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  • Hajj Amin al-Husayni: Wartime Propagandist

    Article

    Collaboration with the Axis During the war, the Nazi regime found many willing collaborators throughout the world who sought to advance their own political goals and extend Axis influence. A host of exiled political leaders—such as Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose, Syrian guerilla rebel Fawzi al-Qawuqji, former Iraqi prime minister Rashid 'Ali al-Kailani, and former Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al-Husayni (Arab nationalist and prominent Muslim religious leader)—escaped to Berlin, where they…

  • Hajj Amin al-Husayni: Key Dates

    Article

    189?Amin Muhammed al-Husayni is born in Jerusalem. November 2, 1917The British Foreign Secretary issues the Balfour Declaration, announcing the British intention to permit the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. 1918British troops occupy Palestine. February-April 1920Al-Husayni and others organize demonstrations in Jerusalem, calling for Arab independence and union with Syria. After the demonstrations become violent, al-Husayni flees to Syria. In April, a British tribunal convicts…

  • Nazi Rule

    Article

    Nazi Rule Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, bringing an end to German democracy. Guided by racist and authoritarian ideas, the Nazis abolished basic freedoms and sought to create a "Volk" community. In theory, a "Volk" community united all social classes and regions of Germany behind Hitler. In reality, the Third Reich quickly became a police state, where individuals were subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. In the first months of his chancellorship, Hitler…

    Nazi Rule
  • The Nazi Terror Begins

    Article

    The Nazi Terror Begins After Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January 1933, he moved quickly to turn Germany into a one-party dictatorship and to organize the police power necessary to enforce Nazi policies. He persuaded his Cabinet to declare a state of emergency and end individual freedoms, including freedom of press, speech, and assembly. Individuals lost the right to privacy, which meant that officials could read people's mail, listen in on telephone conversations, and search private homes…

    The Nazi Terror Begins
  • SS Police State

    Article

    SS Police State An important tool of Nazi terror was the Protective Squad (Schutzstaffel), or SS, which began as a special guard for Adolf Hitler and other party leaders. The black-shirted SS members formed a smaller, elite group whose members also served as auxiliary policemen and, later, as concentration camp guards. Eventually overshadowing the Storm Troopers (SA) in importance, the SS became, after 1934, the private army of the Nazi Party. SS chief Heinrich Himmler also turned the regular (nonparty)…

    SS Police State
  • World War II in Europe

    Article

    World War II in Europe During World War II, Germany overran much of Europe using a new tactic called the "Blitzkrieg" (lightning war). Blitzkrieg involved the massing of planes, tanks, and artillery. These forces would break through enemy defenses along a narrow front. Air power prevented the enemy from closing the breach. German forces encircled opposing troops, forcing them to surrender. Using the Blitzkrieg tactic, Germany defeated Poland (attacked in September 1939), Denmark (April 1940), Norway…

    Tags: World War II
    World War II in Europe
  • The Murder of People with Disabilities

    Article

    At the beginning of WWII, people with mental or physical disabilities were targeted for murder in what the Nazis called the T-4, or "euthanasia," program.

  • German Rule in Occupied Europe

    Article

    German Rule in Occupied Europe Germany planned to annex most of the conquered eastern territories after they had been Germanized. While some areas were to serve as reservations for forced laborers, most were to be resettled by German colonists. Most German plans for resettlement were postponed until the end of the war. Meanwhile, the regions were ruthlessly exploited for the German war effort: foodstuffs, raw materials, and war stocks were confiscated. Members of the local population were drafted for…

    German Rule in Occupied Europe
  • Jewish Life in Europe Before the Holocaust

    Article

    When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Jews were living in every country of Europe. A total of roughly nine million Jews lived in the countries that would be occupied by Germany during World War II. By the end of the war, two out of ever...

    Tags: antisemitism
    Jewish Life in Europe Before the Holocaust
  • Antisemitism

    Article

    Throughout history Jews have faced prejudice and discrimination, known as antisemitism. Learn more about the long history of antisemitism.

    Tags: antisemitism
    Antisemitism
  • The Evian Conference

    Article

    In July 1938, a conference of nations met at Evian France, to discuss the “problem&rdquo...

    The Evian Conference
  • Locating the Victims

    Article

    The Germans and their collaborators used paper records and local knowledge to identify Jews to be rounded up or killed during the Holocaust.

    Locating the Victims
  • Ghettos in Occupied Poland

    Article

    Ghettos in Poland Millions of Jews lived in eastern Europe. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, more than two million Polish Jews came under German control. After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, several million more Jews came under Nazi rule. The Germans aimed to control this sizable Jewish population by forcing Jews to reside in marked-off sections of towns and cities the Nazis called "ghettos" or "Jewish residential quarters." Altogether, the Germans created at least 1,000 ghettos in…

    Ghettos in Occupied Poland
  • Life in the Ghettos

    Article

    Life in the Ghettos Life in the ghettos was usually unbearable. Overcrowding was common. One apartment might have several families living in it. Plumbing broke down, and human waste was thrown in the streets along with the garbage. Contagious diseases spread rapidly in such cramped, unsanitary housing. People were always hungry. Germans deliberately tried to starve residents by allowing them to purchase only a small amount of bread, potatoes, and fat. Some residents had some money or valuables they could…

    Life in the Ghettos
  • Mobile Killing Squads

    Article

    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…

    Mobile Killing Squads
  • The Wannsee Conference and the "Final Solution"

    Article

    On January 20, 1942, fifteen high-ranking Nazi Party and German government leaders gathered for an important meeting. They met in a wealthy section of Berlin at a villa by a lake known as Wannsee. Reinhard Heydrich, who was SS chief Heinrich Himmler's head deputy, held the meeting for the purpose of discussing the "final solution to the Jewish question in Europe" with key non-SS government leaders, including the secretaries of the Foreign Ministry and Justice, whose cooperation was needed. The "Final…

    The Wannsee Conference and the "Final Solution"
  • At the Killing Centers

    Article

    After deportation trains arrived at the killing centers, guards ordered the deportees to get out and form a line. The victims then went through a selection process. Men were separated from women and children. A Nazi, usually an SS physician, looked quickly at each person to decide if he or she was healthy and strong enough for forced labor. This SS officer then pointed to the left or the right; victims did not know that individuals were being selected to live or die. Babies and young children, pregnant…

    At the Killing Centers
  • Deportations

    Article

    Deportations In the months following the Wannsee Conference, the Nazi regime continued to carry out their plans for the "Final Solution." Jews were "deported"—transported by trains or trucks to six camps, all located in occupied Poland: Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Majdanek-Lublin. The Nazis called these six camps "extermination camps." Most of the deportees were immediately murdered in large groups by poisonous gas. The Germans continued to murder Jews in mass shootings…

    Deportations
  • Auschwitz Camp Complex

    Article

    Auschwitz was the largest camp established by the Germans. It was a complex of camps, including a concentration camp, killing center, and forced-labor camp.

    Auschwitz Camp Complex
  • Nazi Camp System

    Article

    Most prisoners in the early Nazi camp system were political opponents of the regime. The system would grow to include other types of camps, including killing centers.

    Nazi Camp System
  • Nuremberg Trials

    Article

    Trials of top surviving German leaders for Nazi Germany’s crimes began in Nuremberg after World War II. Read about the Nuremberg trials.

    Nuremberg Trials
  • Liberation

    Article

    Liberation Soviet soldiers were the first to liberate concentration camp prisoners in the final stages of the war. On July 23, 1944, they entered the Majdanek camp in Poland, and later overran several other killing centers. On January 27, 1945, they entered Auschwitz and there found hundreds of sick and exhausted prisoners. The Germans had been forced to leave these prisoners behind in their hasty retreat from the camp. Also left behind were victims' belongings: 348,820 men's suits, 836,255 women's coats,…

    Liberation
  • "Enemies of the State"

    Article

    Jews were the main target of Nazi hatred. Other individuals and groups considered "undesirable" and "enemies of the state" were also persecuted.

    "Enemies of the State"
  • Forced Labor

    Article

    Forced Labor In German-occupied areas, the Nazis singled out Jewish laborers for cruel treatment. Jewish laborers were also subjected to humiliating treatment, as when SS men forced religious Jews to submit to having their beards cut. The ghettos served as bases for utilizing Jewish labor, as did forced-labor camps for Jews in occupied Poland. In the Lodz ghetto, for example, the Nazis opened 96 factories. The ability to work could save one's life, but most often only temporarily. Jews deemed unproductive…

    Forced Labor
  • Death Marches

    Article

    Death Marches Near the end of the war, when Germany's military force was collapsing, the Allied armies closed in on the Nazi concentration camps. The Soviets approached from the east, and the British, French, and Americans from the west. The Germans began frantically to move the prisoners out of the camps near the front and take them to be used as forced laborers in camps inside Germany. Prisoners were first taken by train and then by foot on "death marches," as they became known. Prisoners were forced…

  • The Survivors

    Article

    Survivors faced huge obstacles in rebuilding their lives after the devastation of the Holocaust years. Learn about some of the challenges they faced.

