Poland and defeated the Polish Army within weeks. Most of the westernmost Polish territory was annexed directly to the Reich; the remainder of the areas conceded to Germany by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Germany became the so-called General Government (Generalgouvernement), administered by the German occupiers. In accordance with the Pact’s secret protocols, the Soviet Union annexed most of eastern Poland after…

    Polish Refugees in Iran during World War II
  • Hermann Göring: Key Dates

    Article

    Hermann Göring held many positions of power and leadership within the Nazi state. Learn about key dates in the life of Hermann Göring.

    Hermann Göring: Key Dates
  • Nazi Racism: In Depth

    Article

    Racism, including racial antisemitism (prejudice against or hatred of Jews based on false biological theories), was an integral part of Nazism. Learn more

    Nazi Racism: In Depth
  • Jacob Wiener

    Article

    Explore Jacob Weiner’s biography and learn about his experiences during Kristallnacht in Würzburg, Germany.

  • Nazi Racism

    Article

    Nazi Racism Nazi beliefs and ideas about race shaped all aspects of everyday life and politics in Nazi Germany. In particular, the Nazis embraced the false idea that Jews were a separate and inferior race. This belief is known as racial antisemitism.  The combined set of Nazi beliefs and ideas about race is sometimes referred to as “Nazi racism” or “Nazi racial ideology.” Like other forms of racism, Nazi racism was based on prejudices and stereotypes.  The Nazis drew upon ideas about race that…

    Nazi Racism
  • Manon Marliac

    ID Card

    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…

    Manon Marliac
  • Lifcia Najman

    ID Card

    Lifcia and her brother and two sisters were born to religious Zionist parents in Radom, a major center of Polish leather production. The city had more than 100 tanneries and shoe factories. Lifcia's father worked as a leather broker, matching manufacturers with clients who sought specific types of leather. The Najman family lived in a two-room apartment in the center of town. 1933-39: At secondary school, Lifcia learned math, science, Polish language, history, and German. Three times a week she attended a…

    Lifcia Najman
  • Dismissal letter

    Document

    During the interwar period Dr. Susanne Engelmann served as the principal of a large public high school for girls in Berlin. This letter notified her of her dismissal, as a "non-Aryan," from her teaching position. The dismissal was in compliance with the Civil Service Law of April 7, 1933. On April 7, the German government issued the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums), which excluded Jews and political opponents from all civil…

    Dismissal letter
  • Martin Niemöller: Biography

    Article

    Protestant pastor Martin Niemöller emerged as an opponent of Adolf Hitler and was imprisoned in camps for 7 years. Learn about the complexities surrounding his beliefs.

  • Nazi Book Burnings: Recurring Symbol

    Article

    Book burnings and bans were not exclusive to—and did not end with—the Nazi regime. Learn more about the symbolism of book burnings.

    Tags: book burning
    Nazi Book Burnings: Recurring Symbol
  • Gideon Frieder

    Article

    Explore Gideon Frieder’s biography and learn about his experiences as a child during the Holocaust in Slovakia.

  • Freiberg

    Article

     

  • Amalie Petranker

    ID Card

    Amalie was one of three daughters born to Jewish parents. The family lived in Stanislav [Stanislawow], Poland. Her father was an ardent supporter of resettlement in Palestine, and dreamed of moving his family there to help build the Jewish homeland. Amalie and her sisters attended private Hebrew primary and secondary schools to help prepare them for their eventual immigration to Palestine. 1933-39: In September 1939 Stanislav [Stanislawow] was occupied by the Soviet army. Amalie's father lost his job in…

    Tags: Kraków Poland
    Amalie Petranker
  • Life After the Holocaust: Blanka Rothschild

    Article

    After WWII and the fall of the Nazi regime, Holocaust survivors faced the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. Listen to Blanka Rothschild's story.

    Life After the Holocaust: Blanka Rothschild
  • Germans gather around books they regard as "un-German"

    Photo

    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.

    Germans  gather around books they regard as "un-German"
  • The Weimar Republic

    Article

    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.

    The Weimar Republic
  • Gerd Jacob Zwienicki

    ID Card

    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…

    Gerd Jacob Zwienicki
  • Reinhard Heydrich: In Depth

    Article

    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.

  • How did different goals and political systems shape racism in Nazi Germany and the United States?

    Discussion Question

    This discussion question focuses on the history of racial antisemitism in Germany and its relationship to racism in the United States.

    How did different goals and political systems shape racism in Nazi Germany and the United States?
  • Mittelbau Main Camp: In Depth

    Article

    Learn about conditions and forced labor in Dora-Mittelbau, the center of an extensive network of forced-labor camps for the production of V-2 missiles and other weapons.

    Mittelbau Main Camp: In Depth
  • Gay Men under the Nazi Regime

    Article

    The Nazi regime carried out a campaign against male homosexuality and persecuted gay men between 1933 and 1945.

    Gay Men under the Nazi Regime

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