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Forced Labor In German-occupied areas, the Nazis singled out Jewish laborers for cruel treatment. Jewish laborers were also subjected to humiliating treatment, as when SS men forced religious Jews to submit to having their beards cut. The ghettos served as bases for utilizing Jewish labor, as did forced-labor camps for Jews in occupied Poland. In the Lodz ghetto, for example, the Nazis opened 96 factories. The ability to work could save one's life, but most often only temporarily. Jews deemed unproductive…
Mass atrocities and genocide are often perpetrated within the context of war. The Armenian genocide was closely linked to World War I in the Near East and the Russian Caucasus. Ottoman Turkey fought on the side of the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) and against the Entente Powers (Great Britain, France, Russia, and Serbia). World War I offered the Young Turk dictatorship (Committee on Union and Progress; CUP) an opportunity to realize its nationalist aims. Already inclined toward Germany due…
Adolf Hitler's Nazi aimed to purify the genetic makeup of the German population through measures known as racial hygiene or eugenics.
August 3, 1936. On this date, Jesse Owens won a gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
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.
Drexel Sprecher was educated at the University of Wisconsin, the London School of Economics, and at the Harvard School of Law before receiving a position at the US Government's Labor Board in 1938. He enlisted in the American military after the United States declared war on Germany, and was posted to London. After the war, Sprecher served as a prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.
Explore a timeline of key events in the history of World War I and its aftermath. Learn about the conflict and its divisive peace.
The National Socialist German Worker’s Party, also known as the Nazi Party, was the far-right racist and antisemitic political party led by Adolf Hitler.
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.
After WWII and the fall of the Nazi regime, Holocaust survivors faced the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. Listen to Thomas Buergenthal's story.
SS Chief Heinrich Himmler was chief architect of the "Final Solution." Learn more about Himmler, one of the most powerful men after Hitler in Nazi Germany.
Browse a timeline listing some key events in the evolution of Holocaust denial and the distortion of the facts of the Holocaust.
Learn about the Holocaust, the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
Forced labor, often pointless, humiliating, without proper equipment, clothing, nourishment, or rest, was a core feature in the Nazi camp system from its beginnings in 1933.
Charles Coughlin, Catholic priest and populist leader, promoted antisemitic and pro-fascist views. In the 1930s, he was one of the most influential public figures in the US.
Benito Mussolini’s Fascist takeover of Italy was an inspiration and example for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany. Learn more.
International League Against Anti-Semitism in North Africa (LICA) was born of French-Jewish concerns that Fascist and antisemitic ideas would spread from Europe to indigenous population in France’s colonies. The org...
The Ohrdruf camp was a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp, and the first Nazi camp liberated by US troops.
Marcu was born to Jewish parents in a small, ethnically diverse city in east central Moldavia [in Romania], a region known for its wine. He married at the age of 23, and had a son and a daughter with his wife, Anna. After World War I, Marcu followed in his father's footsteps by going into the wine making business. 1933-39: The price of wine was low due to the worldwide economic depression. Because the quality of Marcu's wine was excellent, however, it still fetched a good price. He spent much of his time…
Josef was one of seven children born to a Jewish family in the Czechoslovakian village of Hvozdnice. After graduating from school, Josef worked as a salesman in Vienna. In 1912 he married Ida Kohn, and the couple had a son before he left to fight for Austria in World War I. After the war, they had a daughter. 1933-39: Because of the economic depression of the 1930s, it was difficult for Josef to make a living in his wholesale shoe business. In 1938 the Germans annexed Austria [the Anschluss], and soon…
Alfred was the fifth of six children born to Jewish parents in a small town in Moravia, where his father ran a dry-goods and clothing store. The Krakauers spoke both Czech and German at home. In 1929 and 1930, after graduating from secondary school, Alfred served in the Czechoslovakian army. He enjoyed skiing and also played soccer for the Maccabi Jewish team. 1933-39: Alfred graduated in 1934 from Prague's Industrial School for Art. He became a graphic artist and decided to remain in Prague because of…
Born to a Jewish family, Willy left Poland at age 20 and emigrated to Palestine. He became active in the workers' organization to end the British mandate there. His activities led to his arrest on May 1, 1931. After serving a two-year prison sentence, Willy was expelled from Palestine. 1933-39: In 1933 Willy left Palestine for Austria, where he joined the ranks of the workers' movement. The economic depression in Austria gave momentum to the movement's cause, and Willy and his friends were closely watched…
Frances Perkins was FDR's secretary of labor. Learn about her role in the rescue of European Jews whose lives were threatened by the Nazi regime.
Sophie was born Selma Schwarzwald to parents Daniel and Laura in the industrial city of Lvov, two years before Germany invaded Poland. Daniel was a successful businessman who exported timber and Laura had studied economics. The Germans occupied Lvov in 1941. After her father's disappearance on her fifth birthday in 1941, Sophie and her mother procured false names and papers and moved to a small town called Busko-Zdroj. They became practicing Catholics to hide their identities. Sophie gradually forgot that…
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