Chronology of the Holocaust 1933 - 1945

Prior to 1933

1920Nazi Party Platform Drafted

1921Occupation of the Ruhr by France
- results is general strike until Fall of 1923

1923Hyperinflation - German Economy Collapses
Failed Beer Hall Putsch
- Hitler imprisoned - writes Mein Kampf

1929Beginning Worldwide Economic Crisis
Collapse of Great Coalition in German Government

The Holocaust 1933-1945

January 30 Hitler is appointed Reich Chancellor of Germany by Hindenburg

January 30 Sterilization (of inferiors) Laws enacted; implemented three weeks later

February 27Reichstag fire

February 28 Leading communists arrested
Constitutional rights "temporarily" suspended (until 1945)

March 20Dachau concentration camp established

March 23 Enabling Act passed by the Reichstag

April 1 General boycott of all Jewish businesses - One day

April 1All religious literature printed by Jehovah's Witnesses banned from circulation in Germany

April 7 Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service enacted
All Jews removed from civil service
Jews denied admission to the bar

April 24First SA and police raid on the Magdeburg branch office of Jehovah's Witnesses; literature confiscated

April 26 Gestapo formed

May 2Trade unions dissolved

May 10 Burning of books written by Jews and political opponents

June 24Prussian State Police ban the work and organization of Jehovah's Witnesses

June 25Declaration of Facts is sent to Hitler, explaining the politically neutral position of the Witnesses and insisting on their right to teach the Bible to the German people. Two million copies are distributed. Some witnesses are arrested and sentenced to terms in labor and concentration camps.

June 28Second raid and closure of Watch Tower office in Magdeburg

July 14Law for the Prevention of Progeny of Hereditary Disease mandates the sterilization of patients with hereditary diseases e.g. feeble-mindedness, epilepsy, schizophrenia. Some 300,000 to 400,000 people are sterilized under this law

July 20 Concordat signed with the Roman Catholic Church

August At the opening ceremony for the state medical academy in Munich, Walter Schultze, Bavarian Commissioner of Health, declares sterilization insufficient and argues for euthanasia. He adds, "This policy has already been initiated in our concentration camps."

August 16The Golden Age magazine (published by Jehovah's Witnesses) mentions the existence of concentrations camps within five months of Dachau's opening

August 21-24Burning of 25 truckloads of confiscated Watch Tower publications

November 12Jehovah's Witnesses fired from jobs and arrested for refusing to participate in mandatory vote

November 24Nazis pass a Law against Habitual and Dangerous Criminals, which allows beggars, the homeless, alcoholics and the unemployed to be sent to concentration camps.


June 30 The blood purge/The Night of the Long Knives

August 2 Hindenburg dies
Hitler becomes Head of State and Commander-in-Chief

Beginning in 1934 Mental hospitals encouraged to neglect patients - funding and inspections either made perfunctory or suspended.
181 Genetic Health Courts and Appellate Health Courts to decide cases concerning sterilization established


March 11Nazi race hygienists and civil servants plan the sterilization of the "Rhineland Bastards"

April 1Jehovah's Witnesses are banned from all civil service jobs and arrested throughout Germany. Pensions and employment benefits confiscated. Being married to a Witness becomes legal grounds for divorce. Witness children are banned from attending school. Some children are taken from Witness parents to be raised in Nazi reeducation homes.

May 21 Jews removed from military

Summer Juden Verboten (No Jews) signs increase in businesses and elsewhere

July 26Justice Minister Frick orders marriages between Aryans and non-Aryans be stopped

September 15 First of Nuremburg Laws (Anti-Semitic) passed

SeptemberHitler expresses intention to eliminate the "incurably ill" at Nuremberg Party rally to Dr. Gerhard Wagner

October 18Addendum to the sterilization law forbids marriages between "hereditary ill" and "healthy" people. In addition, forces the abortion of children of the "hereditary ill" up to the sixth month of pregnancy.


Sachsenhausen concentration camp established

March 7German army marches into the Rhineland

May 10 Burning of books written by Jews

JuneCentral Office to "Combat the Gypsy Nuisance" opened in Munich

July 12 German Roma and Sinti (Gypsies) are arrested and deported to Dachau

AugustNazis set up an Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortions (by healthy women).

