Chronology of Jewish Persecution: 1941
The population of the Warsaw Ghetto swells to 400,000. Jewish residents are limited to 183 calories a day (Germans are allowed 2310 a day; foreigners 1790; Poles 934).
Denied fuel, Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto are freezing to death.
Nazi police break into a house in the Warsaw Ghetto, force the women inside to undress, and prod their breasts and genitals with pistols.
Dutch Jews register with German authorities.
In Romania, Iron Guard Legionnaires launch a coup d'état, during which anti-Jewish violence boils over. Thousands of Jews are beaten and over 120 killed.
The Law for the Defense of the Nation is imposed by Bulgaria, forcing Jews to give up public posts and forcing Jewish doctors, lawyers, and other professionals to forfeit their jobs. Also, a selective tax is imposed on Bulgaria’s Jewish shops and homes.
In the Lódz Ghetto, Bluma Lichtensztajn leaps to her death from a fourth-floor window. Prize-winning Lódz painter Maurycy Trebacz dies of starvation.
On his eighth anniversary as chancellor, Hitler repeats his threat to destroy all of the Jews of Europe.
3000 Jewish deportees, mostly from the Polish town of Pruszków, arrive at the Warsaw Ghetto.
70,000 displaced Polish Jews are forced into the Warsaw Ghetto.
Medical experiments begin.
Poles caught selling food to Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto are automatically sentenced to three years of hard labor. The daily bread ration for Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto is reduced to three ounces a day.
Jews deported to slave-labor camps along the Bug River are put to work draining marshes and building fortifications along the Soviet frontier.
In France, Marcel Déat establishes a collaborationist Fascist party, Rassemblement National Populaire (National People’s Rally).
German General Erwin Rommel is named to command the Afrika Korps in North Africa.
German police who enter an Amsterdam, Holland, ice cream parlor are sprayed with ammonia by a protective device installed by the German-Jewish owners.
SS troops raid the Jewish Quarter in Amsterdam, Holland, in reprisal for the ammonia incident of February 19. About 400 Jews are arrested, beaten, and deported to the concentration camp at Buchenwald, where some are tortured to death. Some will be transferred to the concentration camp at Mauthausen, where most will be tortured and subsequently executed in the camp’s stone quarry.
Tens of thousands of Dutch citizens participate in a general strike in order to protest the deportation of Jews from their country--the only such strike in Europe in reaction to the first deportation of Jews.
German troops occupy Bulgaria.
Ernst Cahn, co-owner of an Amsterdam ice cream parlor in which German troops were sprayed with ammonia on February 19, is executed by a German firing squad.
Thousands of Jews in the Upper Silesia region of Poland are rounded up and put to work in German mines, metallurgy factories, and textile plants. Jews living in many areas of Germany are put to work in similarly compulsory labor.
U.S. Congress passes Lend-Lease Act. The legislation permitted the President to sell or lease materials “to any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.” Under the auspoces of Lend-Lease, Roosevelt begins to aid the Allies. When Germany invades the Soviet Union on June 22, Roosevelt starts arming the Communist nation. In America, the move was extremely unpopular. Roosevelt, who had recognized the Bolshevik government as early as 1933, responded, “Of course we are going to give all the aid we possible can ro Russia.” In Roosevelt’s worldview, the fascism of Germany was a more dangerous threat to national security the the Communism of Stalin. Responding to an anti-Soviet article in Liberty, Roosevelt replied to the editors, “If I were at your desk, I would write an editorial condemning the Russian form of dictatorship equally with the German form of dictatorship — but at the same time, I would make it clear that the immediate menace at this time to the security of the United States lies in the threat of Hitler’s armies...”
Thirteen-year-old Wolf Finkelstein is shot through the heart and lungs by a German sentry in the Lódz Ghetto.
A Belgian collaborationist organization, Amis du Grand Reich Allemand (Friends of the Greater German Reich), is founded.
At Baumann and Berson Children’s Hospital in the Warsaw Ghetto, nurse D. Wagman writes that she is helpless to prevent death.
Vichy France leader Marshal Philippe Pétain authorizes the construction of a Trans-Sahara railway, with labor to be performed by internees composed of Jews, Czechs, Poles, and Spanish Republican soldiers.
Yugoslavia joins the Axis countries.
In France, the antisemitic Commissariat Général aux Questions Juives (General Commission on Jewish Affairs) is established.
:Late March 1941
A ghetto is established at Kielce, Poland. German overseers of the ghetto rename some of the streets. New names are Zion Street, Palestine Street, Jerusalem Street, Moses Street, Non-Kosher Street, and Grynszpan Street.
German troops execute 250 members of a Jewish youth group in Subotica, Yugoslavia, who have been carrying out acts of sabotage.
Hungarian troops and German civilians randomly murder 250 Jews and 250 Serbs in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.
Two Jewish brothers in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, operate a secret Resistance radio.
Many Yugoslavian Jews join anti-Nazi partisans led by Josip Broz (Tito).
A men’s annex is established at the Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Yugoslavian collaborationists led by Vladko Macek establish Hrvatska Zastita (Croat Militia), a paramilitary force.
The first Croatian concentration camp begins operation, at Danica. Four more Croat camps are opened, at Loborgrad, Jadovno, Gradiska, and Djakovo.
A pro-Axis officer clique seizes power in Iraq, and prepares airfields for German use.
