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world war I

  • Hodonín U Kunštátu (Hodonín bei Kunstadt) (Roma camp)

    Article

    In March 1942, the Hodonin camp was classified as a camp for Roma. It was a transfer station during deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Learn about the camp and its history.

  • Reichstag fire trial

    Film

    On the night of February 27, 1933, an unemployed Dutch construction worker named Marinus van der Lubbe set fire to the Reichstag (German parliament) building, causing serious damage. The Nazis blamed the Communists for the fire and claimed emergency powers to crush all opposition. Bolstering Nazi claims, the police also arrested three Bulgarian members of the Communist International, who were in Germany at the time, and a leading German Communist. Despite Nazi claims, however, responsibility for the fire…

    Reichstag fire trial
  • Hajj Amin al-Husayni meets Hitler

    Film

    In this German propaganda newsreel, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, an Arab nationalist and prominent Muslim religious leader, meets Hitler for the first time. During the meeting, held in in the Reich chancellery, Hitler declined to grant al-Husayni’s request for a public statement--or a secret but formal treaty--in which Germany would: 1) pledge not to occupy Arab land, 2) recognize Arab striving for independence, and 3) support the “removal” of the proposed Jewish…

    Hajj Amin al-Husayni meets Hitler
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    Article

    German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an early critic of the Nazi regime. He was arrested in 1943 and executed in the Flossenbürg camp in 1945.

  • How did the shared foundational element of eugenics contribute to the growth of racism in Europe and the United States?

    Discussion Question

    Learn more about the shared foundational element of eugenics on the history of racial antisemitism in Germany and racism in the United States

    How did the shared foundational element of eugenics contribute to the growth of racism in Europe and the United States?
  • Which organizations and individuals aided and protected Jews from persecution between 1933 and 1945?

    Discussion Question

    Explore this question to learn about the motivations and challenges of those who aided Jews

    Which organizations and individuals aided and protected Jews from persecution between 1933 and 1945?
  • Leo Schneiderman describes conditions in the Lodz ghetto

    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.

    Tags: Lodz ghettos
    Leo Schneiderman describes conditions in the Lodz ghetto
  • Leo Kutner describes forced labor in Stutthof

    Oral History

    Leo was arrested on the first day of the war, and assigned to forced labor in a shipyard, then on a farm. In 1940, like other Jews, he was deported to Stutthof. There, he upholstered furniture for the SS. The following year, he was sent to Auschwitz, where he cleaned the streets and dug ditches. As the Allies neared, Leo was evacuated to a series of camps. On a death march from Flossenbürg, the Nazis dispersed, allowing Leo and other prisoners to get away. He was liberated by US forces in April 1945.

    Leo Kutner describes forced labor in Stutthof
  • Alice Lok Cahana describes arrival at Bergen-Belsen

    Oral History

    Germany occupied Hungary in 1944. Alice was deported to Auschwitz in the same year. At one time she was selected for the gas chamber, but survived because of a malfunction. As Allied forces approached the camp, Alice and other inmates were evacuated to the Guben labor camp. Alice, her sister, and another girl escaped during a forced march from the camp but were found and sent on to Bergen-Belsen. Alice's sister was taken to a Red Cross hospital, but Alice never saw her again. After the war, Alice…

    Alice Lok Cahana describes arrival at Bergen-Belsen
  • Tomasz (Toivi) Blatt describes the Izbica Jewish council (Judenrat) and German attacks (Aktionen) there

    Oral History

    After war began in September 1939, the Germans established a ghetto and Jewish council in Izbica. Tomasz's work in a garage initially protected him from roundups in the ghetto. In 1942 he tried to escape to Hungary, using false papers. He was caught but managed to return to Izbica. In April 1943 he and his family were deported to the Sobibor killing center. Tomasz escaped during the Sobibor uprising. He went into hiding, and worked as a courier in the Polish underground.

