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world war I

  • Leopold Page describes the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto and escaping from the ghetto

    Oral History

    Leopold was a teacher in Krakow, Poland, when World War II began in 1939. While serving in the Polish army, he was captured by Germans. Leopold escaped from a prisoner-of-war transport. Soon after, he met the German industrialist Oskar Schindler. The two became friends. Leopold was forced to live in the Krakow ghetto. He later worked in Schindler's factory in Bruennlitz. He and the other Jews who worked there were treated relatively well and protected from the Nazis. After the war, Leopold moved to the…

    Leopold Page describes the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto and escaping from the ghetto
  • Jewish Population of Europe in 1933: Population Data by Country

    Article

    Before the Nazis seized power in Germany in 1933, Europe had a richly diverse set of Jewish cultures. Learn more about the Jewish population of Europe.

    Jewish Population of Europe in 1933: Population Data by Country
  • Lithuania

    Article

    Lithuania is the southernmost of the Baltic states. During the Holocaust, the Germans murdered about 90% of Lithuanian Jews, one of the highest victim rates in Europe.

    Lithuania
  • Antisemitism in History: Racial Antisemitism, 1875–1945

    Article

    Racial antisemitism is the discriminatory idea that Jews are a separate and inferior race. This type of antisemitism dates back to the late 1800s.

    Antisemitism in History: Racial Antisemitism, 1875–1945
  • German American Bund

    Article

    The German American Bund was an organization of ethnic Germans living in the US. It held a pro-Nazi, antisemitic, and US isolationist agenda.

    German American Bund
  • The "Jewish Question"

    Article

    Background Beginning in the 19th century—long before the Nazis took power in 1933—some German and other European writers, philosophers, and theologians claimed that the presence of a Jewish minority in society was a problem that needed to be solved. Known as the “Jewish Question,” the status of European Jews became the subject of heated debate in an era when they were gradually being granted civil rights and equality. Many who supported this belief often expected Jews to adapt or abandon their…

    The "Jewish Question"
  • Iran during World War II

    Article

    Background During and immediately following World War I, British and Russian (later Soviet) troops occupied large pieces of once independent Persia, now known as Iran, despite the country’s declared neutrality. A military officer serving in the Persian Cossack Brigade and an ardent Persian nationalist, Reza Khan led a military conspiracy aimed at the reestablishment of Iran’s sovereignty under a strong central government. Backed by the British, Reza Khan led a coup d’etat in February 1921, seizing…

    Tags: Iran
  • Third Reich: An Overview

    Article

    The Nazi rise to power brought an end to the Weimar Republic, a parliamentary democracy established in Germany after World War I. Following the appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor on January 30, 1933, the Nazi state (also referred to as the Third Reich) quickly became a regime in which Germans enjoyed no guaranteed basic rights. After a suspicious fire in the Reichstag (the German Parliament), on February 28, 1933, the government issued a decree which suspended constitutional civil rights and created…

    Third Reich: An Overview
  • Collections Highlight: Auschwitz Through the Lens of the SS

    Article

    Karl Höcker created a personal album of photographs chronicling SS officers’ activities at Auschwitz. Learn about this chilling collection.

    Collections Highlight: Auschwitz Through the Lens of the SS
  • British soldiers in a trench during World War I

    Photo

    British troops in a trench cover the bodies of two fellow soldiers killed during the Battle of the Somme, November 1916. © IWM (Q 4393)

    Tags: World War I
    British soldiers in a trench during World War I
  • Jewish Life in Europe Before the Holocaust

    Article

    When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Jews were living in every country of Europe. A total of roughly nine million Jews lived in the countries that would be occupied by Germany during World War II. By the end of the war, two out of ever...

    Tags: antisemitism
    Jewish Life in Europe Before the Holocaust
  • German Armed Forces High Command

    Article

    Established in 1938, the German Armed Forces High Command was theoretically a unified mil...

    German Armed Forces High Command
  • German Invasion of Western Europe, May 1940

    Article

    German troops overran Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France in six weeks starting in May 1940. Anti-Jewish measures soon followed in occupied western Europe.