Rashid Ali al-Gaylani establishes a pro-Nazi government in Iraq.
Hungarian Premier Count Pál Telecki commits suicide rather than collaborate with Germany.
A proclamation of Croatian independence is issued from Zagreb, Yugoslavia. Jews are beaten and murdered, and the process of interning Jews in concentration camps will soon begin.
German troops enter Belgrade, Yugoslavia; a Jewish tailor who spits on the arriving troops is shot dead. Jewish shops and homes in Belgrade are ransacked by both German soldiers and resident Germans.
Hungarian troops occupy portions of northern Yugoslavia. About 500 Jews and Serbs are shot.
German troops and local Muslims loot and destroy the main synagogue in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
Aron Beckermann becomes the first Jew to be shot by the Germans for resistance in France.
In Warsaw, a Jewish policeman named Ginsberg is bayoneted and shot by German soldiers after asking a soldier to return a sack of potatoes taken from a Jewish woman.
Yugoslavia capitulates to the Germans.
A mentally ill Jewish woman in the Lódz Ghetto complies when a German sentry orders her to dance. Satisfied, the sentry shoots her in the head.
Lublin ghetto sealed.
German troops enter Athens, completing invasion of Greece, rescuing embattled Italian forces beseiged by Greek partisans.
Racial legislation enacted at Zagreb, Croatia, by the pro-German government removes Jews from public office.
Croat law holds that people with just one Jewish parent are protected from deportation.
Thousands of Jews who had fought in the French Foreign Legion against Germany in 1940 are deported to slave-labor camps in the Sahara to build railroads.
120 Jews are slain in the streets during antisemitic violence in Bucharest, Romania.
Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, and businesses in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, are destroyed.
A concentration camp is established at Natzweiler, Alsace, Germany.
Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess makes an unauthorized solo flight from Augsburg, Germany, to Scotland, where he intends to meet with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and negotiate an end to the Anglo-German war. He is captured and imprisoned.
Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto are observed tickling a corpse as they play.
About 4000 Jews are deported from Paris, most to a camp at Pithiviers, France.
Romania passes a law condemning adult Jews to forced labor.
Polish Jews who have traveled by sealed train from the Biala Podlaska Jewish POW camp to Konskowola are murdered after the train’s Nazi overseers discover that four of the POWs have escaped.
French Marshal Petain approves collaboration with Hitler in radio broadcast.
Jews in France are prohibited from wholesale and retail trade, nor can they own banks, hotels, or restaurants.
The Central Office of Emigration in Berlin notifies all German consulates that Hermann Göring has banned emigration of Jews from France and all other occupied territories. The directive quotes Göring’s mention of the “doubtless imminent final solution,” the first official Nazi reference to a scheme for mass extermination of all Jews in Europe.
A collaborationist group, Nederlandse Arbeids Dienst (Dutch Labor Service), is established in Holland.
SS Reich Security Service chief Reinhard Heydrich and Wehrmacht Quartermaster General Eduard Wagner meet to determine how the SS and the Army will carry out their respective tasks in the Soviet Union without hindering each other.
Vichy government revokes civil rights of French Jews in North Africa and decrees many restrictions against them.
“Commissar Barbarossa:” The Commissar Order, issued by the German Army, states that all Soviet officials are to be liquidated.
French priests in the Lyon diocese publicly protest the Vichy government’s anti-Jewish policies.
Special mobile killing squads--Einsatzgruppen--each assigned to a particular area of the Occupied Soviet Union, begin killing Jews on the spot wherever they are found, and often with the help of local antisemites recruited to help. By the spring of 1943, more than a million Jews and an undetermined number of partisans, Gypsies, and officials of the Soviet state and Soviet communist party had been killed. In 1941-1942, some 70,000-80,000 Jews fled eastward, evading the first wave of murder perpetrated by the German invaders.
In the Soviet village of Virbalis, Einsatzgruppen machine-gun all adult Jews and cover the corpses with lime. Local children are seized by the ankles, and their heads are smashed against walls and roads. Many of these children are buried alive.
When 47-year-old Dr. Benjamin From, a Jewish surgeon, refuses to break off an operation on a Christian woman at Lutsk, Ukraine, Germans drag him from the hospital to his home, where he and his family are murdered.
Einsatzgruppe 4a and local Ukrainians kill 2,000 Jews in Lutsk.
The second Nazi occupation of Bialystok occurs. Hundreds of Jews are burned alive in a local synagogue by a German motorized unit.
German troops gathered in a synagogue courtyard in Niéswiez, Poland, beat and shoot exhausted Russian POWs.
Romanian Iron Guard Legionnaires, encouraged by the antisemitic policies of dictator Ion Antonescu, undertake to exterminate Jews in Iasi. Thousands are killed.
Jews of Falesti, Romania, are set out on a forced march eastward.
Hungary enters the war, joining the Axis powers.
In the German-occupied town of Kovno, Lithuania, Lithuanian police and released convicts use iron bars to beat hundreds of Jews to death in the city’s streets. Thousands more Jews are murdered at Kovno, Lithuania, and another 5000 are killed at Brest-Litovsk, Belorussia.
June 19-July 1941
Romanian soldiers and police in Iasi murder at least 260 Jews in their homes. More than 4000 are marched through the streets and beaten, robbed of their currency and jewelry, and sealed inside railcars and sent south. Fewer than half survive the eight-day journey.
