Bergen-Belsen began as a camp for Allied prisoners of war. After it was turned over to the SS, it became a Nazi concentration camp in 1943. Beginning in fall 1944, the SS deported to Bergen-Belsen large numbers of prisoners evacuated from Nazi camps further east.
Kindertransport (Children's Transport) was the informal name of a series of rescue efforts between 1938 and 1940. These rescue efforts brought thousands of refugee children, the vast majority of them Jewish, to Great Britain from Nazi Germany.
During the first six years of the Nazi regime, thousands of Germans were detained or confined extra-legally. The conditions were usually harsh and there was no regard to the legal norms of arrest and imprisonment of a constitutional democracy in terms of arrest and imprisonment.
During World War II, the Germans established Jewish councils (Judenraete) in the ghettos. These Jewish administrations were required to ensure that Nazi orders and regulations were implemented.
In May 1939, the German liner St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany, to Havana, Cuba, carrying 937 passengers, almost all Jewish refugees. The Cuban government refused to allow the ship to land, and the United States and Canada were unwilling to admit the passengers. The St. Louis passengers were finally permitted to land in western European countries rather than return to Nazi Germany. 254 St. Louis passengers were killed in the Holocaust.
Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44,000 camps and other incarceration sites (including ghettos). The perpetrators used these locations for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people deemed to be "enemies of the state," and mass murder. Millions of people suffered and died or were killed. Among these sites was the Janowska camp.
German policies varied from country to country, including direct, brutal occupation and reliance upon collaborating regimes. In Greece, over 80% of its prewar Jewish population was murdered.
The onset of World War II brought accelerated persecution and deportation and later, mass murder, to the Jews of Germany. In all, the Germans and their collaborators killed between 160,000 and 180,000 German Jews in the Holocaust, including most of those Jews deported out of Germany.
German policies varied from country to country, including direct, brutal occupation and reliance upon collaborating regimes. Germany occupied Luxembourg in May 1940. Estimates of the total number of Luxembourg Jews murdered during the Holocaust range from 1,000 to 2,500.
German policies varied from country to country, including direct, brutal occupation and reliance upon collaborating regimes. France was divided into occupied and unoccupied zones, with differing policies in each.
In 1941, the Nazi leadership decided to implement the "Final Solution," the systematic mass murder of European Jewry. Unlike concentration camps, which served primarily as detention and labor centers, killing centers (commonly referred to as "extermination camps" or "death camps") were almost exclusively "death factories."
After the denial of safe haven in Cuba and neglected appeals for entrance into the United States, the passengers of the St.Louis disembarked in Great Britain, France, Belgium, or the Netherlands. Their fate of the passengers in each depended on many factors subsequently, including geography and the course of the war against Germany.
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.