Part II. The 3rd Reich & the Holocaust Era, Jan 1933-May 1945
Murderous Racism and Antisemitism - Bureaucracy of Evil
Perpetrators, Collaborators, Victims, Bystanders, Resisters, Rescuers

B. World War II, Sept. 1939-May, 1945: “New Order” & Holocaust

1. 1939-41: Exporting Nazism - Lebensraum, Racism, Antisemitism & Dehumanization

TEN- b
The War Against the Jews - Europe & North Africa (2)

"the Jewish question today was no longer a German problem: it had become a world problem." 1

Bauer 248-265
The Holocaust timeline: (excellent); (excellent)
Timeline: WWII.
Cybrary of the Holocaust.
Photos, invasion of Poland.




Exporting Nazi Jewish policy, 1940-41

By July 1940 the Nazis ruled nearly all of Europe except Britain. The key to Hitler’s military success was speed & force - highly mobile force. The stunning victories of the German armies in the early years of World War II brought the majority of European Jewry under Nazi control - the push into Poland and the progressive subjugation of surrounding societies would bring millions of ‘unwanted’ Jews into other Nazi sphere of influence.

‘... Germany attempted to export its Jewish policy to those countries it occupied, such as ... France ..., or that fell under its influence, such as Slovakia, Croatia, and Bulgaria. ... The countries’ response to cooperation with German demands ... varied. Factors that determined support ... included

1. the changing political climate ...,
2. the perception of a German defeat ...;
3. the intensity of antisemitism in a country, or the lack thereof;
4. the willingness of the population to view Jews as their fellow nationals rather than as a foreign element; and
5. the willingness of the general population to oppose the persecution and deportation of Jews.
6. An additional factor was the role of the churches ... in the light of laws that segregated and persecuted Jews ... the success ...also required the cooperation of the political leadership & bureaucracy, which promulgated decrees that segregated Jews from the rest of society. These steps included the

enactment of laws that defined who was a Jew, followed by
a census of the Jewish population and
the requirement that Jews register their assets for the eventual expropriation of their property & businesses (‘Aryanization’). ... The measures were capped with an edict that, for identification purposes, required Jews to wear a Star of David armband, a regulation the Germans insisted on in all countries under the occupation.’2

The Jewish Question in Western Europe & in North Africa

Hitler’s ‘War Against the Jews’ was also connected with the local socio-political conditions in Nazi’s new occupied territories. In Western Europe & in North Africa, ‘the Nazis had to deal with a different kind of Jewish community than in Eastern Europe,’ and with different local political conditions. In Holland, Belgium, France, Denmark, Norway, Italy, & in most of North Africa, the Jews had acculturated to the political & economic life of the community.’3 Still, consistently, in Western Europe & in North Africa, Jews were deprived of human rights.

*In France, Belgium and the Netherlands, the registration, segregation, & isolation of foreign and native Jews was complete by early 1942; these steps were the precursors to later deportation and murder.
Pictures: The dive bombing Stuka terrorized civilian populations during the German's blitzkrieg. Jews being deported to Gurs (France), October 1940.

(57,000 Jews)

‘From Mussolini’s seizure of power in October 1922 to the passage of the racial laws in November 1938, antisemitism was a marginal phenomenon in Italy. ... Mussolini did not share the animus toward the Jews of his Axis partner, Adolf Hitler. ... Hitler exerted pressure on Mussolini, and in 1938 Italy adopted racial laws that adapted German racial theories to Italian conditions. ... The laws also angered the Holy See and the population in general. Nevertheless, the racial laws were enforced ... came as a shock to Italy’s Jewish community.

