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world war I

  • Insignia of the 42nd Infantry Division

    Photo

    Insignia of the 42nd Infantry Division. The nickname of the 42nd Infantry Division, the "Rainbow" division, reflects the composition of the division during World War I. The division was drawn from the National Guards of 26 states and the District of Columbia. It represented a cross section of the American people, as the rainbow represents a cross section of colors.

    Insignia of the 42nd Infantry Division
  • Insignia of the 36th Infantry Division

    Photo

    Insignia of the 36th Infantry Division. The 36th Infantry Division, the "Texas" division, was raised from National Guard units from Texas and Oklahoma during World War I. The "T" in the division's insignia represents Texas, the arrowhead Oklahoma. The division was also sometimes called the "Lone Star" division, again symbolizing its Texas roots.

    Insignia of the 36th Infantry Division
  • Insignia of the 80th Infantry Division

    Photo

    Insignia of the 80th Infantry Division. The nickname of the 80th Infantry Division, the "Blue Ridge" division, reflects the home states of the majority of soldiers who formed the division during World War I: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. The Blue Ridge Mountains run through these three states.

    Insignia of the 80th Infantry Division
  • Theresienstadt: Establishment

    Article

    Background Austrian Emperor Josef II founded the garrison town of Theresienstadt (today: Terezin) on September 22, 1784, naming it after his mother, Empress Maria Theresa. The garrison town was located approximately one mile southeast of the Bohemian city of Leitmeritz (today: Litomerice). It served as a minor military base first for the Habsburg Monarchy until 1918 and then for the First Czechoslovak Republic until 1938. German Occupation When the Germans occupied the Sudetenland in October 1938…

    Theresienstadt: Establishment
  • Refugees

    Article

    The search for refuge frames both the years before the Holocaust and its aftermath. Learn about obstacles refugees faced when searching for safe havens.

    Refugees
  • Julius Streicher: Biography

    Article

    Julius Streicher, an early Nazi Party members, was an organizer of the anti-Jewish boycott of April 1933 and publisher of the virulently antisemitic Der Stürmer.

    Julius Streicher: Biography
  • John Dolibois describes interrogating captured Nazi officials

    Oral History

    John Dolibois immigrated to the United States in 1931 at the age of 13. After graduating from college, Dolibois joined the 16th Armored Division of the US Army. Due to his German language skills, he became involved in military intelligence. He returned to Europe in this capacity toward the end of World War II. Dolibois interrogated German prisoners of war, including leading Nazis, in preparation for the postwar trials of war criminals. He was later appointed US ambassador to Luxembourg, his birthplace.

    John Dolibois describes interrogating captured Nazi officials
  • Ruth Berkowicz Segal describes deciding to leave Warsaw shortly after the outbreak of war

    Oral History

    When German forces invaded Poland in September 1939, Ruth's father fled to eastern Poland. Upon the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland, he fled to Lithuania. Ruth left Warsaw with two friends to find her father and later joined him in Vilna. After Soviet forces occupied Lithuania, Ruth and her father obtained transit visas for Japan, but only Ruth obtained a Soviet exit visa. Her father insisted she leave and not wait for him. Ruth traveled by the Trans-Siberian Railroad across the Soviet Union to…

    Ruth Berkowicz Segal describes deciding to leave Warsaw shortly after the outbreak of war
  • German territorial losses, Treaty of Versailles, 1919

    Map

    View map showing German territorial losses following the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. Learn how the treaty affected lands controlled by Germany

    German territorial losses, Treaty of Versailles, 1919
  • Aron (Dereczynski) Derman describes partisan activities near Vilna

    Oral History

    Aron was born to a middle-class Jewish family in Slonim, a part of Poland between the two world wars. His parents owned a clothing store. After studying in a technical school, Aron worked as a motion-picture projectionist in a small town near Slonim. The Soviet army took over Slonim in September 1939. War broke out between Germany and the Soviet Union in June 1941. Aron returned to Slonim. The Germans soon occupied Slonim, and later forced the Jews into a ghetto. Aron was forced to work in an armaments…

    Aron (Dereczynski) Derman describes partisan activities near Vilna
  • Leah Hammerstein Silverstein describes the emotions she felt upon arrival in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem after the war

    Oral History

    Leah grew up in Praga, a suburb of Warsaw, Poland. She was active in the Ha-Shomer ha-Tsa'ir Zionist youth movement. Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Jews were forced to live in the Warsaw ghetto, which the Germans sealed off in November 1940. In the ghetto, Leah lived with a group of Ha-Shomer ha-Tsa'ir members. In September 1941, she and other members of the youth group escaped from the ghetto to a Ha-Shomer ha-Tsa'ir farm in Zarki, near Czestochowa, Poland. In May 1942, Leah became a courier…

    Leah Hammerstein Silverstein describes the emotions she felt upon arrival in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem after the war
  • Norbert I. Swislocki describes leaving Warsaw with his mother upon the outbreak of war

    Oral History

    Norbert was 3 years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. He and his mother were in Warsaw; his father had been drafted into the Polish army and later ended up in Vilna. Norbert and his mother set out to join him and the family was reunited after a few months. After the family had been in Vilna for about a year, Norbert's father was able to obtain visas for Curacao in the Dutch West Indies and visas for transit through Japan. Norbert and his parents left Vilna in January 1941, and arrived in…

    Norbert I. Swislocki describes leaving Warsaw with his mother upon the outbreak of war
  • Letter from Esther Lurie regarding lost art, 1945

    Document

    This document is one page of a letter from artist Esther Lurie, written after the war, asking for help in following down leads and locating the artwork she had created and hidden while imprisoned in the Kovno ghetto, Lithuania.  She wrote, "The matter concerns a collection of 200 pen-and-ink drawings representing scenes of ghetto life which I made during my internment in the Kaunas Ghetto (Lithuania) in 1941-1944.  I left the drawings buried in the earth as I felt that I had no hope of survival."

