1939 and 1945 Holocaust

Luke Becker


May 15

SS authorities establish Ravensbrück, the largest concentration camp for women, north of Berlin, Germany.

September 1

Germany invades Poland, initiating World War II in Europe.

In the autumn of 1939, Hitler signs an authorization (later backdated to September 1, 1939) that shields German physicians participating in the so-called "euthanasia" program from future prosecution. "Euthanasia" policy is designed to systematically kill Germans with mental and physical disabilities living in institutions, persons of both genders and all ages whom the participating physicians deemed “incurable” and thus "unworthy of life."

November 23
German authorities require that all Jews residing in theGeneralgouvernement over the age of ten wear white armbands with a Star of David.

November 28
RSHA chief Reinhard Heydrich orders the beginning of the deportations of Jews and Poles from District Wartheland (an area of western Poland directly annexed to the German Reich) to theGeneralgouvernement. Security Police officials initiate deportations three days later, on December 1. By 1941, they deport approximately 100,000 Jews from Wartheland and Danzig West-Prussia to the Generalgouvernement.


January 27
Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz, finding approximately 7,000 prisoners left behind in the main camp and its subcamps.

April 23
The 90th US Infantry Division liberates the Flossenbürgconcentration camp in Germany.

April 25
Soviet and American troops meet at Torgau, Germany.

April 30
Hitler commits suicide in his bunker in Berlin.

May 4
British forces liberate the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg, Germany.

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