Ninety Jews are murdered at Dobromil, Ukraine.
Late June 1941
American radio commentator Father Charles Coughlin celebrates Hitler’s invasion of Russia as “the first strike in the holy war on communism” and attacks “the British-Jewish-Roosevelt war on Germany and Italy.”
In Belorussia, a guerrilla collaborationist organization, Belaruskaya Narodnaya Partizanka (Belorussian National Guerrillas), is established.
In Latvia, Viktor Arajs establishes the Perkonkrusts (Thunder Cross), a collaborationist paramilitary unit.
Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, tells Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz, that Hitler has ordered that the “Jewish question” be solved once and for all and that the SS is to implement that order. Auschwitz is the death camp that is to carry out the greater part of the Jewish extermination. Mass gassings, not shootings, are determined to be the most effective means to exterminate the large numbers of Jews.
Numerous pogroms in occupied Russian territories.
Fourteen thousand Bosnian Jews are deported to regional camps.
British codebreakers monitoring radio traffic coming from German troops in the Soviet Union become aware of Nazi massacres of Soviet Jews.
Two thousand members of Minsk, Belorussia’s intelligentsia are executed by German troops in a nearby forest.
More than 2500 Jews are slaughtered at Zhitomir, Ukraine.
During an Einsatzkommando Aktion (murder operation) at Mielnica, Ukraine, a Jew named Abraham Weintraub hurls himself on a German officer and shatters the officer’s teeth. Weintraub is immediately shot.
In the Bialystok region of Poland, Nazis murder 300 members of the Jewish intelligentsia.
German killing squads begin to murder Jews remaining in Kishinev, Romania.
The Hungarian government undertakes a mass roundup of almost 18,000 Jewish refugees for deportation to Kamenets-Podolski, Ukraine.
Twenty-two-year-old Jew Haya Dzienciolski finds a pistol, leaves Novogrudok, Ukraine, and helps to organize a group of young partisans in nearby forests.
One hundred Jews are murdered at Lyakhovichi, Belorussia.
Hundreds of Jews are killed at Plunge, Lithuania.
After Germans and Ukrainians spread a rumor that Jews had contributed to the execution of Ukrainian political prisoners, rioting erupts in Lvov, Ukraine. Hundreds of Jews are exterminated by the Nachtigall battalion, a Ukrainian militia directed by the Gestapo.
In the Ukrainian town of Koritz, Nazi troops murder Jews and prepare three burial pits, one each for men, women, and children. For sport, a man’s corpse is propped atop one of the pits, in which some Jews have been buried alive.
July 1-August 31, 1941
Antiracist riots in Lvov in which Ukrainian nationalists take part.
Eight hundred Jews are killed at Novo Selista, Ukraine, and hundreds more perish at Kamenka and Stryj, Ukraine.
German cavalry unit on patrol in Lubieszow, Volhynia, Ukraine, murders Jewish resisters.
One hundred Jews are murdered at Bialystok, Poland.
In the Ukraine, 3500 Jews are killed at Zloczow and hundreds die at Drohobycz.
Fifty Jews in Novogroduk, Belorussia, who volunteer for a German-organized Jewish council, “disappear.” Another 50, selected at random, are shot in the town square to the accompaniment of music played by a German band.
Soviet leader Joseph Stalin orders the establishment of partisan units to harass German troops in occupied Soviet territory.
Vilna Judenrat established.
Two thousand Jews from Lutsk, Ukraine, are transported to the Lubard Fortress and killed.
Germans order Lithuanian militiamen to murder 416 Jewish men and 47 Jewish women at the Seventh Fort.
Five thousand Jews are killed in Ternopol, Ukraine.
In the Ukraine, 3000 Jews are murdered at Chernovtsy; 600 are killed at Skalat.
Two thousand Jews are murdered at the Seventh Fort by Lithuanian militiamen.
Two thousand Jews are murdered at Khotin, Ukraine.
In France, a collaborationist military force, Légion des Volontaires Français (French Volunteer Legion), is established.
Thirty-two Jews are killed in Mariampole, Lithuania.
Jews in the Baltic states are forced to wear a distinguishing Jewish badge. Within months the Germans and local antisemites will murder most of the Baltic countries’ Jewish population of one-quarter million.
Hundreds of Jews are killed at Noua Sulita, Romania.
Executions of Jews begin at Ponary, Lithuania.
All 1600 Jewish residents of the Polish town of Jedwabne are accosted by their Polish neighbors, and by peasants from outlying areas, and are marched to the central market. In a day-long ordeal, the Jews are tortured and subsequently herded into a barn, which is set ablaze with kerosene. The massacre is not carried out by the Germans, who maintain only a token presence in Jedwabne on this day.
Smolensk captured. Becomes the headquarters of the German Army Group Center. 300,000 Soviet trops are taken prisoner.
Twelve hundred Jews are murdered at Slonim, Belorussia.
Thousands of Jews are murdered at Kishinev, Romania.
Minsk ghetto established in German-occupied Soviet territories, and by July 25, all Jews in the area were concentrated in the ghetto.
Belorussians are ordered to bury Jews alive. When they refuse, Jewish and non-Jewish Belorussians alike are murdered by Einsatzkommandos.
A concentration camp opens at Majdanek, Poland.
France’s Vichy government begins expropriation of Jewish businesses.
