MLC Logo 

All Necessary Preparations: 1933-1941

Segregated for annihilation by the Nazis, Jews were forced to wear distinctive yellow badges, such as the Yellow Star.
"By reason of their birth and race. all Jews are part of an international conspiracy against National Socialist Germany....The treatment we give them does them no wrong. They have more than deserved it."
Josef Goebbels, November 16, 1941

A Jewish wedding. CL:SWC

With the outbreak of war on September 1, 1939, any constraint Hitler or the Nazis felt toward the treatment of the Jewish people was removed. The Nazis' murderous intent was revealed immediately. The period of 1939-41 was one of planning and experimentation in preparation for the "Final Solution." By June 1940, the Nazis occupied Holland, Belgium, and France. By midsummer of 1941, Germany controlled most of Europe and millions of Jews came under Nazi oppression. On July 31, 1941, Goering ordered Reinhard Heydrich to make "all necessary preparations with regard to organizational, substantive and financial viewpoints for a total solution of the Jewish question in German-occupied Europe."

1939 Jan. 30 Hitler in Reichstag speech: if war erupts it will mean the Vernichtung (extermination) of European Jews. Mar. 15 Germans occupy Czechoslovakia Aug. 23 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed: non- aggression pact between Russia and Germany Sept. 1 Beginning of World War II: Germany invades Poland Sept. 21 Heydrich issues directives to establish ghettos in German-occupied Poland Oct. 28 First Polish ghetto established in Piotrkow Nov. 23 Jews in German-occupied Poland forced to wear an armband or star 1940 April 9 Germans occupy Denmark and southern Norway May 7 Lodz ghetto sealed: 165,000 people in 1.6 square miles May 10 Germany invades Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France May 20 Concentration camp established at Auschwitz June 22 France surrenders Aug. 8 Battle of Britain begins Sept. 27 Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis Nov. 15 Warsaw ghetto sealed: ultimately contained 500,000 people 1941 Jan.21-26 Anti-Jewish riots in Rumania, hundreds of Jews butchered April 6 Germany attacks Yugoslavia and Greece, occupation follows June 22 Germany invades the Soviet Union June-Dec. Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) conduct mass executions of Jews in German-occupied Soviet territory July 31 Heydrich appointed by Goering to implement the "Final Solution" Sept. 1 Jews in Third Reich required to wear the yellow Star of David Sept.28-2934,000 Jews massacred at Babi Yar outside Kiev Oct. Auschwitz II, known as Birkenau, established Dec. 7 Japanese attack Pearl Harbor Dec. 8 Chelmno (Kulmhof) extermination camp begins operations: 340,000 Jews, 20,000 Poles and Czechs murdered by April 1943

Jews beaten to death by Lithuanian civilians, under German supervision, Kovno, June 28, 1941. CL:Allgemeine Wochenzeitung der Juden in Deutschland, Duesseldorf.

German soldiers head east. Writing on side of train car reads: "We're off to Poland, to thrash the Jews." CL:Yad Vashem

Angry Czechs watch German troops enter Prague after Czechoslovakia capitulates, March 15, 1939. CL:Ceskoslovenka Tiskova Kancelar. Praque

Panel 13Index to Courage to RememberPanel 15
For Teachers Resource Guide

[Home] [Index] [Courage to Remember] [Glossary of the Holocaust] [Educational Resources] [36 Questions About Holocaust] [Library] [Bookstore]

Copyright © 1997, The Simon Wiesenthal Center
9760 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90035