A Timeline of the Holocaust | My Jewish Learning

Posted By on January 21, 2023

The Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its allies and collaborators. The Holocaust was an evolving process that took place throughout Europe between 1933 and 1945.

The Holocaust is also sometimes referred to as the Shoah, the Hebrew word for catastrophe. It affected nearly all of Europes Jewish population, which in 1933 numbered 9 million people.

When they came to power in Germany, the Nazis did not immediately start to carry out mass murder. However, they quickly began using the government to target and exclude Jews from German society.The regime persecuted other groups because of politics, ideology, or behavior. The Nazis claimed thatRoma,people with disabilities, some Slavic peoples (especiallyPolesandRussians), andBlack peoplewere biologically inferior.Other persecuted groups included Communists, Socialists, Jehovahs Witnesses, gay men, and people the Nazis called asocials and professional criminals.

The Treaty of Versailles ending World War I is presented to Germany. Among its provisions, the treaty forces Germany to accept responsibility for the war and commit to enormous reparation payments a humiliation seen as setting the stage for the rise of Adolf Hitler and his promise to restore German greatness.

Hitler declares the reformulation of the Nazi Party and installs himself as leader in a declaration at the Munich beer hall where he led an aborted coup against the German government in 1923.

The Nazis assume control of Germany with Hitlers appointment as chancellor.FROM THE JTA ARCHIVE (1933): Hitler Sworn in as German Chancellor

A day after a fire in the Reichstag, Germanys parliament building, German President Paul Von Hindenburg approves the Reichstag Fire Decree, an emergency decree that suspends individual rights and due process of law.THE JTA ARCHIVE (1933): Police Aided By Nazis Search Central Union Premises After Reichstag Fire

The SS, a Nazi paramilitary group, establishes the first concentration camp to incarcerate political prisoners near the town of Dachau.THE JTA ARCHIVE (1933): Jewish Lawyer Tortured by Nazis in Concentration Camp

Nazi leadership stages an economic boycott targeting Jewish-owned businesses and the offices of Jewish professionals.JTA ARCHIVE (1933): Nazi Communique Announces Boycott of Jewish Businesses Throughout Country

The German parliament (Reichstag) passes the Nuremberg Laws, institutionalizing many of the Nazis racial theories and providing the legal grounds for the persecution of Jews in Germany.Read the full text here.

The Summer Olympic Games open in Berlin, providing the Nazi government with a major propaganda success by enabling it to present itself as a respectable member of the international community.

Germany invades Austria and incorporates it into the German Reich, provoking a wave of street violence against Jews in Vienna.JTA ARCHIVE (1938): Anschluss Proclaimed in Plebiscite

The Munich agreement is signed, ceding the Sudetenland, a region in Czechoslovakia with a large ethnic German population, to Germany and prompting British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to declare the achievement of peace for our time.JTA ARCHIVE (1938): Munich Pact Abandons Minorities to Nazi Terror

A night of violent anti-Jewish pogroms known as Kristallnacht results in the destruction of hundreds of synagogues, the looting of thousands of Jewish-owned businesses and the deaths of nearly 100 Jews. The event, which was followed by the promulgation of dozens of anti-Jewish laws, is considered a turning point in the persecution of German Jewry.JTA ARCHIVE: 25,000 Jews Under Arrest in Wake of Worst Pogrom in Modern German History, 4 Dead

The first Kindertransport, a program for bringing child refugees out of Nazi Germany, arrives in Great Britain, bringing some 200 Jewish children from a Berlin orphanage destroyed on Kristallnacht. Thousands of refugee children would be brought to England aboard such transports between 1938 and 1940.JTA ARCHIVE (1999): Former Kindertransport Refugees Gather for a Last Full-Scale Reunion

The ocean liner St. Louis departs Hamburg, Germany and heads toward Cuba carrying 900 passengers, nearly all of them Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. The boat is denied entry to Cuba and later the United States, forcing it to return to Europe. Some were taken in by the United Kingdom, while the others were allowed into Western European countries that would later be occupied by the Nazis. Two hundred and fifty-four of the passengers would eventually be murdered in the Holocaust.

Germany invades Poland, setting off World War II. Britain and France responded with a declaration of war two days later.

