We begin with the day that Hitler ascended to his post as Chancellor of Germany: January 30th, 1933, the result of a contentious election and some maneuvering by the Conservative Party, has resulted in President Von Hindenburg appointing Hitler as Chancellor. The Conservative party had tried to use Hitler’s popularity to buttress their own party, but in the end the Nazi party would extinguish the Conservatives. With the swastika as their emblem, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) began to oppress free speech immediately.
Less than one month later, on February 28, the Reichstag (German Parliament) was set ablaze overnight. Hitler declared a sort of martial law due to the state of emergency. To this day nobody can for certain say who started the fire: many thought the Nazis did it themselves, but ultimately a communist was blamed and murdered for it. This event is considered by many to be the beginning of the Holocaust because Hitler was able to establish himself as dictator. Three weeks later the Nazis put forth a new act called “Enabling Act,” which gave Hitler power to make laws without the approval of the parliament. Due to the fact that so much of the opposition was arrested already, there weren’t many who opposed the new law and it passed with flying colors. On April 1, 1933 the boycott of Jewish businesses started.
On April 1, 1933 the Nazis started the boycott of Jewish businesses. This was a response to an American boycott of German businesses to protest the maltreatment of Jewish peoples in Germany. On the designated day there were SS guards posted outside Jewish businesses to intimidate the patrons of businesses. While there were a few who shopped anyway, many caved under pressure and chose not to support the Jewish stores.
First law against Jewish Germans is enacted on April 7, 1933. Dubbed “The Law for the Restoration of Professional Civil Service” which excluded Jews and Communists from civil service.
Nazis issue a Decree on April 11, 1933. This decree defines 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.” This marks the beginning of the establishment of systematic discrimination of Jewish people based on race.
On April 25, 1933 Jews are limited in public schools. A small quota is established and many Jews are no longer able to use the public school system – further segregation.
April 26, 1933 we see the establishment of the Gestapo (the secret police,) the name would become synonymous with terror for Jews.
May 10, 1933 the students and the secret police organize a book burning to cleanse Germany of Jewish intellectual influence. This is the first time there has been a book burning since the middle ages.
On September 17, 1933 The Central Organization of German Jews (Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden) was established. It is headed by a prominent Jewish-German lawyer named Dr. Julius Brodnitz and meant to represent a unified response to the new persecutions facing the Jewish people.
The Night of Long Knives occurs between June 30 – July 2 1934 and effectively purges Ernst Röhm and the SA from the Nazi Party.
August 2, 1934 President Paul von Hindenburg dies. Then, on August 19, 1934, Hitler combines the roles of President and Chancellor into one position that he now holds.
July 25, 1934 Engelbert Dollfuss, chancellor of Austria, is assasinated and the Nazis try and fail to usurp power.
Hitler decides that the Army must triple its size from 100,000 to 300,000 by October 1, 1934. This is a clear breech of the Treaty of Versailles and Hitler ordered that it remain under wraps.
December 31, 1934 First major arrest of homosexuals.
January 13, 1935. Germany re-annexes the Saar.
May 21 , 1935 the Nazi Government issues a decree, which stipulates that only Aryans could serve in the military and that all soldiers must also marry an Aryan partner.
May 31, 1935 Jews are banned from the German Army.
September 15, 1935 The German government institutes the “Reich Citizenship Law” and the “Law for the Protection of the German Blood and Honor.” These laws were announced in Nuremberg and henceforward dubbed “The Nuremberg Race Laws.” They prohibited intermarriages and criminalized sexual relations between Jews and Aryans. The Gypsies (Roma) are also included in these laws as Hitler deems them racially inferior as well.
February 4, 1936 Head of Swiss Nazi Party is assasinated by a young Jewish doctor.
March 3, 1936. Jewish doctors barred from practicing medicine in German institutions.
March 7, 1936. Germans march into the Rhineland unopposed, despite the fact that they were not allowed to occupy the demilitarized zone according to the Treaty of Versailles.
March 15, 1936, The Council for German Jewry is established. The Council is a unified organization of major American and British Jewish philanthropic bodies together with representatives of German Jewry and the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Based in London, the Council aspires to organize a massive and rapid emigration of German Jewry, especially the young. A rare example of a unified international Jewish endeavor, the Council at this time is the only major Jewish organization in the world to advocate total emigration of Jews from Germany.
August 1, 1936. Berlin Olympics start up and Hitler and the Nazis put on a big show for the world to see how great their country is.
September 9, 1936. Four-year plan is set in motion in Germany. The plan is the beginning of the project to rearm the military and transform the economy into something more suited for war.
October 10, 1936. The Association of Jewish War Veterans is forbidden from engaging in any activity apart from dealing with disabled Jewish veterans of the world war.
