Martin Niemöller Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps, despite his ardent nationalism. Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out...” The son of Lutheran pastor Heinrich Niemöller, Martin Niemöller was born in the Westphalian town of Lippstadt, Germany, on January 14, 1892.…
Jakob Wassermann was a popular German Jewish author. After the Nazi rise to power, he was forced to leave Germany. His works were burned in May 1933. Learn more.
Efforts to bring the perpetrators of Nazi-era crimes to justice continue into the 21st century. Learn more.
As Allied and Soviet troops moved across Europe against Nazi Germany, they encountered concent...
The Weimar Republic was a liberal democratic republic founded in Germany in the aftermath of WWI. Learn about the era’s political and economic crises and social trends.
The three principal partners in the Axis alliance were Germany, Italy, and Japan. Learn more about the Axis powers in WW2.
The German invasion of Poland in the fall of 1939 triggered WWII. Learn more about key dates and events, causes, and related Holocaust history.
Nazi Germany’s persecution of Europe’s Jews was not a secret in the United States. Though some Ameri
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…
Founded by ethnic Turks in 1299, the Ottoman Empire took its name from Osman I, the leader of what was initially a small principality in northwestern Anatolia (Asia Minor). Over the course of the next six centuries, Ottoman rule expanded across much of the Mediterranean Basin. At the height of its power under Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566), the Ottoman Empire represented a vast multilingual and multiethnic realm encompassing southeastern Europe, North and East Africa, Western Asia, and the Caucasus.…
Jewish military officer Alfred Dreyfus was wrongfully convicted of treason against France in 1894. The trial and ensuing events are known as the “Dreyfus Affair.” Learn more.
John Reed was a journalist who helped found the Communist US Labor Party. During the 1933 Nazi book burnings, his work was burned for its Communist sympathies.
Benito Mussolini’s Fascist takeover of Italy was an inspiration and example for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany. Learn more.
The Yugoslav Union Formed in 1918, the Yugoslav Union encompassed Slovenia (the former Austrian provinces of Karniola and Krain) in the northwest, the former Hungarian crown land of Croatia, Serbia—including the former Hungarian Voivodina (which in turn consisted of the Backa, Baranja, and the Serbian Banat), the former Turkish provinces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, the former independent mountain kingdom of Montenegro, and the former Turkish provinces of Kosovo and Metohija on the Albanian…
The Russian Revolution consisted of two separate revolutions in 1917: the February Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution. Learn more.
Baltic Countries: Maps Latvia is one of the Baltic states. It is situated between Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south. Latvia was an independent republic between the end of World War I and 1940. In 1935, 94,000 Jews lived in Latvia, making up about 5 percent of the total population. Approximately half of Latvian Jewry lived in Riga, the capital. Latvian Jews were represented in all social and economic classes. There was a well-developed network of Jewish schools, with over 100…
Yitzhak Gitterman (1889-1943) was a director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Poland, and a member of the underground Jewish Fighting Organization (Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa; ZOB). Gitterman was born in Horonstopol, Ukraine, and began a career of supporting refugees and other victims of persecution during World War I. In 1921, he was appointed director of the JDC in Poland. He took part in the rehabilitation of the Jewish population and the establishment of welfare…
Children's diaries bear witness to some of the most heartbreaking experiences of the Holocaust. Learn about the diary and experiences of Rut Berlinska.
Efforts to hold some of the remaining perpetrators of crimes of the Holocaust accountable continue today, raising the question: is it ever too late to seek justice?
Erich Kästner was a popular political satirist and left-liberal author whose works were burned under the Nazi regime in 1933. Learn more.
Karl Kautsky was a leading Marxist and Socialist theoretician in the Austrian Social Democratic movement. His books were burned in Nazi Germany in 1933. Learn more.
Key dates in the use of the term genocide as part of the political, legal, and ethical vocabulary of responding to widespread threats of violence against groups.
Leon Jakubowicz began constructing a model of the Lodz ghetto in the spring of 1940, after the ghetto was sealed. Explore the artifact and Leon's story.
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