Holocaust Timeline


January 30, 1933: Hitler, leader of the National Socialist Party, is appointed chancellor of Germany.

February 27, 1933: The Nazis use the arson-burning of the Reichstag building in Berlin as an excuse to suspend civil rights in the name of national security.

March 5, 1933: The Nazis receive 44% of the popular vote in parliamentary elections, the last democratic elections in Germany until Hitler’s death. Hitler arrests the Communist parliamentary leaders in order to achieve a majority in the Reichstag.

March 22, 1933: FIRST CONCENTRATION CAMP , Dachau, is opened in Nazi Germany.

March 24, 1933: German parliament (Reichstag) gives Hitler power to enact laws on its behalf, in effect creating a dictatorship (Enabling Act).

April 1, 1933: Nazi boycott of all Jewish businesses begins.

April 7, 1933: Jews are barred from German civil service.

April 26, 1933: The Gestapo (secret police) is established, taking over all local police.

May 2, 1933: The Nazis ban German trade unions and arrest their leaders.

May 10, 1933: Thousands of books by Jews and political dissidents are burned publicly.

July 14, 1933: Nazis declare the Nazi Party the only legal political party in Germany.

August 20, 1933 American Jewish Congress calls for a boycott of German products.

October 19, 1933: Germany withdraws from the League of Nations.

September 29, 1933: Jews are barred from owning land.

May 17, 1934:
Jews are banned from receiving national health insurance.

August 2, 1934: HITLER DECLARES HIMSELF FUEHRER (leader) after von Hindenberg dies.

August 19, 1934: By a 90% approval, the German people vote to support Hitler’s dictatorial powers.

March 16, 1935: Hitler renews the draft in violation of the Versailles Treaty that ended World War I.

August 18, 1935: Jews are banned from marrying non-Jews.

September 15, 1935: NUREMBERG RACE LAWS deprive Jews of the rights of citizenship.

March 7, 1936: NAZI INVASION OF THE RHINELAND between Germany and France. Nazi military aggression for territory begins.

July 1936: Sachsenhausen concentration camp is opened in Germany.

August 1, 1936: Olympic Games open in Berlin. Signs reading “Jews Not Welcome” are temporarily removed from most public places by Hitler’s orders.

January 1937: Jews are banned from certain jobs and professions.

July 1937: Buchenwald concentration camp is opened in Germany.

November 16, 1937: Jews’ right to obtain passports for travel outside of Germany is restricted.

March 13, 1938: NAZI OCCUPATION OF AUSTRIA , which is annexed to Germany (the Anschluss).

April - June 1938: Nazis order Jews to provide full information about their businesses, personal property, and financial assets to the government.

June - Sept. 1938: Jewish doctors and lawyers are forbidden to practice their professions.

July 1938: All Jews over age 15 are ordered to get identity cards; Evian Conference. Delegates from 32 countries meet in France to consider ways to help European Jews, but no nation agrees to accept any refugees.

September 29, 1938: NAZIS ACQUIRE SUDETENLAND (western Czechoslovakia). In the Munich Agreement, Great Britain and France agree to the German takeover of the Sudetenland in return for Hitler’s promise to demand no more territory.

October 5, 1938: Nazis require Jewish passports to be stamped with a large red "J."

November 9-10, 1938: KRISTALLNACHT: The Night of Broken Glass. Anti-Jewish riots take place in Germany and Austria. 267 synagogues are destroyed, 7,500 Jewish shops are looted, 91 Jews are killed, and 30,000 Jewish men are sent to concentration camps.

November 12, 1938: German Jews are ordered to pay 1,000,000,000 (one billion) Reichsmarks in reparations for the damages of Kristallnacht.

November 15, 1938: All Jewish children are expelled from German schools.

December 3, 1938: Nazis issue the Decree on Eliminating the Jews from German Economic Life.

January 30, 1939: In a speech, Hitler threatens to exterminate the Jews if a world war breaks out.

February 21, 1939: Nazis order Jews to turn over all of their silver and gold items.

March 4, 1939: Nazis begin using German Jews for forced labor.

March 15, 1939: NAZIS OCCUPY CZECHOSLOVAKIA in violation of the Munich Agreement.

April 30, 1939: German landlords are given the right to evict Jewish tenants.

May - June 1939: The ship St. Louis, carrying almost 1,000 Jewish refugees, is turned away from Cuba, the U.S., and other countries before returning to Europe.

August 1939: Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact.

September 1, 1939: NAZIS INVADE POLAND.   WORLD WAR II BEGINS.  Britain and France soon declare war on Germany. The U.S. declares its neutrality.