October 25, 1936. Germany-Italy alliance. Although they were both fascists and ideologically similar, Italy and Germany avoided an alliance for political reasons (mainly Italian fears of German expansion.) Mussolini was not anti-Semitic and Italians are known to have been extremely decent people during the war. Italian anti-Semitic laws were only adopted when Hitler’s power eclipsed Mussolini’s.
November 25, 1936. The anti-Comintern pact was concluded as an agreement between Japan and Germany in an effort to fight communism.
July 15, 1937 Buchenwald Concentration Camp opens in Germany – soon to become one of the largest concentration camps within Germany.
November 8, 1937 Josef Goebbels and Julius Streicher open the antisemitic exhibition Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew) at the library of the German Museum in Munich, Germany.
January 12, 1938 The German War Minister Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg marries Eva Gruhn in Berlin; Hermann Göring is best man at the wedding. He would later resign on January 27, 1938 due to a scandal that erupted upon the revelation that his new wife had posed for pornographic photos.
February 4, 1938 The German cabinet meets for the last time. Hitler sacks political and military leaders considered unsympathetic to his philosophy or policies. General Werner von Fritsch is forced to resign as Commander of Chief of the German Army following accusations of homosexuality, and replaced by General Walther von Brauchitsch. Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath is sacked and replaced by Joachim von Ribbentrop.
February 12, 1938 Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg of Austria meets Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden and, under threat of invasion, is forced to yield to German demands for greater Nazi participation in the Austrian government.
March 12, 1938 Anschluss. German troops march into Austria. Austria becomes part of the German Reich in this bloodless coup.
April 26, 1938. The German government requires all Jews to register assets over 5,000 Reichsmarks. Those assets are later given to Hermann Göring, the “Commissioner for the Four Year Plan,” for use in the interests of the German economy.
May 3, 1938. Flossenburg Concentration Camp is opened in Norther Germany/Bavaria.
May 29, 1938. WIth no incitement from Hitler, the Hungarian government enacted a set of comprehensive anti-Semitic laws that would segregate Jews from civilian life.
July 6-15, 1938. 32 countries are represented at the Evian Conference to discuss the refugee crisis that Germany has created. Almost all of the countries refuse to let in more Jewish refugees.
July 23, 1938. Jews are required to carry identification cards.
August 8, 1938. The S.S. opens up a concentration camp to deal with the influx of people from newly annexed Austria – it is called Mauthausen and was located near Linz, Austria.
August 11, 1938 Nuremberg Synagogue is destroyed.
September 30, 1938 The Munich Pact is signed by French; German; Italian; and English representatives. This treaty essentially gave Hitler all of the Sudentenland (Czechoslovakia) in exchange for peace. This also gave Hitler a majority of the Czech coal supply and left them fairly helpless.
October 15, 1938. Nazi Germany banned Jews from practicing law after November 30 of that year.
November 9, 1938 Kristallnacht The beginning of a 2-day period of looting, arrests, and murders that was inspired in retaliation for the shooting of a German official by a Jew in France
January 30, 1939. Hitler makes a speech to the Reichstag where he claims that a war in Europe would be the end of European Jewry.
February 21, 1939. The Surrender of Precious Metals and Stones in Jewish Ownership is enacted by the German government. It requires all Jews to hand over gold, silver, and diamonds, amongst other precious things.
March 14, 1939. Pressure from the Nazi government succeeded in convincing Slovakia to separate from Czechoslovakia, thereby destroying the Czechoslovak state.
March 15, 1939. The Germans then proceed to occupy the remaining Czech territory. They establish The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
May 15, 1939. Germans establish Ravensbruck concentration camp for women.
July 4, 1939. Germans establish the Reich Association of Jews in Germany (Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland) as the sole representation of Jews in the legal realm of Germany.
August 23, 1939. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is signed between the Soviet Union and Germany. It promises non-aggression and secretly provides for the dividing of Poland between the two nations.
September 1, 1939. World War II begins as Germany invades Poland.
September 3, 1939. France and The United Kingdom declare war on Germany.
September 17, 1939. Soviet troops invade Poland from the east.
September 21, 1939 – Reinhard Heydrich issues the order for Einsatzgruppen soldiers to start herding people into ghettos. This order also included the establishment of Judenrats in Polish towns; a census of Polish Jewry; and the deportation of the Jews in the northwest of Poland.
September 28, 1939. Poland is partitioned and split between the Soviet Union and the Nazis. The Nazis get everything east of the Bug River.
October 26, 1939. Germany formally adds the Polish regions of Upper Silesia; West Prussia; Pomerania; Poznan; Ciechanow (Zichenau); part of Lodz; and the Free City of Danzig (Gdansk). The Germans divided the newly annexed areas into two different administrive districts (Reichsgaue) – Danzig-West Prussia and Posen. The areas that were not occupied by the Soviets nor the Germans, were placed under a German civilian government.
