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  • Euthanasia Program and Aktion T4

    Article

    The goal of the Nazi Euthanasia Program was to kill people with mental and physical disabilities. In the Nazi view, this would cleanse the “Aryan” race of people considered genetically defective and a financial burden to society.

    Euthanasia Program and Aktion T4
  • Theresienstadt: Establishment
  • Hadamar
  • Helen Keller

    Article

    In 1933, Nazi students at more than 30 German universities pillaged libraries in search of books they considered to be "un-German." Among the literary and political writings they threw into the flames were the works of Helen Keller.

    Helen Keller
  • Otto Dix

    Article

    In 1933, Nazi students at more than 30 German universities pillaged libraries in search of books they considered to be "un-German." Among the literary and political writings they threw into the flames were the works of Otto Dix. 

    Tags: artists
  • Georg Grosz

    Article

    In 1933, Nazi students at more than 30 German universities pillaged libraries in search of books they considered to be "un-German." Among the literary and political writings they threw into the flames were the works of Georg Grosz.

    Georg Grosz
  • Dawid Tennenbaum in hiding

    Photo

    In 1942, eleven-year-old Dawid Tennenbaum went into hiding with his mother, settling in the Lvov region as Christians. Dawid disguised himself as a girl and as mentally disabled. This exempted him from attending school and prevented his being exposed.

    Dawid Tennenbaum in hiding
  • Eugenics

    Article

    Theories of eugenics, or “racial hygiene” in the German context, shaped many of Nazi Germany’s persecutory policies.

    Eugenics
  • Mühldorf

    Article

    Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44,000 camps and other incarceration sites (including ghettos). The perpetrators used these locations for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people deemed to be "enemies of the state," and mass murder. Millions of people suffered and died or were killed. Among these sites was Mühldorf.

    Mühldorf
  • Nazi Racism: An Overview

    Article

    Racism fueled Nazi ideology and policies. The Nazis viewed the world as being divided up into competing inferior and superior races, each struggling for survival and dominance. They believed the Jews were not a religious denomination, but a dangerous non-European “race.” Nazi racism would produce murder on an unprecedented scale.

    Nazi Racism: An Overview
  • Einsatzgruppen and other SS and Police Units in the Soviet Union
  • Nazi Camps

    Article

    Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44,000 camps and other incarceration sites (including ghettos). The perpetrators used these sites for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people thought to be enemies of the state, and for mass murder.

    Nazi Camps
  • Glossary

    Article

    Tags: Holocaust
  • Misuse of Holocaust Imagery Today: When Is It Antisemitism?

    Article

    Many images and symbols from the Holocaust era have become easily recognizable. The familiarity of these visuals has also lent them to being misused in ways which distort the historical record, attack the memory of those whom the Germans and their collaborators murdered, and serve as a cover for prejudice and hatred.

    Tags: antisemitism
  • Wannsee Conference and the "Final Solution"

    Article

    On January 20, 1942, 15 high-ranking Nazi Party and German government officials gathered at a villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to discuss and coordinate the implementation of what they called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question."

    Wannsee Conference and the "Final Solution"
  • Theresienstadt: "Retirement Settlement" for German and Austrian Jews
  • An Overview of the Holocaust: Topics to Teach

    Article

    Recommended resources and topics if you have limited time to teach about the Holocaust.

    An Overview of the Holocaust: Topics to Teach
  • Nazi Terror Begins
  • Deceiving the Public

    Article

    The Nazis frequently used propaganda to disguise their political aims and deceive the German and international public. They depicted Germany as the victim of Allied and Jewish aggression to hide their true ideological goals and to justify war and violence against innocent civilians.

    Deceiving the Public
  • Dachau

    Article

    Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44,000 camps and other incarceration sites (including ghettos). The perpetrators used these locations for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people deemed to be "enemies of the state," and mass murder. Millions of people suffered and died or were killed. Among these sites was Dachau, the longest operating camp.

    Dachau
  • Book Burning

    Article

    Beginning on May 10, 1933, Nazi-dominated student groups carried out public burnings of books they claimed were “un-German.” The book burnings took place in 34 university towns and cities. Works of prominent Jewish, liberal, and leftist writers ended up in the bonfires. The book burnings stood as a powerful symbol of Nazi intolerance and censorship.