Jews were excluded from the civil service, the army, ... and the ownership of enterprises ... In June 1939, the government barred Jewish professionals from serving clients non-Jews ... the government resisted all German demands that Jews be deported ... Combined with humanitarian considerations, the Italian-occupied territories (in France, Yugoslavia, & Greece) became havens of refuge for Jews.4

(8,000 Jews)

In April 1940, Germany occupied Denmark. ‘... antisemitism did not gain a foothold in Denmark. With the German occupation, Himmler attempted to pressure the Danes into passing anti-Jewish measures, but they resolutely resisted any coercion on the Jewish question. As a consequence, neither anti-Jewish legislation nor efforts to ‘Aryanize’ Jewish property were attempted by the Germans.’5

(140,000 Jews)

May 13: Queen Wilhelmina & the government fled to London. May 14: the Dutch surrendered to the invading German army. May 21: the Austrian Nazi, Artur Seyss-Inquart, then deputy governor under Hans Frank in Poland, became the new Nazi ruler, as the Reichkomissar. He suspended the parliament & appointed Dutch Nazis to important government posts. ‘Most Dutch Jews were of Ashkenazic (Central or East European) origin, 5,000 were Sephardic Jews, descendants of Spanish & Portuguese Jews. ‘Approximately 200 Jews committed suicide rather than face the wrath of the Nazis. ...

The first anti-Jewish measures, enacted in August 1940, required registration of Jewish businesses & ... assets, the first steps toward ‘Aryanization.’ ... when Jewish professors ... were dismissed, the students protested, whereupon the Germans closed the universities. In January 1941, Jews were required to register ... This was followed by the requirement that an ‘Aryan’ oath be taken by all civil servants, which led to the dismissal of Jews from the civil service, the schools, & the universities.

The Dutch population responded to these measures with indifference ... creation of a Joodse Raad, or Jewish Council ... in February 1941. ... on February 22 the Nazis seized 389 young Jewish men, whom they deported initially to Buchenwald and later to Mauthausen. Only one person survived the ordeal. The arrests, the brutal treatment of the Jews, and the deportations angered Amsterdam’s municipal workers, who called for a general strike on February 25. The strike won support from all elements of the population - it was the only massive non-Jewish action in Europe in support of Jews during the Nazi era. Caught by surprise, the Germans engaged the strikers & suppressed them after 3 days of confrontation...

The Dutch realized that the Germans would not moderate their treatment of the Jews ... On March 12: the Germans began the process of ‘Aryanizing’ Jewish property ... curfew ... Jews were dismissed from positions in public life. ...’6

(90,000 Jews)

May 10, 1940: Germans invaded Belgium; during fighting, 10s of 1000s of Belgians fled to France, including many Jews. May 16: Germans entered Brussels; government fled to London. May 28: King Leopold III signed a capitulation agreement & stayed in Belgium, treated as a privileged prisoner. A military government was imposed. Sept.: a special department for Jewish affairs contacted the parallel department in France to coordinate anti-Jewish activities.

Oct. 28: orders by occupation authorities forbidding Jews to function as professionals & ordering them to register themselves, their businesses & property; around 43,000 complied.

(350,000 Jews)

Despite French antisemitic tradition & the increasing influence of Nazi Germany, French jewry enjoyed full equality prior to the war. Defeated in June 1940, France was split into 2 regions: Germany occupied 3/5 of France -the larger, northern ‘occupied’ was ruled directly by Germany; but permitted collaborationist Marshal Philippe Petain, who signed armistice with Hitler & Mussolini, to establish a government in the unoccupied rest -the southern sector, with the capital Vichy, known as Vichy France - a puppet state.

With France’s defeat,
about 750,000 additional Jews, including about 400,000 Jews in French North Africa, were swiftly trapped in the Nazi orbit.*

The Northern Zone

Jews in the occupied northern zone were subjects to German military government. September 27, 1940: order defined Jews in racist terms. In Sept. 1940, the French conducted a census of Jews, & in October registered all Jewish property & assets. April 26, 1941: many occupations were closed to Jews. A detailed index of Jews was prepared under the supervision of Theodor Dannencker, ‘expert’ sent by RSHA, & Eichmann’s aide.

The first roundups of foreign Jews occurred in May 1941, commencing the transports to the east. May-August 1941: deportation of 3,200 immigrant Polish Jews to camps at Pithiviers & Beaune-la-Rolande; 4,300 Jews sent to the camp at Drancy.