Kishinev ghetto established —10,000 Jews dead.
Pogrom in Lvov.
In five separate incidents, Jews in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, throw gasoline bombs at Nazi cars.
Local Ukrainians at Lvov seize thousands of Jewish men and women and beat to death at least 2000. The killings are retribution for the 1926 murder of a Ukrainian antisemitic leader, Simon Petliura, by Shalom Schwarzbard, a Jew.
Germans take 1200 Jews from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, to a camp at Tasmajdan, where every tenth captive is shot.
In Holland, a collaborationist military force with ties to the SS, Freiwillingen Legion Niederlander (Dutch Volunteer Legion), is established.
The clothing of Jews murdered in Ponas, Ukraine, is sold by the Ukrainian and Nazi killers.
Local police and militiamen, acting with the acquiescence of SS troops at the prison at Drogobych, Ukraine, use guns, clubs, and fists to slaughter hundreds of Jews. The streets are choked with badly injured fleeing Jews and mangled corpses.
German occupation troops in and around Belgrade, Yugoslavia, execute 122 Communists and Jews for resistance.
Forty mental patients from Lódz, Poland, are taken from a hospital and executed in a nearby forest.
Hermann Göring instructs SS Reich Security Service chief Reinhard Heydrich by letter to evacuate and eliminate all European Jews presently in German-held territory. The letter mentions a a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe. Beginning of the Final Solution (a euphemism for the mass murder of the Jewish population of Europe).
Late July 1941
Germans establish a Jewish ghetto at Dvinsk, Latvia.
Tens of thousands of Jews are murdered throughout the western Soviet Union, Lithuania, Romania, and Latvia. The killers are German Einsatzgruppen, Romanian troops and militia, Ukrainian peasants, and Lithuanian civilians.
Following the German slaughter of Jews at Cesis, Latvia, German troops and security police celebrate with a Totenmahl (“death banquet”).
In Belgium, a collaborationist military organization, Legion Wallonie (Wallonian Legion), is established.
German troops in Slobodka, Ukraine, fill the local synagogue with dead cats and force Jews to tear up the Torah scrolls and scatter the pieces atop the dead animals. The Nazi troops then set fire to the building.
Father Bernhard Lichtenberg, dean of St. Hedwig’s Cathedral in Berlin, denounces the so-called euthanasia program. In late October he declares that he wants to share the Jews’ fate of deportation to the East so that he can continue to pray for them there. He is subsequently denounced to the Gestapo and arrested.
United States Senator Gerald Nye denounces the “Yiddish controllers” of American theater and movies. U.S. Senator Burton Wheeler attacks Jews in the movie business as “Hollywood Hitlers.” U.S. Senator Champ Clark sponsors an investigation into Hollywood’s “unpatriotic” Jewish filmmakers. (Unpatriotic because their films advocate involvement in the European war.) Other congressmen express antisemitism. Many Americans agree with these sentiments. Many Americans also believe that should the United States go to war, it must be against the Soviet Union, not against Germany.
Hundreds of Jews die during death marches from Bessarukiato, Bessarabia, to the Dniester River.
Ghettos established in Bialystok and Lvov.
More than 1000 Jews are killed by an Einsatzkommando at Kishinev, Romania.
Shmuel Verble, chairman of the Jewish Council in the Ukrainian village of Kamien Koszyrski, volunteers for death after discovering an execution list with the names of 80 ghetto residents.
Four thousand Jews are killed by about 80 drunken Germans at Ponary, Lithuania.
An American Jewish woman is among the approximately 200 Jews killed at Kovno, Lithuania.
Twelve hundred Jews are arrested by the local Einsatzgruppen at Chernovtsy, Romania; 682 are executed by German and Romanian police.
Fifteen hundred Jews are murdered at Mitau, Latvia.
Several hundred Jewish professionals are shot at Stanislawów, Ukraine.
Eleven thousand Jews are murdered in the Polish city of Pinsk.
In Belgium, a collaborationist military unit, Legion Vlaandern (Flanders Legion), is established.
Thousands of Jews from Dvinsk, Latvia, are transported to the Pogulanka Forest and murdered.
All residents of the Jewish community of Lesko, Poland, are transported to Zaslaw, Poland, and executed.
At the Kovno, Lithuania, suburb of Viliampole, the last of Kovno’s 26,000 surviving Jews arrive. Each is allotted three square feet of living space.
A Jewish ghetto is established at Riga, Latvia.
Heinrich Lohse, Reich commissioner for Eastern Territories of the Ostland (Eastern Europe) region, decrees that Jews must wear two yellow badges, one on the chest and one on the back; that Jews cannot own automobiles or radios; and that their presence in public places will be severely proscribed.
Einsatzkommando 8 as well as local collaborators in Mogilev, Belorussia, kill more than 3000 Jews.
About 4300 Jews are sent from Paris to Drancy, a transit camp in France. These are the first of 70,000 Jews who will be deported to Drancy and then to extermination camps, primarily Auschwitz-Birkenau.
A concentration camp begins operations at Jasenovac, Croatia.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill broadcasts to the British public that “scores of thousands” of executions of civilians are being perpetrated by German troops in the Soviet Union. In order not to reveal that British Intelligence has cracked the German radio code, Churchill makes no specific mention of the plight of Jews in the Soviet Union or elsewhere in Occupied Europe.
Eighty-six-year-old Dr. Jacob Wigodsky, longtime leader of the Jews of Vilna, Lithuania, is arrested and imprisoned. He will be executed a week later at Ponary, Lithuania.
German military and civilian authorities meet at Vinnitsa, Ukraine, to discuss the fate of about 20,000 Hungarian Jews impressed into forced labor and interned at Kamenets-Podolski, Ukraine. Lt. General Friedrich Jeckeln announces that all 20,000 will be liquidated by September 1.
Fifteen hundred Jews are murdered at Tykocin, Poland.
In Yugoslavia, 8000 Jewish residents of Belgrade are transported to Topovske Supe, where they are murdered.
Nearly 25,000 Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers are shot to death in bomb craters near Kamenets-Podolski, Ukraine.
A Jewish butcher, one of 2000 Jews forced into a ditch at Kédainiai, Lithuania, resists by inflicting a fatal bite upon the throat of one of the Einsatzkommando soldiers. The butcher and the other Jews are immediately shot.
Thousands of Jews are murdered at Czyzewo-Szlachecki, Poland.
At Kedainiai, Lithuania, the entire Jewish population is murdered.
More than 3600 Jewish men, women, and children are taken from Vilna, Lithuania, to nearby Ponary, where they are shot as retribution for the partisan ambush of a German patrol.
Janówska, a labor and extermination camp near Lvov in Ukraine opens.
The Germans open an exposition in Paris called “The Jew and France.” Visitors see sculptures and paintings of hideous mythical Jews, Jews allegedly cursed to wander the world forever because of their supposed attack on Jesus Christ, and Jews allegedly out to control the world. Other exhibits portray the Jew as a repulsive monster destroying France. In the first few days, more than 100,000 Parisians visit the exhibit.
Romanians and Germans force nearly 150,000 Jews into death marches to internment camps in Bessarabia, Ukraine. Many die of beatings, random shootings, fatigue, hunger, thirst, exposure, and disease.
A nine-block section of Auschwitz is turned into a camp for Soviet POWs.
Chemists and mechanics at the RSHA (Reich Security Main Office) Criminal Technical Institute develop an execution van with engine exhaust directed to the sealed rear-cargo area.
All Jews age six and older in Slovakia, Bohemia, and Moravia are ordered to wear Yellow Stars, effective September 19, and to suspend all business activity.
Ukrainian nationalist Ulas Samchuk, editor of the newspaper Volhyn, writes that Jews and Poles “must disappear completely from our cities.”
Because of Christian-German protests, Hitler suspends the “euthanasia” program. The program will continue unofficially, however.
Six hundred Soviet prisoners of war and 300 Jews are “euthanized” at Auschwitz.
Six Jews who refuse to serve on the Jewish Council at Dubossary, Ukraine, are publicly hanged. Later, 600 elderly Jews are driven into Dubossary’s eight synagogues and burned alive when the synagogues are set ablaze.
Jewish Resistance members based in Dubossary, Ukraine, and led by Yakov Guzanyatskii assassinate a German commander named Kraft. Another group blows up a large store of German arms.
The Vilna Ghetto is created with a population of 40,000 Jews. The Germans also establish a “working ghetto” at Vilna, Lithuania. German and Lithuanian units kill tens of thousands of Jews in the nearby Ponary woods.
British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden notes that “if we must have preferences, let me murmur in your ear that I prefer Arabs to Jews.”
Leningrad encircled by Army Group North. The 900-day siege begins.
Hitler proclaims, “Leningrad will be starved into submission.”
German General Wilhelm Keitel exhorts his commanders in the East to be “ruthless” in their treatment of Jews.
3434 Jews are taken from Vilna, Lithuania, to nearby Ponary and executed.
Suspicious that the Allies may be decoding its radio messages, Berlin orders German commanders in the Soviet Union to send future reports of Nazi executions of Jews and other Soviet civilians by courier instead of radio.
Charles and Anne Lindbergh, members of the America First Committee, attend a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, at which Lindbergh blames the Jews for “agitating for war...for reasons that are not American....Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government.”
150,000 Jews deported to Transnistria; 90,000 die.
All Jews over the age of six in Germany have to wear a yellow Star of David in public at all times.
Eighteen thousand Jews are murdered at Berdichev, Ukraine.
All 24,000 Jews of Uman, Ukraine, are assembled at the town's airport and murdered by German troops.
A general deportation of German Jews begins.
German troops capture Kiev. Zhitomir ghetto liquidated —10,000 killed.
As per the Nazi decree of September 1, 1941, the Jews of Slovakia, Bohemia, and Moravia are required to wear identifying Yellow Stars.
Several thousand Jews, mostly women and children from Kovno, Lithuania, are executed at the local synagogue after being held there for three days.
Policemen in Kiev, Ukraine, adopt armbands identifying the wearer as a member of the Nazi-sponsored Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.
All Jews of Litin, Ukraine, are murdered.
SS-trained Ukrainian militiamen massacre 28,000 Jews at Vinnitsa, Ukraine.
Nearly 500 Jews escape from Ejszyszki, Lithuania, after being alerted to an impending Nazi sweep.
Gassing tests are conducted at Auschwitz.
3500 Jews unable to escape from Ejszyszki, Lithuania, are locked in a synagogue and then moved to a cattle market, where they are denied food and water.
Soviet troops in Kiev, Ukraine, booby-trap two hotels, the post office, a radio station, and other major buildings, which are exploded via wireless radio after German troops have settled in. About 1000 Germans are killed. The Germans immediately plot a reprisal.
Jews of Swieciany, Lithuania, are massacred in the nearby Polygon Woods. Several hundred young Jewish men manage to escape.
Heydrich made Protector of Bohemia and Moravia.
More than 3200 Jews of Ejszyszki, Lithuania, are executed at pits on the outskirts of the city.
Jews at Kiev, Ukraine, are ordered to assemble for “resettlement.”
As a reprisal for the September 24 booby-trap deaths of German troops at the hands of Soviet soldiers in Kiev, Ukraine, 33,771 Jews are shot to death in a ravine at Babi Yar, Ukraine. The massacre is masterminded by Sonderkommando 4a commander Paul Blobel. In the coming months, German units shot thousands of Jews, Gypsies and Soviet prisoners of war at Babi Yar.
SS murders of Soviet Jews escalate as German troops push east toward Moscow. 48,000 are killed at Odessa, Ukraine, and at Kiev, Ukraine.
More than 20,000 Jews are executed in the former eastern provinces of Poland.
The German government prohibits further Jewish emigration from Germany.
At the Auschwitz camp, SS officer Arthur Johann Breitwieser takes note when a comrade is rendered unconscious after accidental exposure to a disinfectant called Zyklon B. A gaseous variant of the compound will eventually be used to kill millions of Jews.
Einsatzgruppen members gather Jews of the Baltic port of Libau and machine-gun them at the local naval base.
Germans drown 30 Jewish children in clay pits near Okopowa Street in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Early October 1941
Seventy children in the Warsaw Ghetto are found frozen to death outside destroyed houses following the season’s first snowfall.
October 1-December 22, 1941
33,500 Jews are killed in Vilna, Lithuania.
On this Jewish Day of Atonement, Jews are taken from the ghetto at Podborodz, Ukraine, and killed.
A Nazi raid on the Jewish ghetto at Vilna, Lithuania, leaves 3000 dead at nearby Ponary. One victim, Serna Morgenstern, is shot in the back by an SS officer after he complimented her beauty and told her she was free to go.
Forced labor for the Jews in the Reich.
Fifteen hundred Jews from Kovno, Lithuania, are transported to the Ninth Fort and murdered. In Kovno proper, Nazis lock the Jewish hospital and set it ablaze, incinerating all inside.
The majority of Jews in Dvinsk, Latvia, are murdered.
Vitebsk ghetto liquidated; more than 16,000 Jews killed.
Hans Frank, governor-general of Occupied Poland, tells ministers of the German Generalgouvernement that Jews “must be done away with one way or another.”
Ghetto in Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia established.
Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau, commander of the German Sixth Army, issues a directive emphasizing the need for harsh treatment of “Jewish subhumanity.”
Thousands of Slovak Jews are sent to labor camps at Sered, Vyhne, and Nováky.
Slovak, Bohemian, and Moravian Jews are forced from their homes and into ghettos.
Jews of Czernowitz, Romania, ghettoized.
Thousands of Jews are murdered at Edineti, Romania.
Germans reach outskirts of Moscow.
Following the extermination by Gestapo agents and Ukrainian militia of 10,000 to 12,000 Jews at burial pits outside of Stanislawów, Ukraine, German perpetrators throw a “Bloody Sunday” victory celebration.
At Sabac, Yugoslavia, hundreds of Gypsies are murdered.
Three thousand Jews are killed at Sheparovtse, Ukraine.
Fifteen thousand Jews are murdered at Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.
Orders for deportation of German Jews from Germany as defined by its 1933 borders.
German Jews are deported to the Lódz Ghetto.
German authorities in Poland decree that any Jew found outside a designated ghetto will be shot. Further, any non-Jewish Pole who aids a Jew will be executed.
German authorities begin the deportation of Jews from the German Reich to the ghettos of Lodz, Riga and Minsk.
German and Romanian forces occupy Odessa, Ukraine.
Three days after the German murder of 15,000 Jewish residents of Dnepropetrtovsk, Ukraine, an additional 5000 Jews are executed in the town.
October 16-November 4, 1941
Mass executions of Soviet Jews in Borisov, Belorussia, 50 miles east of Minsk, Belorussia, are carried out by an Einsatzkommando following a night of celebration by German troops.
Soviet authorities declare a state of siege in Moscow.
673,000 Red Army soldiers are captured. German forces roll on at top speed towards Moscow.
Residents of the Jewish community at Koidanov, Belorussia, are murdered.
Thousands of Jews are murdered at Kraljevo, Yugoslavia.
Sixty-six German enlisted men and officers, and 17 Romanian officers, are killed when the Romanian headquarters in Odessa, Ukraine, explodes. Three hours later, Jews and Communists are hanged in the central square. The next day, 5000 Jews and other civilians are seized and shot.
Prohibition against the emigration of Jews.
Thousands of Jews are murdered at Kragujevac, Yugoslavia.
Massacre of Jews in Odessa (34,000 victims).
Sixteen thousand Odessa, Ukraine, Jews are force-marched out of the city toward Dalnik, where they are bound together in groups of 40 to 50 and shot, at first in the open and later through holes drilled in the walls of warehouses. Three of these structures are set ablaze and a fourth is exploded by artillery fire.
