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Adolf Hitler's Nazi aimed to purify the genetic makeup of the German population through measures known as racial hygiene or eugenics.
The Einsatzgruppen Case was Case #9 of 12 Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings against leading German industrialists, military figures, SS perpetrators, and others.
In Nazi Germany, German military personnel swore an oath directly to Adolf Hitler. Learn about the oath and its impact.
The Gestapo was Nazi Germany’s infamous political police force. It enforced Nazism’s radical impulses and perpetrated crimes against targeted groups. Learn more
In May 1939, the German transatlantic liner St. Louis sailed from Germany to Cuba. Most of the passengers were Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Learn more about the voyage.
Learn about the establishment of and conditions in Melk, a subcamp of the Mauthausen camp system in Austria.
The three principal partners in the Axis alliance were Germany, Italy, and Japan. Learn more about the Axis powers in WW2.
With help from allies and collaborators, German authorities deported Jews from across Europe to killing centers. The vast majority were gassed almost immediately after their arrival in the killing centers.
To implement their policies, the Nazis had help from individuals across Europe, including professionals in many fields. Learn about the role of academics and teachers.
Explore a timeline of key events during 1940 in the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.
Following Hitler's appointment as chancellor, the Nazis began laying the foundations of a state based on racist and authoritarian principles and the elimination of individual freedoms.
The Gurs camp was one of the first and largest camps established in prewar France. It was located at the foot of the Pyrenees in southwestern France, just to the south of the village of Gurs. The camp, about 50 miles from the Spanish border, was situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains northwest of Oloron-Sainte-Marie. The French government established the Gurs camp in April 1939, before war with Germany and well before the occupation of France in June 1940. Originally, Gurs served as a…
The 11th Armored Division participated in major WWII campaigns and is recognized for liberating Mauthausen and Gusen in 1945.
The Hostage Case was Case #7 of 12 Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings against leading German industrialists, military figures, SS perpetrators, and others.
Racial antisemitism is the discriminatory idea that Jews are a separate and inferior race. This type of antisemitism dates back to the late 1800s.
The city of Łódź (Lodz) is located about 85 miles southwest of Warsaw, Poland. The Jews of Lodz formed the second largest Jewish community in prewar Poland, after Warsaw. German troops occupied Lodz on September 8, 1939. This was one week after Germany invaded Poland on September 1. Lodz was annexed to Germany as part of the Warthegau. The Germans renamed the city Litzmannstadt, after a German World War I general, Karl Litzmann. The Lodz Ghetto In early February 1940, the Germans established a ghetto…
Social Democratic politician Otto Wels was the only German parliamentary leader to openly oppose passage of the Enabling Act, the cornerstone of Adolf Hitler's dictatorship.
Moringen, Uckermark, and Litzmannstadt were reform camps established to confine young people who were deemed to have strayed from Nazi norms and ideals. Learn more
During the Holocaust, the creation of ghettos was a key step in the Nazi process of ultimately destroying Europe's Jews. Learn about the Vilna ghetto.
Cultural and educational activities, clandestine documentation and religious observances. Learn more about these and other types of spiritual resistance in ghettos in Nazi-occupied areas.
From 1918 to 1940, Riga was the capital of independent Latvia. Before World War II, about 40,000 Jews lived in Riga, representing slightly more than 10 percent of the city's population. The community had a well-developed network of Hebrew and Yiddish schools, as well as a lively Jewish cultural life. Jews were integrated into most aspects of life in Riga and even sat on the city council. In August 1940, the Soviet Union annexed Latvia, and Riga became the capital of the Latvian SSR. German forces occupied…
In September 1939, the Germans launched a campaign of terror intended to destroy the Polish nation and culture. Learn more about the German occupation of Poland.
The outbreak of war in Poland in September 1939 trapped nearly three and a half million Jews in German- and Soviet-occupied territories. In late 1940 and early 1941, just months before the Germans began to implement the mass killings of Jews, one group of about 2,100 Polish Jews found a safe haven. Few of these refugees could have reached safety without the tireless efforts of many individuals. Several Jewish organizations and Jewish communities along the way provided funds and other help. The most…
During the Holocaust, some children went into hiding to escape Nazi persecution. They faced constant fear, dilemmas, and danger.
