Holocaust timeline

This Holocaust timeline significant events in the development and growth of German anti-Semitism, from the late 1800s to Nazi Germany, World War II and the Final Solution. It has been written and compiled by Alpha History authors. If you would like to suggest an event for inclusion in this timeline, please contact Alpha History.


April 20th: The birth of Adolf Hitler, in a small Austrian village near the border with Germany.


December: Jewish-French officer Alfred Dreyfus is unfairly convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment.


The anti-Semitic forgery Protocols of the Learned Elders of first appears in Russia, probably produced by the state secret police.


September 25th: The trial of Menahem Beilis, a Russian Jew accused of the ritual murder of a child, begins in Kiev.


August 17th: The lynching of Jewish-American Leo Frank in Georgia, evidence of anti-Semitism in the United States.


November: The signing of the armistice to end World War I, which many Germans attributed to socialists and Jewish agents.


January: The formation of Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP, or German Workers’ Party) – the forerunner to the Nazi Party.
February: The formation of Deutschen Schutz und Trutzbund, a German nationalist group committed to ‘fighting Judaism’.
September: Corporal Adolf Hitler joins the DAP after attending two meetings as a Reichswehr agent.


Febraury 24th: The DAP reinvents itself as the National Socialist Germany Workers’ Party, or NSDAP.
May: In the US, a Henry Ford-owned newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, begins publishing anti-Semitic articles and conspiracies.
December: The NSDAP acquires its own newspaper, the Volkischer Beobachter (or ‘People’s Observer’).


April 20th: Julius Streicher founds Der Sturmer, a weekly newspaper for publishing anti-Semitic stories and cartoons.
October: Hyperinflation caused by excessive printing of banknotes reaches critical levels in Germany, and many lose their savings.
November 9th: Hitler and the NSDAP attempt to seize control of the Bavarian government. The putsch fails and Hitler is arrested.


January 30th: Adolf Hitler is appointed chancellor of Germany after a political deal between right-wing powerbrokers.
February 27th: The German Reichstag building burned in an arson attack, probably orchestrated by Nazi Party operatives.
February 28th: President Paul von Hindenburg gives Hitler emergency powers to deal with domestic threats.
March 22nd: The Nazi government opens Dachau, a concentration camp near Munich, initially for detaining communists.
March 23rd: The German Reichstag passes the Enabling Act, giving Hitler wide-ranging powers.
March 31st: Berlin municipal authorities ban Jewish doctors from working in the city’s hospitals.
March: Albert Einstein emigrates to the United States, where he learns he was on a Nazi ‘hit list’ of influential Jews.
April 1st: Led by Julius Streicher, Nazi members organise a boycott and blockade of Jewish stores and businesses.
April 7th: The Law for the Restoration of the Civil Service, the first of numerous anti-Jewish laws, decrees that Jews be removed from government positions. The law is later amended to exclude Jewish war veterans and their relatives, after pressure from President Paul von Hindenburg.
April 7th: The Law for the Regulation of the Legal Profession prevents Jews from being admitted to the bar to practise as lawyers.
April 21st: The Nazi government prohibits shechita: the ritual slaughter of animals according to Jewish dietary laws.
April 26th: Hermann Goering reorganises Prussian police units to form the Gestapo, the Nazi Party’s secret police agency.
May 10th: Nazi youth groups conduct mass book burnings in Berlin, mainly targeting Jewish authors.
July 14th: Nazi government claims a right to revoke the citizenship of ‘undesirable’ individuals.
August: The Haavara Agreement, a scheme allowing German Jews to emigrate to Palestine, is approved by the Nazis.


January 24th: Jews are banned from membership of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront, the state-controlled workers’ union.
May 1st: The Racial Policy Office of the NSDAP is formed, chiefly to produce and circulate racially-based propaganda.
May 17th: Jews are removed from the national health insurance scheme.
May 17th: Some 20,000 people attend a pro-Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
July 10th: Jews are banned from obtaining legal qualifications, such as a law degree.
July 20th: The Schutzstaffel (SS) is given autonomy from the SA, as well as increased paramilitary and police powers.
August 2nd: On the death of President Hindenburg, Hitler claims the former president’s executive powers and becomes Fuhrer. This move is endorsed by a public plebiscite (vote).


