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Precursors to the Holocaust...
The End of World War I
Germany, in defeat, is forced to accept the terms of the
Versailles Treaty, which blames the war on the Germans.
The Weimar Republic succeeds the old German monarchy
The growth of the Fascist movement in Germany gives rise to
the Nazi Party
The Munich Beer Hall Putsch
Adolf Hitler sentenced to
Landsberg Prison for five years, serving less than 18 months. He writes Mein
Kampf - My Struggle - while imprisoned, in which his plans for world
domination and organized Jewish annihilation are presented.
Staggering inflation in Germany devalues the currency, wiping
out the savings of many
World-wide economic depression leads to vast unemployment in
President Hindenburg appoints Adolf Hitler as
Reich Chancellor (Prime Minister) of the German Republic.
First concentration camp, Dachau, is
established in Germany. Enabling Act passed by the German Reichstag,
surrendering its power to Hitler and his cabinet.
Nazis proclaim a general boycott of all
Jews dismissed from civil service and denied
admission to the bar (cannot practice law.)
Formation of the Gestapo
Dissolution of organized trade unions
Burning of books by Jewish authors and
opponents of Nazism
Germany leaves the League of Nations
Hitler declares legal unity of the German
state with the Nazi Party, now the only legal political party.
Death of Hindenburg. Hitler becomes Head of State and
Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
Nazi rally at Nuremberg; mass demonstrations
Conscription begins in Germany
"Juden Verboten" (No Jews Allowed) signs
increase in number outside towns, villages, restaurants, and stores.
Reichstag passes anti-Semitic "Nuremberg
Laws", making inferior status for Jews German law.
The Olympic Games are held in Munich. Hitler
uses the games as an opportunity to legitimize his regime to the world at large.
Hitler and Mussolini become allies, forming
the Rome-Berlin Axis.
Germany and Japan sign military pact
Buchenwald concentration camp opens in Germany
Annexation of Austria to the Third Reich.
Nazis enforce anti-Semitic laws.
International conference at Evian, France
fails to provide refuge for the German Jews.
Munich Agreement: Britain and France accept
German annexation of the Sudetenland, once part of Czechoslovakia.
Passports of Jews are marked with the letter
Herschel Grynzspan, whose parents were
deported from Germany to Poland, assassinates Ernst von Rath, Third Secretary of
the German Embassy in Paris.
Kristallnacht - (The Night of Broken
Anti-Semitic riots in Germany and Austria. Synagogues are
destroyed, shops are looted, Jews beaten on the streets. More than 20,000 Jews
arrested, 191 synagogues destroyed, 7500 shops (and
glass windows) burnt and looted.
26,000 Jews are arrested and sent to
Jewish children are expelled from public
The Decree of Aryanization (compulsory
expropriation of Jewish-owned industries, businesses, and shops) is enacted.
Germans occupy Czechoslovakia
May - June
The St. Louis, a ship carrying passengers who
were German Jewish refugees, is refused entry into Cuba. The ship is sent back
Adolf Eichmann is placed in charge of Prague
branch of the Jewish emigration office
German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact signed
German Army invades Poland.
Britain and France declare war on Germany -
World War II begins
Soviet invasion and occupation of eastern
Establishment of Jewish ghettos in Poland,
each governed by a Judenrat (Jewish council) - by orders of Reinhard Heydrich.
First deportation of Jews from Austria and
Moravia to Nazi-occupied Poland.
Wearing of the Judenstern (yellow six-pointed
Star of David) emblem is made compulsory throughout occupied Poland.
Germans invade Denmark and Norway
Directive to establish concentration camp in
Auschwitz, Poland by Heinrich Himmler.
Nazis seal off ghetto at Lodz, Poland.
Germans invade Holland, Belgium and France
728 Polish political prisoners arrive at
Auschwitz, the first German concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
France surrenders to the Germans
Demonstrations by masses of starving people in
Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis is established
Majdanek concentration camp established in
Poland. It became an annihilation camp in 1942
Nazis seal off Warsaw Ghetto.
Germans renege on their Non-Aggression Pact
with the Soviets and attack Soviet Union.
Wearing of the Jewish Star is mandated in the
German-occupied Baltic States.
