In the summer of 1941, following Germany's attack on the Soviet Union, Germans began to perpetrate mass shootings of Jewish men, women, and children in territory seized from Soviet forces. These murders were part of the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” the mass murder of Europe’s Jews.
On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany launched a surprise attack against the Soviet Union, its ally in the war against Poland. By the end of the year, German troops had advanced hundreds of miles to the outskirts of Moscow. Soon after the invasion, mobile killing units began the mass murder of Soviet Jews. German military and civilian occupation policies led to the deaths of millions of Soviet prisoners of war and Soviet civilians.
Dictionaries define “bystander” as “a witness to events,” “one who is present but not taking part in what is occurring.”
German troops invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, triggering World War II. In response to German aggression, Great Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany.
On January 20, 1942, 15 high-ranking Nazi Party and German government officials gathered at a villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to discuss and coordinate the implementation of what they called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question."
On January 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced a new policy to rescue and provide relief for Jews and other groups persecuted by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. The War Refugee Board, tasked with carrying out these programs, likely saved tens of thousands of lives.
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.