Theories of eugenics shaped many persecutory policies in Nazi Germany. Learn about the radicalization and deadly consequences of these theories and policies
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.
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.
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.
Eugenics was a scientific movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Supporters of eugenics claimed that it offered biological solutions to social problems.
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 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…
Racial antisemitism is the discriminatory idea that Jews are a separate and inferior race. This type of antisemitism dates back to the late 1800s.
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.
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.
Prominent SS physician Josef Mengele, called the "angel of death" by his victims, conducted inhumane medical experiments on prisoners in the Auschwitz camp.
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.
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.
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.
The Medical Case, or Doctors Trial, was Case #1 of 12 Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings against leading German industrialists, military figures, SS perpetrators, and others.
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.
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.
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…
Learn more about the shared foundational element of eugenics on the history of racial antisemitism in Germany and racism in the United States
Beginning in 1933, the Nazis persecuted Roma (often pejoratively called “Gypsies”) based on underlying prejudices and racism. Learn how this harassment escalated to genocide.
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…
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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…
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…
Between 1942-1945, over 116,000 Polish refugees immigrated to Iran. Learn more about their motivations to relocate and life in Iran during the war.
Explore Jacob Wiener’s biography and learn about his experiences during Kristallnacht in Würzburg, Germany.
Hermann Göring held many positions of power and leadership within the Nazi state. Learn about key dates in the life of Hermann Göring.
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 and racial antisemitism ultimately led to mass murder and genocide. Learn more about Nazi racial ideology.
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…
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…
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…
Learn about the Freiburg subcamp of Flossenbürg, including its establishment, prisoner population, and conditions there.
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.
Book burnings and bans were not exclusive to—and did not end with—the Nazi regime. Learn more about the symbolism of book burnings.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Explore Gideon Frieder’s biography and learn about his experiences as a child during the Holocaust in Slovakia.
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…
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.
Read about the Nazi persecution of Black people, as well as Black people's experiences in Germany before the Nazi rise to power.
This discussion question focuses on the history of racial antisemitism in Germany and its relationship to racism in the United States.
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.
The Nazi regime carried out a campaign against male homosexuality and persecuted gay men between 1933 and 1945.
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