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  • Edward Lessing describes wearing the compulsory Jewish badge.

    Oral History

    Edward was born to a Jewish family in The Hague. In 1929, the family moved to the United States. Because his father had difficulty finding employment, Edward and his family returned to the Netherlands in 1932. They were living in the town of Delft and running a small clothing store when war broke out. Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. Anti-Jewish decrees were instituted, increasing in severity to the point that Jews could no longer own businesses and were forced to wear a yellow badge after May…

    Edward Lessing describes wearing the compulsory Jewish badge.
  • Japan attacks Pearl Harbor


    While Japanese diplomats in Washington, DC, negotiated with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Japanese planes bombed the naval base at Pearl Harbor. American outrage at the surprise attack overcame isolationist sentiment and the United States declared war on Japan the following day.

    Japan attacks Pearl Harbor
  • British army chaplain describes Bergen-Belsen upon liberation


    British troops liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in April 1945. They filmed statements from members of their own forces. In this British military footage, British army chaplain T.J. Stretch recounts his impressions of the camp.

    British army chaplain describes Bergen-Belsen upon liberation
  • Allied prisoner of war describes work details


    Most Allied prisoners of war (POWs) were treated well compared to inmates of concentration camps. But, as former Dutch POW Captain Boullard explains here at Dachau concentration camp, some were subject to severe beatings and forced to work in harsh labor assignments.

    Allied prisoner of war describes work details
  • US condemnation of Kristallnacht


    On November 9, 1938, the Nazis led a nationwide pogrom against Jews. During the pogrom, known as "Kristallnacht" (the "Night of Broken Glass"), bands of Storm Troopers (SA) destroyed thousands of Jewish-owned businesses and hundreds of synagogues. Almost 100 Jews were killed in the process. This footage shows scenes from a protest rally in New York City. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise voiced the outrage of the American Jewish community. As part of an official protest by the United States government against the…

    US condemnation of Kristallnacht
  • Buchenwald concentration camp


    Clip from George Stevens' "The Nazi Concentration Camps." This German film footage was compiled as evidence and used by the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials.

    Buchenwald concentration camp
  • Isaac Sandler

    ID Card

    Isaac was one of six children born to a Jewish family in the Ukrainian village of Vachnovka in the Soviet Union. In the mid-1920s, Isaac married, and moved to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. 1933-39: In Kiev Isaac worked as a house-painter. Because he had married a Christian Ukrainian woman, he was shunned by some of his relatives who believed this union violated Jewish law. Isaac was considered the "black sheep" of his family. 1940-41: When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Isaac was…

    Tags: Ukraine Kyiv
    Isaac Sandler
  • Robert Oelbermann

    ID Card

    In 1919 Robert and his brother Karl founded the Nerother Bund youth group in the Cologne region. Like other German youth groups, it aimed to bring youth closer to nature through camping and hiking. Homosexual relationships sometimes developed from the intense adolescent male camaraderie, and the Nerother Bund accepted these friendships, as did a number of German youth groups at the time. 1933-39: Soon after the Nazis took power in 1933, they dissolved all independent youth groups and urged the members to…

    Robert Oelbermann
  • Robert T. Odeman

    ID Card

    Born Martin Hoyer, Robert took Robert T. Odeman as his stage name when he began a professional career as an actor and musician. A classical pianist, Robert gave concerts throughout Europe, but a hand injury tragically ended his concert career. 1933-39: In 1935 Robert opened a cabaret in Hamburg. One year later the Nazis shut it down, charging that it was politically subversive. Robert then moved to Berlin where he developed a close relationship with a male friend who was pressured to denounce Robert to…

    Robert T. Odeman
  • Wolfgang Kusserow

    ID Card

    When Wolfgang was an infant, his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses. His father moved the family to the small Westphalian town of Bad Lippspringe when Wolfgang was 9. Their home became the headquarters of a new Jehovah's Witness congregation. Wolfgang and his ten brothers and sisters grew up studying the Bible daily. 1933-39: The Kusserows were under close scrutiny by the Nazi secret police because of their religion. As a Jehovah's Witness, Wolfgang believed that his highest allegiance was to God and His…

    Wolfgang Kusserow

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