    The Survivors
  • Rescue and Resistance

    Article

    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…

    Rescue and Resistance
  • Jewish Partisans

    Article

    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…

    Jewish Partisans
  • The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

    Article

    Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Many Jews in ghettos across eastern Europe tried to organize resistance against the Germans and to arm themselves with smuggled and homemade weapons. Between 1941 and 1943, underground resistance movements formed in about 100 Jewish groups. The most famous attempt by Jews to resist the Germans in armed fighting occurred in the Warsaw ghetto. In the summer of 1942, about 300,000 Jews were deported from Warsaw to Treblinka. When reports of mass murder in the killing center leaked…

    The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
  • Killing Center Revolts

    Article

    Killing Center Revolts The Warsaw ghetto uprising inspired revolts in other ghettos and in killing centers. Although many resisters knew they were bound to lose against overwhelmingly superior German forces, they chose to die fighting. After the last Jews deported to Treblinka were gassed in May 1943, about 1,000 Jewish prisoners remained in the camp. Aware that they were soon to be killed, the prisoners decided to revolt. On August 2, armed with shovels, picks, and a few weapons stolen from the arms…

    Killing Center Revolts
  • The War Refugee Board

    Article

    War Refugee Board During World War II, it became increasingly clear to American citizens that Nazi Germany and the other Axis powers were murdering European Jews. In January 1944, Treasury Department staff, led by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., persuaded President Franklin D. Roosevelt to establish the War Refugee Board. Roosevelt tasked this organization, nominally headed by the Secretaries of State, War, and Treasury, with carrying out an official American policy of rescue and relief.…

    The War Refugee Board
  • Resistance inside Germany

    Article

    Resistance inside Germany Despite the high risk of being caught by police with the help of their many informers, some individuals and groups attempted to resist Nazism even in Germany. Socialists, Communists, trade unionists, and others clandestinely wrote, printed, and distributed anti-Nazi literature. Many of these rebels were arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps. There were many plots to assassinate Hitler during the war. After the important Soviet victory at Stalingrad in early 1943, when…

    Resistance inside Germany
  • Prisoners of the Camps

    Article

    Jews were the main targets of Nazi genocide. Learn about other individuals from a broad range of backgrounds who were imprisoned in the Nazi camp system.

    Prisoners of the Camps
  • Ravensbrück: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of the history of the Ravensbrück camp in the Nazi camp system from its establishment in 1938 until the last of the Ravensbrück trials in 1966.

    Ravensbrück: Key Dates
  • 1936: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events in Nazi Germany during 1936.

    Tags: key dates
    1936: Key Dates
  • 1938: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events in the history of Nazi Germany during 1938.

    1938: Key Dates
  • 1939: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events during 1939 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.

    Tags: key dates
    1939: Key Dates
  • 1941: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events during 1941 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.

    Tags: key dates
    1941: Key Dates
  • 1942: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events during 1942 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.

    Tags: key dates
    1942: Key Dates
  • 1940: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events during 1940 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.

    Tags: key dates
    1940: Key Dates
  • 1943: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events during 1943 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.

    Tags: key dates
    1943: Key Dates
  • 1944: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events during 1944 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.

    Tags: key dates
    1944: Key Dates
  • 1945: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events during 1945 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, the Holocaust, and liberation and the aftermath of the Holocaust.

    Tags: key dates
    1945: Key Dates
  • 1946–1948: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events during 1946-1948. Learn about the aftermath of the Holocaust and the obstacles survivors faced.

    Tags: key dates
    1946–1948: Key Dates
  • Hermann Göring: Key Dates

    Article

    Hermann Göring held many positions of power and leadership within the Nazi state. Learn about key dates in the life of Hermann Göring.

    Hermann Göring: Key Dates
  • Ravensbrück: Liberation and Postwar Trials

    Article

    Ravensbrück was the largest concentration camp for women in the German Reich. Learn about the last months of the Ravensbrück camp and the postwar trials of camp staff.

    Ravensbrück: Liberation and Postwar Trials
  • Sachsenhausen: Key Dates

    Article

    Key dates in the history of the Sachsenhausen camp in the Nazi camp system, from its establishment in 1936 to the postwar trial of camp staff in 1947.

    Sachsenhausen: Key Dates
  • Sachsenhausen: Conditions in the Camp

    Article

    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 deeme...

    Sachsenhausen: Conditions in the Camp
  • Sachsenhausen: Liberation and Postwar Trials

    Article

    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 dee...

    Sachsenhausen: Liberation and Postwar Trials
  • Flossenbürg: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of the history of the Flossenbürg camp in the Nazi camp system from its establishment in 1938 until liberation in 1945.

    Flossenbürg: Key Dates

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