The Southern (Vichy) Zone
(195,000 Jews)

‘Following the collapse of the French Republic in June 1940, 1000s of Jews & non-Jews fled to the south. 1000s escaped to Portugal & North Africa. The Portuguese consul at Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, issued Portuguese transit visas to 1000s of Jewish refugees in contravention of his government’s instructions -perhaps the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.

*In the unoccupied southern sector, the new collaborationist Vichy government of Marshal Petain, ‘initiated anti-Jewish measures without any noticeable protest from the population or the church. ... the Vichy government was determined to implement its own version of the Nazi racial laws. Beginning in October 1940, anti-Jewish legislation was enacted, defining Jews as those with 2 or more Jewish grandparents as well as those who belonged to the Jewish religion. ... Jews were forbidden from holding public office, serving in the military, or practicing most middle-class professions. ... internment of foreign Jews. The cooperation of the French legal establishment in this undertaking surpassed any other country in Europe.’7

The government at first refused to deliver Jews of French citizenship (but not stateless Jews) for deportation. July 16, 1940: the Vichy government in France denies citizenship to naturalized Jews. Their property confiscated. Jews may not leave their houses without permission form the police, & may no longer use public telephones. On October 4, executive order to arrest all ‘foreign’ Jews: 25,000 Central European refugees were sent to French concentration camps.

On March 29, 1941, the government created the Commissariat for Jewish Affairs under the notorious antisemite Xavier Vallat, to coordinate anti-Jewish measures, but its primary function was to Aryanize Jewish property. On June 2, 1941, another order required registration of Jews throughout France & the ‘Aryanization’ of Jewish property -its confiscation & transfer to non-Jewish ownership.

Rescuers: Varian Fry - June 1940

Assignment: Rescue -
Captivating story of Varian Fry, an unlikely American secret agent who traveled to France in June of 1940 under the guise of assisting the International YMCA. His real intention was to help smuggle Jews through the tightly controlled French borders. The Jews trapped in southern France, at the time run by the new puppet government of Vichy, would face certain deportation to concentration camps if they did not escape the Gestapo. Fry describes the thirteen months he spent helping the enemies of the Third Reich to obtain money, false passports, transportation and other items necessary for safe travel across France. He is credited with saving the lives of two to three thousand people.

The ‘War Against the Jews during WWII in North Africa

Hitler’s ‘War Against the Jews’ was connected with Germans’ conquests, the course of the World War II, & influence outside Europe. Few scholars limit the ‘War Against the Jews’ to the European continent. Most sources, such as:

Epstein, Eric Joseph, and Rosen Philip. Dictionary of the Holocaust.1997;
Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990);
The Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles, USA (;
The Yad Vashem Museum ;
Gilbert Martin. Atlas of the Holocaust. New York: Pergamon Press, 1988, and
Gilbert Martin. The Holocaust: the Jewish Tragedy. London: Collins, 1986;
Jacob Robinson. The History of the Holocaust, in Holocaust
Bauer, Yehuda, & Nili Keren. The History of the Holocaust. New York: Franklin Watts, 1982

also narrate the ‘War Against the Jews’ in North Africa during World War II. No exploration and interpretation of the ‘War Against the Jews’ can be meaningful, without an encompassing historically accurate view of the totality of the event, and within the course of World War II.

Gerhard L. Weinberg: the Jews ... killed had come into their reach because of the war

Weinberg commented on the historical confining aspect of the history of the Holocaust, separated from events of WWII, in his article:

“There exists a fairly common tendency to write, talk, & teach about the Holocaust and about World War II as separate and only barely related events. ... There maybe references ... but the authors obviously have little interest in and familiarity with the war as a whole.

Certainly those in charge of both the war and the Holocaust on the German side had no doubts on the connection themselves. No one needed to explain to them that the overwhelming majority of the Jews they killed had come into their reach only because of the war. ... had the Germans won (as they certainly expected) the percentage would have been higher. The special racial character of the war in German eyes can be seen quite easily ... .”

