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  • Geography of the Holocaust

    Media Essay

    The Holocaust (1933–1945) was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million European Jews by the Nazi German regime and its allies and collaborators. The Holocaust era began in January 1933 when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in Germany. It ended in May 1945, when the Allied Powers defeated Nazi Germany in World War II.  The Holocaust was a German initiative that took place throughout German- and Axis-controlled Europe. It affected nearly all of Europe’s Jewish…

  • Austria: Maps

    Media Essay

    Series of maps showing Austria in 1933, Vienna, the Anschluss, and Austria in 1945. 

  • Moving into the Krakow ghetto

    Film

    The German army occupied Krakow, Poland, in September 1939. In March 1941, the Germans ordered the establishment of a ghetto in Krakow. In this footage, Polish Jews are forced to move into the Krakow ghetto. They wear the required armbands, used to distinguish the Jewish population from the rest of the city's residents. By late 1941, there were some 18,000 Jews imprisoned in the Krakow ghetto.

    Moving into the Krakow ghetto
  • Daily life in the Warsaw ghetto

    Film

    A bridge connected areas of the Warsaw ghetto to prevent Jews from entering the streets that were not part of the ghetto. Before the ghetto was sealed, the few entrances and exits had checkpoints. In the early months of the ghetto, life had the appearance of normalcy, but very soon the lack of food and adequate housing began to take its toll.

    Daily life in the Warsaw ghetto
  • Lodz ghetto

    Film

    The German army occupied Lodz, Poland, in September 1939. From early February 1940, Jews in Lodz were forced to move to a designated ghetto area, which was sealed on April 30, 1940. This German footage illustrates conditions during winter in the Lodz ghetto. Winter in the ghettos aggravated existing hardships, depleting already sparse supplies of food and fuel.

    Lodz ghetto
  • Germany invades Poland

    Film

    Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, begining World War II. Quickly overruning Polish border defenses, German forces advanced towards Warsaw, the Polish capital city. This footage from German newsreels shows German forces in action during the invasion of Poland. Warsaw surrendered on September 28, 1939.

    Germany invades Poland
  • Fall of Warsaw

    Film

    German troops reached parts of Warsaw on September 8 and 9, 1939. During the German siege of Warsaw, the city sustained heavy damage from air attacks and artillery shelling. Warsaw surrendered on September 28. Here, German troops occupy Warsaw. This footage comes from "Tale of a City," a film made by a Polish underground film unit.

    Fall of Warsaw
  • Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto

    Film

    After the Germans established the Warsaw ghetto in October 1940, conditions deteriorated rapidly. The Germans strictly controlled the movement of goods into and out of the ghetto. There was not enough food to feed the ghetto residents. At great personal risk, many Jews attempted to smuggle in food. The German food ration for Warsaw ghetto inhabitants amounted to less than 10 percent of the ration for a German citizen. Thousands of Jew died in Warsaw each month because of starvation or disease.

    Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto
  • Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto

    Film

    The Nazis sealed the Warsaw ghetto in mid-November 1940. German-induced overcrowding and food shortages led to an extremely high mortality rate in the ghetto. Almost 30 percent of the population of Warsaw was packed into 2.4 percent of the city's area. The Germans set a food ration for Jews at just 181 calories a day. By August 1941, more than 5,000 people a month succumbed to starvation and disease.

    Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto
  • Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto

    Film

    The Nazis sealed the Warsaw ghetto in mid-November 1940. German-induced overcrowding and food shortages led to an extremely high mortality rate in the ghetto. Almost 30 percent of the population of Warsaw was packed into 2.4 percent of the city's area. The Germans set a food ration for Jews at just 181 calories a day. By August 1941, more than 5,000 people a month succumbed to starvation and disease.

    Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto
  • Prison in the Warsaw ghetto

    Film

    After the Germans established the Warsaw ghetto in 1940, the Jewish council in Warsaw became responsible for the full range of city services inside the ghetto area. In this German footage, prisoners from the ghetto's "Jewish prison" run into the courtyard and walk in circles during inspection.

    Prison in the Warsaw ghetto
  • Adam Czerniakow, chairman of the Jewish council in Warsaw

    Film

    [This video is silent] German forces entered Warsaw in September 1939. The next month, they ordered the establishment of a Jewish council (Judenrat) in the city. They chose Adam Czerniakow, a member of Warsaw's old Jewish Community Council, to lead it. Here, for German newsreels, a German propaganda company stages a meeting between Czerniakow and petitioners from the ghetto. The Germans expected Czerniakow to implement German orders, including demands for forced labor and confiscations of Jewish-owned…

    Adam Czerniakow, chairman of the Jewish council in Warsaw
  • Jewish deportees from Magdeburg in the Warsaw ghetto

    Film

    Beginning in 1941, the Germans deported Jews in Germany to the occupied eastern territories. At first, they deported thousands of Jews to ghettos in Poland and the Baltic states. Those deported would share the fate of local Jews. Later, many deportation transports from Germany went directly to the killing centers in occupied Poland. In this footage, a German propaganda unit films recent arrivals from Magdeburg, Germany, in a collection center run by the Jewish council in the Warsaw ghetto. In July 1942,…

    Jewish deportees from Magdeburg in the Warsaw ghetto
  • German forces enter Warsaw

    Film

    Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, beginning World War II. German forces swiftly overran Polish border defenses and approached Warsaw, Poland's capital city. Warsaw suffered heavy air attacks and artillery bombardments during the campaign. The city surrendered on September 28. This footage shows German forces entering Warsaw amidst the destruction caused by their bombardment of the city.