Jews at Tatarsk in Soviet Russia revolt against murderous peasants and SS kill squads. The rebellion is put down by regular German Army units, artillery, and air power. All Jews in Tatarsk are murdered.
SS officer Viktor Brack, a member of Hitler’s Chancellery, concocts a poison-gas program with which to address the “Jewish question.” Brack’s notion is supported by Alfred Wetzel, of the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, and by SS functionary Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann approves plan for use of mobile gas vans.
Pigeon-keepers at Kiev, Ukraine, are executed on the assumption that the birds could be used to carry messages.
Germans inform Jews of Kalisz, Poland, that elderly Jews in convalescent homes are to be moved to another home the next day.
A black van that stops at the Jewish old people’s home in Kalisz, Poland, is loaded with elderly and driven off. The van is specially outfitted to route carbon monoxide into the cargo are.
Soviet counter-attack around Moscow begins.
Jews of Sluzk, 60 miles south of Minsk, Belorussia, are annihilated by Einsatzkommando troops, half of whom are German, half Lithuanian.
Massacre of Jews in Kiev, Ukraine (34,000 victims).
More elderly Jews from a convalescent home in Kalisz, Poland, are taken away in gassing vans.
27,000 Jews assembled in Demakratu (Democracy) Square in Kovno, Lithuania, must pass before an SS officer named Rauca, who signals life or death for each. 9200 of the Jews-- 4300 of them children--are sent to their deaths at pits at the nearby Ninth Fort. This became known as the “Great Action.”
Bratislava Jews expelled to rural Slovakia.
Four thousand Jews are murdered at Nesvizh, Belorussia.
A 12-year-old boy who escapes the Ninth Fort massacre of October 28 returns to the Kovno Ghetto and reveals what happened.
Einsatzgruppen mass killings of Jews all over Southern Russia.
SS functionaries begin preparations for Einsatz Reinhard (Operation Reinhard or Aktion Reinhard), with the goal of murdering the Jews in the General Government. Preparations include construction of the killing centers at Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka in the territory of the General Government.
More than 15,000 Serbian Jews deported to a concentration camp at Sajmiste, Yugoslavia, are later killed in mobile gassing units disguised as Red Cross vans.
A Jewish ghetto is established at Brest-Litovsk, Belorussia.
Thousands of German-Jewish deportees arrive in Minsk, Belorussia.
Newspapers in London and New York report Nazi murders of 52,000 Jews in Kiev, Ukraine.
Construction of an extermination center begins at Belzec, Poland.
A Jewish ghetto at Grodno, Belorussia, is established.
A Nazi-sanctioned concentration camp opens at Hadjerat-M’Guil, North Africa.
Seventeen thousand Jews are killed outside Rovno, Ukraine.
Massacre of Jews in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania (15,000 victims).
Popular German film star Joachim Gottschalk kills his family and himself rather than submit to the deportation and probable deaths of his Jewish wife and child.
Twelve thousand Jews are transported from Minsk, Belorussia, to burial pits in the nearby Tuchinka Forest and murdered.
In Bobruisk, Belorussia, 20,000 Jews are executed.
More than 17,000 Jews are forced from Rovno, Ukraine, and murdered at burial pits in the Sosenki Forest, outside of town.
Close to 5000 Jews are killed in Pogulanka, outside Dvinsk, Latvia.
A Jewish ghetto at Lvov, Ukraine, is established.
Warsaw diarist Chaim Kaplan writes that his wife has been stricken with typhus.
Nine thousand Jews from Slonim, Belorussia, are murdered at Czepielow.
Germany is forced to halt outside Moscow due to sub-sero temperatures.
Eight Warsaw Jews, including six women, are executed for leaving the ghetto without permission. The executioners, pressed into service, are Polish policemen.
Friedrich Mennecke, the head of the Eichberg State Mental Hospital and a doctor in the Euthanasia Program, conducts a selection among the women prisoners at Ravensbrück. Over the next two months Mennecke determines that about 850 prisoners are too weak or ill to work. He orders their killing as part of an operation codenamed 14f13.
Approximately 7000 Jews from Minsk, Belorussia, are killed at nearby Tuchinka.
Thirty thousand Jews are killed at Odessa, Ukraine.
A large “model ghetto”/concentration camp is established at Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, 35 miles from Prague. To prepare for the imminent arrival of inmates, 342 young Jewish men from Prague are brought in as forced laborers.
Declaration pertaining to the collection of Jewish assets through deportations.
Auschwitz II (Auschwitz-Birkenau) is established. The camp was originally designated for the incarceration of large numbers of Soviet prisoners of war but was later used as a killing center.
The first of 19 deportation trains leaves Germany for Riga, Latvia. In the Riga Ghetto, more than 10,600 Jews are rounded up and shot in the nearby Rumbula Forest.
Hitler entertains Hajj Amin al-Husseini. The grand mufti of Jerusalem pledges to cooperate in the extermination of the Jews and offers to enlist Arabs to fight for Germany.
30,000 Riga Jews arrested, subsequently shot at Rumbuli.
Generalplan Ost (General Plan for the East), directed by SS chief Heinrich Himmler, proposes the deportation of 31 million non-Germans in the conquered Eastern Territories to create Lebensraum (“Living space”) for German colonists.