October 1939: Nazis begin forced euthanasia of the handicapped in Germany.

October - December 1939: GHETTOS ARE CREATED IN POLAND to isolate the Jewish populations into small enclosed sections of the cities.

December 18, 1939: Nazis restrict food rations for Jews in Germany.


April - May 1940: NAZIS INVADE WESTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES.   Denmark, Norway. Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and France are defeated and occupied.

April 27, 1940: AUSCHWITZ concentration camp is established in Poland.

September 27, 1940: THE AXIS IS FORMED as Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact.

August 8, 1940: NAZIS BEGIN AIR ATTACKS ON BRITAIN. The Battle of Britain begins. The Nazis never invade the island of Great Britain.

August 15, 1940: Nazis announce plan to deport all European Jews to the island of Madagascar off southeastern Africa.

October 18, 1940: Anti-Jewish laws are passed by the Vichy government in France.

November 15, 1940: The Jewish ghetto in Warsaw is sealed, enclosing 450,000 Jews inside its walls. Other ghettos in Poland are sealed by the Nazis in the following months.

January 1941: About 2000 Jews die of starvation in the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland.

May 1941: Killing of Jews by gas begins at Sobibor death camp in Poland.

June 22, 1941: GERMANY INVADES THE SOVIET UNION in violation of the non-aggression pact. EINSATZGRUPPEN (killing squads) begin murdering hundreds of thousands of Jews in the eastern Soviet Union.

July 1941: Maidanek concentration camp is opened in Poland.

September 1, 1941: German and Austrian Jews are ordered to wear armbands with the Star of David.

October 15, 1941: Nazis begin mass deportations of German Jews to ghettos in Poland.

December 7, 1941: THE U.S. ENTERS WWII. The U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is bombed by the Japanese. The U.S. declares war on Japan the next day.

December 8, 1941: Nazis begin using mobile gas vans to kill Jews at the Chelmno death camp.

December 11, 1941: Germany declares war on the U.S. The U.S. declares war on Germany.

January 5, 1942:
German Jews are ordered to turn in their winter clothing to be sent to Nazi troops.

January 20, 1942: “THE FINAL SOLUTION” to exterminate European Jews is planned at the Wannsee Conference. More death camps are opened in the coming months.

January 1942: Mass killing of Jews using Zyklon-B gas begins at Auschwitz.

March 1942: First Jews from France and Slovakia arrive at Auschwitz death camp in Poland.

April 20, 1942: Jews in Germany are banned from using public transportation.

May - July 1942: The New York Times reports mass killings of Jews by the Nazis in eastern Europe — Poland, Russia, and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania).

July 14, 1942: First Jews from Holland are sent to Auschwitz.

July 21, 1942: American Jews hold a rally in New York City to pressure the U.S. and the United Nations to rescue the Jews of Europe.

October 4, 1942: All Jews in German camps are sent to the death camp at Auschwitz in Poland.

October 25, 1942: First Jews from Norway are sent to Auschwitz.

February 2, 1943
: NAZI RETREAT BEGINS. German army surrenders at Stalingrad, Soviet Union.

February 26, 1943: First Gypsies (Roma) arrive at Auschwitz.

April 19, 1943: U.S. and British officials meeting in Bermuda fail to devise an effective plan for rescuing the victims of the Nazis in Europe.

April - May 1943: WARSAW UPRISING. Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto resist for 28 days the Nazi attack to liquidate the ghetto. 50,000 Jews are killed.

May 13, 1943: Allies are victorious in north Africa with the surrender of Axis troops.

June 28, 1943: Five new crematoria are completed at Auschwitz. Almost 5,000 corpses can be burned in one day.

June - July 1943: Nazis order all ghettos in Poland and the Soviet Union to be liquidated. Armed resistance by Jewish fighters occurs in five ghettos.

July 9, 1943: Allies invade Sicily, beginning the military campaign in southern Europe.

July 25, 1943: As Allies invade Italy from the south, Italians revolt and depose Mussolini. German army soon occupies Italy from the north.

August 2, 1943: Inmates of the Treblinka death camp in Poland revolt. Only 70 survive.

August - September 1943: The Jewish ghettos in Vilna, Minsk, and Bialystock, Poland, are liquidated.

October 1, 1943: Danish underground evacuates over 7,000 Jews by sea to Sweden.

October 14, 1943: Inmates of Sobibor death camp revolt and many escape. Only 50 survive.

November 1943: U.S. Congress holds hearings on the State Dept.’s inaction in response to the mounting evidence of the Nazi extermnation of the Jews.

March 19, 1944: German army invades Hungary. The deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz soon begins.

