Learn more about the Soviet occupation of Europe before and after the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II.
Learn about the German annexation of Austria, the establishment of Nazi camps, Kristallnacht, and deportations from Austria during the Holocaust.
Adolf Hitler and his entourage view a military parade following the annexation of Austria (the Anschluss). Vienna, Austria, March 1938.
Scene during Adolf Hitler's triumphant return to Berlin shortly after Germany's annexation of Austria (the Anschluss). Berlin, Germany, March 17, 1938.
Learn more about the plight of Jewish refugees who attempted to escape Germany between 1933 and 1939.
Adolf Hitler was determined to overturn the military and territorial provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. Learn more about Nazi German territorial aggression before WWII.
The Anschluss, Germany's annexation of Austria in March 1938, was the Nazi German regime’s first act of territorial aggression and expansion. Learn more.
Franz von Papen was one of the leading German officials tried during the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. He was acquitted of all charges.
In an attempt to prevent the German annexation of Austria, Austrian chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg called a plebiscite (referendum) on Austrian independence. On March 11, 1938, the Germans pressured Schuschnigg to cancel the plebiscite and resign. This German newsreel footage from March and April 1938 served as propaganda for the Nazi annexation of Austria. It begins with images of pro-Nazi residents in Graz expressing their opposition to Schuschnigg's plebiscite. It also includes footage after…
Jews wait in line at the Margarethen police station for exit visas after Germany's annexation of Austria (the Anschluss). Vienna, Austria, March 1938.
German troops entered Austria on March 12, 1938. The annexation of Austria to Germany was proclaimed on March 13, 1938. In this German newsreel footage, Austrians express overwhelming enthusiasm for the Nazi takeover of their country.
A streetcar decorated with swastikas passes billboards displaying Hitler's face. The billboards urge Austrians to vote "Ja" (Yes) in the upcoming plebiscite on the German annexation of Austria. Vienna, Austria, April 1938.
Members of the League of German Girls wave Nazi flags in support of the German annexation of Austria. Vienna, Austria, March 1938.
Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, bringing approximately 200,000 additional Jews under Nazi rule. The Nazi regime quickly extended anti-Jewish legislation to Austria. At the time, the majority of Austrian Jews...
Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, bringing approximately 200,000 additional Jews under Nazi rule. The Nazi regime quickly extended anti-Jewish legislation to Austria. At the time, the majority of Austrian Jews lived in Vienna, the capital and...
Read about the experiences of Jews who were living in Vienna during the German annexation of Austria.
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.
Shortly after the German annexation of Austria, Nazi Storm Troopers stand guard outside a Jewish-owned business. Graffiti painted on the window states: "You Jewish pig may your hands rot off!" Vienna, Austria, March 1938.
Klara Taussig and Ernst Brecher go on an outing in the Austrian countryside before their marriage. They later had a son, Heinz, who was born on August 29, 1932 in Graz, Austria. where his father was a merchant. After the Germans annexed Austria in 1938, Klara and Ernst sent Heinz to live with friends of an aunt in Zagreb. Heinz survived and eventually came to the United States on the Henry Gibbins, a military troop transport. Klara and Ernst died in the concentration camps. Photograph taken…
In the 1930s, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the British government pursued a policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany to avoid war. Learn more.
Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis. The Nazis abhorred his new science and Jewish heritage. His works were burned in Germany in 1933. Learn more.
March 14, 1938. On this date, Helen Baker documented what she witnessed when Germany annexed Austria. Helen and her husband Ross Baker were Americans living in Vienna.
Judith Gabriel Dichter was living in Vienna when Germany annexed Austria in 1938. A Jew, she was later deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. On September 19, 1942, she was deported to Maly Trostin...
Learn more about the history of Yugoslavia before World War II and the Axis invasion of 1941.
Read the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation's short biography of Harry Burger.
American journalist, foreign correspondent, author, and pioneer radio broadcaster William L. Shirer was one of the key observers and chroniclers of the Nazi regime.
After the Anschluss (German annexation of Austria), Austrian Jewish refugees disembark from the Italian steamship Conte Verde. Shanghai, China, December 14, 1938.
The Mauthausen concentration camp was established shortly after the German annexation of Austria (1938). Prisoners in the camp were forced to perform crushing labor in a nearby stone quarry and, later, to construct subterranean tunnels for rocket assembly factories. US forces liberated the camp in May 1945. In this footage, starving survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp eat soup and scramble for potatoes.
Judith, nicknamed Julie, was one of five children born to religious Hungarian-Jewish parents in the Burgenland, the eastern province of Austria that was part of Hungary until 1921. She married Tobias Dichter, a traveling salesman from Vienna who had sold merchandise to her father. The Dichters moved to an apartment in Vienna's Jewish Leopoldstadt district, where they raised two children. 1933-39: The Germans have annexed Austria. One week after the annexation, Germans came to Julie's apartment to take her…
Learn about some key dates in the life of Adolf Hitler, one of Europe's most ruthless dictators, who led the Nazis from 1921 and Germany from 1933-45.
