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Abbreviated Timeline of the Holocaust


Jan. 30

Adolf Hitler appointed chancellor of Germany

Feb. 27

Reichstag fire; Nazis unleash terror to ensure election results

March 20

First concentration camp - Dachau - established

March 23

Enabling Act - suspending civil liberties - passed by Nazi-dominated Reichstag

April 1

Boycott of Jewish shops and businesses; Jewish professionals barred from entering their offices and places of employment

April 7

First anti-Jewish decree, the “Law for the Reestablishment of the Civil Service”

April 26

Gestapo established

May 10

Public burnings of books authored by Jews, those of Jewish origin, and opponents of Nazism


Universities and the arts “cleansed” of Jewish influence; Jewish professors expelled; Jewish writers and artists prohibited from practicing their professions


Jewish organizations in America and Western Europe protest Nazi persecution of the Jews; a few call for boycott of Nazi Germany

June 30

“Night of the Long Knives;” Nazis purge leadership of storm troopers (SA) and opponents of Nazism

Aug. 2

Hitler named president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces following death of von Hindenburg

May 25

Germany renews conscription, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles

Sept. 15

“Nuremberg Laws,” anti-Jewish racial laws, enacted. Jews could no longer be German citizens, marry Aryans, fly the German flag or hire German maids under the age of 45

Nov. 14

Germany defines Jews as anyone with three Jewish grandparents or someone with two Jewish grandparents who has identified himself/herself as a Jew in one of the following ways:
(a) belongs to the official Jewish community
(b) is married to a Jew
(c) is a child of a Jewish parent

March 7

Germans march into the Rhineland, which had been demilitarized according to Treaty of Versailles


Berlin Olympics held

March 13

Anschluss, annexation of Austria by Germany; all German antisemitic decrees immediately applied in Austria

April 26

Jews in Reich must register all property with authorities

Aug. 17

Decrees revoke all name changes by Jews and force those Jews who did not have names recognized as Jewish by German authorities to add “Israel” (for males) and “Sarah” (for females) as middle names

Sept. 29-30       

At Munich Conference, England and France agree to turn over Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia) to Germany

Oct. 5

Following request by the Swiss authorities, Germans order all Jews’ passports marked with a large red “J” to prevent Jews from smuggling themselves into Switzerland

Nov. 12

Decree forcing all Jews to transfer retail businesses to Aryan hands

Nov. 15

Numerus Nullus decree expels all Jewish pupils from German schools

Jan. 30

Hitler threatens in Reichstag speech that, if war erupts, it will mean the Vernichtung (extermination) of European Jews

March 15

Nazis occupy part of Czechoslovakia (Bohemia and Moravia)

Aug. 23

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pack signed; nonaggression pact between Russia and Germany

Sept. 1

Beginning of World War II; Germany invades Poland

Sept. 17

Russia invades Eastern Poland

Sept. 27

Jews in German-occupied Poland forced to wear distinguishing badge

Nov. 28

First ghetto in Poland established in Piotrków


April 9

Germans occupy Denmark and southern Norway

April 27

Himmler issues directive to establish a concentration camp at Auschwitz

May 7

Lodz ghetto closed off; approximately 165,000 inhabitants in 1.6 square miles

May 10

Germany invades Holland, Belgium and France

June 22

France surrenders to Nazi Germany

Aug. 8

Battle of Britain begin

Sept. 27

Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis forms

Nov. 15

Warsaw Ghetto sealed off; approximately 500,000 inhabitants

Jan. 21-26

Anti-Jewish riots in Romania by Iron Guard; hundreds of Jews butchered


Adolf Eichmann appointed head of Gestapo section for Jewish affairs


Germany occupies Greece and Yugoslavia


Vichy government deprives Jews of French North Africa of their rights as citizens

June 22

Germany invades the Soviet Union

End of June

Einsatzgruppen (special mobile killing units) carry out mass murder of Jews in areas of Soviet Union occupied by German army with the assistance of local police

July 31

Heydrich appointed by Goering as responsible for implementation of Final Solution

Sept. 1

Jews in Third Reich obligated to wear yellow Star of David as distinguishing mark

Sept. 3

First gassing with Zyklon B performed on 600 Soviet prisoners of war at Auschwitz

Sept. 28-29   

Massacre of 34,000 Jews at Babi Yar, a ravine outside Kiev


Establishment of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp; site of mass extermination of Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Russians and others

Dec. 7

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

Dec. 8

Chelmno extermination camp begins operation; 340,000 Jews, 20,000 Poles and Czechs murdered there by April 1943

Jan. 20

Wannsee Conference; Heydrich reveals official, systematic plan to murder all Jews


Jewish underground organizations established in Vilna Ghetto and Kovno Ghetto

March 1

Extermination by gas begins at Sobibor extermination camp; by October 1943, 250,000 murdered

Later March

Deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp begin

June 1

Treblinka extermination camp begins operation; by August 1943, 700,000 Jews murdered


Jewish Partisan unit established in forests of Byelorussia

July 28

Jewish fighting organization (ZOB) established in Warsaw Ghetto


Deportation of Jews to extermination camps from Holland, Poland, France, Belgium and Croatia; armed resistance by Jews in ghettos of Kletzk, Wieswiez, Mir, Lackwa, Krements and Tuchin


Allied forces land in North Africa


Deportation of Jews from Norway, Germany and Greece to extermination camps; Jewish partisan movement organize in forests near Lublin

Feb. 2

German advance in Russia stopped at Stalingrad


Liquidation of Krakow Ghetto

April 19

Warsaw Ghetto revolt begins as Germans attempt to liquidate 70,000 ghetto inhabitants; Jewish underground fights Nazis until early June


Himmler orders the liquidation of all the ghettos in Poland and the Soviet Union


Armed resistance by Jews in Czestochowa, Lvov, Bedzin, Bialystok and Tarnow ghettos


Armed revolt in Treblinka extermination camp


Liquidation of large ghettos: Minsk, Vilna and Riga

Oct. 14

Armed revolt in Sobibor extermination camp


March 19

Germany occupies Hungary

May 15

Nazis begin deporting Hungarian Jews; by June 27, 38,000 sent to Auschwitz

June 6

Allied invasion of Normandy (D-Day)


Soviet Army repels Nazi forces

July 20

Group of German officers attempts to assassinate Hitler

July 24

Russians liberate Majdanek extermination camp


Liquidation of ghettos in Kovno (Kaunas), Shavil (Siauliai) and Lodz; inmates sent to extermination camps

Oct. 7

Revolt by inmates in Auschwitz results in one crematorium being blown up

Oct. 31

Remnants of Slovakian Jews deported to Auschwitz

Nov. 2

Gassing ceases at Auschwitz

Nov. 8

Beginning of death march for approximately 40,000 Jews from Budapest to Austria


Last Jews deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz


Jan. 17

Evacuation of Auschwitz; beginning of death march for 66,000 camp inmates

Jan. 25

Beginning of death march for 50,000 inmates of Stutthof

April 3-4

Beginning of death march for 30,000 inmates of Buchenwald


Soviet Army enters Germany from East; Allies enter from West

April 30

Hitler commits suicide

May 8

Germany surrenders; ending the Third Reich


Grobman, Alex and Daniel Landes, eds. “Genocide: Critical Issues of the Holocaust,” Los Angeles: Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1983, pp. 134-140.

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