    Tags: World War II
    German Invasion of Western Europe, May 1940
  • Belle Mayer Zeck reflects upon the sentences given to leaders of the economy

    Oral History

    Belle Mayer trained as a lawyer and worked for the General Counsel of the US Treasury, Foreign Funds Control Bureau. This bureau worked to enforce the Trading With the Enemy Act passed by Congress. In this capacity, Mayer became familiar with the German I. G. Farben chemical company, a large conglomerate that used slave labor during World War II. In 1945, Mayer was sent as a Department of Treasury representative to the postwar London Conference. She was present as representatives from the Allied nations…

    Belle Mayer Zeck reflects upon the sentences given to leaders of the economy
  • Zeilsheim Displaced Persons Camp

    Article

    After WWII, many Holocaust survivors, unable to return to their homes, lived in displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Read about Zeilsheim DP camp.

    Zeilsheim Displaced Persons Camp
  • Gideon Frieder

    Article

    Explore Gideon Frieder’s biography and learn about his experiences as a child during the Holocaust in Slovakia.

  • Holocaust Denial: Key Dates

    Article

    Browse a timeline listing some key events in the evolution of Holocaust denial and the distortion of the facts of the Holocaust.

  • Nazi Racism

    Article

    Nazi Racism Nazi Germany was a society built on specific beliefs and ideas about race. This set of ideas is referred to as “Nazi racism” or “Nazi racial ideology.” Nazi racial ideology has no basis in reality. Like other forms of racism, Nazi racism was rooted in prejudice. Nazi racial ideology was based on Adolf Hitler’s antisemitic, racist ideas. In his book Mein Kampf (1925), Hitler explained his racist worldview. He idealized racial purity and racial struggle. After the Nazis came to power…

    Nazi Racism
  • Franz Wohlfahrt describes imprisonment in Graz

    Oral History

    Franz and his family were Jehovah's Witnesses. Germany annexed Austria in 1938. After World War II began, Franz's father was executed because, as a Witness, he opposed war. In 1940, Franz refused to participate in military training and would not salute the Nazi flag. He was imprisoned, interrogated by the Gestapo (German Secret State Police) in Graz, and sentenced to five years of hard labor in a camp in Germany. Franz was liberated by US forces in 1945.

    Franz Wohlfahrt describes imprisonment in Graz
  • Kurt Gerstein

    Article

    German SS officer Kurt Gerstein was assigned to the Hygiene Institute of the Waffen SS. He was called upon to assist in the implementation of the "Final Solution." After witnessing atrocities at the Belzec and Treblinka killing centers, he tried to inform foreign diplomats, Vatican officials, and members of the political resistance within Germany about Nazi German atrocities. While in Allied custody after the war, Gerstein wrote a report documenting the atrocities he had witnessed. 

  • Ohrdruf

    Article

    The Ohrdruf camp was a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp, and the first Nazi camp liberated by US troops.

    Ohrdruf
  • SS and Police

    Article

    Combining the SS and the police into one institution was an important step in the Nazi regime’s transformation into a powerful dictatorship. This SS and police system had the ideological radicalism of the SS and the executive authority of the police. During World War II, SS and police leaders were responsible for perpetrating the mass murder of Europe’s Jews.

  • Cinecittà Displaced Persons Camp

    Article

    After WWII, many Holocaust survivors, unable to return to their homes, lived in displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Read about Cinecittà DP camp.

    Cinecittà Displaced Persons Camp
  • Dawid Sierakowiak

    Article

    Young people's diaries capture some of the most heartbreaking experiences of the Holocaust. Learn about the diary and experiences of David Sierakowiak.

    Dawid Sierakowiak
  • German Wartime Expansion

    Article

    During the first three years of World War II, from September 1939 through November 1942, a series of military victories permitted German domination of the European continent. In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Within weeks the Poles surrendered. The Germans annexed the former free city of Danzig and all of western Poland, including the provinces of West Prussia, Poznan, Upper Silesia, and Lodz (renamed Litzmannstadt). Central and southern Poland were organized into the Generalgouvernement…

    Tags: World War II
    German Wartime Expansion

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