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NOVA Online > Holocaust on Trial > Timeline of Nazi Abuses
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Krakow
A German police officer examines the identification papers of Jews in the Krakow ghetto, circa 1941.
Timeline of Nazi Abuses
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The Nazi reign of terror lasted from 1933 to 1945, a time when mounting affronts to Europe's Jews, Gypsies, and others gave way to the most unspeakable atrocities. Using well-documented facts and contemporary photographs, this timeline chronicles that tragic period in world history. Click on any year below to get a detailed history. Caution: Many photographs in this feature are disturbing and may not be suitable for all ages.

1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945


1933

Hitler and Cabinet
Adolf Hitler, seated center right, celebrates with members of his cabinet on January 30, 1933, the day he was appointed Prime Minister of Germany.
January 30
President Paul von Hindenburg appoints Adolf Hitler Reichs Chancellor (Prime Minister).

February
Published since 1923 by Julius Streicher in Nuremberg as a local organ of the Nazi party, the weekly publication Der Stürmer, devoted primarily to anti-Semitic propaganda and promoting hatred against the Jews, becomes one of the official organs of the party in power. The motto of the paper is "The Jews are our misfortune."

February 27
Nazis burn Reichstag (Parliament) building to create crisis atmosphere. President Hindenburg grants Hitler emergency powers that limit civil rights.

March 5
During the last free election in pre-war Germany, the Nazi party wins nearly 44 percent of the popular vote, more than twice as many votes as the next closest political party, the Social Democrats, with 18 percent. In a coalition with another right-wing party, Hitler takes full control of Germany.

March 9
Members of the SA (Sturmabteilung, or "Stormtroops," originally established in 1921 by Hitler to defend Nazi meetings) and Stahlhelm (nationalist ex-servicemen's organization) instigate rioting against German Jews.

March 20
First concentration camp, Dachau, established north of Munich.

March 23
German government passes the Enabling Act, granting Hitler dictatorial powers.

Nazis guarding Jewish shop
During the April 1933 boycott, two SA members guard the entrance to a Jewish-owned leather-goods shop. The sign reads "No respectable German shops here!"

April 1
SA instigates boycott of all Jewish shops in Germany. Action also directed against Jewish physicians and lawyers. Jewish students forbidden to attend schools and universities.

April 7
Law for "the re-creation of civil-service professionalism" passed. Removal of many Jewish civil-service employees, including teachers and judges. Exception made for front-line veterans of World War I.

April 11
Decree issued defining a non-Aryan as "anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents. One parent or grandparent classifies the descendant as non-Aryan ... especially if one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith."

April 26
Formation of the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei, or "Secret State Police"), transforming Prussian political police into an organ of the Nazi state.

May 10
Books written by Jews and opponents of Nazism burned.

July 14
Nazi party declared only party in Germany. Also, law pertaining to the revocation of naturalization and cancellation of German citizenship passed. Primarily aimed at Jews naturalized since 1918 from the formerly Eastern German territories.

September 22
Nazis establish Reich Chamber of Culture and exclude Jews from participating in the arts.

October 4
Editor Law passed: Jews prohibited from serving as newspaper editors.

October 14
Germany quits League of Nations.

October 24
Nazis pass a law against "Habitual and Dangerous Criminals" that justifies placing the homeless, beggars, unemployed, and alcoholics in concentration camps.



1934

Front page of Der Stürmer
Front page of Der Stürmer, a Nazi publication, showing a cartoon depicting Jews as instigators of rebellion, June 1934.
January 24
Jews banned from the German Labor Front, a labor organization affiliated with the Nazi Party.

May 17
Jews no longer entitled to health insurance.

June 30
The "Night of the Long Knives" occurs as Hitler, Hermann Göring, and Heinrich Himmler conduct a purge of the SA leadership, murdering about 700 people, including opposition figures still in Germany.

August 2
President Hindenburg dies. Offices of President and Chancellor combined. Hitler becomes sole leader (Führer) and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.