    Letter from Esther Lurie regarding lost art, 1945
  • Max Karl Liebmann describes arrival at and conditions in the Gurs camp

    Oral History

    Because he was Jewish, Max could not join the army when World War II began. Instead, he had to perform labor service. In October 1940, Max and his mother were deported to the Gurs camp in France. In Gurs, Max met his future wife, Hanne. In 1941, with the help of the Children's Aid Society (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants; OSE), Hanne left the camp. Max followed in July 1942. He escaped to Switzerland through the French Alps and was in internment and refugee camps throughout the war. Hanne reached Switzerland…

    Tags: Gurs France
    Max Karl Liebmann describes arrival at and conditions in the Gurs camp
  • Insignia of the 101st Airborne Division

    Photo

    Insignia of the 101st Airborne Division. The nickname of the 101st Airborne Division, "Screaming Eagles," originates from the division's insignia, a bald eagle on a black shield. "Old Abe" was the eagle mascot of a Wisconsin regiment during the Civil War. The 101st was formed as a reserve unit in Wisconsin shortly after World War I and included "Old Abe" as part of the division's insignia.

    Insignia of the 101st Airborne Division
  • Benjamin (Beryl) Ferencz describes collecting evidence of death marches

    Oral History

    Ben was born in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania in Romania. When he was an infant, his family moved to the United States. Ben attended Harvard University, where he studied criminal law. Ben graduated from Harvard University Law School in 1943. He joined a US anti-aircraft artillery battalion that was training in preparation for an Allied invasion of western Europe. At the end of World War II in Europe, Ben was transferred to the war crimes investigation branch of the US Army. He…

    Benjamin (Beryl) Ferencz describes collecting evidence of death marches
  • Kurt Tucholsky

    Article

    Kurt Tucholsky was a German satirist who criticized the Nazis during their rise to power. In 1933, his works were burned under the Nazi regime. Learn more.

  • The Weimar Republic

    Series

    Series of articles on the Weimar Republic (1918–1933), a liberal democratic republic founded in Germany in the aftermath of World War I.

  • Charlene Schiff describes foraging for food in order to survive in forests after escaping from the Horochow ghetto

    Oral History

    Both of Charlene's parents were local Jewish community leaders, and the family was active in community life. Charlene's father was a professor of philosophy at the State University of Lvov. World War II began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Charlene's town was in the part of eastern Poland occupied by the Soviet Union under the German-Soviet Pact of August 1939. Under the Soviet occupation, the family remained in its home and Charlene's father continued to teach. The Germans…

    Charlene Schiff describes foraging for food in order to survive in forests after escaping from the Horochow ghetto
  • Felix Horn describes postwar emigration with the Brihah movement and adjustment to life after the war

    Oral History

    Felix was born to an assimilated Jewish family in Lublin, Poland. His father was a locksmith and his mother was a singer. Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Felix fled east to Rovno and then to Soviet-occupied Lvov, where he was accepted at a medical school. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Felix was taken to a labor camp. He escaped and returned to Lublin, and found that his family had been forced into the ghetto established there. After the…

    Felix Horn describes postwar emigration with the Brihah movement and adjustment to life after the war
  • Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Key Dates

    Article

    Explore a timeline of key events related to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the most notorious and widely distributed antisemitic publication of modern times.

    Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Key Dates
  • Japanese American Relocation

    Article

    After the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked US forces at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, bringing th

    Japanese American Relocation
  • William (Bill) Zeck describes war crimes trial prosecution staff

    Oral History

    Before joining the US Army, Zeck—a lawyer—worked for the Board of Economic Warfare. In 1946, he was hired to work on preparations for the Nuremberg trials. In his search for documents pertaining to the I. G. Farben company's involvement in the war, Zeck also met attorney Belle Mayer, his future wife. Both Zeck and Mayer were involved in preparing the indictment in the I. G. Farben trial held at Nuremberg.

    William (Bill) Zeck describes war crimes trial prosecution staff
  • “Give Me Your Children”: Voices from the Lodz Ghetto

    Article

    The Jewish children of Lodz suffered harsh conditions after the German invasion of Poland. Read excerpts from diaries where they recorded their experiences.

    “Give Me Your Children”: Voices from the Lodz Ghetto
  • Poster: "We Women Are Voting Slate 2 National Socialists."

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    Poster: "We Women Are Voting Slate 2 National Socialists." German women were an important voting bloc. The Nazis made a concerted effort to appeal to women, as exemplified by this 1932 election poster. The Nazis had to repackage their messages to de-emphasize military aims. Hitler consciously modeled some Nazi propaganda appeals to German women on speeches delivered by Benito Mussolini in Fascist Italy, who also had to calm the fears of Italian war widows after World War I. Nazi propagandists attempted to…

    Poster: "We Women Are Voting Slate 2 National Socialists."

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