During World War II, Slovene general Leon Rupnik collaborated with the forces of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Rupnik was appointed president of the Provincial Government of the German-occupied Province of Ljubljana in 1943. He was convicted of treason and executed in 1946. In 2020, his sentence was annulled on a technicality.
The Axis powers invaded Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. Learn about the Axis invasion and partition, collaboration, and the fate of Jewish people living in Yugoslavia.
Karl Kautsky was a leading Marxist and Socialist theoretician in the Austrian Social Democratic movement. His books were burned in Nazi Germany in 1933. Learn more.
Johanna was born in Vienna when it was still the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Her Christian family experienced the disruption resulting from the empire's collapse, as well as the instability of the Austrian republic. The depression of 1929 hit Vienna especially hard. In 1931 Johanna became a Jehovah's Witness. 1933-39: Johanna traveled constantly in and out of Austria distributing our Jehovah's Witness literature. In March 1938 Germany annexed Austria and her family was subjected to Nazi law;…
The search for refuge frames both the years before the Holocaust and its aftermath. Learn about obstacles refugees faced when searching for safe havens.
Kindertransport refers to a series of rescue efforts between 1938 and 1940 that brought thousands of refugee children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany.
Gregor was the second of six children born to Catholic parents in a village in the part of Austria known as Carinthia. His father was a farmer and quarryman. Disillusioned with Catholicism, his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses and raised their children according to that religion. As a boy, Gregor loved mountain climbing and skiing. 1933-39: Gregor attended school and worked as a waiter. The situation for Jehovah's Witnesses worsened after Germany annexed Austria in March 1938; Witnesses refused to swear…
The Nazi Euthanasia Program, codenamed Aktion "T4," was the systematic murder of institutionalized people with disabilities. Read about Nazi “euthanasia.”
Before the Nazis seized power in Germany in 1933, Europe had a richly diverse set of Jewish cultures. Learn more about the Jewish population of Europe.
Franz Werfel was an Austrian poet, modernist playwright, and novelist. Several of his works were burned during the Nazi book burnings of 1933. Learn more.
By September 1939, over half of German Jews had emigrated. WWII would accelerate the persecution, deportation, and later, mass murder, of the remainder of Germany's Jews.
After the devastation of WWI, the victorious western powers imposed a series of treaties upon the defeated nations. Learn about the treaties and their impact.
Ernst was an only child born to atheist parents in southern Austria during the middle of World War I. Raised in Austria's second largest city, he loved the outdoors, especially skiing in the Alps. In the early 1930s Ernst became a Jehovah's Witness. Although Austria was then in a deep economic depression, he was fortunate to find a job as a sales clerk in a grocery store. 1933-39: Austria's Catholic government was hostile towards Jehovah's Witnesses. When the Germans annexed Austria in March 1938, their…
Learn about the Kovno ghetto diary and other documents Avraham Tory saved in a secret archive that documented life in the ghetto.
Nazi authorities established the Lodz ghetto in 1940. Learn about living conditions and forced labor in the ghetto, as well as deportations to and from there.
Frances Perkins was FDR's secretary of labor. Learn about her role in the rescue of European Jews whose lives were threatened by the Nazi regime.
Josef was one of seven children born to a Jewish family in the Czechoslovakian village of Hvozdnice. After graduating from school, Josef worked as a salesman in Vienna. In 1912 he married Ida Kohn, and the couple had a son before he left to fight for Austria in World War I. After the war, they had a daughter. 1933-39: Because of the economic depression of the 1930s, it was difficult for Josef to make a living in his wholesale shoe business. In 1938 the Germans annexed Austria [the Anschluss], and soon…
Ossi was the youngest of six children born to Roma ("Gypsies") who traveled in a family wagon. His family was Roman Catholic. Their caravan spent winters in Vienna, Austria's capital, and summers in the Austrian countryside. The Stojkas belonged to a tribe called the Lowara Roma, who made their living as itinerant horse traders. Ossi's ancestors had lived in Austria for more than 200 years. 1933-39: Ossi was 2 years old when Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. The Stojka family wagon was parked for the…
Martha and Waitstill Sharp, American Unitarian aide workers, helped thousands of Jews, intellectuals, and children in Prague, Lisbon, and southern France in 1939–1940.
Karl was the fourth of six children born to Roman Catholic parents in the village of Wampersdorf in eastern Austria. The Stojkas belonged to a tribe of Roma ("Gypsies") called the Lowara Roma, who made their living as itinerant horse traders. They lived in a traveling family wagon, and spent winters in Austria's capital of Vienna. Karl's ancestors had lived in Austria for more than 200 years. 1933-39: Karl grew up used to freedom, travel and hard work. In March 1938 his family's wagon was parked for the…
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