By the late 1940s, concerns about the Cold War caused interest in prosecuting Nazi crimes to wane. Convicted perpetrators were released from prison, while many thousands more were never arrested or tried. Two major trials in the early 1960s led to greater public awareness of the Holocaust and renewed efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. Certain individuals and governments took the lead in these efforts, which forced hundreds of perpetrators to face accountability for their acts. The search for perpetrators continues, but as nearly all have died, only a small minority will ever have been brought to justice.
Shortly after taking power in January 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis succeeded in destroying Germany’s vibrant and diverse newspaper culture. The newly created Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda handed out daily instructions to all German newspapers, Nazi or independent, detailing how the news was to be reported.
The Holocaust is the best documented case of genocide. Despite this, calculating the exact numbers of individuals who were killed as the result of Nazi policies is an impossible task. There is no single wartime document that spells out how many people were killed.
In the first six years of Adolf Hitler's dictatorship, Jews felt the effects of more than 400 decrees and regulations on all aspects of their lives. The regulations gradually but systematically took away their rights and property, transforming them from citizens into outcasts. Many of the laws were national ones issued by the German administration, affecting all Jews. State, regional, and municipal officials also issued many decrees in their own communities. As Nazi leaders prepared for war in Europe, antisemitic legislation in Germany and Austria paved the way for more radical persecution of Jews.
During the first six years of Hitler’s dictatorship, government at every level—Reich, state and municipal—adopted hundreds of laws, decrees, directives, guidelines, and regulations that increasingly restricted the civil and human rights of the Jews in Germany.
We would like to thank The Crown and Goodman Family 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.