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auschwitz: inside the nazi state
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Timeline: 1940


Auschwitz Related


The Germans establish a ghetto in Lódz, Poland, and force the city's 200,000 Jews into it. Some 20,000 more Jews from other countries would be deported to Lódz in coming years. Lódz is one of more than three hundred ghettos in Nazi-controlled territory. The ghettos serve as holding places for Jews on the way to the death camps.

Nazi Hierarchy: Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, Hess

Nazi Hierarchy: Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, Hess


Germany invades Denmark and Norway.


Germany invades the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France.

Winston Churchill becomes prime minister of Great Britain.

Construction begins on Auschwitz I, originally intended to house political prisoners.


France surrenders to Germany. Germany annexes the French provinces of Alsace and Lorraine and installs a puppet government in southern France based in the town of Vichy, from which the new government takes its name. Within months, the Vichy government passes antisemitic laws and deports Jews to Auschwitz and other camps.

Italy enters the war on the side of Germany.

The first prisoners arrive at Auschwitz They are members of the Polish resistance and intelligentsia.


July-September: Germany attacks Britain via air in the Battle of Britain.


Japan joins the Axis alliance in the Tripartite Pact.


The Germans establish the Warsaw ghetto, which has the largest population of Jews of all ghettos. It holds as many as 400,000 people.

Jewish families surrender to the SS during the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising

Jewish families surrender to the SS during the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising