Holocaust #3


Signing away the Czech boarder


In September 1938, after signing away the Czech border regions, known as the Sudetenland, to Germany at the Munich conference, British and French leaders pressured France's ally, Czechoslovakia, to yield to Germany's demand for the incorporation of those regions. Despite Anglo-French guarantees of the integrity of rump Czechoslovakia, the Germans dismembered the Czechoslovak state in March 1939 in violation of the Munich agreement.

The first Ghetto

October 1938

German occupation authorities established the first ghetto in Poland in Piotrków Trybunalski in October 1939. The largest ghetto in Poland was the Warsaw ghetto. In Warsaw, more than 400,000 Jews were crowded into an area of 1.3 square miles. Other major ghettos were established in the cities of Lodz, Krakow, Bialystok, Lvov,Lublin, Vilna, Kovno, Czestochowa, and Minsk.

Origin of Ghettos

1939 - 1945

The term "ghetto" originated from the name of the Jewish quarter in Venice, Italy. Venetian authorities compelled the city's Jews to live in the quarter, which was established in 1516. In the 16th and 17th centuries, officials ranging from local authorities to the Austrian emperor ordered the creation of ghettos for Jews in Frankfurt, Rome, Prague, and other cities.

Concentration camps

1939 - 1942

saw a marked expansion in the concentration camp system. In 1938, SS authorities had begun to exploit the labor of concentration camp prisoners for economic profit. In September 1939, the war provided a convenient excuse to ban releases from the camps, thus providing the SS with a readily available labor force.



Ghettos were set up to segregate Jews from the rest of the population. They were designed to be temporary; some lasted only a few days or weeks, others for several years. The vast majority of ghetto inhabitants died from disease or starvation, were shot, or were deported to killing centers.

German Racism


Nazi racists viewed the mentally and physically ill as blemishes upon the genetic landscape of the so-called master race and, when they reproduced, as a biological danger to the purity of the Aryan race. After careful planning and data collection during the last six months of 1939, German physicians began to murder disabled residents of institutions throughout Germany



The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime. It included three main camps. All three camps used prisoners for forced labor. One of them also functioned for an extended period as a killing center. The camps were located approximately 37 miles west of Krakow. They were near the prewar German-Polish border in Upper Silesia

Early Nazi camps

March 1939

After Germany's annexation of Austria in March 1939, the Nazis arrested German and Austrian Jews and imprisoned them in the Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, all located in Germany. After the violent Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass") pogroms in November 1938, the Nazis conducted mass arrests of adult male Jews and incarcerated them in camps for brief periods.

Invasion of Poland

September 1 1939

Hitler's first major foreign policy initiatives after coming to power was to sign a nonaggression pact with Poland in January 1934. Hitler sought the nonaggression pact in order to neutralize the possibility of a French-Polish military alliance against Germany. Later they went back on the pact and invaded Poland

New restrictions on Jews

September 1 1939

the government imposed new restrictions on Jews remaining in Germany. One of the first wartime ordinances imposed a strict curfew on Jewish individuals and prohibited Jews from entering designated areas in many German cities. Once a general food rationing began, Jews received reduced rations; further decrees limited the time periods in which Jews could purchase food and other supplies and restricted access to certain stores


September 1 1939

Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Warsaw suffered heavy air attacks and artillery bombardment. German troops entered Warsaw on September 29, shortly after its surrender.
Less than a week later, German officials ordered the establishment of a Jewish council (Judenrat) under the leadership of a Jewish engineer named Adam Czerniaków.

Germany annexed former Polish territories

October 1939

Germany directly annexed those former Polish territories along German's eastern border: West Prussia, Poznan, Upper Silesia, and the former Free City of Danzig. The remainder of German-occupied Poland was organized as the so-called General government under a civilian governor general, the Nazi party lawyer Hans Frank.

Deportation of Jews

October 1939

This was apart of the Nazis "final solution". the German RSHA official who would later organize the deportation of so many of Europe's Jewish communities to ghettos and killing centers, coordinated the transfer of some 3,500 Jews from Moravia in the former Czechoslovakia, Although problems with the deportation effort and a change in German policy put an end to these deportations, Eichmann's superiors in the RSHA were sufficiently satisfied with his initiative to ensure that he would play a role in future deportation proceedings.

assault on western Europe

May 10 1940

Germany began its assault on western Europe by invading the Low Countries (Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg), which had taken neutral positions in the war, as well as France.

Warsaw Ghetto

October 12 1940

the Germans decreed the establishment of a ghetto in Warsaw. The decree required all Jewish residents of Warsaw to move into a designated area, which German authorities sealed off from the rest of the city in November 1940.

Final solution


was the code name for the systematic, deliberate, physical annihilation of the European Jews. Hitler authorized this European-wide scheme for mass murder.

invaded the Soviet Union

June 22 1941

the Germans and their allies invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, in direct violation of the German-Soviet Pact. During the summer and autumn of 1941, German troops advanced deep into the Soviet Union, but stiffening Red Army resistance prevented the Germans from capturing the key cities of Leningrad and Moscow.

more restrictions on Jews

September 1941

In September 1941, a decree prohibited Jews from using public transportation. In the same month came the notorious edict requiring Jews over the age of six to wear the yellow Jewish Star (Magen David) on their outermost garment. While ghettos were generally not established in Germany, strict residence regulations forced Jews to live in designated areas of German cities

Killing centers

December 1941

The killing centers were designed for efficient mass murder. Chelmno, the first killing center, opened in December 1941. Jews and Roma were gassed in mobile gas vans there. In 1942, the Nazis opened the Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka killing centers to systematically murder the Jews of the Generalgouvernement

Attack on pearl harbor

December 7 1941

on December 7, 1941, Japan (one of the Axis powers) bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States immediately declared war on Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States as the military conflict widened.

deportation to Auschwitz


Trains arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau frequently with transports of Jews from virtually every country in Europe occupied by or allied to Germany. These transports arrived from early 1942 to the end of summer 1944.


January 20 1942

On January 20, 1942, 15 high-ranking Nazi Party and German government officials gathered at a villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to discuss and coordinate the implementation of what they called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question."

beautification program


SS officials in the Protectorate produced a film using ghetto residents as a demonstration of the benevolent treatment the Jewish “residents” of The residents supposedly enjoyed. When the film was completed, SS officials deported most of the "cast" to the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center.

Ghettos in Hungary


In Hungary, ghettoization did not begin until the spring of 1944 after the German invasion and occupation. In less than three months, the Hungarian gendarmerie, coordinating with German deportation experts from the Reich Main Office for Security, concentrated nearly 440,000 Jews from all over Hungary except for the capital city, Budapest.

Arrow cross

June 1944

the German Security Police permitted an International Red Cross team to inspect the Theresienstadt camp-ghetto, located in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia