The following dates and events are reprinted with permission from the authors:

A HOLOCAUST CURRICULUM: Life Unworthy of Life – An 18-Lesson Instructional Unit by Dr. Sidney M. Bolkosky, Betty Rotberg Ellias, and Dr. David Harris. Published by The Center for the Study of the Child. Copyright 1987, Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Detroit. All rights reserved. ISBN 0-961-9288-1-6. The curriculum may be ordered from the HOLOCAUST EDUCATION COALITION, West Bloomfield , Michigan, USA.

August 3, 1934

With the death of President von Hinden­burg, Hitler declares himself president and chancellor – Fuchrer of the Third Reich. 

September 15, 1935

Basic anti-Jewish laws are passed at Nuremberg (the Nuremberg Laws). These laws took German citizenship from Jews, removed their civil rights, reduced them to the status of “,ubJec.s,” forbade marriage or any sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews; forbade Jews to employ non-Jewish women under age 45.

July 16, 1937

Buchenwald concentration camp opens near Weimar, Germany.

March 11-13, 1938 

German troops march into Austria and Austria becomes part of the Third Reich. Five?hundred thousand people line the streets of Vienna to cheer Hitler as he is welcomed in Austria.

September 29-30, 1938 

Munich Conference, attended by the heads of state of Great Britain (Chamberiain), France (Daladier), Italy (Mussolini) and Hitler. Britain and France agree to Germany’s taking (annexing) part of Czechoslovakia. No Czech representative was present.

October 5, 1938

Jewish passports are marked with a “J” at the request of the Swiss government. The Swiss do not want German Jewish refugees.

October 28, 1938

Approximately 1 7,000 “stateless” Jews are deported from Germany to Poland.

March 15, 1939

German troops seize the rest of Czechoslovakia. Great Britain and France refuse to come to Czechosiovakia’s aid. Independent Czechoslovakia disappears.

August 30,1939

Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Each country agrees to remain neutral if the other is engaged in a war.

September 1, 1939

Germany invades Poland.

September 3,1939

Britain and France declare war on Germany as World War II begins.

September 17,1939

The Red Army ( Soviet Union) invades Eastern Poland. The secret clause of the Nazi?Soviet Pact becomes public. Independent Poland disappears.

October 12,1939

Poland falls. The Nazi General Govern­ment is established as the Third Reich incorporates, or annexes, Western Poland.

November 23,1939

Polish Jews must wear armbands with yellow Stars of David whenever they are

on the streets.

November 28,1939

Hans Frank, Governor General of occupied Poland, orders the forming of Jewish Councils in major cities. The first ghetto is set up in Piotrkow, Poland.

February 12,1940

The Gestapo begin to take German Jews into “protective custody,” that is, deport them to concentration camps.

April 9, 1940

German armies occupy Denmark and Southern Norway.

April 27,1940

Himmler orders a concentration camp set up at Auschwitz, Poland.

May 10, 1940

Germany invades Holland, Belgium and France.

May 14, 1940

Holland surrenders.

June 29, 1940

France surrenders.

August 1940-December 1941 

Anti-Jewish laws are passed in France, Roumania, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Holland.

November 15, 1940

Warsaw ghetto is sealed by a brick wall, which the Jews are forced to build.

April 6, 1941

German Army invades Greece and Yugoslavia.

June 22, 1941 

Germany invades Eastern Poland, declaring war on the Soviet Union.

June 25, 1941

Einsatzgruppen begin their first “Aktion, ” that is, attack on Jews, in Kaunas, Lithuania. The Einsatzgruppen continued their killing behind the German armies until December 1942. Using guns and gas vans, they murdered an estimated 1.4 million Jews.

July 31, 1941

Goering gives Heydrich a free hand in completing the “Final Solution.”

September 1, 1941

All German Jews must wear a Star of David.

October 10, 1941

A “model ghetto” and concentration camp is established for “privileged Jews” in Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia.

October 14, 1941

Mass deportations of Jews from al I over Europe to concentration camps begins.

December 7, 1941

Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and the U.S. declares war on Japan.

July 22,1942

Germans order that 6,000-10,000 Jews a day be deported from Warsaw. The trains go to Treblinka. Adam Czerniakow, head of the Jewish Council of the Warsaw gheno, commits suicide as the children of the orphanage are sent. By September 13, 1942,300,000 Jews had been sent to Treblinka from Warsaw.

July 28,1942

“Jewish Fighting Organization” (ZOB) is formed in the Warsaw ghetto.


Aktionen, “actions,” take place all over Europe. Millions of Jews are murdered by Einsatzgruppen or sent to the six death camps. Disease is widespread in all the gheKos; 500,000 Jews die between 1940 and 1944 in ghettos. Germans begin a policy of starvation of the Jews in Eastern Europe by keeping food from the gheKos. Mass murders occur regularly throughout Eastern Poland and the Soviet Union.

April 19,1943

Bermuda Conference on Refugees.

British and American officials discuss the possibilities of rescue of Europe’s refugees, rnainly Jews. Although they announce that secret plans are under way, they decide to do nothing. Warsaw GheKo Rebellion begins, led by Mordechai Anielewicz and the ZOB.

May 16, 1943

Warsaw ghetto is burned to the ground; 55,000 Jews are captured and killed or sent to death or labor camps.


Jewish armed resistance in many ghettos: Czestachowa, Vilna, Bialystok, Tuchin, Minsk and others. Jewish prisoners revolt in Sobibor and Treblinka death camps. The camps are destroyed but only 40 of 600 escape at Treblinka and approximately 300 escape from Sobibor. Most are hunted down and killed.

September 20, 1943

Rome is occupied by Germans.

October 2, 1943

Hitler orders the deportation of the Jews of Denmark to Auschw: The Danes organize a massive rescue operation and more than 7,000 Jews are rescued and taken to Sweden. Only 477 Danish Jews were captured by the SS.

March 19, 1944

After their Hungarian ally tries to negotiate for peace with the Allies, the Germans invade and occupy Hungary. This sets the stage for the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.

May 15, 1944

Under the direction of Adolf Eichmann, i Hungarian police and German SS begin to deport the Jews of Hungary even as the Red Army approaches. An estimated 465,000 were sent to Auschwitz by July. Most went directly to gas chambers.

October 31, 1944

Final transport of 14,000 Jews arrives at Auschwitz from Slovakia.

January 1 7, 1945 

As the Red Army approaches, the Ger­ mans order 58,000 prisoners at Auschwitz onto the roads and begin the Death Marches to concentration camps in Germany. About 20,000 people died on the marches.

April 20, 1945

Hitler commits suicide.

May 8, 1945

Germany surrenders.

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