February 10th: The Nazi regime outlaws any meeting or assembly calling for Jews to remain in Germany.
April 1st: The Nazis outlaw the Jehovah’s Witness religion because its members refuse to swear allegiance to the state.
May 31st: All Jews are banned from enlisting or remaining in the German military.
September 6th: By-laws outlaw the sale of Jewish newspapers in the street.
September 15th: Hitler announces two new anti-Jewish laws to the Reichstag (the ‘Nuremberg Laws’).
October 18th: The Nazis enact the Law for the Protection of the Hereditary Health of the German People.
November 1st: The NSDAP passes the Reich Citizenship Law, effectively stripping the German citizenship of all Jews.


February 4th: Wilhelm Gustloff, a leader of the Swiss Nazi Party, is assassinated by a Jewish student in protest against the persecution of Jews in Germany.
March 3rd: Jewish doctors are forbidden from working in German public hospitals.
March 7th: Jews in Germany no longer have the right to vote in parliamentary elections.
March 29th: The SS creates the Totenkopfverbände division for constructing, manning and overseeing concentration camps.
July 12th: Work begins on the construction of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, near Berlin.
August 1st: Berlin Olympic Games begin. Anti-Jewish propaganda is removed for the duration of the Games.
September 7th: The Nazi regime levies a 25 per cent tax on all Jewish assets in Germany.


January 26th: Jews are forbidden to work in any office in Germany.
March 14th: Pope Pius XI issues an encyclical, ‘Mit brennender Sorge’, denouncing Nazi totalitarianism and the actions of the Nazi regime.
April 9th: Public schools in Berlin are ordered not to enrol any more Jewish children.
July: An exhibition of ‘degenerate’ Jewish art opens in Berlin.
July 15th 1937: The Buchenwald concentration camp opens near the German city of Weimar, ostensibly to house suspected communists.
November 8th: Goebbels’ ministry opens a Jewish exhibition in Munich, containing anti-Semitic ideas and stereotypes.
November 16th: Jews permitted to obtain passports for travel abroad in “special cases” only.


March: Hitler approves of a plan to deport all German Jews to the island of Madagascar, off Africa’s east coast.
April 26th: German Jews are required to compile and submit an inventory of all property in excess of 5,000 Reichsmarks, to allow the government to compile a ‘Jewish property register’.
May 29th: Hungary replicates the NSDAP by adopting a series of anti-Jewish laws and restrictions.
June 14th: The Nazi regime orders all businesses owned or part-owned by Jews to be registered with the government.
July 8th: The Jewish synagogue in Munich is demolished, by order of Hitler.
July 11th: Jews are banned from holidaying at or attending health spas and resorts.
July 13th: The Évian Conference in France discusses the exodus of Jews from Nazi Germany, but finds no effective solution.
July 23rd: A new law requires all Jews to carry identity cards, as of January 1st 1939.
July 27th: Under instructions from Berlin, local governments replace Jewish street names.
August 17th: As of January 1st, all Jews must have Jewish first names, adding ‘Israel’ or ‘Sara’ if necessary.
September: Jews are prohibited from owning or working in law firms.
October 5th: A Nazi edict requires that all passports belonging to Jews be stamped with a large red ‘J’.
November 9th: Joseph Goebbels incites Kristallnacht, a two-day pogrom against Jewish people, property and businesses.
November 12th: The Decree on Extracting Jews from German Economic Life prohibits Jews from conducting any form of retail, wholesale or cooperative business.
November 12th: The Nazi government demands Germany’s Jews pay one billion Reichsmarks for damages incurred during Kristallnacht.
November 12th: Jews no longer permitted to own businesses, attend theatre, cinema, concerts or exhibitions.
November 15th: All remaining Jewish children in non-Jewish schools are removed.
November 28th: German Jews are prohibited from moving to other cities or states without official permission.
November 29th: Jews are banned from owning or using carrier pigeons.
December 3rd: Nazi government authorises local authorities to ban Jews from streets on national holidays.
December 3rd: German Jews ordered to surrender their driver’s licenses and car registration papers.
December 14th: All existing contracts between German government departments and Jewish individuals or companies are declared to be null and void.
December 21st: Jewish women are forbidden from working as midwives.


