The Germans and their collaborators used paper records and local knowledge to identify Jews to be rounded up or killed during the Holocaust.
Mobile Killing Squads After the German army invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, a new stage in the Holocaust began. Under cover of war and confident of victory, the Germans turned from the forced emigration and imprisonment of Jews to mass murder. Special action squads, or Einsatzgruppen, made up of Nazi (SS) units and police, moved with speed on the heels of the advancing German army. Their job was to kill any Jews they could find in the occupied Soviet territory. Some residents of the occupied…
Survivors faced huge obstacles in rebuilding their lives after the devastation of the Holocaust years. Learn about some of the challenges they faced.
Rescue and Resistance Some Jews survived the "Final Solution," the Nazi plan to kill the Jews of Europe, by hiding or escaping from German-controlled Europe. Most non-Jews neither aided nor hindered the "Final Solution." Relatively few people helped Jews escape. Those who did aid Jews were motivated by opposition to Nazi racism, by compassion, or by religious or moral principle. In a few rare instances, entire communities as well as individuals helped save Jews. They did so at tremendous risk. In many…
Hermann Ludwig Maas, a Protestant pastor in Heidelberg, Germany, was a rescuer and clergyman who stood in solidarity with the Jewish community.
The concept of Lebensraum, “living space,” was as a critical component in the Nazi worldview that drove both its military conquests and racial policy.
Learn about the subcamps of the SS-established Herzogenbusch concentration camp in the Netherlands, including Amersfoort, Arnheim, Eindhoven, and others.
The Nazi Party was one of a number of right-wing extremist political groups that emerged in Germany following World War I. Learn about the Nazi rise to power.
Ghettos separating Jews from the rest of the population were part of the Nazi plan to destroy Europe's Jews. Read about ghettoization during the Holocaust.
Under the Nazis, Jewish and other “non-Aryan” women were often subjected to brutal persecution. Learn more about the plight of women during the Holocaust.
Despite the Nazi Party's ideology of keeping women in the home, their roles expanded beyond wives and mothers.
Kindertransport refers to a series of rescue efforts between 1938 and 1940 that brought thousands of refugee children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany.
The Theresienstadt camp/ghetto served multiple purposes during its existence from 1941-45 and had an important propaganda function for the Germans. Learn more.
Berlin was home to Germany’s largest Jewish community. It was also the capital of the Third Reich and the center for the planning of the "Final Solution."
Towards the end of 1940, Hungary joined the Axis powers and invaded Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Learn more about Hungary before the German occupation.
In September 1939, the Germans launched a campaign of terror intended to destroy the Polish nation and culture. Learn more about the German occupation of Poland.
Background The outbreak of war in Poland in September 1939 trapped nearly three and a half million Jews in German- and Soviet-occupied territories. In late 1940 and early 1941, just months before the Germans began to kill Jews on a mass scale, one group of about 2,100 Polish Jews found a safe haven. Few of these refugees could have reached safety without the tireless efforts of many individuals. Several Jewish organizations and Jewish communities along the way provided funds and other help. But the most…
After coming to power in 1933, the Nazis began turning Germany into a dictatorship. Police and Storm Troopers played a key role in stamping out opposition to Nazi rule.
In April 1945, US troops encountered a barn on the outskirts of Gardelegen where the SS and its accomplices had massacred over 1,000 concentration camp prisoners.
March 11, 2018, marked the 75th anniversary of the World War II deportation of the Sephardic Jewish community of Monastir, historically the largest Jewish community in Macedonia. The Jews who trace their ancestry to the Macedonian city known since 1913 as Bitola continue to call the city by the name it bore during centuries of Ottoman rule: Monastir. Between 1941 and 1944, Bulgaria, in alliance with Nazi Germany, occupied the Yugoslav province of Macedonia. On March 11, 1943, in cooperation with the…
After WWII and the fall of the Nazi regime, Holocaust survivors faced the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. Listen to six survivors tell their stories.
Judge Thomas Buergenthal was one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. Judge Buergenthal devoted his life to international and human rights law. He served as chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience; was named the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School; and served for a decade as the American judge at…
Doriane's Jewish family fled to Amsterdam in 1940, the same year Germany occupied the Netherlands. Her father died after deportation to Auschwitz. After their mother was seized, Doriane and her brother hid with gentiles. The three were reunited at Bergen-Belsen, where they were deported via Westerbork. They were liberated during the camp's 1945 evacuation, when Doriane was 9. Her mother died of cancer soon after Doriane helped her recover from typhus. Doriane and her brother immigrated to the United States.
In their drive to rid the country of all that they deemed "un-German," the Nazis publically burned books in cities across Germany. Here in front of the Opera House in Berlin, a chanting crowd burns books written by Jews and leftist intellectuals. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda and public information, speaks of the intended "reeducation" of Germany.
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.
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