What I am trying to clarify is the extent to which developments in the military and diplomatic course of the war and in the Holocaust intersected with each other, and how a failure to take this intersections into account reduces our ability to understand either.”9

“Gerhard Weinberg ... makes clear ..., that scholars and teachers of the Holocaust can have their vision limited by the blinders imposed by the field. Weinberg exposes the ‘fairly common tendency to write, talk, and teach about the Holocaust and about World War II as separate and only barely related events,’ and by contrast illustrates the benefits of looking ‘at the war and at the Holocaust as in interconnected way”10

Therefore, one must narrate the history of the persecution and the fate of the Jews in European North Africa under the regime of Nazi collaborator & Nazi ally - Morocco, Algeria, & Tunisia under Vichy France, and Libya under Italy. For indeed, for the Nazis perpetrators, Jewish persecution because of antisemitic ideology was not limited to only occupied territories within Europe.

The Vichy Regime's Treatment of the Jews in North Africa

“The ‘War Against the Jews’ was launched simultaneously with & parallel to World War II.” 11 Antisemitic ideology & policies were not limited to only occupied-Europe.
Following France’s defeat, and “Under the provisions of the French-German armistice of June 1940, North Africa was considered part of unoccupied France. As in France itself, the Europeans in the Maghrib (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) supported the Vichy regime and for this reason were not inclined to defend democratic institutions, which were abolished when the Vichy government was installed.”

“From November 1940, an accord of clearing was instituted between the Reich & France, including the ‘territoires d’outre-mer.’”12 At the end of 1940 Prime Minister Laval was replaced by Adm. Jean - Francois Darlan. Darlan too was convinced that France's best interests were served by an accord with Germany; in May 1941 met with Hitler and granted the Germans military facilities in North Africa & Syria ... “The Germans had no foothold there -in French North Africa- until the Allied invasion of Algeria & Morocco in November 1942, to which the Axis powers reacted by occupying Tunisia. As in France itself, Marshal Philip Petain & his Vichy regime enjoyed tremendous support among the European population of the Maghrib -Morocco, Algerian, & Tunisia...”13

Rise of Arab nationalism in both Morocco & Tunisia
... antisemitic propaganda ... The anti-Jewish stirrings among the Muslims were also caused, to some extent, by the German propaganda. ... the Third Reich ... did have an interest in enlisting North African nationalism against France. ... North African nationalists ... played a significant role in German attempts at subversion in North Africa, attempts that focused on anti-Jewish and anticolonial issues. ... in the international city of Tangier ... anti-Jewish and anti-French propaganda was produced ...’14


French Northern Africa was held by pro-Vichy French forces until the American invasion of 1942. Jews in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Morocco were subject to anti-Jewish laws of varying severity and about 4,000 Jews were held in camps south of Morocco & in Algeria on the eve of the American invasion.

North African Jews in the Holocaust

“North Jews under Axis & Vichy rule in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, & Libya, were denied rights granted to them during colonial rule, including French & Italian citizenship. Economic restrictions were imposed and Jews were sent to forced labor camps where many perished. Because of Allied military successes in North Africa in 1942-1943, most North African Jews were spared the tragedy ultimately befell the Jews of Europe”15 Yad-Vashem.

Racial laws. Detention & Concentration camps in North Africa

“The Jewish communities in North Africa (under regime of Nazi collaborators, Italy & Vichy France) were persecuted ...”16 ‘The Jews of French North Africa were not to be spared by the Vichy regime that came out of the armistice. Petain and his administration enacted legislation that stripped Algerian Jews of their French citizenship & extended the racial laws enacted in the French non-occupied territory to the 3 countries of the Maghreb -Tunisia, Algeria, & Morocco; some Jews were interned in concentration camps, and in hard labor camps. ...’17

‘In the months preceding the outbreak of war, as well as ‘after the fall of France, 100s of Jewish refugees from central and eastern Europe and foreign volunteers in the French army were stranded in North Africa on their way to the United States. In 1941 & 1942 these two groups were joined by 1000s of Jewish refugees fleeing from occupied France. They soon found out that the fate in store for them in North Africa was no different from what they could have expected from the German occupation regime. Some of these Jews were given refuge by the local Jewish communities, and even reached their destinations in 1941. Others, on arrival, were put into detention camps ... 18