February 21st: The Nazi government orders Jews to surrender all precious metals and gemstones to the state, without compensation.
August 1st: The German lottery agency declares that Jews may no longer purchase tickets or receive lottery prizes.
September 1st: Germany declares war and invades Poland, triggering the outbreak of World War II.
September 3rd: The government decrees that all Jews in Germany will be subject to an 8pm curfew.
September 23rd: All German Jews ordered to surrender their radios to authorities.
October 12th: Austria and German-occupied Czechoslovakia order the deportation of Jews there to Austria.
November 23rd: Polish Jews ordered to wear armbands or lapel badges with a yellow Star of David.


February 6th: German Jews are excluded from further issues of clothing coupons.
February 12th: The deportation of German Jews into ghettos or concentration camps begins.
February 21st: A site is selected for the construction of Auschwitz, a new concentration camp in southern Poland.
June: Hitler considers a plan to relocate all European Jews to Madagascar. He supports it at first but it is later abandoned.
July 29th: Jews in Germany are no longer permitted to own or use telephones.
October 16th: Establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto, housing the Polish capital’s 400,000 Jews.
November 15th: Warsaw Ghetto sealed off, its entrances blocked by checkpoints, bricks and barbed wire.
November 28th: The cinematic release of the German anti-Semitic propaganda film Der Ewige Juden (‘The Eternal Jew’).


March 3rd: The formation of the Krakow Jewish ghetto in southern Poland, housing 15,000 people.
June 22nd: Commencement of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
July 31st: SS general Reinhard Heydrich is appointed to oversee the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish question’.
September 1st: All Jews in Germany must now wear a Star of David.
September: First gassings using Zyklon-B were carried out at Auschwitz.
December 12th: Hitler meets with senior Nazi officials in Berlin and predicts that all Jews in Europe will be destroyed.


January 10th: Jews in Germany are ordered to surrender all woollen or fur clothing.
January 20th: High-ranking Nazi officials meet in Wannsee, Berlin, to plan the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish question’.
April 24th: Jews in Germany are prohibited from using public transport.
May 15th: Jews in Germany are prohibited from owning or keeping pets.
May 29th: Jews in Germany are prohibited from visiting hair salons or barbershops.
June 4th: SS general Reinhard Heydrich, a key architect of the Final Solution, dies after an assassination attempt.
July 24th: Treblinka concentration camp becomes ready for operation; receives its first shipment of Jewish prisoners.


January 18th: The first day of Warsaw Uprising, with Jewish partisans gaining control of the city’s Jewish ghetto.
January 29th: The SS receives orders that Romany (‘Gypsies’) are to be deported to camps along with Jews.
March 14th: SS troops complete the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto, most Jews deported to Plaszow labour camp.
April 19th: SS troops enter the Warsaw ghetto in strength, and eliminate major resistance within four days.
July 1st: The Nazi government legislates that the property of a Jew is forfeited to the state after his or her death.
August 2nd: A prisoner uprising at Treblinka results in several hundred escapes and the closure of the extermination facility.
October 13th: An uprising of inmates at Sobibor death camp kills several guards and allows several hundred to escape.


June 6th: D-Day – Allied troops land on the beaches of Normandy and encounter resistance from German forces.
October 7th: An uprising of Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz, resulting in the destruction of a crematorium building.
October 30th: After killing more than 1.1 million people, the gas chambers at Auschwitz are used for the final time.


January 17th: Soviet troops capture the site of the Chelmno concentration camp in Poland.
January 27th: Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz in southern Poland, finding 7,000 sick and dying prisoners.
April 11th: American troops liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp, which contains 20,000 surviving prisoners.
April 15th: British troops liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany.
April 29th: American troops liberate the Dachau concentration camp near Munich, finding horrific scenes.
April 30th: Hitler commits suicide in his Berlin bunker. Josef Goebbels commits suicide the following day.
May 7th: Unconditional surrender of Germany to the Allies, the end of World War II in Europe.
November 22nd: Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal convenes from the first time.