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On December 17, 1944, one day after the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, a Waffen SS unit captured and murdered 84 US soldiers. This atrocity is known as the “Malmedy Massacre.”
When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, hundreds of thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish refugees fled the advancing German army. Learn about their experiences.
Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918 after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian state at the end of World War I. It included the Czech provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, Slovakia, the province of Subcarpathian Rus (Transcarpathian Ukraine), and portions of Austrian Silesia. Prewar census data divides the prewar population of Czechoslovakia along ethnic (mother tongue) lines at about 50 percent Czech, 22.3 percent German, 16 percent Slovak, 4.78 percent Magyar (Hungarian), 3.79 percent Ukrainian, 1.29…
Germany started World War II in Europe on September 1, 1939, by invading Poland. War would continue until 1945. Learn more about key events in the history of WWII.
Learn more about Bremen-Farge, a subcamp of Neuengamme where the majority of prisoners were used to construct an underground U-boat shipyard for the German navy.
After WWII and the fall of the Nazi regime, Holocaust survivors faced the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. Listen to Thomas Buergenthal's story.
The experiences of World War I and its aftermath would profoundly shape the attitudes and actions of leaders and ordinary people during the Holocaust.
The swastika is an ancient symbol that was in use in many different cultures for many years before Adolf Hitler made it the centerpiece of the Nazi flag.
The Ohrdruf camp was a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp, and the first Nazi camp liberated by US troops.
At Babyn Yar in late September 1941, SS and German police units and their auxiliaries perpetrated one of the largest massacres of World War II.
Arthur Szyk became one of America's most prominent cartoonists and caricaturists during World War II. His images reached millions during the 1940s. Learn more.
Survivor Elie Wiesel devoted his life to educating the world about the Holocaust. Learn about key events in the world and his life from 1928–1951.
In February/March 1943, non-Jewish Germans protest the incarceration of their Jewish family members at Rosenstrasse 2-4 in Berlin. Learn about the impact of the protest.
Rudolf Kasztner (1906–1957) was born in Cluj (then Kolozsvár) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was a Hungarian-Jewish journalist and Labor Zionist activist. He would become most well known for his controversial efforts to help Jewish refugees escape from Hungary in 1944. Before the German Occupation of Hungary Kasztner grew up in Transylvania (annexed to Hungary in 1940). He attended law school, but worked as a journalist. He became involved in Zionist politics in Hungary and joined the Labor…
The "Final Solution"The Nazi “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” (“Endlösung der Judenfrage”) was the deliberate, planned mass murder of European Jews. It occurred between 1941 and 1945. It was, and is, often referred to as the “Final Solution” (“Endlösung”). The “Final Solution” was the tragic culmination of the Nazi persecution of Europe’s Jews. As such, it is a key component of the Holocaust (1933–1945). To carry out the “Final Solution,” the Germans coordinated and…
To perpetrate the Holocaust, Nazi Germany relied on the help of allies and collaborators from across Europe, including governments, institutions, and individuals.
Many images and symbols from the Holocaust era have become easily recognizable. The familiarit...
Of the millions of children who suffered persecution at the hands of the Nazis and their Axis partners, a small number wrote diaries and journals that have survived.
Explore a timeline of key events in the history of the Sobibor killing center in the General Government, the German-administered territory of occupied Poland.
Learn about the Flossenbürg camp from its establishment until liberation in April 1945, including conditions, forced labor, subcamps, and death marches.
The term Final Solution to the Jewish Question was a euphemism used by Nazi Germany’s leaders. It referred to the mass murder of Europe’s Jews.
Background 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 systematically kill Jews in large numbers, 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…
The Sephardic Jewish community of Monastir was historically the largest Jewish community in Macedonia. Learn about the community before and during WWII and the Holocaust.
Soon after Hitler came to power, debates began outside Germany about taking part in Olympics hosted by the Nazi regime. Learn more about calls to boycott the Games.
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.
Beginning in 1933, the Nazis persecuted Roma (often pejoratively called “Gypsies”) based on underlying prejudices and racism. Learn how this harassment escalated to genocide.
The Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service, SD) was a Nazi intelligence agency. Ideologically radical and part of the SS, it was a key perpetrator of the Holocaust.
Listing of the 24 leading Nazi officials indicted at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Learn about the defendants and the charges against them.
The Auschwitz camp system, located in German-occupied Poland, was a complex of 3 camps, including a killing center. Learn about the history of Auschwitz.
Esterwegen was part of the Nazi regime’s early system of concentration camps, created to hold people arrested as opponents of the new regime.
Survivor Elie Wiesel devoted his life to educating the world about the Holocaust. Explore key events in the world and his life from 1952 until his death in 2016.
Learn about the role of Theresienstadt in the deportation of German and Austrian Jews to killing sites and killing centers in the east.
Before the Nazi rise to power, the countries of Europe had varied and vibrant Jewish communities. By 1945, two out of every three European Jews had been killed.
Hitler was determined to overturn the military and territorial provisions of the Versailles treaty, among the much resented loss of the city of Danzig after WWI.
Learn about the vibrant Jewish community of Kalisz between World War I and World War II.
Learn about the Jewish community of Munkacs, famous for its Hasidic activity as well as its innovations in Zionism and modern Jewish education.
Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin introduced the word genocide in 1944 and lobbied tirelessly for its addition as a crime in international law.
Learn how the rise of nationalism in Europe (1800–1918) resulted in new forms of prejudice against Jews based on political, social, and economic considerations.
To implement their policies, the Nazis had help from individuals across Europe, including professionals in many fields. Learn about the role of the military.
Germans Reject Geneva Convention From the very beginning, German policy on the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war (POWs) was determined by Nazi ideology. German political and military leaders regarded Soviet POWs not only as racially less valuable but as potential enemies, obstacles in the German conquest of "living space." The Nazi regime claimed that it was under no obligation for the humane care of prisoners of war from the Red Army because the Soviet Union had not ratified the 1929 Geneva Convention…
Explore key dates in the history of the Theresienstadt camp/ghetto, which served multiple purposes during its existence from 1941-45.
US immigration and refugee laws and policies evolved in response to World War I, the 1918 influenza pandemic, and World War II and the Holocaust. Learn more.
Young people's diaries capture some of the most heartbreaking experiences of the Holocaust. Learn about the diary and experiences of David Sierakowiak.
Kalisz had a vibrant Jewish community between WWI and WWII. Learn about its youth movements, schools, cultural life, sports, and religious life.
A Project of the Miles Lerman Center Yizkor (memorial) books document the history of Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust. Most often privately published and compiled through the collective efforts of former community residents, they describe daily life through essays and photographs and memorialize murdered residents. Most are in Hebrew and/or Yiddish. The following is a translation from the memorial book for Zhetel (Zdziecioł) describing resistance in Zhetel during the Holocaust. The…
The Law for the Imposition and Implementation of the Death Penalty was one of a seri...
Beginning in 1979, the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) opened hundreds of investigations and initiated proceedings of Nazi war criminals. Learn more
After the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked US forces at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, bringing th
Learn about the history of discrimination against Roma in Europe and how the Nazi regime committed genocide against European Roma during WWII.
Bulgaria joined the Axis alliance on March 1, 1941, after the Germans offered them Greek territory in Thrace. Learn about Bulgaria during WWII and the Holocaust.
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.