search

  • 1933 - Hitler poses with members of his new government

    January 30th 1933

    Hitler is invited into power

    The Nazis came to power legally at the
    head of a right-wing coalition. A succession of governments failed to deal with the economic crisis. None of the conservative parties had mass support and they became increasingly afraid of a Communist victory. Eventually, a group of politicians offered Hitler the Chancellorship at the head of a coalition government. This offer came just in time because the Nazi vote was dipping.

     

    1933

    Hitler poses with members of his new government
    © US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 1933 - A woman reads a boycott sign posted in the window of a Jewishowned department store, 1st April 1933

    1933

    Law and Intimidation

    The Nazis wanted Jews to be eliminated from politics, government service, public life, and cultural activity by a combination of law and intimidation. The government passed the "Law for the Reconstruction of the Civil Service", which enabled the expulsion of political opponents and the majority of Jews from government employment. There was sporadic anti-Jewish violence and in April Hitler approved a boycott of Jewish stores and shops.

     

    1933

    A woman reads a boycott sign posted in the window of a Jewishowned department store, 1st April 1933
    © US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 1935 Nuernberg, Germany, 1935, Adolf Hitler at a ceremony marking Parteitag

    15 September 1935

    Nuremberg Laws

    On the eve of the annual party rally at
    Nuremberg civil servants produced the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour".

    A person was Jewish according to the number of grandparents who were Jews in a religious, not racial, sense. "Aryans" were forbidden from having sexual relations with Jews or marrying them. Jews lost their full citizenship and were reduced to second-class status.

     

    1935

    Nuernberg, Germany, 1935, Adolf Hitler at a ceremony marking Parteitag
    © The Yad Vashem Photo Archive

  • 1938 - Germans pass by the broken shop window of a Jewish-owned business, 10th November 1938

    9-10th November 1938

    Kristallnacht

    In 1938 German Jews faced a hail of discriminatory regulations. Their assets and property were seized. On the night of 9-10th November, hundreds of synagogues were burned down and Jewish shops attacked. Over ninety Jews were killed. 30,000 were sent to concentration camps and not released unless they emigrated. The Nazis called this riot Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass", because of the destruction it caused.

     

    1938

    Germans pass by the broken shop window of a Jewish-owned business, 10th November 1938
    © US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 1938-39 - Germany, Jewish families with suitcases hoping to leave the country.

    Trying to escape

    Trying to escape

    German and Austrian Jews realised that there was no future for them in the Third Reich and tried desperately to find countries that would accept them. But at a time of high unemployment, few countries wanted impoverished Jewish refugees. This was a tragedy because at that time Nazi policy was simply to make the Jews leave, but there were few places for them to go. Nevertheless, some Jews did manage to emigrate.

     

    1938-39

    Germany, Jewish families with suitcases hoping to leave the country.
    © The Yad Vashem Photo Archive

  • 1939 - Polish & Jewish labourers construct a section of the Warsaw ghetto wall

    September 1939

    Poland

    The outbreak of war and the conquest of
    Poland forced the Nazis to reassess their anti- Jewish policies. From 1937-39 their aim was to make Jews emigrate. In 1939-40 the policy became forced emigration and expulsion. Jews were concentrated in towns and cities prior to being removed, and ghettos were created: a temporary measure and more a case of desperation than design.

     

    1939

    Polish & Jewish labourers construct a section of the Warsaw
    ghetto wall
    © US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 1939-40 - Staff at Hadamar sanatorium - one of the main sites of the "Euthanasia Programme"

    1 September 1939 - 24
    August 1941

    Euthanasia

    The Nazi programme of compulsory euthanasia saw the murder of over 70,000 mentally or physically disabled inmates of sanatoria and asylums after doctors certified them as “life unworthy of life”. The victims were transported to one of six clinics where they were poisoned with carbon monoxide gas piped through false shower heads in mock bathrooms. The programme was suspended after some of the relatives worked out what was happening.

     

     

    1939-40

    Staff at Hadamar sanatorium - one of the main sites of the "Euthanasia Programme"
    © The Imperial War Museum, EA 62183

  • 1941 - Anna Glinberg was a three-year old Jewish girl killed during the massacre at Babi Yar

    22 June 1941

    Operation Barbarossa

    The invasion of the Soviet Union was intended by Hitler to be "an ideological war of extermination". Orders were issued for all captured political officers and Jews who worked for the Communist Party or the state to be shot by mobile killing squads known as Einsatzgruppen. They were assisted by locally recruited auxiliaries, especially in the Ukraine and the Baltic States. Policy soon shifted to killing Jewish men, women and children without any discrimination.

     

    1941

    Anna Glinberg was a three-year old Jewish girl killed during the massacre at Babi Yar
    © US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 1939 - SS Officer Christian Wirth - the "savage Christian"; veteran of the Euthanasia Programme, first commandant of Belzec, and inspector of Reinhard death camps in Poland.

