Auschwitz The main entrance to Auschwitz I, with its electrified fence and sign declaring Arbeit Macht Frei ("Work Makes One Free").
1940

January 25
The Polish town of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) chosen as the site of a new Nazi concentration camp.

February 10-13
First deportations from Pomerania (Stettin, Stralsund, Schneidemuehl) to Lublin, Poland.

April 9
Germany invades Denmark and Norway.

April 20
High Command of the Armed Forces issues secret order: Discharge persons of mixed blood and husbands of Jewish women.

Children in Lodz ghetto Children in the Lodz ghetto dig for fuel in an empty lot.

April 30
First guarded ghetto established in Lodz, Poland.

May 1
Rudolf Höss chosen as kommandant of Auschwitz.

May 10
Germany invades Holland, Belgium, and France.

June 14
The Nazis occupy Paris.

June 22
French army surrenders. Marshall Philippe Petain signs an armistice with Germany.

In July
Eichmann presents his Madagascar Plan, proposing to deport all European Jews to the island of Madagascar off Africa.

August 8
Anti-Jewish laws passed in Romania.

October 3
Vichy government in France passes anti-Jewish laws (Statut des Juifs) that go beyond German legislation at that time.

October 7
German troops enter Romania.


Warsaw ghetto A street scene in the Warsaw ghetto, early 1940s.
October 16
Nazis issue order for the establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto.

October 22
"Aktion Burckel": Deportation of Jews from Alsace-Lorraine, Saarland, and Baden to southern France, then, in 1942, to Auschwitz.

November 15
Nazis seal off the Warsaw Ghetto.

November 20-24
Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia join the Axis powers.

Continue: 1941

Photos: Courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives.

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