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Holocaust Chronology of 1936

February 4

Wilhelm Gustloff, leader of the Nazi Party in Switzerland, is assasinated by David Frankfurter, a Swiss Jewish student, in protest of the persecution of German Jews.

February 10

The German Gestapo is placed above the law.

February 29

August Cardinal Hlond, the head of the Polish Catholic Church, considered less antisemitic than many Polish clergy and a careful follower of Vatican policy, issues a pastoral letter advocating discrimination against Polish Jews “so long as they remain Jews.”" He writes that Polish Catholics “ought to fence themselves off against the Jews’ harmful moral influence of Jewry” and “ought to separate themselves from its anti-Christian culture.” He states that Polish Catholics “ought to boycott the Jewish press” and other “demoralizing Jewish publications,” although “Catholics should not assault Jews.”

March 1936

The SS creates the Deathshead division to guard concentration camps.

Anti-Jewish pogroms occur in Poland. Polish Cardinal Hlond speaks out against Jewish “usury, fraud, and white slavery.”

March 3

Jewish doctors prohibited from practicing in German public health institutions.

March 7

In defiance of the Versailles Treaty and other international agreements, German troops occupy the Rhineland. Although publicly denouncing Hitler’s action, France, Great Britain, and the United States accept it--another important step in appeasing Hitler and in encouraging him to make further demands in Europe.

March 9

Jews are killed and injured during anti-semitic riots in Przytyk, Poland.

March 17

Mass demonstrations of Jews and left-wing and liberal Poles protesting the anti-Jewish riots in Poland.

March 29

SS guard formations are renamed SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-Death’s Head Units). They provide guards for concentration camps.

A Reichstag “election” is held. Hitler’s policies are approved by 98 percent of the voters.

April 1936

French conservatives condemn French Socialist leader Léon Blum because of his Jewish ancestry and his strongly anti-Nazi orientation. A popular slogan at the time condemns the future French premier: “Better Hitler than Blum.”

April 15

Two Jews are murdered during an Arab general strike in Palestine in protest against Jewish immigration.

April 19

Arabs kill nine Jews in Jaffa, Palestine.

April 21

Arabs in the Palestine cities of Tel Aviv and Jaffa riot to protest Jewish immigration to Palestine.

May 2

Italian army conquers Addis Ababa.

May 5

Ethiopia surrenders.

June 17

Heinrich Himmler is appointed Chief of the German Police.

June 19

German heavyweight boxer Max Schmeling, a former world champion, defeats promising African-American heavyweight Joe Louis. Hitler turns the fight into a propaganda victory for Aryan superiority.

June 26

Reinhard Heydrich is appointed by Heinrich Himmler to head the SD (Security Service branch of the SS).

June 30

Polish Jews strike in protest against anti-Semitism.

July 3

German Jew Stefan Lux kills himself in the assembly room of the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The suicide is in protest of Germany’s persecution of Jews.

July 12

Prisoners and civilian workers began construction of the concentration camp Sachsenhausen at Oranienburg near Berlin. By September, German authorities had imprisoned about 1,000 people in the camp.

July 17

Civil War erupts in Spain between General Francisco Franco’s Nationals and the Republicans of the government. Three years of bloody battles and changing fortunes for both sides ensue, with Franco claiming victory on April 1, 1939.

July 26

German and Italian military involvement in Spain begins.

August 1936

Poland’s Ministry of Commerce orders all small businesses to display the owners’ names as the names appear on the birth certificates. The directive is intended to expose Jewish-owned businesses.

August 1

Opening of the Olympic Games in Berlin. Anti-Semitic posters were temporarily removed.

August 1-16

The Summer Olympic Games are held in Berlin, allowing the world its first (stage-managed) look at the Third Reich. The Olympic Games were a propoganda success for the Nazi state. The Nazis made every effort to portray Germany as a respectable member of the international community and soft-pedaled their persecution of the Jews. The Germans disguise any outward signs of antisemitism by removing anti-Jewish signs from public display restrained anti-Jewish activities. In response to pressure from foreign Olympic delegations, Germany also included Jews or part-Jews on its Olympic team. Avery Brundage, head of the United States National Olympic Committee, successfully fights against an American boycott of the Berlin Olympics, insisting that the Olympic boycott lobby is led by Jewish “special interests.” Once in Germany, Brundage is entertained by top Nazi official Hermann Göring.

September 7

A 25-percent tax is imposed on all Jewish assets in Germany.

September 23

A concentration camp opens at Sachsenhausen, Germany.

October 1

Criminal-court judges in Berlin swear a mandatory oath of allegiance to Hitler.

October 25

Hitler and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini sign a treaty forming the Berlin-Rome Axis in preparation for war.

November 18

Germany’s volunteer Condor Legion leaves for combat in Spain, on the side of Francisco Franco’s Fascists.

November 25

Germany and Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact in order to block Soviet activities abroad.

November 27

Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels declares that film criticism is henceforth banned, freeing the Nazi-controlled German film industry to pursue its own agenda, which includes blatantly antisemitic films.

During the same period in the United States, Hollywood is self-censored in that it fears dealing with Jewish issues because of the high level of antisemitism existing at the time in the United States.

November 29

Germany’s Minister of Agriculture, Walther Darré, declares that democracy and liberalism were invented by the Jews.

December 27

Great Britain and France agree on a non-intervention appeasement policy in regard to the Spanish Civil War.

1936: Other important events

A leading Jewish-German jurist, Gerhard Leibholz, is stripped of his position at the University of Göttingen.

The first Lebensborn home for expectant Aryan mothers opens near Munich.

The Institut der NSDAP zum Studium der Judenfrage (Institute of the NSDAP to Study the Jewish Question) is founded by Joseph Goebbels.

The first issue of Forschungen zur Judenfrage (Research into the Jewish Question), a magazine devoted to the quasi-scholarly exposition of Nazi racial ideology, is published.

The Nazis establish public television viewing rooms for the dissemination of government propaganda.

Romania’s Iron Guard explodes a bomb in a Jewish theater in Timisoara, Romania, killing two Jews.

The America-based German-American Bund funnels currency to the Reich.

Following the same anti-Jewish path as German Lutherans during the Nazi regime, America’s foremost Protestant journal, Christian Century, argues that America is a Christian nation with a Christian culture and has to remain that way. Christians are indifferent to Jewish suffering because the Jews deserve God’s punishment due to their denial of Jesus. Judaism is a racial, religious, and nationalist prototype of Nazism. These attitudes are reflected in much of the American Protestant press during the Holocaust.

Sources: Various books and chronologies related to World War II and the Holocaust Memorial Center
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