Josef was born to German Catholic parents. They lived in a Moravian village near the city of Sternberk in a German-inhabited region known as the Sudetenland. At that time Czechoslovakia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Upon graduation from a textile school, Josef supervised 600 employees at a silk factory in Moravska Trebova.
1933-39: After serving in the Czechoslovak army, Josef became a Jehovah's Witness in Prague, and refused to have anything more to do with the military, following the Witnesses' strict adherence to the commandment "Thou shalt not kill." In 1938 he was briefly arrested for refusing call-up in the Czechoslovak army. When the Germans took Prague in 1939, he managed to ship out the Witnesses office's printing machines and set them up again in Holland.
1940-44: Josef worked in Vienna for the Jehovah's Witness underground. His job was dangerous--supplying literature to their congregations in Austria. The Gestapo promptly arrested him. The court sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment, but first he was sent to do slave labor in a series of camps in the swamps of northwest Germany. Near the end of the war he again refused military service and was force-marched to various prisons and camps in southern Germany. Hundreds of prisoners died.
Josef was liberated by U.S. troops in May 1945 after surviving a forced march to the Dachau concentration camp. He subsequently immigrated to Canada.
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.
Arrest without warrant or judicial review was one of a series of key decrees, legislative acts, and case law in the gradual process by which the Nazi leadership moved Germany from a democracy to a dictatorship.
Between 1933 and 1945, a variety of groups offered resistance to the Nazi regime, both in Germany and in German-occupied territory.
With a series of key decrees, legislative acts, and case law, the Nazi leadership gradually moved Germany from a democracy to a dictatorship. The role of the legal profession in general and the actions of judges in particular were critical.
The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims - six million were murdered. Roma (Gypsies), physically and mentally disabled people and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny.
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 Flossenbürg camp and its subcamps.
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 Buchenwald camp near the city of Weimar.
The Nazi regime persecuted different groups on ideological grounds. Jews were the primary targets for systematic persecution and mass murder by the Nazis and their collaborators. Nazi policies also led to the brutalization and persecution of millions of others. Nazi policies towards all the victim groups were brutal, but not identical.
Reinhard Heydrich was one of the main architects of the “Final Solution.” He was chief of the Reich Security Main Office, the SS and police agency most directly concerned with implementing the Nazi plan to murder Jews of Europe during World War II.
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