October 28, 1939. The first ghetto is established at Piotrków Trybunalski.
November 8, 1939. Attempted assassination of Hitler.
December 14, 1939. Soviet Union is ousted from the League of Nations over its pact with Germany and subsequent occupation of Poland.
February 12, 1940. Germans deport approximately 1,000 Jews from Stettin towards Lublin.
April 9, 1940. German forces invade Norway and Denmark.
April, 1940. 22,000 Poles are murdered by Soviets in the Katyn Massacre.
May 10, 1940 – June 22, 1940. Germans invade Netherlands; Belgium; Luxembourg; and France. By the end of June they will occupy all of these territories (excluding unoccupied Vichy France.) On June 10, 1940, The Italians enter the war as an ally of Germany, on the side of the Axis nations.
June 15, 1940 – August 6, 1940. The Soviet Union retakes and occupies the Baltic states of Latvia; Lithuania; and Estonia. On June 28, 1940, The USSR was encouraged [by the Germans] to occupy eastern Romania; Bukovina; and Bessarabia (modern-day Moldova.)
July, 1940. Thousands of Alsatian Jews are expelled from Alsace to southern France.
August 30, 1940. Mussolini and Hitler work out the dividing of the territory of Transylvania. The northern part of the territory is awarded to Hungary – on September 6, The Romanian King Carol abdicates the throne due to his outrage over the issue. This leaves the Romanian government in an unstable coalition with Ion Antenescu as a top leader.
September 27, 1940. Japan; Italy; and Germany sign the Tripartite Pact. These three countries promise mutual assistance if any one of the signatories is attacked by a country not already involved in the war. On November 20, 1940 Hungary will sign the pact as well. They are followed by Romania; then Slovakia; and eventually Bulgaria (1941) and The Free State of Croatia (1941.)
November 15, 1940. The Warsaw Ghetto is sealed. It is the biggest ghetto in both population and area – at times during the ensuing years, the ghetto population will approach 500,000.
January 10, 1941. Jews in the Netherlands are forced to wear the “Jewish badges” – or, a star of David insignia that all Jews must display over their coats.
February, 1941. Jewish ghetto in Amsterdam, Netherlands is formed.
March 3-20, 1941. The Germans announce, establish, fill and close a ghetto in Krakow.
April 17, 1941. Yugoslavia surrenders to the German forces.
June 22, 1941. Hitler launches Operation Barbarossa, which is the codename for the plan for Germany to turn on the Soviets and attack them at their eastern front. This spelled the death for millions of Jews who had fled behind the Soviet border.
June 29, 1941. Brest falls after a week of siege.
July 1, 1941. Hitler and the Nazis control Riga; Dvinsk; Minsk; and Lvov under control.
July 8, 1941. Yellow badge is made mandatory for Baltic Jews.
August. Ghettos established in Bialystok and Lvov, Poland.
September 1, 1941. Jewish Germans must all wear a Star of David by September 19, 1941 if they are over the age of 6.
September 20, 1941. Hitler and the Nazis capture Kiev, Ukraine.
September 28-29, 1941. Babi Yar Pogrom in Ukraine results in mass murder.
October 10, 1941. Ghetto in Theresienstadt is established.
October 12-13, 1941. Mass murder of over 10,000 Jews in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.
October 23, 1941. Massacre of Jews of Odessa, Ukraine.
October 28, 1941. Massacre of over 30,000 Jews in Kiev, Ukraine.
November 6, 1941. Massacre of Jews of Kovno, Lithuania
January 14, 1942. Expulsion of Dutch Jewry commences, citizens from the town of Zandam were the first to be ordered to move to Amsterdam(Foreigners went to Westerbork.)
January 16, 1942. The Germans begin to deport residents of the Lodz Ghetto to the Chelmno killing center.
January 20, 1942. Wannsee Conference is held and this solidifies the extermination of European Jewry in what is known euphemistically as the “Final Solution.”
March 17, 1942. Deportation of Jews from Lublin to Belzec.
March 24, 1942. Beginning of deportation of Slovak Jews to Auschwitz
March 27, 1942. Beginning of deportation of French Jews to Auschwitz.
April 8, 1942. Einsatzgruppen reports no Jews left in Crimea.
April 30, 1942. Pinsk Ghetto is established.
June 1, 1942. Jews in occupied territories of Holland, France, Belgium, Croatia, Slovakia, and Romania are ordered to wear yellow stars.
June 4, 1942. Reinhard Heydrich is pronounced dead after he had been attacked by Czech assassins seven days earlier.