The Jewish prisoners (foreign & local) were dispersed over 30 camps, which for all practical purposes were no different from concentration camps; ..
. subject to severel punishment. The camps were administered by former officers of the Foreign Legion, who made no effort to hide their sympathy for Nazi Germany. ... It is estimated that on the eve of the American invasion of North Africa, on November 8, 1942, some four thousand Jewish prisoners were being held in camps in the south of Morocco and in Algeria. ... local Jews, arrested ... were also put into these camps. Those Jews who had volunteered to serve in the French army were put on hard labor in camps on Morocco's southern border with Algeria.19

Maps from The Ghetto Fighers' House, a Holocaust museum in northern Israel dedicated to Jewish resistance during World War II.

Yad Vashem Museum’s Map of concentration camps in North Africa
Main Camps & Killing Sites during the Nazi Era’ shows a total of 17 slave labor concentration camps in North Africa: 3 Morocco, 3 Algeria, 7 Tunisia, 4 Libya.’
Jews were interned in the slave labor camp at Hadjerat-M'Guil, in North Africa. Some of the 170 prisoners were tortured and murdered. Other internees worked on the Trans-Sahara railway.

Other internees worked on the Trans-Sahara railway.

Slave labor camps of the Sahara, 1942-43

More than 1,500 Jews served in the French Foreign Legion, but with the German conquest of France in 1940, they were interned and sent to slave labor camps in North Africa.

Closeup of pg48487

Morocco (200,000 Jews)

The Jewish community of Morocco, which dates back more than 2,000 years, has experienced various waves of both tolerance and discrimination. ... Following the establishment of the French protectorate in 1912, Jews began to enjoy greater equality.

‘The Jewish community did not remain indifferent to German & Fascist propaganda. The Jews boycotted all German products, much to the dismay of their Arab neighbors; ... in May 1940, anti-Jewish incitement intensified in all the cities of Morocco ... Muslims joined in attacks on Jews.’20 ‘Under the war-time Vichy regime Jews suffered discrimination but King Muhammad V did much to ensure that they were not deported.’21 ‘the Vichy regime issued anti-Jewish decrees, among them the Statut des Juifs (Jewish Law), enacted in France in October 1940. ... The restrictions barring Jews from posts in the administration, the teaching profession, the local councils, the media, and so on were fully applied. ...

(85,000 Jews)

Jews have lived in Tunisia for at least 2000 years. In the early years of Islam, at least in certain periods, Jews were tolerated as dhimmi, second class people ... Tunisia was occupied by France in 1830 and a French protectorate was established in 1881. By and large the Jews benefited from the French presence. ...22 ‘The Jews of Tunisia suffered from the abuses of the Vichy government and the French colonials. ‘In the first weeks of the war, and also after the fall of France in 1940, anti-Jewish incitement increased greatly, with the participation of the Muslim population. ... Jewish houses & stores were attacked. ...

Like the Jews of Algeria & Morocco, Tunisian jewry was seized with a genuine wave of pro-French patriotism when France entered the war. ... the chief rabbi called on the Jews to buy French government bonds. ... Tunisian Jews suffered a bitter disappointment when, like the other Jews of North Africa under the Vichy regime, they were subjected to a long series of racist laws. ... the governor-general, Vice Adm. Jean-Pierre Esteva, ... a devout Christian, was not inclined to put the anti-jewish decrees into practice, and until March 1942 he held up the implementation of the major decrees relating to the Statut des Juifs (Jewish Law). ...

In addition to the governor-general’s sympathetic attitude -and, in some degree, to the pro-Jewish attitude of Bey Sidi Mohammed al-Mounsaf- the Italians also, in practice, interfered with the application of the anti-Jewish laws.’ 23 Later, when Tunisia was occupied by the Nazis during 6 months, Jews were persecuted.24

ALGERIA 120,000 Jews)

‘During the nineteenth century, traditional Christian antisemitism was introduced into parts of the Muslim world, including Algeria, by European clerics and missionaries. Following the 1894 Dreyfus affair, a leading French antisemite, Edouard Drumont, was elected as the representative for Algiers.