1935

Motorcyclist and sign
A motorcyclist on a village outskirts takes in a sign proclaiming "Jews are not welcomed here," circa 1935.
May 21
Defense Law passed: "Aryan heritage" becomes a prerequisite for military duty. During the summer, "Jews Not Wanted" posters start to appear on restaurants, shops, and on village entrance signs.

September 15
National Day of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party). Parliament passes, during a special session, the anti-Semitic "Nuremberg Laws," the "National Citizens Law," and the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor." These laws are the basis for the exclusion of Jews from all public business life and for the reclassification of the political rights of Jewish citizens.

November 14
First decree pertaining to the "National Citizens Law" issued: Jews denied voting rights and forbidden to hold public office. Discharge of all Jewish civil-service employees, including World War I front-line veterans. Definition of "Jew" written. First decree pertaining to the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor" issued: Prohibition against the marriage of Jews to non-Jews. Sexual relations between Jews and Aryans becomes a crime. Work possibilities for Jews narrowed to just a few professions. Jewish children prohibited from using the same playgrounds and locker rooms as other children.



1936

Crowd at Olympics
German citizens give the Nazi salute to Hitler during opening-day ceremonies at the 11th Olympiad in Berlin, August 1936.
February 10
The Gestapo placed above the law.

March
The SS (Shutzstaffeln, or "Protection Squad," originally set up in 1925 to provide personal protection to Nazi leadership) creates the Deaths Head division to guard concentration camps.

March 7
German troops occupy the Rhineland in western Germany.

June 17
Himmler appointed chief of German Police, with Reinhard Heydrich as his second in command.

August 1
Opening of the Olympic Games in Berlin. Anti-Semitic posters temporarily removed.



1937

Prisoners
Newly arrived prisoners gather for registration at the Buchenwald concentration camp, 1937.
June 12
SS Obergruppenführer (Lt. General) Reinhard Heydrich issues secret order pertaining to protective custody for Race Violators following the conclusion of the normal legal process.

July 16
Buchenwald concentration camp opens in central Germany.

Autumn
Systematic takeover of Jewish property begins.

November
Munich exhibition of "The Wandering Jew" depicting the Jew as financial exploiter.



1938

Anschluss
Reichstag members applaud Hitler following his annexation of Austria, March 13, 1938.
March 13
"Annexation" (Anschluss) of Austria and start of persecution of Austrian Jews.

March 28
Law pertaining to the legal rights of Jewish cultural (ethnic) organizations passed. Jewish communities are no longer legal entities enjoying civil rights; instead, they can only be legally created associations.

April 22
Decree issued against the "camouflage of Jewish industrial enterprises." Decree announced requiring the declaration of all Jewish property greater than 5,000 Reichsmarks (approx. $1,190).

June 9
Destruction of the Munich Synagogue.

June 14
Decree issued requiring the registration and identification of Jewish industrial enterprises. Creation of lists of wealthy Jews at treasury offices and police districts.

June 15
"Asocial-Action": Arrest of all "previously convicted" Jews, including those prosecuted for traffic violations, and commitment to concentration camps (approx. 1,500 persons).

July 15
International conference held in Evian, France, and attended by delegates from 32 countries, including the United States, Great Britain, and France, to discuss the problem of Jewish refugees from Germany. Results in no effective help for Jewish refugees.

Magules family children
More than a million children died in the Holocaust, including three of the Margules family children shown here, whom the Nazis deported from Paris and killed in 1942. Only the girl in the lower right survived the war.

July 21
Introduction of identity cards for Jews, to become effective January 1, 1939.

July 28
Decree announced for the cancellation of the medical certification of all Jewish physicians, effective September 30. Thereafter, Jewish physicians only allowed to function as nurses for Jewish patients.

August 10
Destruction of the synagogue in Nuremberg, south-central Germany.

August 17
Decree issued to carry out the law pertaining to the change of first and last names. Effective January 1, 1939, all Jews must add to their name either "Israel" or "Sara."

September 12
Jews forbidden to attend public cultural events.