August 1Olympic Games in Berlin opened
Anti-Semitic signs temporarily removed

August 28Mass arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses. Several thousand are sent to concentration camps and many stay there until 1945

October 25 Hitler and Mussolini form Rome-Berlin Axis

November 25 Military pact signed between Germany and Japan

December 12Jehovah's Witnesses secretly distribute 200,000 copies of the Lucerne Resolution, a protest of Nazi atrocities


SpringSterilization of the "Rhineland Bastards" begins

April 22Gestapo order directs that all of Jehovah's Witnesses released from prisons are to be taken directly to concentration camps

June 20Jehovah's Witnesses secretly distribute an open letter supplying detailed accounts of Nazi atrocities

July 16Concentration camp Buchenwald opens


Neuengamme and Mauthausen concentration camps established

March 13 Anschluss: The annexation of Austria

April 26Decree on the Reporting of Jewish Assets

June 15Arrest of all "previously convicted Jews"

July 6 Evian Conference: Results in no international intervention on behalf of Jews

July 23Announcement that Jews will need identity cards beginning in 1939

July 25Jewish doctors will only be allowed to treat Jewish patients

August 17 Jews required to insert "Sara" or "Israel" as middle name

September 29 Munich Agreement: Britian and France accept German annexation of Sudetenland

September 30Jewish physicians lose their licenses

October 2Watch Tower Society President, J. F. Rutherford, speaking over a network of 60 radio stations, denounces Nazi persecution of the Jews

October 6 Passports of Jews marked with a "J"

October 26Approximately 17,000 Polish Jews expelled from Germany

November 7 Herschel Grynspan assassinates Nazi Embassy worker in Paris in response to parents deportation from Germany to Poland

November 9Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass)

November 12 26,000 Jews arrested and sent to concentration camps

November 15 Expulsion of Jewish children from German schools

December 13 Compulsory expropriation of all Jewish businesses and industries

Late 1938/Early1939 First German government sanctioned/authorized "Mercy Killing" of deformed infant named Knauer


Ravensbruck concentration camp established

January 30Hitler predicts that Jews will be "exterminated" in the event of another war

March 15 Occupation of Czechoslovakia

May The S.S. St. Louis, a ship crowded with 930 Jewish refugees, is turned away by Cuba, the United States and other countries and returns to Europe.

August 18 Directive sent ordering Euthanasia program for deformed/retarded children

August 23 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact

September 1 German invasion of Poland
WWII begins

September 3 Britain and France declare war on Germany

SeptemberMental patients first shot to make room for soldiers throughout Greater Reich

October 1939 (back-dated to September 1)"Fuhrer Decree - medical killing became official policy
An estimated 275,000 people become victims of "euthanasia"

October 1939 Children's Specialty Institution (euthanasia center) at Gorden established

October 1939 T4 Project for adult "euthanasia" established

October 15 First gassing of Polish mental patients at Posen

October 1939 - 1941 Over 30 Children's Specialty Institutions/Therapeutic Convalescent Institutions (adult euthanasia centers) were established and operated

October 12 First deportations to Poland of Austrian and Moravian Jews

November 23 All Jews in Poland mandated to wear Judenstern (Jewish Star of David)


Early 1940 Gas first used as killing method as part of T4 project

April 9 Germans invade Denmark and Norway

April 30 Lodz (Poland) ghetto sealed off

May 10 Germans invade France, Holland, and Belgium

May - June Gas vans first used to kill mental patients

June 22 France surrenders to Germany

September 27 Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis formed

November 15 Warsaw (Poland) ghetto sealed off


June 22 Germans attack Soviet Union
Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) follow the German army and commit mass slaughter throughout Eastern Europe. By the spring of 1943, these special killing units kill more than one million Jews and tens of thousands of others.