Although the antisemitic movement of the time was short-lived in Algeria, Nazi propaganda in the 1940s led to its resurgence. Under the Vichy regime, Jews were treated with contempt by the French authorities, who applied the antisemitic Vichy laws in all their severity.’ 25 Vichy revoked the French citizenship of most of the Jews and restricted their activities in finance, society, education and housing. The French population of Algeria was antisemitic and tried to stir up the support of the Muslims against the Jews.

‘In 1940, one of the early underground groups supporting the Free French movement of General Charles de Gaulle was set up in Algiers by Joseph Aboulkar (a Jew). ... worked in preparation for the American landings.’26

Libya (30,000 Jews)

Italian North African colony from 1911 to 1943. *The Jews of Libya were under Italian fascist rule. Initially, they were tolerated by the fascist government for economic reasons. Libyan Jews were subjected to Italian racial laws in 1936. Anti-Jewish decrees & racial laws were passed as early as 1938. *But after Italy joined the war, ‘on June 10, 1940, the authorities in Libya received instructions from Rome to detain all foreign Jews -hundreds of French, British nationals, in the Giado (Jadu) concentration camp;’27 the Jews suffered gradually increasing restrictions in economic, social & cultural areas, & even limitations on the freedom to organize their own affairs.

The two British inroads (dec. 9, 1940) into Libya, which ended in retreats, worsened the status of the Jews & were attended by
physical attacks, killings, & looting of property. ‘Hitler’s response to the British advance was to send German forces to Libya in February 1941. in April & May of that year the Afrika Korps, under Gen. Erwin Rommel, drove the British back into Egypt. ... French nationals among the Jews were moved to Tunisia, & the British nationals ... some 300, were transferred to Italy and interned in concentration camps.’28

About 5000 Jews were uprooted from their homes,
thousands were drafted into forced labor -internment & forced labor camps for Jews were established;29 & alien Jews among them were deported to Italy and died in extermination camps in Europe.’30 “... the Jewish quarter of Benghazi was sacked and 2,000 Jews were deported.”31

The Jewish Question in Eastern Europe

‘Along with ... military successes, Germany’s political influence in Europe expanded and was strengthened by the accession to the Three-Power Agreement of Hungary (Nov. 20, 1940), Rumania -Nov. 23, 1940, Slovakia -Nov. 24, 1940, Bulgaria -March 1, 1941,& Croatia -June 15, 1941.’32 In Eastern Europe, the Nazis appropriated local antisemitism and extended it.

(765,000 Jews) - Nov. 23, 1940

‘On the eve of WWII, Romania was a nation torn by political conflict. King Carol II’s rule was threatened by the rise of the Fascist Iron Guard ... founded in 1927 ... characterized by extreme antisemitism. ... During the mid-1930s, the Iron Guard forged ties with the Nazis ... stressing ... their beliefs on the Jewish question.

The Rumanian government enacted a law on August 8, 1940, that canceled citizenship for most Rumanian Jews & prohibited mixed marriages. ... Following the installation of the National legionary State in September 1940, with Ion Antonescu as prime minister ..., King Carol II was deposed. ... Iron Guard initiated a campaign of terror against Romania’s Jews ... confiscated Jewish property ... to displace Jews from the economy. ... plunder of Jewish property.’33 Oct. 5 & Nov. 6, 1940: Jews in private commerce & industry were dismissed. Jan. 1941: 120 Jews butchered by the Iron Guard who rebelled against the Antonescu.
March 1941: Rumania became Germany’s close ally; German troops stationed in Rumania.

(90,000 Jews) - Nov. 24, 1940

1940: a puppet fascist government, led by a Catholic priest, Father Jozef Tiso, fulfilled Nazi wishes. ‘In August 1940, Eichmann sent his representative ... to advise the government on Jewish affairs. Under his direction, the Hlinka Guard & Slovak volunteers were reorganized ... & given responsibility for carrying out anti-Jewish measures.’34

A Jewish Reservation. The Madagascar Plan, Oct. 1940

Before the "Final Solution" was devised to murder all Jews in Nazi jurisdiction, the scheme the Nazis planned to rid their land of the Jews was forced emigration. In 1939, SS thought of concentrating million of Jews on a reservation, or separate state, to clear all Jews out of Europe. A 1st first plan: dumping Jews near the Polish city of Lublin, ‘located on the border of the German & Soviet zone, & resettle them in the transit camp near the Nisko River.’35 Many died, & the Lublin reservation idea was put aside.