September 27
Decree issued for the cancellation of licenses to practice for all Jewish lawyers, effective November 30. Thereafter, Jewish lawyers can only practice in special instances as "Jewish Consultants for Jews."

September 29
Munich Agreement: Britain and France accept German annexation of Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia.

October 5
Passport decree issued, resulting in the confiscation of passports held by Jews. Procedure for reissuance of passports made more complicated. Newly issued passports stamped "J," designating Jewish ownership.

October 15
German troops occupy the Sudetenland.

October 28
Expulsion from Germany of 15,000 to 17,000 Jews of Polish origin to Zbaszyn on Polish border.

November 7
Hershel Grynszpan, whose parents suffered in the aforementioned expulsion, assassinates German consular aide Ernst Vom Rath in Paris.


Aachen Synagogue
The burned-out synagogue of Aachen, Germany, one of nearly 200 synagogues destroyed during Kristallnacht.
November 9-10
Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass"): Government-organized pogrom against Jews in Germany. Destruction of synagogues, businesses, and homes. More than 26,000 Jewish men arrested and committed to Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. At least 91 Jews killed, 191 synagogues destroyed, and 7,500 shops looted.

November 12
Decrees issued for the "atonement payments" by German Jews in the amount of one billion marks; the elimination of German Jews from involvement in the economy; and the reconstruction of the facades of all Jewish shops. Jews have to pay for all damage caused during Kristallnacht. Jews prohibited from attending movies, concerts, and other cultural performances.

November 15
Jewish children expelled from German schools.

November 28
Police decree pertaining to the appearance of Jews in public issued: Restrictions in the freedom of movement and travel, etc.

December 3
Confiscation of Jews' drivers licenses. Creation of a "Ban Against Jews" in Berlin. Decree announced pertaining to the forced disposal (Aryanization) of Jewish industrial enterprises and businesses.

December 14
Göring takes charge of resolving the "Jewish question."



1939

Göring
Hermann Göring set up the first concentration camps. He also ordered Reinhard Heydrich to come up with a "General Solution" to the Jewish problem.
January 17
Decree issued pertaining to the expiration of permits for Jewish dentists, veterinarians, and pharmacists.

January 24
Establishment of a National Central Office for Jewish emigration, with central offices in Vienna and Prague. These offices lie under the SS's Intelligence Service, the Sicherheitsdienst, or SD, headed by Reinhard Heydrich. Göring orders SS leader Heydrich to speed up emigration of Jews.

January 30
Hitler predicts in the parliament the "extermination of the Jewish race in Europe" in the event of war.

February 21
Nazis require Jews to relinquish all their gold and silver.

March 15
Occupation of Czechoslovakia, "Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia" created. Introduction of the anti-Semitic decrees that are already in force in Germany.

April 18
Anti-Jewish laws passed in Slovakia. Cancellation of eviction protection.

April 30
Law pertaining to rent agreements with Jews: Legal preparations for the combining of Jewish families into "Jewish Houses." Cancellation of eviction protection.

St. Louis
The St. Louis in Havana harbor, Cuba.

May 13
In Hamburg, 1,000 Jewish refugees board the SS St. Louis, a German ocean liner, for trip to Cuba, where they hope to find temporary refuge. Cuba and Miami turn them away.

May 15
Ravensbruck concentration camp for women established north of Berlin.

May 22
Nazis sign "Pact of Steel" with Italy.

June 16-20
SS St. Louis returns to Europe, where the passengers disembark.

July 26
Adolf Eichmann (deputy to Heydrich) placed in charge of the Prague branch of the emigration office. He becomes head of Section IVB4 of the S.D. under Reinhard Heydrich. Section IVB4 known first as the Jewish Bureau (later the Eichmann Bureau).

September 1
Germany attacks Poland. World War II begins. Numerous pogroms in Poland. Curfews for Jews in Germany (9 p.m. in the summer, 8 p.m. in the winter).

September 3
Britain and France declare war on Germany.

September 21
In occupied Poland, Heydrich authorizes the mobilization of Einsatzgruppen (killing squads), which see action beginning in the spring of 1941 after the invasion of Russia. Heydrich also authorizes the establishment of ghettos, each under a Judenrat (Jewish Council).

