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world war I

  • 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

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    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

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    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

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    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
  • Robert Skutecky

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    Robert was the second of three children born to Jewish parents in the Moravian capital of Brno, where his father ran a shipping company. Between 1909 and 1920 Robert lived with his widowed grandmother, who resided nearby. He completed secondary school in 1922, and then attended an international trade school in Vienna. Robert earned a doctorate in law from Charles University in Prague in 1930. 1933-39: After apprenticing as a lawyer for five years, Robert finally opened his own practice in Brno in January…

    Robert Skutecky
  • D-Day


    Massive Allied landings of air- and sea-borne forces on five Normandy beaches (codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword) began on June 6, 1944 (D-Day). The purpose of the invasion was to establish a bridgehead from which Allied forces could break out and liberate France. By the end of the operation's first day, some 150,000 troops were ashore in Normandy. This footage shows Allied forces landing on the Normandy beaches.

    Tags: World War II
  • Allies evacuate troops from Dunkirk


    The German western campaign in May 1940 decisively defeated the British and French forces arrayed against it. By the end of May, the Allies began the withdrawal of British and French forces from the Continent to prevent their surrender or destruction. The evacuation effort centered on the French coastal town of Dunkirk. As German forces completed their conquest of France, more than 1,000 vessels--including small civilian yachts and fishing boats--ferried Allied forces across the English Channel to Great…

    Allies evacuate troops from Dunkirk
  • German invasion of Norway: Narvik


    Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940, simultaneously attacking Norway's coastal cities from Narvik in the far north to Oslo in the south. Narvik was the scene of fierce battles between German forces and the Allies, who landed troops by sea in support of the Norwegians. Narvik changed hands several times. However, British, French, and Polish forces were finally withdrawn in June 1940 due to the success of the German campaign in western Europe. German victory in Norway secured access to the North Atlantic…

    German invasion of Norway: Narvik
  • Josef Mengele


    Prominent SS physician Josef Mengele, called the "Angel of Death" by his victims, conducted inhumane medical experiments on prisoners in the Auschwitz camp.

    Josef Mengele
  • Operation Reinhard (Einsatz Reinhard)


    In the fall of 1941, Nazi Germany implemented a plan to systematically murder the Jews in the General Government. This plan was codenamed “Operation Reinhard.” Three killing centers were established as part of this action: Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. Operation Reinhard marked the deadliest phase of Nazi Germany’s intention to commit genocide against the Jewish people.

    Operation Reinhard (Einsatz Reinhard)
  • The Oneg Shabbat Archive


    The Oneg Shabbat underground archive was the secret archive of the Warsaw ghetto. The term One...

    The Oneg Shabbat Archive
  • Melk


    Learn about the establishment of and conditions in Melk, a subcamp of the Mauthausen camp system in Austria.

  • Reichstag fire trial


    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


    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


    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.

  • Charles (Karel) Bruml

    ID Card

    Charles was born to a Jewish family in Prague, the capital of Czechoslovakia. His father owned several shoe factories there. Prague's Jewish minority enjoyed a great deal of cultural freedom because of the new democratic Republic. Though antisemitism still existed in Czechoslovakia, Prague was a relatively tolerant city. 1933-39: Charles' father's business thrived in Prague, and they lived well. Charles enjoyed painting as a child and decided to study at an art school in the city. On the morning of March…

    Charles (Karel) Bruml
  • Books burn as Goebbels speaks


    In their drive to rid the country of all that they deemed "un-German," the Nazis publically burned books in cities across Germany. Here in front of the Opera House in Berlin, a chanting crowd burns books written by Jews and leftist intellectuals. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda and public information, speaks of the intended "reeducation" of Germany.

    Books burn as Goebbels speaks
  • Memorial Pageant calls for the rescue of European Jewry


    After word reached America of the Nazi killing of European Jewry, pressure mounted on the Roosevelt administration to help European Jews. To spur action, playwright Ben Hecht prepared a memorial to the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, "We Will Never Die." The pageant, sponsored by the Zionist Revisionist Bergson Group, was part of a mass demonstration at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Later seen in other US cities, the show was part of the Bergson Group's effort to pressure Washington to act…

    Memorial Pageant calls for the rescue of European Jewry
  • US Prosecutor Jackson


    In the summer of 1945, representatives of the victorious Allied nations—the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union—met in London to discuss the formation of an International Military Tribunal. The questions on the table were daunting: how and where such a court would convene, what the criminal charges would be, and which perpetrators would be put on trial. US President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order designating Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson to be the US…

    US Prosecutor Jackson
  • 1931 studio portrait of Abraham Moshe Muhlbaum


    Abraham and his family fled from Berlin to Amsterdam in October 1938. They found refuge in the Netherlands until January 28, 1943, when all the members of the Muhlbaum family, except Abraham, were deported to Westerbork. Abraham escaped over the rooftops during the round-up. He gradually established a new life as a member of a Dutch resistance group that included Joop Westerweel. In 1944, Abraham was arrested as a member of the resistance (his Jewish identity remained hidden). He was held…

    1931 studio portrait of Abraham Moshe Muhlbaum
  • Indoctrinating Youth


    The Nazi Party targeted German youth as a special audience for its propaganda messages. Read more about the indoctrination of youth.

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


    Many images and symbols from the Holocaust era have become easily recognizable. The familiarit...

    Tags: antisemitism
  • Displaced Persons


    After WWII, many Holocaust survivors, unable to return to their homes, lived in displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Learn about the experiences of Jewish DPs.

    Displaced Persons
  • The Nuremberg Race Laws


    What were the Nuremberg Race Laws?  On September 15, 1935, the Nazi regime announced two new laws:  The Reich Citizenship Law The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor These laws informally became known as the Nuremberg Laws or Nuremberg Race Laws. This is because they were first announced at a Nazi Party rally held in the German city of Nuremberg.  Why did the Nazis enact the Nuremberg Race Laws?  The Nuremberg Race LawsThe Nazis enacted the Nuremberg Laws, because they…

    The Nuremberg Race Laws
  • Gerd Jacob Zwienicki

    ID Card

    Gerd was the eldest of four children. His father, Josef, had left Ukraine in 1913 and opened a bicycle sales and repair shop in Bremen. His mother, Selma, was descended from a distinguished Jewish family and had been a kindergarten teacher and a bookkeeper for a large firm. As a child, Gerd experienced the hardships of the Depression and witnessed the violent street fights between the Nazis and their political opponents, the Communists and Socialists. 1933–39: When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Gerd…

    Gerd Jacob Zwienicki

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