July 8Jews in Baltic States forced to wear the Star of David

July 31 Heydrich appointed by Goering to carry out the "Final Solution"

August Due to public protests led by Catholic Bishop Count von Galen, the killing of mental patients is temporarily stopped - continues in less centralized manner

SeptemberExplosives tried as method of mass killing on mental patients

September 15 Wearing of Jewish Star mandated throughout the Greater Reich

September 23 First gassing experiments at Auschwitz

September 28-29Over 33,000 Jews are massacred during a two-day period at Babi Yar near the Ukranian capital, Kiev

October 10 Theresienstadt (Czechoslovakia) ghetto established

October 14 Deportation of German Jews begins

October 23 Massacre in Odessa - 34,000 Jews dead

October 28 Massacre in Kiev - 34,000 Jews dead

November 6 Massacre in Rovno - 15,000 Jews dead

December 7 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

December 8 U.S. enters WWII

December 8 Chelmno (Poland) extermination site opens

Beginning in December Some 5000 Austrian Roma and Sinti (Gypsies) killed at Chelmmno in mobile gassing vans. Estimates for the total numbers of deaths of Roma and Sinti range from 200,000 to 300,000

December 8 Massacre in Riga - 27,000 Jews dead

December 12The ship "Struma" leaves Romania for Palestine carrying 769 Jews but is later denied permission by British authorities to allow the passengers to disembark. In Feb. 1942, it sails back into the Black Sea where it is intercepted by a Soviet submarine and sunk as an "enemy target."

December 22 Massacre in Vilna - 32,000 Jews dead


January 15First group of Lodz Ghetto residents transported to Chelmno

January 20 Wannsee Conference on Nazi "Final Solution"

January 21 Unified resistance organization formed in Vilna Ghetto

January/FebruaryFirst experiments on prisoners in low pressure chambers in Dachau

March 16Belzec death camp opened

May 1Sorbibor death camp opened

June 1 Treblinka death camp opened
French and Dutch Jews must wear the Star of David

June 23Auschwitz opens as death camp and work center

June 30/July 2The New York Times reports via the London Daily Telegraph that over 1,000,000 Jews have already been killed by Nazis.

July 22 300,000 Jews deported to Treblinka from Warsaw Ghetto

July 28 Resistance organization formed in Warsaw Ghetto

August 15Cold shock experiments on prisoners begin at Dachau

October 17 Allied pledge to punish Germans for genocide

December 16Himmler orders the "final solution of the Gypsy question"


January 18 Jews of Warsaw Ghetto revolt against deportations

February 2 German Army surrenders at Stalingrad

April 19 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins; fighting lasts for weeks

May 16 Warsaw Ghetto liquidated

May 30Josef Mengele becomes camp doctor at Auschwitz

June 11 Himmler orders the liquidation of all Polish Jewish ghettos

Summer Hundreds of Jewish Partisans escape Vilna Ghetto to continue resistance

August 2 Revolt at Treblinka Death Camp

August 16 Revolt at Bialystok Ghetto

September 23 Vilna Ghetto liquidated

October 14Revolt at Sorbibor Death Camp

October 20 U.N. War Crime Commission established

November 3Erntefest (Harvest Festival) operation launched to kill all remaining Jews in the central and southern region of Poland, call the Generalgouvernement. About 40,000 Jews are shot to death on this one day.


March 19Germany occupies Hungary

May 15 - June 8 476,000 Jews deported to Auschwitz from Hungary to be murdered by gassing

SummerDeath marches and camp evacuations inside the Reich begin

June 6 D-Day

July 20Attempted assassination of Hitler

July 24 Maidanek death camp liberated

October 7Prisoner revolt at Auschwitz resulting in destruction of Crematoruim 4 and damage to Crematorium 2 & 3

October 23 Paris liberated

November 24 Himmler orders destruction of Auschwitz crematoria


January 17 Soviets liberate Warsaw

January 26Soviets liberate Auschwitz

February 4-11 Yalta Conference in the Crimea

AprilAmerican troops liberate Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps

April 15British troops liberate Bergen-Belsen death camp

April 20 - May 3 Twelve-day death march from Sachsenhausen. Some 26,000 prisoners began the march of 200 kilometers. Barely more than 15,000 survive and are liberated by Allied forces

April 30 Hitler commits suicide

May 7 Germany surrenders unconditionally

May 28Acting Secretary of State J. Grew informs President Truman that Japanese are willing to surrender if emperor's safety guaranteed

July 13 President Truman informed that Japanese Emperor has joined effort to negotiate surrender

August 6United States drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan

August 9 United States drops the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan

August 15 Japan surrenders unconditionally

November 22 Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal commences

Compiled by Linda M. Woolf, Ph.D.

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Another compehensive chronology can be found at The History Place