September 23
Confiscation of radios from Jews.

September 27
Establishment of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (National Central Security Department), which coordinates all political and criminal police in Germany under Heydrich. Warsaw surrenders.

September 29
Germans and Soviets divide Poland. More than two million Jews live in the German area and 1.3 million in the Soviet-controlled territory.


Hartheim
Hartheim Institute, one of six hospitals and nursing facilities where the Nazis carried out their euthanasia program, killing children and adults by gassing, shooting, and lethal injection.
October
Nazis begin euthanasia, including murder by starvation, lethal injection, and carbon-monoxide poisoning, on sick and disabled in Germany.

October 8
First ghetto (unguarded and unfenced) established in Piotrkow, Poland.

October 12
First deportations from Austria and the "Protectorates" to Poland. Establishment of the Generalgouvernement (Government General) in the German-occupied territories of Poland.

October 18
Introduction of wearing of the Star of David in Wloclawek, Poland.

October 26
Forced labor for Jews in the Generalgouvernement.

November 8
Hans Frank appointed Governor of the Generalgouvernement (headquartered in Krakow). Assassination attempt on Hitler fails.

November 23
Introduction of the wearing of the Star of David in the entire Generalgouvernement (occupied Poland).

November 28
Frank issues directive to establish Judenrats in Generalgouvernement.



1940

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



1941

Mauthausen
Six thousand inmates await disinfection in a Mauthausen courtyard, July 1941. After 24 hours of waiting, nearly 140 had died.
January 22-23
First massacre of Jews in Romania.

February-April
Deportation of 72,000 Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto.

February 22-23
Deportation of 400 Jewish hostages from Amsterdam to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.

March 2
German troops occupy Bulgaria.

March 7
Induction of German Jews into forced labor.

April 6
Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece.

May 14
Arrest of 3,600 Parisian Jews. Romania passes law condemning adult Jews to forced labor.

May 16
French Marshall Petain approves collaboration with Hitler in radio broadcast.

Einsatzgruppe
A member of Einsatzgruppe D prepares to shoot a Ukrainian Jew, who is forced to kneel before a mass grave full of other victims.

June
Vichy government revokes civil rights of French Jews in North Africa and decrees many restrictions against them. Nazi SS Einsatzgruppen begin mass murder.

June 22
Germany attacks the Soviet Union.

June-July
Mass shootings of Jews begin in Ponary Forest, the killing grounds near Vilna, Poland. By 1944, 70,000 to 100,000 perish there.

June-August
Numerous pogroms occur in occupied Russian territories.

July 2
Anti-racist riots in Lvov, Poland in which Ukrainian nationalists take part.

July 8
Introduction of the wearing of the Star of David in Baltic countries.

July 17
Alfred Rosenberg appointed Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories to administer territories seized from the Soviet Union.


Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich oversaw the Einsatzgruppen (killing squads). He also convened the Wannsee conference in January 1942 to discuss implementation of the Final Solution.
July 31
Göring assigns Heydrich the task for "a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe." Beginning of the "Final Solution."

August
Ghettos established in Bialystok and Lvov, Poland.

September
Janówska labor and extermination camp opens near Lvov in Ukraine.

September 1
Police order pertaining to the introduction of the Star of David in Germany, effective September 19 for all Jews age six and older.

September 3
First gassing tests in Auschwitz using Zyklon-B, a poisonous gas.

September 6
Vilna Ghetto created with population of 40,000 Jews.

September 19
German troops capture Kiev, Ukraine.

September 27
Heydrich declared "Protector of Bohemia and Moravia."

Babi yar child
A 1936 portrait of two-year-old Mania Halef, a Jewish child who was later killed in the mass execution at Babi Yar.

September 28-29
Mass murder of Jews at Babi Yar near Kiev (34,000 victims).

October 3
Forced labor for the Jews in the Reich.

October 10
Ghetto in Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, established.

October 12-13
Massacre of Jews at Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine (11,000 victims).

