Beyond Broadcast

Numbers in timeline correspond to locations on historic maps of Poland.

1000 - 1500
In the mid to late 1200s Jews of Central Europe are forced by church council decrees to live in designated areas and to wear identifying badges on their clothing. Refugees from Germany move to Poland beginning in 1069 and continuing through the 14th Century. In the Galicia region, Polish Jews are allowed to own land and to direct their own community affairs. Government charters are granted to protect Jews. Towards 1400, the first persecution of Jews in Poland takes place. The Rabbi and 13 elders of the town of Posen are tortured and burnt alive after being charged with stealing and desecrating church property. Anti-Jewish riots occur in Cracow. The first Jewish ghetto of Poland is established in Kazimierz, #1, a suburb of Cracow.

1700 - 1900
More than 1.2 million Polish and Lithuanian Jews are incorporated under Russian rule through Russia's westward expansion. Russian laws confine Jews to the Pale of Settlement. #2 Polish revolts against Russian rule occur.

1900 - 1930
The three partitioning powers of Poland collapse. After a war between Russia and Poland, Poland is reconstituted as an independent country. Government soon shifts from democratic to authoritarian rule.

1933 - 1938
Hitler comes to power and establishes concentration camps at Dachau. #3 Poland participates with Germany and Hungary in the partition of Czechoslovakia.

Kristallnacht, Night of Broken Glass, an anti-Jewish pogrom in Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland leaves more than 800 synagogues destroyed, 7,500 Jewish shops looted, and 30,000 male Jews deported to Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen. In all, some 100 Jews are murdered. German Jews are forced by decree to transfer their retail businesses to Aryans, and their children are expelled from German schools. A one billion Mark fine is levied against German Jews for the destruction of property during Kristallnacht.

Germany invades Poland and WWII begins. The SS and German army cooperate in widespread pogroms and mass executions in Poland. Poland surrenders to Germany. Directives are issued to establish ghettos in German-occupied Poland. Forced labor is announced for Polish Jews. Jews from Austria and Moravia are deported to Poland. All Jews in German-occupied Poland are forced to wear an arm band or star.

The first resistance takes place in Poland by Jewish youth. 165,000 people in 1.6 square miles are sealed in Lodz ghetto. #4 Warsaw ghetto is sealed. #5 Concentration camps are established at Auschwitz.#6

icon 1941
Reinhard Heydrich is appointed by Hermann Goering to implement the "Final Solution," Hitler's plan to exterminate the Jews. Birkenau (Auschwitz II) is established for the extermination of Jews; Gypsies, Poles, Russians, and others are also murdered at the camp. German Jews are deported to Lodz, Poland, marking the beginning of general deportations from the Reich. Chelmno death camp, #7, begins functioning: 340,000 Jews, 20,000 non-Jewish Polish and Czechs are murdered by April, 1943. Jewish partisans begin operating in the Minsk area.

icon 1942
Nazis begin transporting Jews from Lodz to Chelmno death camp. The Wansee Conference, where Heydrich outlined plans to murder Europe's Jews, is held in Berlin. Exterminations begin in Belzec camp #8. Over 600,000 Jews are murdered by the end of 1942. Transports from ghettos to death camps extend throughout Poland. Extermination by gas begins in Sobibor killing center #9 where 250,000 Jews are murdered. by October 1943. Treblinka death camp opens #10 where an estimated 840,000 will be killed. Jewish Fighting Organization is founded in Warsaw ghetto. Jews are deported to killing centers from Belgium, Croatia, France, Holland, and Poland. Jewish armed resistance begins in many ghettos. All Jews in German concentration camps are deported to Auschwitz. Jews from Germany, Greece and Norway are deported in the winter to killing centers. Jewish partisan movement organizes in forests near Lublin, Poland. #11

Warsaw ghetto Jews launch first civilian armed resistance to Nazis. The Cracow ghetto is liquidated. New crematoriums open in Auschwitz. The Warsaw ghetto uprising begins as Germans attempt to liquidate the 70,000 inhabitants. Heinrich Himmler orders the liquidation of all ghettos in Poland and the Soviet Union. Deportation of Jews from Polish and Soviet ghettos to death camps is ordered. Armed resistance by Jews occurs in many ghettos. Inmates revolt in the Treblinka and Sobibor death camps. There is liquidation of large ghettos in Minsk, Vilna and Riga. The UN War Crimes Commission is set up.

icon 1944
Nazis begin deporting Hungarian Jews and by June 380,000 are sent to Auschwitz. Allied invasion occurs at Normandy. Russians liberate Majdanek #12 killing center. Inmates at Auschwitz revolt. One crematorium is destroyed. The last gassing in Auschwitz occurs, and the last Jews are deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz.

Soviet troops take Warsaw. Auschwitz is evacuated and death marches begin for inmates of Stutthof and Buchenwald. ( These marches forced concentration camp prisoners to walk with the intent of them dying from starvation, exhaustion and brutality.). Hitler commits suicide. Germany surrenders, ending the Third Reich. Japan surrenders. World War Two ends. Russia annexes Poland.

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TIMELINE || POLAND 1835-1917 || POLAND 1939-1945 || POLAND 1996

New Content Copyright © 1998 PBS and WGBH/FRONTLINE


New Content Copyright © 1998 PBS and WGBH/FRONTLINE
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New Content Copyright © 1998 PBS and WGBH/FRONTLINE