April 7, 1944: Two Jews escape from Auschwitz and present a report of the Nazi atrocities in the camp to representatives of the Pope in Slovakia.

June 6, 1944: D-DAY. THE ALLIES INVADE CONTINENTAL EUROPE at Normandy, France.

July - January 1944: Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg saves nearly 33,000 Jews in Hungary by giving them visas and setting up “safe houses.” In early 1945 he is arrested by the Soviets and imprisoned in Moscow. He may have lived in Soviet prisons until the late 1980s.

July 20, 1944: Attempted assasination of Hitler by a group of German officers fails.

July 24, 1944: Maidanek death camp in Poland is liberated by the Soviet army.

August 4, 1944: Anne Frank and her family are arrested in their hiding place in Amsterdam, Holland, and are sent to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister Margot are later sent to Bergen-Belsen in Germany where Anne dies of typhus on March 15, 1945.
August 6, 1944: Last ghetto in Poland is liquidated (Lodz). 60,000 Jews are sent to Auschwitz.

October 7, 1944: Inmates revolt at Auschwitz and destroy Crematorium IV.

August - October 1944: EUROPEAN CITIES ARE LIBERATED FROM NAZI CONTROL as the U.S. and British armies progress from the west and the Soviet army from the east.

January 17, 1945: Nazis evacuate Auschwitz as the Soviet army approaches from the east.

February - April 1945: DEATH MARCHES. Prisoners are forced to march to camps in central Germany as the Nazis retreat from advancing Allied armies. Thousands die on the marches.

January - May 1945: CONCENTRATION CAMPS ARE LIBERATED across Europe by Allied troops.

April 12, 1945: U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt dies. Vice President Harry Truman becomes president.

April 15, 1945: Bergen-Belsen, where Anne Frank had died a month earlier, is liberated. Of the 58,000 survivors, nearly 30,000 die in the following weeks from disease and the effects of chronic malnutrition.

April 25, 1945: American and Soviet troops meet on the Elbe River in Germany.

April 30, 1945: HITLER COMMITS SUICIDE as Allied armies approach Berlin from east and west. Other top Nazi officials commit suicide in the following months.

May 8, 1945: WAR IN EUROPE ENDS . Germany surrenders: V-E Day (Victory in Europe)

October 1945: NUREMBERG WAR CRIMES TRIALS BEGIN (Nuremberg, Germany). Of the 22 major Nazi officials who are tried, 12 are sentenced to death by hanging, seven are given prison sentences from 10 years to life, and three are acquitted. Many other Nazi war criminals are tried in later months.

August 15, 1945: WORLD WAR II IS OVER. Japan surrenders. V-J Day (Victory in Japan). 


May 1960: Adolf Eichmann, who directed the implementation of the “Final Solution,” is arrested in Argentina and brought to Israel for trial. He is executed in May 1962.

February 1965: Legislation is passed in Germany to allow prosecution of Nazi war criminals to be extended for an additional twenty-year period.


September 1979: The U.S. Office of Special Investigation is created to track down Nazis living in the U.S. under false identity. From then until 2005, over 100 Nazi persecutors are stripped of U.S. citizenship and about half of these are deported.

February 1979: Josef Mengele, guilty of sadistic “medical experiments” in Auschwitz, dies in Brazil without ever having been discovered and brought to trial.


May 1987: Klaus Barbie, the SS officer known as “the Butcher of Lyons,” is tried and convicted in France. Barbie had been deported from Bolivia in 1983.

February 1988: John Demjanjuk, who had lived in The U.S. since 1951, is convicted of being “Ivan the Terrible,” a brutal SS guard at the Treblinka death camp. In 1993 the Israel Supreme Court overturns his conviction due to inconclusive evidence.


April 1996: U.S. Senate hearings begin into the allegations that Swiss banks trafficked in gold looted by Hitler’s armies from Jews. A year later, Switzerland acknowledges using money held for European Jews in Swiss banks and promises to make restitution to survivors.

March 1998: Former SS Captain Erich Priebke is sentenced to life in prison for his role in the massacre of 335 civilians in caves near Rome, Italy, in 1944. He had escaped to Argentina after the war and was discovered by an ABC news reporter in 1994.


February 2000: The North Carolina Museum of Art returns the painting Madonna and Child in a Landscape by Lucas Cranach the Elder to the family of an Austrian Jew from whom the painting had been stolen during the Nazi era. Later in the year the painting returns to the museum when the family sells it to the museum for a reduced price.

January 2005: The U.S. Office of Special Investigation expands its search for war criminals to include those involved in other atrocities and genocides across the world.”For the first time since Nuremberg,” said the director, “the world is really getting serious about these kinds of cases.”