October 14
Orders issued for deportation of German Jews from Germany as defined by its 1933 borders.

October 16
Deportation of the Jews from the Reich begins.

October 23
Massacre of Jews in Odessa (34,000 victims). Prohibition against the emigration of Jews.


Mother and children waiting
A mother and her two children wait with a large group of Jews from Lubny, Ukraine, whom the Nazis have assembled for mass execution, October 16, 1941.
October-November
Einsatzgruppen mass killings of Jews all over southern Russia.

October 28
Massacre of Jews in Kiev (34,000 victims).

November 6
Massacre of Jews in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania (15,000 victims).

November 25
Declaration made pertaining to the collection of Jewish assets through deportations.

December
Massacre of Jews in Riga, Latvia; victims include the first transport of Jews from Germany (27,000 victims).

December 7
Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Hitler issues "Night and Fog" decree, policy under which underground agents and other opponents are made to vanish into the "night and fog."

December 8
The United States and Britain declare war on Japan. Chelmno extermination camp opens near Lodz, Poland. By April 1943, 360,000 Jews will have been murdered at Chelmno.

December 11
Germany declares war on the United States, which, in turn, declares war on Germany.

December 30
Massacre of Jews in Simferopol in the Crimea (10,000 victims).



1942

Chelmno
Jews from the Lodz ghetto board trains for the death camp at Chelmno.
January 1
Allied nations sign declaration of the United Nations.

January 15
"Resettlements" from Lodz to the extermination camp Chelmno begin.

January 20
Wannsee Conference held to solidify plans for the deportation and extermination of European Jewry (Final Solution). Heydrich convened the meeting to transfer mass murders to the fixed death camps, with Eichmann in charge of transportation.

January 31
Einsatzgruppe A reports the liquidation of 229,052 Jews in the Baltic states. [Liquidation in this instance means to kill, while liquidation of ghettos usually refers to outright killing and/or deportation to death camps.]

End January
Deportation of Jews to Theresienstadt begins.

February-March
Mass murder of Jews in Charkow (Kharkov), Ukraine (14,000 victims).

March 1
Extermination of Jews begins at Sobibor, an extermination camp in Poland. By October 1943, 250,000 Jews will have been murdered there.

March 6
First conference on sterilization held: Definitions pertaining to sterilization of persons of mixed blood laid down.

March 16-17
Extermination camp Belzec established in Poland to murder Jews from Lublin, the Lublin district, and Galicia. By liberation (two survivors), 600,000 Jews had been murdered there.

Mid-March
Start of "Aktion Reinhard," code name for the operation that had as its objective the physical destruction of Jews in the interior of occupied Poland.

Majdanek
Human bones lie in piles before the crematoria at Majdanek extermination camp.

March 21
"Resettlement" of the ghetto in Lublin: 26,000 persons sent to extermination camps Belzec and Majdanek and other camps.

March 26
Public notices pertaining to the identification of Jewish homes in Germany. Deportation of 60,000 Slovakian Jews, some to Auschwitz, others to the extermination camp Majdanek, near Lublin, Poland.

Starting end of March
Arrival of initial transports of Jews at the concentration and extermination camps at Auschwitz (Auschwitz I & Auschwitz II).

April 24
Jews prohibited from using public transportation. Exception only for forced laborers, if their workplace lies farther than seven kilometers from their place of residence, though taking a seat in the conveyance not allowed.

May 27
Czech commandos mortally wound SS leader Heydrich.

June 1
Introduction of the Star of David in France and Holland. Treblinka extermination camp opened about 40 miles northeast of Warsaw.

June 2
Deportation of German Jews to Theresienstadt begins.

June 4
Heydrich dies of his wounds.

June 10
Germans liquidate Lidice, Czechoslovakia, in retaliation for Heydrich's death.

June 30
Jewish schools in Germany closed.

July 1
Massacres of Jews in Minsk, Lida, and Slonim, all in Belorussia.


Theresienstadt
A young Dutch girl, part of a transport of Dutch Jews, arrives at Theresienstadt.
July 2
Berlin Jews are sent to Theresienstadt.