June 10, 1942. Nazis massacre the civilians of Lidice in retaliation for Heydrich’s death.
July 16-17, 1942. The Vel d’hiv roundup takes place in France – over 70,000 Jews will be sent to Drancy concentration camp.
July 19, 1942. Himmler orders the beginning of Operation Reinhard and mass deportations of Jews in Poland to death camps.
July 23, 1942. Adam Czerniakow commits suicide upon being assigned the task of choosing who is to die in deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto.
November, 1942. 170,000 Jews massacred in Bialystok.
December, 1942. Belzec death camp halts exterminations and it is plowed over. 600,000 Jews have been murdered there to date.
January 5, 1943. The Germans establish a concentration camp Herzogenbusch in the Netherlands.
February 1943. Rounding up and murder of Jews from the historical city of Salonika in Greece. All are forced to move into a ghetto and will be progressively deported to Auschwitz through the rest of the year.
February 1943. Roma peoples living within the greater German Reich are deported to a special family camp at Auschwitz.
March 3-22, 1943. Bulgarians are awarded territory in Thrace, Macedonia, and Birot, where they deport all the Jews living there and deliver them into the hands of the Germans.
April 4, 1943. Bulgarian King Boris I informs Hitler that he will not be deporting Jews from the capital of Sofia.
April 7, 1943. The SS shuts down Chelmno killing center and begins to dismantle evidence of its existence.
April 19 – May 16, 1943. Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
June 21, 1943. Himmler orders the destruction and liquidation of all Jewish ghettos (and their unemployable inhabitants) in the Baltic states and Byelorussia. Remaining able-bodied Jews are sent to concentration camps. Two days later he will order the same thing for the rest of occupied Poland.
September 8, 1943. Italy surrenders unconditionally to the allies and Germans swoop in and take over northern Italy – they wreak havoc on the Jews that lived there in relative peace until that time.
September 23, 1943. The Vilna Ghetto undergoes its last deportation – now only 3,000 Jewish forced laborers remain in or around the once bustling metropolis.
September-October, 1943. 7,200 Danish Jews escape to Sweden with the help of their compatriots.
January 24, 1944. President Roosevelt creates war refugee board.
March 19, 1944. Germans occupy Hungary, a place where the Jewish population had suffered marginally less than their correligionists in neighboring countries.
April 7, 1944. Two Jewish inmates escape from Auschwitz-Birkenau and make it safely to Czechoslovakia. One of them, Rudolf Vrba, submits a report that will eventually reach the Vatican.
April 14, 1944. Greek Jews from Athens are deported to Auschwitz.
May 8, 1944. Rudolf Hess returns to Auschwitz to oversee the extermination of the newly conquered Hungarian Jews. By the end of the summer over 400,000 Hungarian Jews will have been deported to Auschwitz.
June 6, 1944. D-Day. The Allied troops arrive on the beaches of Normandy, France.
July 24, 1944. Russian troops arrive at Majdanek to liberate the concentration camp that existed there. Over 360,000 persons had been murdered there.
August 6, 1944. Lodz Ghetto – the last in Poland – is liquidated and its remaining inhabitants are sent to Auschwitz.
October 7, 1944. Jewish Sonderkommando revolt at Auschwitz – Crematoria IV is completely destroyed and rendered unusable. Repercussions against prisoners are harsh.
October 15, 1944. Nazis seize control of the Hungarian puppet government, then resume deporting Jews, which had temporarily ceased due to international political pressure to stop Jewish persecutions.
October 28, 1944. The last transport of Jews to be gassed arrives in Auschwitz. It carried 2,000 prisoners from Theresienstadt.
October 30, 1944. The gas chambers at Auschwitz are used for the last time.
November 8, 1944. Nazis force 25,000 Jews to walk over 100 miles in rain and snow from Budapest to the Austrian border, followed by a second forced march of 50,000 persons, ending at Mauthausen.
Early 1945. Nazis begin death marches of prisoners who are still at camps. They march in freezing temperatures from exposed concentration camps to the inside of the Reich.
January 6, 1945. Budapest is liberated by the Russians.
January 17, 1945. Warsaw is liberated by the Russians.
January 18, 1945. Nazis march over 60,000 prisoners from Auschwitz towards the inside of the German Reich. This is a response to the quickly advancing Russian troops.
January 27, 1945. Auschwitz is liberated by the Russians.
April 10, 1945. Buchenwald is liberated in the west by the approaching American forces.
April 15, 1945. Over 40,000 prisoners are liberated by the British at Bergen-Belsen. Reports of the horrors of the camp reach the West.
April 23, 1945. Berlin is occupied by the Russians
April 29, 1945. Dachau is liberated by Americans.
April 30, 1945. Hitler kills himself in his bunker.