    Tomasz (Toivi) Blatt describes the Izbica Jewish council (Judenrat) and German attacks (Aktionen) there
  • Steven Springfield describes a massacre in the Rumbula forest near Riga, Latvia

    Oral History

    The Germans occupied Riga in 1941, and confined the Jews to a ghetto. In late 1941, at least 25,000 Jews from the ghetto were massacred at the Rumbula forest, near Riga. Steven and his brother were sent to a small ghetto for able-bodied men. In 1943 Steven was deported to the Kaiserwald camp and sent to a nearby work camp. In 1944 he was transferred to Stutthof and forced to work in a shipbuilding firm. In 1945, Steven and his brother survived a death march and were liberated by Soviet forces.

    Steven Springfield describes a massacre in the Rumbula forest near Riga, Latvia
  • Fred Deutsch describes some of the risks involved in hiding

    Oral History

    Fred was born in Czechoslovakia in a town near the Polish border. Fred and his family were forced by the Germans to relocate east to a town bordering Slovakia. At the end of 1942, they escaped from the town and went into hiding. The family hid in bunkers in the forest until the end of the war. They moved every few weeks to avoid detection by the Germans or Slovak authorities. While the family was in hiding, Fred's grandfather made arrangements for Fred to attend school under an assumed name and religion. A…

    Tags: hiding
    Fred Deutsch describes some of the risks involved in hiding
  • Thomas Buergenthal describes the impact of the Nuremberg trials on the development of international law

    Oral History

    Judge Thomas Buergenthal was one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. Judge Buergenthal has devoted his life to international and human rights law. A former chairman of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, he is currently the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School and served for a decade as the American judge at the International Court of…

    Thomas Buergenthal describes the impact of the Nuremberg trials on the development of international law
  • Laura Litwak

    ID Card

    Laura was the second of five children born to religious Jewish parents in the industrial city of Lvov. She was often called affectionately by her nickname, Lorka. Coming from an educated family living in a multi-ethnic part of Poland, she grew up speaking Polish, Russian, German and Yiddish. As a young woman, she earned a humanities degree from St. Nicholas University in Lvov. 1933-39: In April 1935 Laura became Mrs. Daniel Schwarzwald. Her husband was a successful lumber exporter, and they lived in a…

    Laura Litwak
  • Raizel Kisielnicki

    ID Card

    Raizel lived with her husband, Mojsze, and their three children in the small, predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn, which was 35 miles east of Warsaw. By the 1930s, Mojsze owned a grocery store, a restaurant, and a gas station, all of which were located together on the heavily traveled main road. The family lived in rooms in the same building as their business. 1933-39: Every day Raizel prepares the roast goose served in the family's restaurant. They have a bustling business, as many truck drivers stop…

    Tags: Poland
    Raizel Kisielnicki
  • Idzia Pienknawiesz

    ID Card

    Idzia was the older of two girls born to Jewish parents who lived 35 miles east of Warsaw in the small predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn. Idzia's father owned a liquor store and her mother was a housewife. Idzia was close friends with a group of Jewish teenagers who went to the same public school and spent much of their free time and vacations together. 1933-39: Normally, Idzia goes out with her friends on pleasant summer evenings. They like to stroll down the main street together and visit the sweets…

    Tags: Poland
    Idzia Pienknawiesz
  • Frederic Bernard

    ID Card

    Frederic was born to a Jewish family in Czernowitz (Chernovtsy). His father was head clerk in a lawyer's office and his mother was a pianist. Frederic's parents were active in Czernowitz's sizable Jewish community. In 1930 Frederic began medical studies at the German University in Prague, Czechoslovakia. 1933-39: Frederic left Prague in 1933. He went to France and then Italy to finish his studies and graduated in 1936. He wanted to leave Europe to escape Hitler and tried to do so by applying to the…

    Frederic Bernard
  • Sandor Alexander Bokshorn

    ID Card

    Sandor grew up in Budapest where his father was a furrier. Sandor attended a Jewish school until he was 14 and then entered a business school run by the chamber of commerce. After he graduated in 1929, he entered his father's business. Sandor then spent a year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris before entering university in Budapest to study economics. 1933-39: As a Jew, Sandor was in the minority at the university because anti-Jewish laws enacted in the 1920s had set quotas that limited Jewish applicants.…