July 4
Start of mass gassings at Auschwitz.

July 7
Himmler grants permission for sterilization experiments at Auschwitz.

July 15
First deportation from Holland to Auschwitz.

July 19
Himmler orders Operation Reinhard, the mass deportation of Jews in Poland to extermination camps.

"Resettlement" of the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto to the extermination camps at Belzec and Treblinka begins. By September 13, Nazis will have deported 300,000 Jews to Treblinka. Armed resistance during liquidation of Nieswiez ghetto, western Belorussia.

July 23
Mass exterminations by gassing started at Treblinka. By August 1943, Nazis will have murdered 700,000 Jews there.

Hair
Bales of hair cut from female prisoners, discovered at Auschwitz following its liberation in January 1945.

August 4
First deportations from Belgium to Auschwitz.

August 9
Armed resistance during the liquidation of the Mir ghetto, western Belorussia.

August 10-22
"Resettlement" of the Lemberg (Lvov) ghetto in Ukraine. Forty thousand Jews deported to extermination camps.

August 14
Arrest of 7,000 "stateless" Jews in unoccupied France.

August-September
Deportations from Zagreb, Croatia, to Auschwitz. Gassings near Minsk of Jews deported from Theresienstadt.

September 3
Armed resistance during liquidation of Lahava ghetto, western Belorussia.

September 9
Massacre of Jews near Kislowodsk, Caucasus.

September 16
Conclusion of "resettlement" of the Lodz ghetto (55,000 victims).

September 23
Armed resistance during the liquidation of the Tutzin ghetto, western Ukraine.

September 30
Hitler publicly repeats his forecast of the destruction of Jewry.

October 4
Nazis order German concentration camps to be made "free of Jews": all Jewish inmates deported to Auschwitz.


Officer killing women
A German police officer shoots Jewish women still alive after a mass execution of Jews from the Mizocz ghetto, Poland, October 14, 1942.
October 18
The German Ministry of Justice transfers responsibility for Jews and citizens of German-occupied eastern countries to the Gestapo.

October 22
Nazis suppress revolt by Jews at Sachsenhausen assigned for deportation to Auschwitz.

October 27
Second conference pertaining to sterilization held.

October 29
Mass execution of Jews in Pinsk, Belorussia (16,000 victims).

November 25
First deportation of Jews from Norway to Auschwitz.

December 10
First transport of Jews from Germany arrives at Auschwitz.

December 17
Allies solemnly condemn the extermination of Jews and promise to punish the perpetrators.



1943

Belzec Gypsies
A Gypsy couple at the Belzec concentration camp.
January 18
First armed resistance against deportation in Warsaw Ghetto.

January 20-26
Transports from the ghetto in Theresienstadt to Auschwitz.

January 29
Germans order all Gypsies arrested and sent to concentration camps.

January 30
Ernst Kaltenbrunner becomes head of RuSHA (Race and Settlement Office).

February 2
German Sixth Army surrenders at Stalingrad—an event that marks the turning point in the war.

February 15
First "resettlements" in Bialystok Ghetto in Poland, with 1,000 Jews killed on the spot and 10,000 deported to Treblinka.

February 18
Nazis arrest "White Rose" resistance leaders in Munich.

February 27
Deportation of Jewish armament workers from Berlin to Auschwitz.

Tomas Kulka
Tomas Kulka, a Jewish boy from Moravia shown here at age three, was gassed at Sobibor with his maternal grandmother in May 1942. He was two weeks shy of his eighth birthday.

March
Transports from Holland to Sobibor and from Prague, Vienna, Luxembourg, and Macedonia to Treblinka.

March 1
American Jews hold a mass rally at Madison Square Garden in New York to pressure the United States to aid European Jewry.

March 13
Disbandment of the ghetto in Krakow.

March 15
Deportations from Salonika and Thrace in Greece.

March 22
The first new crematorium in Auschwitz-Birkenau begins operation.

