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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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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
  • Victims of the Nazi Era: Nazi Racial Ideology

    Article

    The Nazis carried out genocide against Europe’s Jews and persecuted and murdered other groups based on racial theories. Learn about the history of these murderous ideas.

    Victims of the Nazi Era: Nazi Racial Ideology
  • Poster: "We Women Are Voting Slate 2 National Socialists."

    Photo

    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."
  • Samuel Gruber describes a German girl's reaction to learning that he was Jewish

    Oral History

    A Polish soldier, Samuel was wounded in action and taken by Germany as a prisoner of war. As the war continued, he and other Jewish prisoners received increasingly harsh treatment. Among the camps in which he was interned was Lublin-Lipowa, where he was among those forced to build the Majdanek concentration camp. In 1942, he escaped from the Germans, spending the rest of the war as the leader of an armed partisan group.

    Samuel Gruber describes a German girl's reaction to learning that he was Jewish
  • David Bayer

    Article

    David Bayer lived in Kozienice, Poland. Explore his biography and learn about his experiences during World War II and the Holocaust.

  • Writing the News

    Article

    Shortly after taking power in January 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis took control of German newspapers, detailing how the news was to be reported.

    Writing the News
  • Tomasz (Toivi) Blatt describes the Sobibor uprising

    Oral History

    Tomasz was born to a Jewish family in Izbica. After the war began in September 1939, the Germans established a ghetto 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 Sobibor uprising
  • Norman Salsitz

    Article

    Read the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation's short biography of Norman Salsitz.

    Norman Salsitz
  • Leon Senders

    Article

    Read the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation's short biography of Leon Senders.

    Leon Senders
  • Boycott of Jewish Businesses

    Article

    The April 1, 1933, boycott of Jewish-owned businesses marked the beginning of a nationwide campaign by the Nazi Party against the entire German Jewish population.

    Boycott of Jewish Businesses
  • Belgium

    Article

    The Germans conquered Belgium in May 1940. Learn about the occupation, anti-Jewish laws and ordinances, detention camps, and deportations of Jews from Belgium.

    Belgium
  • The Police in the Weimar Republic

    Article

    Among the most important duties of the police in any society are the maintenance of public ord...

  • Abdol Hossein Sardari (1895–1981)

    Article

    Iranian diplomat Abdol Hossein Sardari gave critical assistance to Iranian Jews in occupied France (1940-1944) to protect them from Nazi persecution.

  • The Nazi Camp System: Terminology

    Article

    The confusion about terminology for the Nazi camp system dates back to the era of th...

    The Nazi Camp System: Terminology
  • Bulgaria

    Article

    Bulgaria joined the Axis alliance on March 1, 1941, after the Germans offered them Greek territory in Thrace. Learn about Bulgaria during WWII and the Holocaust.

    Bulgaria
  • Gardelegen

    Article

    In April 1945, US troops encountered a barn on the outskirts of Gardelegen where the SS and its accomplices had massacred over 1,000 concentration camp prisoners.

    Gardelegen
  • Helen Dreksler Zimm describes obtaining a false birth certificate

    Oral History

    Helen was the oldest of three sisters. Her father owned a soap factory. After the Germans attacked Poland in 1939, they took over all Jewish businesses. Helen and her family fled from Lodz to a town between Lodz and Warsaw. After two years, in 1942, Helen's father heard that the Jews in the town to which they had fled were to be deported to labor camps. He bought false papers for Helen and her youngest sister. All three sisters survived the war.

    Helen Dreksler Zimm describes obtaining a false birth certificate
  • Elie Wiesel: On the Atrocities in Sudan

    Article

    Transcript of 2004 remarks delivered by Elie Wiesel, at a convening of the Darfur Emergency Summit, calling attention to atrocities in Sudan.

  • Elizabeth Kaufmann Koenig describes helping refugee children in Le Chambon

    Oral History

    Elizabeth and her family were in Paris when war began. As the Germans advanced in 1940, she and her mother fled southward. Elizabeth eventually reached Le Chambon, where she helped care for children sheltered by the town's pastor, Andre Trocme, and his wife. In late 1941 her father was among 1,000 intellectuals who received special US visas from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The family escaped from France in 1942 on one of the last passenger ships to cross the Atlantic during the war.

    Elizabeth Kaufmann Koenig describes helping refugee children in Le Chambon
  • Samuel Gruber describes public hangings and beatings in the Lublin-Lipowa camp

    Oral History

    A Polish soldier, Samuel was wounded in action and taken by Germany as a prisoner of war. As the war continued, he and other Jewish prisoners received increasingly harsh treatment. Among the camps in which he was interned was Lublin-Lipowa, where he was among those forced to build the Majdanek concentration camp. In 1942, he escaped from the Germans, spending the rest of the war as the leader of an armed partisan group.

    Tags: camps
    Samuel Gruber describes public hangings and beatings in the Lublin-Lipowa camp
  • Julien Bryan

    Article

    US filmmaker and photographer Julien Bryan was one of the few western photographers left in Warsaw upon the German invasion of Poland in September 1939.

    Julien Bryan
  • Brigitte Friedmann Altman describes a roundup of children in the Kovno ghetto in March 1944

    Oral History

    World War II began in September 1939. Brigitte and her family moved to Kovno, hoping to secure visas and passports for travel to North America. In July 1941, Brigitte and her family were forced to move into the Kovno ghetto after the Germans occupied Lithuania. Brigitte's family survived the "Great Action," but her mother died of illness in the ghetto. After a roundup targeting children in March 1944, Brigitte escaped from the ghetto with the help of a former employee of her father. Soviet forces liberated…

    Tags: ghettos Kovno
    Brigitte Friedmann Altman describes a roundup of children in the Kovno ghetto in March 1944
  • Charlene Schiff describes being caught while trying to smuggle food into 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…

    Tags: ghettos
    Charlene Schiff describes being caught while trying to smuggle food into the Horochow ghetto
  • Hajj Amin al-Husayni: Wartime Propagandist

    Article

    Collaboration with the Axis During the war, the Nazi regime found many willing collaborators throughout the world who sought to advance their own political goals and extend Axis influence. A host of exiled political leaders—such as Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose, Syrian guerilla rebel Fawzi al-Qawuqji, former Iraqi prime minister Rashid 'Ali al-Kailani, and former Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al-Husayni (Arab nationalist and prominent Muslim religious leader)—escaped to Berlin, where they…

  • Magnus Hirschfeld

    Article

    A leading researcher of sex, sexuality, and gender, German Jewish doctor Magnus Hirschfeld was forced to live in exile after the Nazi rise to power.

    Magnus Hirschfeld
  • Defendants enter pleas at Nuremberg Trial

    Film

    After the defeat of Germany, the Allies tried leading state and party officials and military commanders of the Third Reich before a tribunal of military judges from the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, and the United States. This International Military Tribunal tried 22 major war criminals during what is commonly known as the Nuremberg Trial, which lasted from November 1945 to October 1946. This footage shows the accused entering pleas following their indictment on charges of crimes against peace, war…

    Defendants enter pleas at Nuremberg Trial
  • Mauthausen

    Article

    The Mauthausen concentration camp was established following the Nazi incorporation of Austria in 1938. Learn about the harsh conditions in the camp.

    Mauthausen

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