The three principal partners in the Axis alliance were Germany, Italy, and Japan. These three countries recognized German domination over most of continental Europe; Italian domination over the Mediterranean Sea; and Japanese domination over East Asia and the Pacific.
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.
Joseph was the youngest of three children born to immigrant Jewish parents. His Polish-born father was a former officer in the Austro-Hungarian army who had met and married Joseph's Hungarian-born mother during World War I. Joseph was raised in a religious household and grew up speaking French.
1933-39: Joseph's mother says it's better here in Paris than in the poor village where she grew up. Unlike his mother, who speaks broken French, Joseph and his older sisters have grown up speaking French fluently. He attends a special public school funded by the Rothschild family. His father says that the terrible things happening to Jews in Germany won't happen to them here.
1940-44: Joseph has fled Paris and is staying with the sister of a friend who is letting him hide on her farm in Sees in western France. About a year ago, when he was 9, German troops occupied Paris. At first, he wasn't in danger. Unlike his foreign-born parents who were subject to being immediately deported, Joseph was a French citizen. He fled Paris after the Germans deported his father in 1941. Joseph has false papers; his new name is Georges Guerin. His sisters also have false identities and have gotten office jobs in nearby Alencon.
Joseph's sisters in Alencon were discovered and arrested. Joseph managed to remain concealed until the end of the war, and immigrated to the United States in 1949.
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.
The Nagys were one of several Jewish families in Zagyvapalfalva, a town 45 miles from Budapest. They owned a general store that served the many coal miners in the mountain valley town. As a young man, Lajos served with the Hungarian army in World War I. He then studied in Budapest to be a diplomat, but a 1920 law restricting the number of Jews in certain professions kept him from pursuing his career.
1933-39: Lajos's father passed away. Lajos took over the general store in Zagypalfalva with his bride, Kato. The antisemitic prime minister pushed through a law prohibiting Jews from selling basic items like sugar, tobacco and liquor, and business slacked off drastically. Sometimes at night, hooligans banged on the windows of their home, chanting, "Jews, go away!" One was the son of their good friend, the town notary.
1940-44: The situation in Zagyvapalfalva got so bad that Lajos and Kato had to rent out their store and house and move to Kato's family home outside Budapest. While they were there Kato gave birth to Sandor Michael. Their Sanyika was just 3 months old when the Germans invaded Hungary. It was only a few weeks later that Lajos received orders—along with hundreds of other men aged 18 to 48—to report for labor service. He has been put to work outside Budapest laying new roads and clearing the rubble caused by Allied air raids.
Arrest without warrant or judicial review was one of a series of key decrees, legislative acts, and case law in the gradual process by which the Nazi leadership moved Germany from a democracy to a dictatorship.
There has been a long-standing confusion about the terminology used about the Nazi camp system. For example, the term concentration camp is commonly, but inaccurately, used to describe various detention and killing sites established by the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945.
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