An Abbreviated Timeline of the Holocaust

    Hitler saluting as troops walk by.


    January – The Nazi Party takes power in Germany; Hitler becomes Chancellor.

    February – Nazis “temporarily restrict” civil liberties for all citizens – never to be restored. 

    March – The concentration camp at Dachau is established.

    May – Trade unions are closed. Books are declared contrary to Nazi beliefs and are publicly burned.


     September – The German Government enacts the Nuremburg Laws codifying the “racial” definition of Jews and depriving them of citizenship and fundamental rights. The Nazis intensify persecution of political dissidents and others considered “inferior” including Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals. Many are sent to concentration camps.

    October – Nazis seize control of Jewish-owned businesses.

    November – Jewish children are expelled from public schools.

    December – Nazis seize control of Jewish-owned businesses.

    Books burning in front of a Nazi flag.
    A Jewish-owned warehouse on fire.


    November – Kristallnacht: “The Night of Broken Glass.” Nazis attack Jews throughout Germany. 30,000 Jews arrested. 91 Jews killed. 500 businesses and shops looted. More than 1,000 synagogues set afire.


    September – Germany invades Poland. World War II begins. Nazis order Polish Jews into restricted ghettos and force them into slave labor.

    October – Hitler orders the so-called “Euthanasia” program leading to the systematic murder of the mentally and physically disabled in Germany and Austria.

    Jews gathered and marched down the street during a Pogrom in 1939.


    February – Nazis begin deporting German Jews to Poland.


     June – Germany attacks the Soviet Union. Mobile killing units begin the systematic slaughter of Jews.

    September – In two days, mobile killing units shoot 33,771 Ukranian Jews at Babi Yar, the largest single massacre of the Holocaust.

    December – The death camp at Chelmno begins operation.


    January – Wannsee Conference – The Nazis coordinate the “Final Solution,” a plan to kill all European Jews through mass exterminations. Six death camps equipped with gas chambers soon begin full-scale operation in Poland: Majdanek, Chelmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, Belzec, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. During peak operations, thousands of people a day are murdered in these death factories.

    Discarded personal items on train tracks outside of the Auschwitz gates.
    American allied forces marching into a concentration camp.


    May – U.S. and Allied forces defeat the Nazis and liberate the remaining concentration camp survivors.

    Trains of No Return by Brian Vinik, 10th grade student at Doherty Memorial High School, Worcester, MA