Explore a timeline of key events in the history of the Lublin/Majdanek camp in German-occupied Poland.
Nazi rule in Germany began with Hitler's rise to power in 1933. Hitler and the Nazi Party quickly eliminated democratic freedoms. The new regime then took control of all aspects of public life in Germany.
Ben Ferencz investigated and prosecuted Nazi crimes and devoted his career to creating an international system of justice. Learn about his activities and impact.
The German invasion of Poland in the fall of 1939 triggered WWII. Learn more about key dates and events, causes, and related Holocaust history.
H.G. Wells was an author best known for science fiction titles. The Nazis objected to "The Outline of History," a non-fiction work, which was burned in 1933.
Lawyer Robert Kempner was expelled from Germany in 1935. After WWII, he would return to serve as assistant US chief counsel during the IMT at Nuremberg.
A Project of the Miles Lerman Center An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Jews fought in partisan groups based in the forests of eastern Europe. In Poland, Jews were generally excluded from partisan groups because of antisemitic and anti-Communist attitudes. While Soviet partisan units were sometimes receptive to Jewish fighters, the formation of a stronger Soviet and Polish resistance in 1943 was too late for the vast majority of Jews in eastern Europe killed in mass shootings and gassings. The Jewish…
The Burmese military has targeted the Rohingya people because of their ethnic and religious identity. The military’s actions constitute genocide and crimes against humanity. Learn more
Learn about the origins and legacy of Pastor Martin Niemöller's famous postwar words, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out…”
Beginning in 1933, the Nazis took control of and subsequently transformed the police forces of the Weimar Republic into instruments of state repression and, eventually, of genocide. They did so by Nazifying policing. The new government removed anti-Nazi police leaders, reorganized Germany’s police forces, and reoriented police culture towards Nazism.
Under the protection of the Bielski partisan group, founded by brothers Tuvia, Asael, and Zus, over 1,200 Jews survived after fleeing into forests in western Belarus.
Millions of people suffered and died in camps, ghettos, and other sites during the Holocaust....
A relief organization, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC or Joint) was established in 1914. Learn about its activities before, during, and after WWII.
Paragraph 175 was a German statute that criminalized sexual relations between men. The Nazis revised Paragraph 175 in 1935 to make it broader and harsher.
After WWII, many Holocaust survivors, unable to return to their homes, lived in displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Read about Steiermark District DP camps.
Janusz Korczak ran a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw. He and his staff stayed with the children even as German authorities deported them to their deaths at Treblinka in 1942.
SS and Foreign Policy In 1937, the SS made its first foray into German foreign policy as it took over control of the Ethnic German Liaison Office (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle; VoMi). VoMi ministered to the needs of ethnic Germans living outside the Reich. Though this involved economic and culture assistance prior to the war, the VoMi distributed clothing, furniture, and household equipment for newly resettled ethnic German communities throughout German-occupied Europe during the war. The SS supplied many…
At the July 1938 Evian Conference, delegates from nations and organizations discussed the issue of Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany. Learn more
Survivors faced huge obstacles in rebuilding their lives after the devastation of the Holocaust years. Learn about some of the challenges they faced.
In 2013, Yad Vashem recognized Italian cyclist Gino Bartali as Righteous Among the Nations for his rescue activities. Learn more
Kindertransport refers to a series of rescue efforts between 1938 and 1940 that brought thousands of refugee children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany.
Learn about the German annexation of Austria, the establishment of Nazi camps, Kristallnacht, and deportations from Austria during the Holocaust.
Learn about the prewar Jewish community of Tarnow, German occupation, deportations and killings of the Jewish population, ghettoization, and resistance.
During the first three years of World War II, from September 1939 through November 1942, a series of military victories permitted German domination of the European continent. In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Within weeks the Poles surrendered. The Germans annexed the former free city of Danzig and all of western Poland, including the provinces of West Prussia, Poznan, Upper Silesia, and Lodz (renamed Litzmannstadt). Central and southern Poland were organized into the Generalgouvernement…
Learn about the background and traditional observances of Purim, a Jewish holiday marking the deliverance of the Jews from a royal death decree.
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