April 19
Bermuda Conference. Fruitless discussions by U.S. and British delegates on deliverance of Nazi victims.


Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Surrounded by heavily armed guards, SS Major General Jürgen Stroop (center) watches housing blocks burn during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
April 19 to May 16
Revolt and destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto.

June 11
Himmler orders the liquidation of all Polish ghettos. Expanded to Soviet Union by the edict of June 21.

June 21-27
Liquidation of the ghetto in Lemberg (Lvov) (20,000 persons).

June 25
Revolt and destruction of the ghetto in Czestochowa, Poland.

July 1
Thirteenth order of the Reich's Civil Laws: Jews within Germany placed under police justice.

July 25-26
Mussolini arrested and Fascist government in Italy falls. Marshal Pietro Badoglio takes over and negotiates with Allies.

August 2
Revolts in Treblinka death camp and Krikov labor camp in the Lublin district.

August 16-23
Revolt and destruction of the ghetto in Bialystok.

September 11
Start of German raids against Jews in Nice, France.

Krakow
Liquidation of the ghetto in Krakow, Poland, with belongings of deported Jews strewn about the streets, March 1943.

September 11-14
Liquidation of ghettos in Minsk and Lida.

September 11-18
Transports of families from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz.

September 23
Liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto.

September 25
Soviet troops recapture Smolensk, Russia. Liquidation of all ghettos in Belorussia.

October 2
Germans order expulsion of Danish Jews. Due to rescue operations by the Danish underground, some 7,000 Jews evacuated to Sweden. Germans capture only 475.

October 13
Italy declares war on Germany. Due to Allied headquarters' premature announcement of Italian move by Allied headquarters, Italian Jews are trapped before they can be evacuated to North Africa.


Sobibor Uprising
Some of the uprisers in the Sobibor revolt, photographed in August 1944.
October 14
Revolt in Sobibor.

October 18
First transport of Jews from Rome to Auschwitz.

October 20
U.N. War Crimes Commission established.

November 3
Liquidation of the Riga Ghetto. Nazis murder remaining Jews in Majdanek (17,000 victims).

November 6
Soviet troops recapture Kiev.

November 28
Conference in Teheran; Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meet.

December 15-19
First trial of German war criminals in Charkow (Kharkov), Ukraine.



1944

Auschwitz warehouse of shoes and clothes
An Auschwitz warehouse full of shoes and clothes taken from prisoners gassed upon their arrival.
January 24
Roosevelt creates the War Refugee Board, transferring control from Cordell Hull and Breckenridge Long of the State Department to Henry Morgenthau of the Treasury Department.

March 19
Germany invades Hungary.

April 10
Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escape from Auschwitz and carry detailed information about the death camp to outside world.

April 14
First transport of Jews from Athens to Auschwitz.

May 15 to July 8
Deportation of 438,000 Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz.

June
Red Cross delegation visits Theresienstadt.

June 4
Allies enter Rome.

June 6
D-Day, start of the Allied invasion in Normandy.

June 14
Rosenberg orders the kidnapping of 40,000 Polish children ages 10-14 for slave labor in the Reich.

June 23
Start of the Soviet offensive.

Kidnapped children
Some of the 40,000 children kidnapped from eastern Europe for "re-Germanization" in Germany await transport out of their temporary home at Auschwitz, July 1944.

July
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg arrives in Budapest, Hungary and begins to issue diplomatic papers to save Hungarian Jews.

July 20
Soviet troops liberate concentration camp Majdanek. German assassination attempt on Hitler fails.

July 25
Ghetto in Kovno, Lithuania, evacuated.

August 4
Gestapo arrests Anne Frank's family in Amsterdam.

August 6
Deportation to Germany of 27,000 Jews from camps east of the Vistula River in Poland.

August 23
Holding camp Drancy (near Paris) liberated. Romania capitulates.

September 5
Lodz Ghetto evacuated.

September 11
British troops arrive in Holland.

September 13
Soviet troops reach the Slovakian border.


