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As prewar antisemitism intensified, Hessy's family fled from Germany to Paris, France. France fell to the German army in June 1940. Hessy's family was smuggled into the "zone libre" (free zone) in southern France. The family received a US visa in 1941, but was unable to leave before the visa expired and could not obtain an extension. In 1942, the family obtained visas to enter Cuba, where they settled before immigrating to the United States in 1949.
From 1940 to 1944, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and neighboring villages provided shelter to some 5,000 people, among them Jews fleeing persecution.
French policeman Théophile Larue, who warned his Jewish neighbors of an upcoming roundup.
Read about the Nazi persecution of Black people, as well as Black people's experiences in Germany before the Nazi rise to power.
Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party adapted, manipulated, and radicalized the unfounded belief in the existence of an "Aryan race." Learn about the term Aryan.
Rémy was born in a small French town to Catholic parents. In 1913, after studying law at the University of Paris, he joined the Tallandier publishing house in Paris. During World War I he served in the French army and was wounded five times. He returned to work at Tallandier after the war, and in 1919 he married Germaine Tallandier, the daughter of the owner. They had five children whom they raised as devout Catholics. 1933-39: In 1935 Rémy became the mayor of Avon, a small town about 35 miles southeast…
Jewish Partisans Some Jews who managed to escape from ghettos and camps formed their own fighting units. These fighters, or partisans, were concentrated in densely wooded areas. A large group of partisans in occupied Soviet territory hid in a forest near the Lithuanian capital of Vilna. They were able to derail hundreds of trains and kill over 3,000 German soldiers. Life as a partisan in the forest was difficult. People had to move from place to place to avoid discovery, raid farmers' food supplies to…
Hans was born to Jewish parents in a town in northwestern Germany. The family moved to Berlin when Hans' father obtained a post there as a history teacher in a secondary school. After graduating from university, Hans married and settled with his wife Margaret in an apartment in Berlin. In 1920 their child Wolfgang was born. Hans worked as foreign representative for a sewing notions company. 1933-39: When the Nazis won the election a few weeks ago, Hans was afraid for people like himself who are active…
Gleichschaltung is the German term applied to the Nazification of all aspects of German society following the Nazi rise to power in 1933.
Social Democratic politician Otto Wels was the only German parliamentary leader to openly oppose passage of the Enabling Act, the cornerstone of Adolf Hitler's dictatorship.
On November 9–10, 1938, the Nazi regime coordinated a wave of antisemitic violence. This became known as Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass." Learn more
During WWII, the Children’s Aid Society (OSE) operated 14 children's homes throughout France to save Jewish children from internment and deportation to killing centers.
World War II was the largest and most destructive conflict in history. Learn about key WWII dates in this timeline of events, including when WW2 started and ended.
In May 1939, the St. Louis set sail from Germany to Cuba. Most of the passengers, fleeing Nazi Germany, were denied entry. Learn more about their fates.
After the German annexation of Austria in March 1938, Eva's family decided to leave Vienna for Paris. Eva and her mother were later trapped in the occupied area of France while her father was in the unoccupied area after the French armistice with Germany in 1940. They were eventually reunited and together tried to find refuge in Switzerland, but were caught by the French police. They received help from a priest in Annecy and survived the war under his protection. After the liberation of France in August…
When Helene was a young child, her parents emigrated to Paris.
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.
Nadine was the daughter of immigrant Jewish parents. Her Russian-born mother settled in France following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Nadine was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, a city on the outskirts of Paris known for its automobile factories. She was fluent in Russian and French. 1933-39: Nadine attended elementary school in Paris. Her mother, Ludmilla, taught piano, and her Russian grandmother, Rosalia, lived with them. After France declared war on Germany in September 1939, Nadine's mother moved the…
The Decree against Public Enemies was a key step in the process by which the Nazi leadership moved Germany from a democracy to a dictatorship.
Rosa was one of 14 children born to religious Jewish parents in the village of Yasinya at a time when it was known as Korosmezo and was part of Hungary. During World War I, she married Michael von Hoppen Waldhorn, an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army who was based near Yasinya. During the 1920s they moved to Paris, where they raised three children. 1933-39: The Waldhorn family's life in Paris was very different from their life in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Rosa's husband made a good living, and he…
Background The German attack on Poland in September 1939 trapped nearly 3.5 million Jews in German- and Soviet-occupied territories. In late 1940 and early 1941, just months before the Germans initiated the mass murder of Jews in the Soviet Union, some 2,100 Polish Jews found temporary safe haven in Lithuania. Few of these refugees could have reached permanent safety without the tireless efforts of many individuals. Several Jewish organizations and Jewish communities along the way provided funds and…
The Enabling Act of March 1933 allowed the Reich government to issue laws without the consent of Germany’s parliament. It laid the foundation for the Nazification of German society.
Roundup of Jews. Paris, France, ca. 1942.
During the battle to liberate the French capital, a barricade is hastily built near the cathedral of Notre Dame. Paris, France, August 1944.
Jewish groups worldwide helped rescue thousands during the Holocaust. Read more about efforts to save Jews from Nazi persecution and death.
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.