    Book Burning
  • The Bielski Partisans

    Article

    Despite great obstacles, Jews throughout occupied Europe attempted armed resistance against the Germans and their Axis partners. They faced overwhelming odds and desperate scenarios, including lack of weapons and training, operating in hostile zones, parting from family members, and facing an ever-present Nazi terror. Yet thousands resisted by joining or forming partisan units.

    Tags: resistance
    The Bielski Partisans
  • Leo Schneiderman describes arrival at Auschwitz, selection, and separation from his family

    Oral History

    The Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. Leo and his family were confined to a ghetto in Lodz. Leo was forced to work as a tailor in a uniform factory. The Lodz ghetto was liquidated in 1944, and Leo was deported to Auschwitz. He was then sent to the Gross-Rosen camp system for forced labor. As the Soviet army advanced, the prisoners were transferred to the Ebensee camp in Austria. The Ebensee camp was liberated in 1945.

    Leo Schneiderman describes arrival at Auschwitz, selection, and separation from his family
  • Robert Wagemann describes secret Jehovah's Witness prayer meetings in Nazi Germany

    Oral History

    Robert and his family were Jehovah's Witnesses. The Nazis regarded Jehovah's Witnesses as enemies of the state for their refusal to take an oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler, or to serve in the German army. Robert's family continued its religious activities despite Nazi persecution. Shortly before Robert's birth, his mother was imprisoned briefly for distributing religious materials. Robert's hip was injured during delivery, leaving him with a disability. When Robert was five years, he was ordered to report for a physical in Schlierheim. His mother overheard staff comments about putting Robert "to sleep." Fearing they intended to kill him, Robert's mother grabbed him and ran from the clinic. Nazi physicians had begun systematic killing of those they deemed physically and mentally disabled in the fall of 1939.

    Robert Wagemann describes secret Jehovah's Witness prayer meetings in Nazi Germany
  • Coenraad Rood

    ID Card

    Coenraad was born to a Jewish family in Amsterdam that traced its roots in the Netherlands back to the 17th century. After graduating from public school, Coenraad went on to train as a pastry maker at a trade school. But after completing his training at the age of 13, he decided for health reasons to change professions, and he began to study tailoring.

    1933-39: Coenraad finished apprenticing as a tailor in 1937 when he was 20. Then he spent a year working as a nurse in a Jewish home for the permanently disabled. It was there that he met Bep, a nurse. She wanted him to go back to tailoring so that they could build a secure future together. In 1939 Coenraad opened a tailor shop in Amsterdam, and in September that year he began to work as a tailor for the military, which fulfilled his Dutch military service.

    1940-44: The Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. In 1942 Coenraad was deported and spent the next three years in 11 different German labor camps, where he saw all of his Dutch friends meet painful deaths. In the Annaberg camp a 16-year-old boy came to him. He had ragged slippers on his feet. He offered Coenraad his soup for some shoes. Since Coenraad had two pairs, he gave him one and told him to keep the soup. "Idiot," said another man. "The boy will be dead in a week and then somebody else will take your shoes."

    Of the 81 members of his extended family deported by the Nazis, Coenraad was one of seven survivors. His wife Bep survived in hiding, and they were reunited after the war.

    Coenraad Rood
  • Betty Leiter Lauchheimer

    ID Card

    Betty was one of 14 children born to a religious Jewish family in Aufhausen, a village in southwestern Germany. Her father was a successful cattle dealer in the area. On May 8, 1903, at age 20, Betty married Max Lauchheimer, a cattle merchant and kosher butcher. They lived in a large house by an orchard in the village of Jebenhausen. Betty and Max had two children, Regina and Karl.

    1933-39: In late 1938 Betty and Max were visiting their daughter in Kippenheim when police arrested Max and their son-in-law. Hoodlums stoned the house, shattering the windows. Betty, her daughter, and granddaughter hid until it was quiet. Later, they learned that the town's Jewish men had been deported to the Dachau concentration camp; three weeks later, Max and his son-in-law returned home. That May, Max died of a heart attack.

