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Holocaust Chronology of 1937

January 1937

Start of the Aryanization of the economy — Jewish owners forced, without legal basis, to sell their businesses, in most cases considerably below the value of their goods.

January 1

The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle (VOMI; Ethnic German Assistance Office) is founded to act as an intermediary between Berlin and ethnic Germans (from nations other than Germany) who are to be resettled in Eastern Europe.

January 26

Jews prohibited from working in any office in Germany.

February 16-22

Herman Goering visits Poland to strengthen relations between Nazi Germany and Poland.

March 1937

Jewish film star Paul Muni receives an Academy Award for playing the title role in The Life of Emile Zola. Although the film deals with French antisemitism, the dialogue never mentions the word “Jew.”

March 14

Pope Pius XI issues an encyclical, “Mit brennender Sorge” (“With Burning Concern”), repudiating Nazi racism and totalitarianism. Pius XI respectfully chastises the Nazis for violating their concordat with the Church by attempting to control Catholic education. The wording of the encyclical implies that Pius is seeking a rapprochement with the Third Reich. The Pope does not denounce widespread German-Christian antisemitism. Indeed, Pius reminds his readers of the Jews’ crime of deicide.

March 15

Anti-Nazi rally by Joint Boycott Council is held in New York. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, whose mother was Jewish, condemns Nazism.

Spring 1937

Without justification, Jewish merchants in Germany lose their businesses.

April 24

Pastor Martin Niemöller, one of the foremost leaders of the German opposition forces to Hitler, preaches that it is unfortunate that God permitted Jesus to be born a Jew.

May 1

With the Neutrality Act of 1935 set to expire, the United States Congress resolves to enact futher neutrality legislation. The Neutrality Act of 1937 includes a concession to President Roosevelt. The compromise, eventually know as Cash-and-Carry, permits Allied nations to pay case for American goods at American ports and then transport the goods away in their own ships. The provision is limited to two years.

May 28

Neville Chamberlain becomes prime minister of Great Britain.

June 12

Secret order by SS Obergruppenfuehrer (Lt. General) Heydrich pertaining to protective custody for Race Violators following the conclusion of the normal legal process.

July 1937

The Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition of “unacceptable” artwork by Jews and others opens in Munich. A concurrent event of “approved” art held nearby attracts far fewer people than the Entartete Kunst exhibit.

July 1

Pastor Martin Niemöller’s antisemitism does not prevent the Nazis from arresting him because of his opposition to Hitler.

July 7

Japan attacks China.

July 15

Buchenwald concentration camp opens near Weimar. The first 300 prisoners arrive on July 16. By the end of the month, there were 1,000 inmates. Two years later, the number reached 8,634. That number climbed to over 37,000 in late 1943, 63,000 in late 1944, and 80,000 in March 1945.

July 27

A ritual-murder trial of five Jews opens in Bamberg, Germany.

August 1937

Jews are accused of sacrilege at Hummené, Czechoslovakia.

350 incidents of physical assaults against Jews are recorded this month in Poland.

September 6-13

600,000 German troops parade before Hitler at Nuremberg.

September 7

Hitler declares the Treaty of Versailles invalid and ended.

October 1937

Beginning of the systematic takeover of Jewish property.

At his most prescient, President Roosevelt tries to warn the world, in his Quarantine Speech, of the growing threat to international security. “The peace, the freedom, and the security of ninety percent of the population is being jeopardized by the remaining ten percent who are threatening a breakdown of all international order and law,” he announced. The speech caused an uproar. President Roosevelt was accused or trying to circumvent the neutrality laws of America.

October 12

The SS assumes control of Grafeneck, a crippled-children’s institution in Württemberg, Germany, and begins the facility’s transformation into a “euthanasia” center.

November 1937

Munich exhibition of “The Wandering Jew” depicting the Jew as financial exploiter.

November 5

Hitler chairs a secret conference in which he informs the High Command and others of his racial, geopolitical, and military plans to dominate Europe. The conference is recorded by Colonel Friedrich Hossbach and called after him.

November 8

The German Museum in Munich mounts the Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew) exhibition. It links Jews with bolshevism.

November 17

Lord Halifax visits Hitler regarding Sudetenland; appeasement begins.

November 25

Germany and Japan sign military pact.

December 1937

The Japanese Army launches the massacre of Nanking. In a period of six weeks, according to various estimates, over 300,00 people are brutally murdered. Over 20,000 cases of rape were reported.

1937: Other important events

At the Nationalist Socialist Party rally at Nuremberg, Adolf Hitler announces the Third Reich will last a thousand years.

Adolf Hitler Schulen (AHS; Adolf Hitler Schools) are established to educate and train future Nazi leaders.

The Baum Group, a Jewish resistance organization, is established in Berlin by Herbert and Marianne Baum.

The Central Conference of American Rabbis officially abrogates the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885, which declared that Jews should no longer look forward to a return to Israel. This new policy actively encourages Jews to support the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

Stronnictwo Pracy (Labor Front), a right-wing labor and antisemitic party, is established in Poland.

In Hungary, Ferenc Szálasi establishes the Nyilaskeresztes Part-Hungarista Mozgalom (Arrow Cross Movement), dedicated to antisemitism.

Britain proposes an Arab and a Jewish state separated by a mandated area incorporating Jerusalem and Nazareth; Arabs demand a single state with minority rights for Jews.

SS functionary Adolf Eichmann, posing as a journalist, visits Palestine to investigate the feasibility of mass deportations of German Jews to that area.

The first issue of Die Judenfrage (The Jewish Question), edited by Georg Haller, is published in Germany.

Poland investigates the possibility of deporting resident Jews to Madagascar.

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