    Sandor Alexander Bokshorn
  • Frieda Altman Felman

    ID Card

    Frieda grew up in a crowded one-room house in Sokolow Podlaski, a small manufacturing center in central Poland. Frieda's father had died when she was two years old, and her mother had then moved back to her hometown of Sokolow Podlaski, where she opened a poultry shop. The Altmans were a Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish family, and Frieda was the youngest of four children. 1933-39: German troops entered Frieda's town on September 20, 1939. She was huddling, frightened, with family and friends in a…

    Frieda Altman Felman
  • Ida Szczupakiewicz

    ID Card

    Ida was the oldest of three children born to a Jewish family in northeastern Poland in Malkinia, a town situated on the right bank of the Bug River. Ida's father was a grain merchant and her family lived in the same house that her grandfather had owned. 1933-39: Ida was 9 when Germany invaded Poland. At once her family hid on some nearby farms but a few weeks later they returned home. When their neighbor, her father's best friend, became a Nazi informant, her father had them each pack a small bag--they…

    Ida Szczupakiewicz
  • Leon Kusmirek

    ID Card

    Leon was the oldest of two boys born to a Jewish family in Zgierz, a central Polish town in the heart of Poland's textile producing region. The family lived at 15 Konstantynowska Street. Leon's father worked at a textile factory. At age 7, Leon began attending public school in the morning and religious school in the afternoon. 1933-39: On Friday, September 1, 1939, Leon's mother had just returned from the market when the family saw German planes. On Sunday they flew over again, lower, panicking the city.…

    Leon Kusmirek
  • Helga Leeser

    ID Card

    The older of two sisters, Helga was raised by prosperous, non-religious Jewish parents in the small Catholic town of Duelmen in western Germany. Her family owned a linen factory. Before marrying Helga's much older father in 1927, her mother had been a Dutch citizen. As a child, Helga looked forward to vacations in the Netherlands with its comparatively relaxed atmosphere. 1933-39: At age 6 Helga began attending a Catholic elementary school. Antisemitism wasn't a problem until the night of November 9, 1938…

    Helga Leeser
  • Moses Rechnitz

    ID Card

    The younger of two children, Moses was born to Jewish parents living in the southwestern Polish town of Bedzin. When he was 7, his family moved to the nearby city of Katowice where his father had a wholesale leather business. The Rechnitzes lived in a three-bedroom, upper-floor apartment on Jordana Street. Moses attended a Polish elementary school and also received religious instruction. 1933-39: In secondary school, Moses was one of the only Jewish pupils. He first encountered antisemitism when a teacher…

    Moses Rechnitz
  • Genya Rotenberg

    ID Card

    Genya and her brother, Nahum, were raised by Jewish parents in Lodz, Poland's second-largest city and an industrial center. Before the war, one-third of Lodz's inhabitants were Jewish. Genya's parents placed emphasis on their children's education. 1933-39: In 1939, when Genya was 9, the Germans occupied Lodz. After that, it was forbidden for "Jews, Gypsies and dogs" to be in public places. Since Jews weren't allowed to go to school, her parents arranged to tutor her secretly at home, but she couldn't keep…

    Genya Rotenberg
  • Hildegard (Hilda) Krakauerova Nitschkeova

    ID Card

    Hilda was the youngest of six children born to Jewish parents in a small Moravian town, where her father ran a dry-goods and clothing store. Her family spoke both Czech and German at home. Hilda was a tomboy when she was growing up, and competed on the Maccabi swim team. She attended a public secondary school in Hodinin, and wanted to pursue a career as a dental technician. 1933-39: In February 1933 Hilda moved to the Moravian capital of Brno where she attended dental school. On December 23, 1935, she…

    Hildegard (Hilda) Krakauerova Nitschkeova

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