    1940-41: Regina's family moved into Betty's home in Jebenhausen. Many anti-Jewish laws went into effect: Jews couldn't use the bus; Jews had to wear yellow stars; Jews couldn't travel. In late 1941 the household was ordered to report for "resettlement in the east." Betty's son-in-law appealed to the local Gestapo to spare them, hoping they might listen sympathetically because he was a disabled World War I veteran. Though they granted his appeal, it did not extend to Betty. She was forced to report for the transport.

    Betty was deported in early December to Riga, Latvia. In the Rumbula Forest near Riga, Betty was shot in a mass execution of Jews.

    Tags: Dachau Riga
    Betty Leiter Lauchheimer
  • The Treatment of Soviet POWs: Starvation, Disease, and Shootings, June 1941–January 1942
  • Nazi Propaganda

    Article

    The Nazis effectively used propaganda to win the support of millions of Germans in a democracy and, later in a dictatorship, to facilitate persecution, war, and ultimately genocide. The stereotypes and images found in Nazi propaganda were not new, but were already familiar to their intended audience.

    Nazi Propaganda
  • World War II and the Holocaust

    Animated Map

    The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims - six million were murdered. Roma (Gypsies), physically and mentally disabled people and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny.

    World War II and the Holocaust
  • Introduction to the Holocaust

    Article

    The Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million European Jews by the Nazi German regime and its allies and collaborators. The Holocaust was an evolving process that took place throughout Europe between 1933 and 1945.

    Introduction to the Holocaust
  • Fascism

    Article

    Fascism is a far-right political philosophy, or theory of government, that emerged in the early twentieth century. Fascism prioritizes the nation over the individual, who exists to serve the nation. While fascist movements could be found in almost every country following World War I, fascism was most successful in Italy and Germany.

    Fascism
  • Robert Wagemann describes fleeing from a clinic where, his mother feared, he was to be put to death by euthanasia

    Oral History

    Robert and his family were Jehovah's Witnesses. The Nazis regarded Jehovah's Witnesses as enemies of the state for their refusal to take an oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler, or to serve in the German army. Robert's family continued its religious activities despite Nazi persecution. Shortly before Robert's birth, his mother was imprisoned briefly for distributing religious materials. Robert's hip was injured during delivery, leaving him with a disability. When Robert was five years, he was ordered to report for a physical in Schlierheim. His mother overheard staff comments about putting Robert "to sleep." Fearing they intended to kill him, Robert's mother grabbed him and ran from the clinic. Nazi physicians had begun systematic killing of those they deemed physically and mentally disabled in the fall of 1939.

    Robert Wagemann describes fleeing from a clinic where, his mother feared, he was to be put to death by euthanasia
  • Buchenwald

    Article

    Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44,000 camps and other incarceration sites (including ghettos). The perpetrators used these locations for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people deemed to be "enemies of the state," and mass murder. Millions of people suffered and died or were killed. Among these sites was the Buchenwald camp near the city of Weimar.

    Buchenwald
  • Communism

    Article

    Communism is an economic and political philosophy grounded in the belief that societies are shaped by their economic systems. According to communism, capitalism creates social problems by dividing wealth unfairly between two classes of people. Therefore, the economic system must be reformed to distribute wealth equally. Communist ideas spread rapidly in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, offering an alternative to both capitalism and far-right fascism and setting the stage for a political conflict with global repercussions.

    Communism
  • Theresienstadt: Key Dates

    Article

    Key dates in the history of the Theresienstadt "camp-ghetto," which existed for three and a half years, between November 24, 1941, and May 9, 1945. During its existence, Theresienstadt served multiple purposes.

    Theresienstadt: Key Dates
  • Who were the Victims?

    Article

    The Nazi regime persecuted different groups on ideological grounds. Jews were the primary targets for systematic persecution and mass murder by the Nazis and their collaborators. Nazi policies also led to the brutalization and persecution of millions of others. Nazi policies towards all the victim groups were brutal, but not identical.