In the spring of 1940, Hitler became convinced that Poland did not offer sufficient space for both German resettlement and Jews. The deportation of Jews to some other place in the world, e.g., an African colony, in Madagascar, French island off the southeast coast of Africa, was considered briefly after the Nazi victory over France in 1940, and then discarded: In 1940, plans were devised by the Nazis to ship all Jews under Nazi control to Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean. The Madagascar Plan was one example of strategies which were formulated to remove Jews from Germany and its occupied lands; this plan was aborted with Germany’s failure to defeat England and thus control the sea lanes to the colony. Many countries refused to accept Jewish refugees.

By June 1941, Germany controlled most of Europe; millions of Jews came under Nazi oppression. As Nazi-occupied areas were cut off from the free world, so too were the avenues for assistance & escape for beleaguered Jews.

Conclusion - Phase 1: 1939-41, period of dehumanization

This initial period, 1939-41, was a period of dehumanization of the perpetrators
with their treatment of other human beings. Jews were deprived of elementary human rights, including freedom of movement; robbed of their properties & businesses; dismissed from the professions, crowded in ghettos under outrageously primitive conditions; and subjected to humiliation (the yellow badge), to forced labor without remuneration, and to starvation and savage brutality. Jewish secular and religious representatives & institutions were singled out as particular targets, e.g., burning of synagogues, desecration of Torah scrolls & other ritual objects, ridiculing of rabbis. As a result, the Jews of this areas entered the period of the ‘Final Solution’ physically exhausted, morally undermined, isolated from the world, and abandoned to the destructive will of the Nazis and their accomplices.

The war and the sheer numbers of Jews it encompassed made it almost impossible to rely on methods previously employed for their ‘removal.’ By late 1940, there had occurred a clear shift on German mentality. It was now a foregone conclusion that the Jewish Question had to be dealt with in some "Final" way. Territorial final solutions seemed to be unfeasible.

By the summer of 1941
, 3 million Jews would be trapped in Poland. Jews throughout Western Europe were deported & herded into Polish ghettos & other eastern territories, and concentration camps. The victories also increased Hitler's confidence that he could proceed with his plans with minimal opposition from the outside world. Moreover, the Nazis could turn to their advantage the deeply ingrained antisemitism endemic in the increasingly brutalized European populations.

In the General Government & Polish areas annexed by Germany, the systematic process of physical destruction followed the Sept. 1939-April 1942 period. After 1942 and the decisions reached by the Wannsee Conference, the liquidation of the ghettos became a much more systematic process.

‘ ... however harsh & unendurable conditions for Jews were during this intermediate phase of ghettoization & internment, nothing had prepared them for the next, unthinkable stage in the Nazi onslaught against them. ... Nazi theory & practice were about to flow together in a methodical & concerted frenzy of mass destruction: the Nazi hierarchy & SS leadership would soon be committed to killing every single Jew ...’36


Apr. 9 Germans occupy Denmark and southern Norway
Apr. 30 Lodz ghetto sealed off from outside world with 230,000 locked inside
May 1, Rudolf Hoss chosen to be kommandant of Auschwitz
May 10 Germany invades Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France
May 20, Concentration camp established at Auschwitz
June, Reserve Police Battalion 101 sent to Lodz to cleanse the area of Jews
June 14, Paris occupied by Nazis
June 22, France surrenders, signed armistice with Hitler
July - Eichmann’s Madagascar Plan presented, proposing to deport all European Jews to
island of Madagascar, off coast of east Africa
July 16, 1940: the Vichy government in France
Jul 17, 1st anti-Jewish measures by Vichy France: denies citizenship to naturalized Jews
Aug. 8 Battle of Britain begins
Aug.-Sept.1940: Churchill & the Battle of Britain
Sept. the French conducted a census of Jews in occupied northern France
Sept. 27, Tripartite (Axis) Pact signed by Germany, Italy, & Japan - Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis
Sept Japan begins conquest of Southeast Asia. Spain was a ‘nonneutral nonbelligerent’
Oct. registration of all Jewish property & assets in occupied northern France
Oc. anti-Jewish legislation was enacted, defining Jews, in unoccupied southern France
Oct. Madagascar Plan
Oct. 2, 1940 - Warsaw Ghetto was officially established
Nov. Krakow Ghetto sealed off with 70,000 Jews
Nov. 15, Warsaw Ghetto, with over 400,000 Jews is sealed off.