Auschwitz aerial view
An aerial reconnaissance photo of the main camp at Auschwitz, shot at 23,000 feet by members of the 15th U.S. Army Air Force, September 13, 1944.
September
Transport of all Jews in Dutch camps to Germany. New deportations from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz. Last transport from France to Auschwitz.

September 14
American troops reach the German border.

September 23
Massacre of Jews in the concentration camp in Kluga, Estonia. Resumption of deportations from Slovakia.

October 7
Escape attempts in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

October 15
Germany installs new puppet Hungarian government, which resumes deportation of Jews.

October 18
Hitler orders the establishment of the Volkssturms (mobilization of all men from 16 to 60).

October 23
Allied armies liberate Paris.

End October
Survivors of concentration camp Plaszow (Krakow) transported to Auschwitz.

October 31
Approximately 14,000 Jews transported from Slovakia to Auschwitz.

November
Trial of the leaders of the extermination camp Majdanek held in Lublin.

Auschwitz chamber door
Door to an Auschwitz gas chamber. The sign reads, "Harmful gas! Entering endangers your life."

November 2
Gassings in Auschwitz terminated.

November 3-8
Soviet troops near Budapest.

November 18
Eichmann deports 38,000 Jews from Budapest to the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Ravensbruck and other camps.

November 26
Himmler orders destruction of the crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau, as Nazis try to hide evidence of the death camps.

December 17
Members of Waffen SS (an arm of the SS) murder 81 U.S. POWs at Malmedy.



1945

Auschwitz prisoners liberated
Auschwitz prisoners greet Soviet troops during liberation in January, 1945.
January 16
Soviet troops liberate 800 Jews at Czestochowa and 870 in Lodz.

January 17
Soviet troops liberate Warsaw. Liberation of 80,000 Jews in Budapest. Nazis evacuate Auschwitz and "Death March" of prisoners begins.

January 27
Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz.

March 3
American troops reach the Rhine River.

March 19
Hitler orders destruction of all German military, industrial, transportation, and communications facilities to prevent them from falling under enemy control.

April
Allies discover Nazi-stolen art and wealth hidden in salt mines.

April 6-10
Evacuation of 15,000 Jews from Buchenwald.

Buchenwald survivors
Three young survivors stand behind a barbed-wire fence at Buchenwald, April 1945.

April 12
American troops liberate Buchenwald. President Roosevelt dies. Truman becomes President.

April 15
British troops liberate concentration camp Bergen-Belsen southeast of Hamburg.

April 20
American troops occupy Nuremberg.

April 23
Soviet troops near Berlin.

April 23-May 4
Evacuation of inmates from concentration camps Sachsenhausen and Ravensbruck. SS guards conduct last massacre of Jews.

April 25
Meeting of American and Soviet troops on the Elbe River in Germany.

April 28
Mussolini captured and hanged by Italian partisans.


Dachau survivors
Survivors of Dachau concentration camp, May 1945.
April 29
American troops liberate Dachau.

April 30
Hitler commits suicide.

May 2
Berlin capitulates. Representatives of International Red Cross take over at Theresienstadt.

May 5
Liberation of Mauthausen.

May 7-9
Unconditional surrender of Germany: end of war in Europe.

May 8
V-E (Victory in Europe) Day.

Göring in prisoners dock
Hermann Göring was sentenced to death at the International Military Tribunal trial of war criminals at Nuremberg. Just two hours before his scheduled execution on October 15, 1946, however, Göring committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill he had managed to smuggle into prison.

May 9
U.S. troops capture Göring.

May 23
Himmler captured and commits suicide.

June 5
Allies divide up Germany and Berlin and take over government.

June 26
United Nations Charter signed in San Francisco.

August 6
Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

August 15
Japan surrenders: end of World War II.

October 24
United Nations officially born.

November 22
Start of Nuremberg Trials. Trials end January 10, 1946, with 12 defendants sentenced to death, three to life imprisonment, four to various prison terms, and three acquitted.




Adapted with permission from the Web site of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (www.us-israel.org). Thanks to Dr. Paul Bookbinder of Harvard University for reviewing this timeline. All images in this feature are courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives.

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