    Who were the Victims?
  • German Jews during the Holocaust

    Article

    The onset of World War II brought accelerated persecution and deportation and later, mass murder, to the Jews of Germany. In all, the Germans and their collaborators killed between 160,000 and 180,000 German Jews in the Holocaust, including most of those Jews deported out of Germany.

    German Jews during the Holocaust
  • Children during the Holocaust

    Article

    Children were especially vulnerable to Nazi persecution. Some were targeted on supposed racial grounds, such as Jewish youngsters. Others were targeted for biological reasons, such as patients with physical or mental disabilities, or because of their alleged resistance or political activities. As many as 1.5 million Jewish children alone were murdered or died at the hands of Nazi officials or their collaborators. 

    Children during the Holocaust
  • Dachau concentration camp

    Animated Map

    The Dachau concentration camp was established in 1933 and operated continuously until the end of the war in 1945. It was the first concentration camp of the Nazi regime and it is estimated that at least 188,000 prisoners were incarcerated there between 1933 and 1945.

    Dachau concentration camp
  • Life After the Holocaust: Blanka Rothschild

    Article

    With the end of World War II and collapse of the Nazi regime, survivors of the Holocaust faced the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. With little in the way of financial resources and few, if any, surviving family members, most eventually emigrated from Europe to start their lives again. Between 1945 and 1952, more than 80,000 Holocaust survivors immigrated to the United States. Listen to Blanka Rothschild's story. 

    Life After the Holocaust: Blanka Rothschild
  • Benno Müller-Hill, Antje Kosemund, Paul Eggert, and Elvira Manthey describe the Euthanasia Program

    Oral History

    Benno Müller-Hill, professor of genetics at the University of Cologne and the author of Murderous Science, describes the Nazi "Euthanasia" Program, with oral history excerpts from Antje Kosemund, Paul Eggert, and Elvira Manthey. Antje Kosemund had a disabled younger sister who was admitted to Alsterdorf Institute, Hamburg, December 1933, at the age of three and was subsequently killed in 1944. Paul Eggert was a resident of the orphanage section of the Dortmund-Applerbeck institution from 1942-43 where he witnessed the euthanasia of fellow orphans. Elvira Manthey was taken with her sister from a large, impoverished family and placed in a children’s home, 1938.

    [Photo credits: Getty Images, New York City; Yad Vashem, Jerusalem; Max-Planck-Institut für Psychiatrie (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Psychiatrie), Historisches Archiv, Bildersammlung GDA, Munich; Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Germany; Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes, Vienna; Kriemhild Synder: Die Landesheilanstalt Uchtspringe und ihre Verstrickung in nationalsozialistische Verbrechen; HHStAW Abt. 461, Nr. 32442/12; Privat Collection L. Orth, APG Bonn.]

    Benno Müller-Hill, Antje Kosemund, Paul Eggert, and Elvira Manthey describe the Euthanasia Program
  • What does war make possible?

    Discussion Question

    Persecution of Jews and other targeted groups was already government policy in Germany once the Nazis were in power in 1933. But following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, war provided the opportunity and motivation for more extreme Nazi policies.

    The 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II provides an opportunity to reflect upon fundamental questions about the role of war. What possibilities did the onset of World War II create?

    What does war make possible?
  • What conditions, ideologies, and ideas made the Holocaust possible?

    Discussion Question

    The leaders of Nazi Germany, a modern, educated society, aimed to destroy millions of men, women, and children because of their Jewish identity. Understanding this process may help us to better understand the conditions under which mass violence is possible and to take steps to prevent such conditions from developing. 

    Explore fundamental questions about how and why the Holocaust was possible. 

    What conditions, ideologies, and ideas made the Holocaust possible?
  • How did the Nazis and their collaborators implement the Holocaust?

    Discussion Question

    When Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler became German chancellor on January 30, 1933, no step-by-step blueprint for the genocide of Jews as a “race” existed. After the outbreak of World War II, millions of Jews came under Nazi control. Nazi policy extended from persecution to ghettoization and ultimately to systematic mass murder. 

    Learn about the staggering extent of the resources and cooperation required to implement the "Final Solution" and the active participation of governments, societies, and individuals across Europe.

    How did the Nazis and their collaborators implement the Holocaust?

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