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.
Architect James Ingo Freed designed the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Browse a timeline listing some key events in the evolution of Holocaust denial and the distortion of the facts of the Holocaust.
Even at the height of its power and influence in 1942–1944, the SS was not all-powerful inside Nazi Germany. In the occupied territories, the SS encroached upon the jurisdiction of the civilian authorities and even the Wehrmacht. However, as the invading Allied armies and Allied bombings from the air brought the war home to Germany in 1943–1944, the SS was challenged by two powerful rivals. The Nazi Party apparatus under the Chief of the Party Chancellery, Martin Bormann, was one of those rivals.…
Explore Frank Liebermann’s biography and learn about his experiences of antisemitism in his home town in Germany before World War II.
Born to Catholic parents, Wladyslaw attended schools in Warsaw and earned a degree in survey engineering in Moscow in 1914. After fighting in World War I, he commanded a horse artillery division in Warsaw, worked for Poland's Military Geographic Institute, and taught topography courses. He started a family in 1925, and after he retired from the army in 1929 he founded a surveying company. 1933-39: When war with Germany became imminent in the summer of 1939, Wladyslaw volunteered to fight but was rejected…
The 103rd Infantry Division participated in major WWII campaigns and is recognized for liberating a subcamp of Kaufering in 1945.
Varian Fry was an American journalist who helped anti-Nazi refugees escape from France between 1940 and 1941. Learn about his rescue efforts.
A Black expatriate artist living in Belgium upon the outbreak of WWII, Josef Nassy was held in German internment camps during the war. Learn about his experiences.
German Jews trying to immigrate to the US in the late 1930s met extreme bureaucratic hurdles, including documentation that was often virtually impossible to obtain.
As a boy, Pavol lived with his parents in the city of Martin in Slovakia. His father taught at the local agricultural college. The Kovacs, who were non-practicing Jews, were among the few Jewish residents in the town. 1933-39: When Pavol was born, almost nine months before the outbreak of World War II, his parents decided to have "Roman Catholic" listed under the entry for religion in his birth certificate. They took this step to protect him, despite the fact that for generations Jews in their region had…
Each of Germany’s six European Axis allies participated in the “Final Solution” by murdering Jews or by transferring them to German custody. Learn more.
Heinrich Himmler was the leader of the dreaded SS of the Nazi Party from 1929 until 1945. Learn more about key dates in the life of Heinrich Himmler.
Vidkun Quisling, Minister President of Norway from 1942 to 1945, was a Norwegian fascist and Nazi collaborator. His last name has come to mean “traitor” or “collaborator.”
US State Department official Breckinridge Long supervised the Visa Division, which placed new restrictions on immigration to the US in the 1940s. Learn more.
Rome after the German Occupation At the time of the German occupation of northern and central Italy in early September 1943, there were approximately 12,000 Jews living in Rome. The German occupiers sought to include Italian Jews in the "Final Solution". The commander of the German Security Police (Sipo) and the Security Service (SD) in Rome levied a ransom on local Jews, demanding about 110 pounds of gold in exchange for the safety of the Jewish community of Rome. Although the Jewish community delivered…
Many refugees had difficulties replacing lost or invalidated personal identification documents. The certificate of Polish citizenship shown here was valid in place of a passport. A Polish Jewish refugee used this certificate to travel legally from Lithuania, through the Soviet Union, to Japan. It contains the Curacao notation needed to obtain Soviet and Japanese visas. The bearer of this certificate aimed to reach Palestine, but ended up spending most of the war in Calcutta, India, part of the British…
Nazi Germany’s territorial expansion and the radicalization of Nazi anti-Jewish policies triggered a mass exodus. Learn about the US and the refugee crisis of 1938–41.
Leading German physicians and administrators were put on trial for their role during the Holocaust. The resulting Nuremberg Code was a landmark document on medical ethics. Learn more
The US Army Signal Corps had a crucial role in documenting—in both film and photographs—the atrocities perpetrated during the Holocaust.
Hermann Ludwig Maas, a Protestant pastor in Heidelberg, Germany, was a rescuer and clergyman who stood in solidarity with the Jewish community.
A certificate of "Aryan" descent, issued to Joseph Schäfer of Mühlheim, Germany. To prove one's "Aryan" racial status in Nazi Germany, an individual had to trace their ancestry back to 1800. Signed by an official justice of the peace, this certificate attests to Schäfer's parentage and baptism. Dated January 14, 1936.
The Slovak National Council for Social Solicitude issued this registration certificate to Mikulas Diamant on July 25, 1945, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. This view shows the front and back cover. The certificate ensured repatriation and safe return home.
Marriage certificate obtained by Dr. Mohamed Helmy stating that Anna Gutman (Boros) married an Egyptian man in a ceremony held in Helmy’s home. Dr. Helmy also received certification from the Central Islamic Institute in Berlin attesting to Anna’s conversion to Islam, which the marriage certificate reflects. Translation: Marriage certificate On Wednesday June 16, 1943, we have certified the marriage contract between Abdelaziz Helmy Hammad, 36 years old, who was born on May 6th, 1906, in Faqous,…
The 1936 Olympics in Berlin under Adolf Hitler's Nazi dictatorship were more than just a worldwide sporting event, they were also a show of Nazi propaganda.
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