Themes

Jewish History | Pre-War Jewish Life in Europe

The history of the Jewish peoples’ migration into Europe can be traced back to the original diaspora from biblical Israel, There were Jews in Europe from the days of pagan Rome. By the year 1000, they were recorded as engaging in agriculture and viticulture throughout the Rhineland area. Chaim Potok in his History of the Jews says that many were “ respected international merchants able to travel with ease across the lines that now divided the world into two warring powers, Christianity and Islam because…Christians and Muslims trusted them more than they trusted each other”... >> more

Rise of Nazism

When the First World War came to an end, Germany's economy spun out of control, inflation took over,  and currency and savings became worthless. Unemployment was widespread. People took to the streets  to demonstrate  against the measures of the day and were brutally attacked by paramilitary units and the state police. Gun fights and street brawls were not unusual.... >> more

Nazi ideology

In the midst of the political turmoil of the depression years the aging and senile President Paul von Hindenburg charged the leader of the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler, to form a new government. Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor on 30th January 1933. His first move was to ask Hindenburg to dissolve Parliament. Thus, with Hindenburg's unwitting connivance, Hitler established his party as the new government and a month later Hindenburg, still at Hitler's urging, passed a decree that suspended civil liberties in Germany.... >> more

Pre-War Fascism | Persecution of Jews

Almost immediately after gaining power, the Nazis set about eliminating any opposition and isolating the Jewish population. From the start, anti-Jewish racial propaganda was driven home ceaselessly at vast rallies and in radio broadcasts, newspapers, films, books, and school curricula. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 stripped the Jews of their German citizenship and defined them in racial terms for the purposes of categorisation. Mixed marriages were prohibited. Sexual contact or Rassenschande (race defilement) between Jews and Aryans was outlawed.... >> more

War-time Terror

The invasion of Poland in September 1939 marked the beginning of the Second World War and the beginning of Nazi domination and terror throughout Europe. The German army marched into Poland from the West on 1st September 1939 after having signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union a week earlier (the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact) and the Soviet army marched into Poland on 17thth October, after which the two countries divided their respective sides of Poland between them. September from the East. The invasion and occupation of Poland lasted until 6th October, after which the two countries divided their respective sides of Poland between them.... >> more

Genocide & The Camps

The establishment and operation of concentration camps or Konzentrationslager followed through a number of stages. From 1933 onwards already, four concentration camps had been set up: Dachau (near Munich), Oranienburg (on the outskirts of Berlin), Ravensbrück (north of Berlin), and Buchenwald (Thuringia). They were used to incarcerate the Jewish opposition, political dissidents, and anyone who criticised the National Socialist government.... >> more

Liberation | Freedom | Post-War New Lives

In the early years of Fascist rule tens of thousands of Jews left Germany and found new homes in Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, and many other countries. As the Nazis began invading neighbouring countries, it became increasingly difficult to leave Nazi-dominated territories but some people still managed to escape. Some Jews were saved when their governments refused to co-operate with the Nazis while others were protected by individuals with resources and influence.... >> more