Heydrich is appointed by Goering to carry out
the "Final Solution, the systematic extermination of all Jews in Europe.
Wearing of the Jewish Star is decreed
throughout the Third Reich.
First usage of poison gas at Auschwitz.
Massacre at Babi Yar, Kiev, USSR - 34,000 Jews
Theresienstadt Ghetto in Czechoslovakia
Deportation of German Jews begins
Massacre in Odessa, USSR - 34,000 Jews killed.
Massacre in Rovno, Poland - 15,000 Jews
Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
United States enters the war.
Chelmo extermination camp on the Ner River
near Lodz is opened.
Massacre in Riga, Lithuania - 27,000 Jews
Germany declares war on the United States
Massacre in Vilna, Poland - 32,000 Jews
The Wannsee Conference is held - the drafting
of the detailed plan to implement the "Final Solution", the annihilation of the
11 million Jews of Europe.
United resistance organization is established
inside Vilna Ghetto. Jewish resistance groups expand in number throughout
Exterminations begin at Sobibor.
Belzec death camp is opened in Poland.
Jews deported from France
Treblinka death camp opens.
Wearing of the Jewish Star is mandated in
Nazi-occupied France and Holland.
Liquidation of Lidice, Czechoslovakia in
reprisal for murder of Reinhard Heydrich.
Deportation of 300,000 Jews from the Warsaw
Ghetto to Treblinka death camp begins. The Deportations continue until September
Jewish resistance organiazation (Z.O.B.) is
established inside Warsaw Ghetto.
Armed resistance in Lahava Ghetto, Bellorussia.
Armed resistance in Tutzin Ghetto, Ukraine.
Polish Committee for the Assistance to Jews,
code named "ZEGOTA", established in Warsaw.
Allied nations pledge to punish Germans for
their policy of genocide.
Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto launch uprising
against Nazi deportations.
German Sixth Army surrenders at Stalingrad,
marking the turning point of the war against the Germans
Action in Bialystok Ghetto
April 19 -May 16
Jews inside the Warsaw Ghetto stage a revolt.
23-year old Mordecai Anielewicz leads less than 5000 Jews against Nazi troops.
Fighting continues for weeks.
Bermuda Conference April 19-30- called by
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and attended by a number of Allied nations to
discuss how to rescue victims of Nazis persecution. No country was willing to
change their immigration policies and admit more Jews.
Nazis order liquidation of Warsaw Ghetto.
Himmler orders liquidation of all Jewish
Ghettos in Poland.
June - September
Hundreds of Jewish partisans leave the Vilna
Ghetto in Poland and hide in the forest, where they continue their resistance to
Revolt at the Treblinka death camp.
Revolt in Bialystok Ghetto, Poland.
Liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto occurs.
Expulsion of Danish Jews; Danish underground
rescues 7000 - only 475 captured by Nazis.
Revolt in Sobibor camp, Poland.
United Nations War Crimes Commission
Invasion of Hungary by Germany
May 15 - June 8
476,000 Jews are deported from Hungary to
Allies enter Rome.
Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe begins
in Normandy, France.
Soviet troops liberate Majdanek death camp,
Polish Home Army begins uprising against
German occupational forces in Warsaw.
Paris is liberated by Allied forces.
Nazis raze Warsaw, leaving 200,000 Polish
Himmler orders destruction of Auschwitz
crematorium as Nazis try to hide evidence of their death camps.
Death March from Auschwitz, Poland
Soviet troops enter Warsaw, Poland.
Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz-Birkenau
Liberation of Budapest, Hungary
Yalta Conference in the Crimea, USSR.
American troops reach the Rhine River
American troops liberate Buchenwald
concentration camp in Germany.
British troops liberate Bergen-Belsen camp,
American and Soviet troops meet at the Elbe
American troops liberate Dachau camp in
Hitler commits suicide
Germany surrenders unconditionally -
the end of the War in Europe
Japan surrenders unconditionally -
the end of World War II
Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal commences to
prosecute Nazi attrocities
The Nuremberg Trials concluded on October 1,
1946, with a final judgement in which twelve defendants were sentenced to death,
three to life imprisonment, and four to various prison terms; three were