Germany begins its invasion of France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The Netherlands and Belgium surrender in May, and Paris is occupied on June 14. In a June 22 armistice agreement, Germany is given control of northern France, while the collaborationist French Vichy government controls the south.JTA ARCHIVE (1940): Jews Fleeing France as Hitler Dictates Armistice Terms

Germany establishes the Auschwitz concentration camp, the largest facility of its kind built by the Nazis, about 43 miles west of Krakow, Poland.

German authorities order the Warsaw ghetto sealed. It is the largest ghetto in both area and population, confining more than 350,000 Jews (about 30 percent of the citys population) in an area of about 1.3 square miles.

Nazi Germany invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. German mobile units of Security Police and SD (Nazi intelligence) officials, called Einsatzgruppen, identify, round up and murder Jews, carrying out mass shootings during the last week of June 1941.

JTA ARCHIVE (1941): 500,000 Jews in Path of Nazi Forces Invading RussiaJTA ARCHIVE (1941): Nazis Launch Radio Drive, Urge Russian Troops to Turn Bayonets on Jews

All Jews over the age of six residing in territories under German control are required to wear a yellow Star of David with the word Jew inscribed within it on their outer clothing.

JTA ARCHIVE (1941): Jews in Reich Start New Year by Wearing Yellow Stars

Japan launches a surprise attack on the United States Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, prompting the United States to enter World War II.

JTA ARCHIVE (1941): Hebrew U President Judah L. Magnes Cables FDR Day After Pearl Harbor to Offer Service

The Wannsee Conference convenes in a villa outside Berlin. Plans to coordinate a final solution to the Jewish question are presented to leading German and Nazi officials.

Some 925,000 Jews and an unknown number of Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners wouldbe murdered there.JTA ARCHIVE(1943): Nazis Suffocate Jews in Groups of 500 in Special Steam Chambers

For nearly a month, small groups of Jews fought the larger and better armed German forces before finally being defeated.JTA ARCHIVE (April 30, 1943): Jews in Warsaw Ghetto Ask for Food and Arms to Continue ResistanceJTA ARCHIVE (May 16, 1943): Nazis Burn Down 200 Houses in Warsaw Ghetto, Execute Jewish Hostages

With help from resistance fighters and ordinary citizens, some 7,200 Danish Jews began their escape to neutral Sweden.JTA ARCHIVE (1943): Fishermen Establish Regular Ferry Service for Refugees Between Denmark and Sweden

Germany occupies Hungary. Less than two months later, the deportation of 440,000 Hungarian Jews, mostly to Auschwitz, begins.JTA ARCHIVE (1944): Jewish Shops in Budapest Looted, Jews Flee Homes, Seek Escape from Hungary

Jews arriving at Auschwitz in 1944. (German National Archive/Wikimedia Commons)Prisoners at Auschwitz rebel and the Germans crush the uprising, killing nearly 250 prisoners during the fighting.

With Soviet forces advancing, Germany begins, on Jan. 17, the final evacuation of Auschwitz, marching nearly 60,000 west toward Germany in what became known as death marches. Anyone who fell behind or could not continue was shot. Ten days later, Soviet forces entered the camp and liberated the remaining 7,000 prisoners.

With Soviet forces nearing his command bunker in central Berlin, Adolf Hitler commits suicide.JTA ARCHIVE (1945): Moscow Jews Rejoice at News of Hitlers Death

Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies. armed forces surrender unconditionally in the west. Victory in Europe, V-E Day, is proclaimed the next day.JTA ARCHIVE (1945): German Refugee Captain Acts as Interpreter as Nazis in Italy Surrender

An international tribunal in Nuremberg charges 21 Nazi leaders with crimes against humanity. Twelve Nazis would eventually be sentenced to death.

JTA ARCHIVE: Leaders Nervous as Allied Prosecutors at Nuremberg Trial List Crimes Against Jews

A mob of Polish soldiers, police officers and civilians murder at least 42 Jews and injure over 40 in the Polish town of Kielce, an event that convinces many Holocaust survivors that they have no future in Poland and must emigrate to Palestine or elsewhere.

An Israeli court convicts Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, following a highly publicized trial. Eichmann is executed on June 15, 1962.

JTA ARCHIVE (1961): Eichmann Found Guilty, Reading of Judgment to Conclude Tomorrow

Adapted with permission from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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A Timeline of the Holocaust | My Jewish Learning

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