    German forces enter Warsaw
  • German victory parade in Warsaw

    Film

    Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. The Blitzkrieg ("lightning war") campaign in Poland was short and decisive. Warsaw, the capital of Poland, surrendered on September 27. In early October, Adolf Hitler visited Warsaw to review his forces. This footage shows victorious German army units parading before Hitler in the streets of the devastated city.

    German victory parade in Warsaw
  • Aftermath of pogrom in Kielce

    Film

    A pogrom took place in Kielce, Poland, in July 1946. Forty-two Jews were massacred and about 50 more were wounded. The event touched off a mass migration of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Poland and other countries of eastern and central Europe. This clip shows Jewish refugees, survivors of the pogrom, waiting to leave Poland and crossing into Czechoslovakia.

    Aftermath of pogrom in Kielce
  • Displaced persons camp in Austria

    Film

    After World War II, the Allies repatriated millions of displaced persons (DPs) back to their countries of origin. But hundreds of thousands of people, including more than 250,000 Jewish refugees, could not or would not return. Most Jewish DPs preferred to leave Europe for either Palestine or the United States. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) housed them in camps in occupied Germany and Austria until they could be resettled. Here, Jewish DPs raise their children in the…

    Displaced persons camp in Austria
  • Zionist protest rally in Zeilsheim camp

    Film

    After World War II, the Allies repatriated millions of displaced persons (DPs) to their countries of origin. But hundreds of thousands of people, including more than 250,000 Jewish refugees, could not or would not return. Most Jewish DPs preferred to leave Europe for either Palestine or the United States. The Allies housed them in camps in occupied Germany until they could be resettled. Here, Jewish Zionists protest their continued confinement in Zeilsheim displaced persons camp in Germany. They demand…

    Zionist protest rally in Zeilsheim camp
  • Displaced persons leave for the United States

    Film

    At the end of World War II, the Allied powers in Europe repatriated from Germany millions of displaced persons (DPs). The remaining 1.5 to 2 million DPs—both Jews and non-Jews—refused or were unable to return to their prewar homes. Immigration restrictions precluded the large-scale admission of these refugees to other European countries and the United States. They remained in occupied Germany until they could arrange to settle in another country. In this footage, filmed more than four years…

    Displaced persons leave for the United States
  • Einsatzgruppen in Liepaja, Latvia

    Film

    German Einsatzgruppen operated in German-occupied territories in eastern Europe during World War II. This rare footage shows a unit during a massacre in Liepaja, Latvia. The film was taken, contrary to orders, by a German soldier. Before the war, the Jewish population of Liepaja stood at more than 7,000 residents. Einsatzgruppen shot almost the entire Jewish population of the town. When the Soviet army liberated the city in 1945, just 20 to 30 Jews remained. Einsatzgruppen carried out various security…

    Einsatzgruppen in Liepaja, Latvia
  • Liberation of Majdanek

    Film

    In July 1944, Soviet forces liberated the Majdanek extermination camp. The Polish-Soviet Nazi Crimes Investigation Commission, established to document Nazi atrocities committed during the German occupation of Poland, ordered exhumations at Majdanek as part of its efforts to investigate Nazi mass killings in the camp. The commission later published its findings in Moscow on September 16, 1944, in Polish, Russian, English, and French.

    Liberation of Majdanek
  • Liberation of Auschwitz: Child survivors

    Film

    Soviet military footage showing children who were liberated at Auschwitz by the Soviet army in January 1945.

    Liberation of Auschwitz: Child survivors
  • Liberation of Dachau

    Film

    The Dachau concentration camp, northwest of Munich, Germany, was the first regular concentration camp the Nazis established in 1933. About twelve years later, on April 29, 1945, US armed forces liberated the camp. There were about 30,000 starving prisoners in the camp at the time. Here, soldiers of the US Seventh Army document conditions in the camp. They also require German civilians to tour the camp and confront Nazi atrocities.

    Liberation of Dachau
  • Aftermath of the liberation of a forced-labor camp in Germany

    Film

    [This video is silent] There were three large forced-labor camps in Hannover, a large industrial city in northern Germany. All three of the camps were part of the Neuengamme concentration camp system. In early April 1945, American forces entered Hannover and freed the surviving prisoners. The American Signal Corps filmed one of the Hannover camps soon after liberation. American forces fed survivors of the camp and required German civilians to help bury the dead.

    Aftermath of the liberation of a forced-labor camp in Germany
  • Liberation of Mauthausen and Gusen

    Film

    This film footage is excerpted from documentary film titled "Mauthausen Concentration Camp," showing footage from both Mauthausen and the nearby Gusen camp. Filmed by US cameramen, the footage opens with a broad view of buildings in the Gusen camp. Excerpts that follow show scenes in the camps, American care of the liberated prisoners, and Austrian civilians loading bodies of victims onto carts for burial.

    Liberation of Mauthausen and Gusen

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