German SS officer Kurt Gerstein was assigned to the Hygiene Institute of the Waffen SS. He was called upon to assist in the implementation of the "Final Solution." After witnessing atrocities at the Belzec and Treblinka killing centers, he tried to inform foreign diplomats, Vatican officials, and members of the political resistance within Germany about Nazi German atrocities. While in Allied custody after the war, Gerstein wrote a report documenting the atrocities he had witnessed.
Hans was born to a Jewish family in the Austrian capital of Vienna. His parents ran a successful export shop for ladies' hats and sold their wares to many different countries. As a boy, Hans attended a private, preparatory school in which courses were taught in both English and German. 1933-39: Hans was attending business school when the Germans annexed Austria in 1938. Hans and his family watched from their window as German troops, led by Hitler, goose-stepped into Vienna. Hans was immediately forced out…
Sabina grew up in a Jewish family in Piotrkow Trybunalski, a small industrial city southeast of Warsaw. Her family lived in a non-Jewish neighborhood. Her father was a businessman and her mother was a teacher. Both Yiddish and Polish were spoken in their home. In 1929 Sabina began public school, and later went on to study at a Jewish secondary school. 1933-39: On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Four days later, German troops streamed into Sabina's city. After one month of occupation, her father…
Drexel Sprecher was educated at the University of Wisconsin, the London School of Economics, and at the Harvard School of Law before receiving a position at the US Government's Labor Board in 1938. He enlisted in the American military after the United States declared war on Germany, and was posted to London. After the war, Sprecher served as a prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.
Treblinka was one of three killing centers in Operation Reinhard, the SS plan to murder almost two million Jews living in the German-administered territory of occupied Poland.
In the spring of 1939, Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus rescued 50 Jewish children from Vienna, Austria, by bringing them to the United States. Learn about their mission.
The Nazi regime's extensive camp system included concentration camps, forced-labor camps, prisoner-of-war camps, transit camps, and killing centers.
The SS camp at Trawniki in the Lublin District of the General Government existed from July 1941 through July 1944. It underwent four changes of function and purpose in the three years of its existence. Purpose of the Trawniki Camp From July until September 1941, Trawniki served as a holding pen for Soviet civilians and soldiers. From September 1941 until July 1944, it was a training facility for police auxiliaries deployed in Operation Reinhard. From June 1942 until September 1943, it served as a…
Roza's family moved to Warsaw in 1934. She had just begun college when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. In 1940, the Germans sealed the Warsaw ghetto, where her parents were shot during a roundup. Roza escaped and went into hiding. From her hiding place she saw the burning of the ghetto in the 1943 uprising. She had false papers stating she was a Polish Catholic (Maria Kowalczyk), and was deported by cattle train to Germany in June 1943. She worked on a farm until liberation in 1945.
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