    November 1941

    Steps towards mass murder

    In November construction began on the first death camp at Belzec, near Lublin in Poland. Two more were planned in the region of Warsaw and Lublin. In December, gas vans operating in the town of Chelmno began the systematic murder of Jews from nearby Lodz. They were loaded into the back of lorries with the engine's exhaust fumes piped into the airtight compartment. The vans were then driven a few miles to mass graves in a forest, where the Jews were unloaded and buried.

     

    1939

    SS Officer Christian Wirth - the "savage Christian"; veteran of the Euthanasia Programme, first commandant of Belzec, and inspector of Reinhard death camps in Poland.
    © The Yad Vashem Photo Archive

  • 1942 - Table taken from the "Wannsee Protocol" - The minutes of Wannsee Conference. The table shows the distribution of Jews in Europe. All were earmarked for destruction.

    20 January 1942

    The Wannsee Conference

    In late November 1941 Heydrich summoned leading civil servants and SS officers to a meeting at Wannsee near Berlin to coordinate the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" in Europe. The meeting had to be postponed until 20th January 1942 as Germany declared war on America. At the Conference Heydrich announced the systematic deportation of Jews from across Europe to "the East". The fit would be put to work; those unable to would be put to death.

     

    1942

    Table taken from the "Wannsee Protocol" - The minutes of Wannsee Conference. The table shows the distribution of Jews in Europe. All were earmarked for destruction.
    © Political Archives of the Federal Foreign Office, Germany

  • 1942 - Prisoners in the Order Commando at Auschwitz-Birkenau sort through the belongings of a recently arrived transport.

    Spring 1942

    Genocide in the East

    The implementation of the "Final Solution" varied from country to country and was influenced by the extent of German control and the stage in the war at which it was put into effect. In every country anti-Jewish laws involved the registration and confiscation of Jewish property and assets. The distribution of plunder created a common interest between the Germans and their collaborators.

     

    1942

    Prisoners in the Order Commando at Auschwitz-Birkenau sort through the belongings of a recently arrived transport.
    © US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 1942-44 - Announcement in Romanian issued by the police in Bacau regarding the compulsory wearing of the Jewish badge, 4th July 1941.

    1942-1944

    Genocide in Central and Western Europe

    The implementation of the "Final Solution" varied from country to country and was influenced by the extent of German control and the stage in the war at which it was put into effect. In every country anti-Jewish laws involved the registration and confiscation of Jewish property and assets. The distribution of plunder created a common interest between the Germans and their collaborators.

     

    1942-44

    Announcement in Romanian issued by the police in Bacau regarding the compulsory wearing of the Jewish badge, 4th July 1941.
    © US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 1942-45 - Warehouse containing Zyklon B containers discovered at Majdanek at time of liberation, 22nd July 1944.

    Summer 1943 - January 1945

    The End of Extermination and the Death Marches

    From August 1943 the temporary death camps began to stop operating and evidence of their existence was destroyed. Majdanek, which was a death and labour camp near Lublin, was captured almost intact in July 1944. In November mass murder by gas at Auschwitz- Birkenau stopped. During the winter 1944-45 as the Red Army drew near, the Nazis started to evacuate camps in the East. The aim was to transport prisoners to camps in areas still under German control. Thousands perished on the wintery roads.

     

    1943-45

    Warehouse containing Zyklon B containers discovered at Majdanek at time of liberation, 22nd July 1944.
    © US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 1944-45 - Simon Trampetter removes the Star of David from the coat of his fellow Jewish survivor, Joseph Keller, January 1945.

    July 1944 - May 1945

    Liberation

    The concentration and extermination camps were liberated from July 1944. The last were overrun in April and May 1945. Allied troops entering the camps were shocked by what they found. For the prisoners liberation was not a clear cut experience. Some were too ill to know they were free. Survivors, especially those from Eastern Europe, had no homes to go to, did not want to return, or faced a cold reception.

     

    1944-45

    Simon Trampetter removes the Star of David from the coat of his fellow Jewish survivor, Joseph Keller, January 1945.
    © US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 1945-46 - A document room used to hold evidence for the Nuremberg Trials, 1945-46.

    November 1945 - October 1946

    The Nuremberg Trials

    The Allies discussed trying the top Nazis as war criminals during the war. This required a major innovation in international law. The Allies drew up the charter for an International Military Tribunal to try the surviving Nazi leaders. Its main purpose was to indict the Nazis for conspiring to wage an aggressive war as well as crimes against humanity and war crimes. The trial in Nuremberg lasted from November 1945 to October 1946. Although the mass murder of the Jews was mentioned, it was never central to the prosecution case. Thousands of perpetrators escaped justice.

     

    1945-46

    A document room used to hold evidence for the Nuremberg Trials, 1945-46.
    © The Yad Vashem Photo Archive

 

THE HOLOCAUST

These segments of text in this abridged timeline are taken from the Trust’s latest publication, The Holocaust: A Guide for Students and Teachers. Authored by the acclaimed historian Professor David Cesarani, Research Chair in History at Royal Holloway University of London, the book provides readers with a historical overview of the Holocaust and its aftermath, and is written in an accessible and engaging way. The text is accompanied by authentic images and is suitable for a range of different age and abilities, and is intended to stimulate discussion and reflection. To order the full version of the book, please see our online bookshop.