The German Ministry of Occupied Eastern Territories decrees that the destruction of Jews shall continue irrespective of economic considerations; i.e., the allure of unpaid Jewish labor will be ignored.
During the murder of 5000 Jews at Novogrudok, Belorussia, 200 Jews resist and kill 20 Nazis before being gunned down.
Ten thousand Jews deported from Odessa, Ukraine, are murdered at camps at Acmecetka, Bogdanovka, and Domanevka, Romania.
Mass murders of Jews in the Ukraine and Volhynia region of Poland are slowed when the frozen ground prevents the digging of execution pits.
Fur coats belonging to Jews in eastern Germany are confiscated by the Nazis. They’ll be used by German soldiers on the Eastern Front.
The Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica, published in Rome under strict Vatican supervision, reminds Catholics that the Jews are supposedly those primarily responsible for murdering God and that the Jews repeat this crime by means of ritual murder “in every generation.”
SS Colonel Karl Jäger, commander of Einsatzkommando 3 (a subunit of Einsatzgruppe A), reports to Berlin that 85 percent of Lithuanian Jewry (136,442 Jews) had been destroyed since June 1941.
Germany retreats from Moscow.
Seven thousand Jews from Novogrudok, Belorussia, are forced to stand all day and night in frigid temperatures outside the municipal courthouse. Five thousand are taken away to their deaths on the 6th; the remaining 2000 are impressed into forced labor at suburban Pereshike.
The Soviets mount a million-man counteroffensive outside of Moscow.
Carrier-based Japanese aircraft attack American naval bases in the Pacific, with heavy assaults against Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as well as Clark Field in the Philippines. President Roosevelt declares war on Japan.
The Nazis begin gas-van extermination operations at the Chelmno death camp; by April 1943, 360,000 Jews had been murdered there.
25,000 Latvian Jews are taken from the Riga Ghetto and murdered in the Rumbula Forest. Among the victims is a preeminent Jewish historian, 81-year-old Simon Dubnow.
The United States, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand declare war on Japan. News of America’s involvement in the war cheers many European Jews, who believe rescue will come soon.
Four thousand Jews of Novogrudok, Belorussia, are killed.
The Nazis gas Jews at a forest near Chelmno, Poland, one of six Nazi killing centers. On the 8th alone, 2300 Jews are killed this way. Seven hundred victims are from Kolo, Poland. Situated in Polish territory annexed by Germany, Chelmno closed in March 1943 and resumed its killing operations during two months in the early summer of 1944. SS and German civilian officials killed at least 152,000 Jews and an undetermined number of Gypsies and Poles at Chelmno using special mobile gas vans.
China declares war on Germany and Japan.
Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. Germany, Italy, and Japan agree that none will pursue a separate peace.
The United States declares war on Germany and Italy, which provides hope to Europe’s Jews. The U.S. will concentrate nearly 90 percent of its military resources within the European Theater, to defeat the Nazis.
A Jewish ghetto is established at Lutsk, Ukraine.
More than 14,000 Jews are murdered by Einsatzkommandos in Simferopol, Ukraine.
The last six Jews living in Warendorf, Germany, are deported to Riga, Latvia, and killed.
A Jewish ghetto at Kharkov, Ukraine, is established.
In the Warsaw Ghetto, a German policeman opens fire on a Jewish funeral procession, killing two mourners and wounding five other people.
On this first day of Chanukah, 15 Jews are shot to death in the courtyard of the Warsaw Ghetto prison.
Latvian gentiles Yanis Lipke and Janis Briedys are able to smuggle ten Jews out of the Riga Ghetto. Lipke plans to construct a Jewish hiding place beneath his home.
Hitler appoints himself supreme commander of the German Armed Forces.
Hans Frank, governor-general of Occupied Poland, notes in his diary that some 3,500,000 Jews live in the region under his control.
A Jewish physician named Dubski dies of spotted typhus while treating patients at a Gypsy camp near the Lódz Ghetto.
Nazis display the corpses of several thousand Soviet prisoners of war on a road in Minsk, Belorussia.
More than 40,000 Jews are murdered at Bogdanovka in the Transnistria region of Romania.
33,500 of 57,000 Jews in Vilna already murdered.
The United States passes amendments to the Selective Service Act, making men ages 20 to 44 eligible for military service.
A Jewish physician from Prague, Czechoslovakia, Dr. Karol Boetim, dies of spotted typhus while treating patients at a Gypsy camp near the Lódz Ghetto.
Massacre of Jews in Simferopol in the Crimea (10,000 victims).
Abba Kovner, the founder of the United Partisans Organization in Vilna, Lithuania, calls for armed Jewish resistance to the Nazis, proclaiming, “We must not go like sheep to the slaughter!”
December 1941-January 1942
Six hundred Soviet prisoners of war are murdered in a gas-chamber experiment at Auschwitz.
Sixteen thousand Jews are rounded up in Germany and deported to the Riga (Latvia) Ghetto.
1941: Other important events
Maximilian Kolbe, a Roman Catholic priest interned at the Auschwitz eath camp and who volunteered to take the place of a condemned non-Jewish inmate, dies of a phenol injection.
The first issue of Sztandar Wolnosci (Banner of Freedom), a Polish-language publication of the Jewish Resistance in Vilna, Lithuania, is published.
In Holland, a collaborationist auxiliary police force, Landwacht (Home Guard), is established.