Nov. 15 Warsaw ghetto sealed off: ultimately contained 500,000 people


Jan. 21-26, Anti-Jewish riots in Rumania, Iron Guard (Rumanian fascist organization)
butchers 2,000 Rumanian Jews
Feb. 1, German authorities begin rounding up Polish Jews for transfer to Warsaw Ghetto
March, Adolf Eichmann appointed head of the department for Jewish affairs of the Reich
Security Main Office, Section IV B 4.
Mar 2, Nazis occupy Bulgaria
Mar 29, Commissariat for Jewish Affairs is set up in Vichy France under Xavier Vallat
Apr. 6, Germany attacks Yugoslavia and Greece; occupation follows
May 16, French Marshall Petain issues a radio broadcast approving collaboration with Hitler
May, The first roundups of foreign Jews in occupied northern France ,

transports to the east: deportation of 3,200 immigrant Polish Jews

June 22, The Germans attacked and declared war on the Soviet Union

Jul 31, Goering ordered R. Heydrich to prepare for a total solution of the Jewish question

Copyright Fall 1999, November 2003, January 2004 Edith Shaked
Credit/source: Gary M. Grobman, The Holocaust - A guide for Teachers, 1990

1 Hitler's Speech in Munich, 24 February, 1939: quoted in N H Baynes, The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, Oxford University Press, 1942, Volume I, pp.743)

2 Jack R. Fischel, The Holocaust, 1998, p. 61

3 Yehuda Bauer, History of the Holocaust, p. 227

4 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, 1998, pp. 71-72

5 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, 1998, p. 70

6 Jack R. Fischel, The Holocaust, 1998, pp. 65-66

7 Jack R. Fischel, The Holocaust, 1998, p. 63

8 Gerhardt L. Weinberg, “The Holocaust and World War II.” In Lessons and Legacies II, Ed. Donald G. Schilling, pp. 26-27. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1998.

9 “The Holocaust and World War II,” in Lessons and Legacies, v. 2, pp. 29-32.

10 Donald G. Schilling, “Introduction.” In Lessons and Legacies II, Ed. Donald G. Schilling, pp. 26-27. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1998, pp. 6-7

11 Yad Vashem:

12 G. Lefebre, Ch. H. Pouthas and M. Baumont. Histoire de la France pour tous les Francais. v. 2. Librairie Hachette, 1950

13 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990

14 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990, p. 993

15 Map at Yad vashem Museum, Jerusalem, Israel, North African Jews in the Holocaust

16 http URL: ap.19941102

17 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990, p. 993

18 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990, pp. 993-994

19 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990, p. 1520-1523

20 ibid, p. 993-94



23 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990, p. 1520-1523

24 Pe’Amim, Ben-Zvi Institute for the study of Jewish communities in the East, No. 28, 1986, p. 167


26 Yehuda Bauer, History of the Holocaust, p. 235

27 Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990, p. 865

28 ibid

29 Pe’Amim, Ben-Zvi Institute for the study of Jewish communities in the East, No. 28, 1986, pp. 166-167

30 see: Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990.
Epstein, Dictionary of the Holocaust; Abitbol, The Jews of North Africa During the Second World War


32 Dr. Jacob Robinson, Holocaust, Research, Yad vashem & YIVO, NY, p. 20

33 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, 1998, pp. 72-73

34 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, 1998, p. 62

35 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, 1998, p. 33

36 Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, p. 160