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Fascism is a far-right authoritarian political philosophy. Learn about the history and principles of fascism and its implementation in Nazi Germany.
Learn about the diverse Jewish population of North Africa on the eve of World War II.
In 1933-1934, SS chief Heinrich Himmler secured SS control over a centralized concentration camp system. Throughout Germany, various civilian authorities and police agencies had established concentration camps during 1933 to incarcerate political enemies of the Nazi government. Impressed with the Dachau concentration camp established by the SS in March 1933, Hitler authorized Himmler to centralize these camps under SS leadership. Himmler established (in the SS Main Office) an SS Inspectorate of…
Charged with managing the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and killing centers, Adolf Eichmann was a key figure in the "Final Solution."
After the devastation of WWI, the victorious western powers imposed a series of treaties upon the defeated nations. Learn about the treaties and their impact.
Learn about the sections of the Bergen-Belsen camp complex during WWII and the Holocaust until the camp's liberation by British forces in April 1945.
The Yugoslav Union Formed in 1918, the Yugoslav Union encompassed Slovenia (the former Austrian provinces of Karniola and Krain) in the northwest, the former Hungarian crown land of Croatia, Serbia—including the former Hungarian Voivodina (which in turn consisted of the Backa, Baranja, and the Serbian Banat), the former Turkish provinces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, the former independent mountain kingdom of Montenegro, and the former Turkish provinces of Kosovo and Metohija on the Albanian…
The Armenian genocide refers to the physical annihilation of ethnic Armenian Christian people living in the Ottoman Empire from spring 1915 through autumn 1916. There were approximately 1.5 million Armenians living in the Empire. At least 664,000 and possibly as many as 1.2 million died during the genocide. Armenians call these events Medz Yeghern (the great crime) or Aghet (catastrophe). The Armenian Genocide The origin of the term genocide and its codification in international law have their roots in…
Explore definitions, connotations, and evolving considerations when using the term bystanders in the range of behaviors and motivations during the Holocaust.
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…
The German Armed Forces High Command, headed by Hitler, directed Germany’s armed forces before and during WWII. It was deeply complicit in the Holocaust and other crimes of the Third Reich.
What is the difference between a “concentration camp” and a “killing center”? Learn about the history of these terms and what they meant in the context of Nazi oppression and murder.
Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was a German general who gained ren...
The experiences of World War I and its aftermath would profoundly shape the attitudes and actions of leaders and ordinary people during the Holocaust.
Nazi Germany and its allies established over 44,000 concentration camps and incarceration sites during the Holocaust. Read about the Nazi camp system.
How did Christians and their churches in Germany respond to the Nazi regime and its laws, particularly to the persecution of the Jews? Learn more.
Learn about the Jewish population of Denmark, the German occupation, and resistance and rescue in Denmark during WWII and the Holocaust.
Learn about the history of the Bergen-Belsen camp during WWII and the Holocaust until its liberation by British forces in April 1945.
By September 1939, over half of German Jews had emigrated. WWII would accelerate the persecution, deportation, and later, mass murder, of the remainder of Germany's Jews.
The Nazi regime targeted Jehovah's Witnesses for persecution because they refused, out of religious conviction, to swear loyalty to a worldly government or to serve in its armed forces. Jehovah's Witnesses also engaged in missionary activity to win adherents for the faith. The Nazis perceived the refusal to commit to the state and efforts to proselytize as overtly political and subversive acts. Unlike Jews and Roma (Gypsies), whom the Nazis targeted for perceived racial reasons, Jehovah's Witnesses had the…
Nazi Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. Learn about Austria’s capital, Vienna, which at the time was home to a large and vibrant Jewish community.
The treaties that followed World War I more than doubled the territory and population of Romania. The 1930 Romanian census recorded 728,115 persons who identified themselves as Jewish, comprising approximately 4 percent of the population. Traditionally, Romania had strong ties to France but tried (under its ruler King Carol II), to remain neutral in the 1930s. With the fall of France in June 1940, Nazi Germany supported the revisionist demands for Romanian territory of the Soviet Union, Hungary, and…
Nazi anti-Jewish laws began stripping Jews of rights and property from the start of Hitler’s dictatorship. Learn about antisemitic laws in prewar Germany.
While living under an assumed identity after escaping from the Lvov ghetto, Selma Schwarzwald received a toy bear that she kept with her for many years. Read about Refugee the bear.
Adolf Hitler repeated the pre-existing claim that Jews used Freemasonry to achieve their political ends. Learn more about the history of Freemasonry.
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.