United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936
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The Holocaust
During the Holocaust, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, famous and unknown, were killed. Athletes were not spared, including participants in the Berlin Games as well as former Olympians. Their achievements in sport mattered not at all to Nazi ideologues or to their collaborators bent on "purifying" the "Aryan" race.

Between 1939 and 1945, six million Jews across German-occupied Europe were systematically murdered as part of the Nazi genocidal policy to destroy all Jews in Europe. Jews died in mass shootings, by mass gassings at Auschwitz-Birkenau and five other killing centers in occupied Poland, and from starvation, disease, and brutal treatment in hundreds of Nazi ghettos and concentration camps across German-occupied Europe.

Hundreds of thousands of Roma (Gypsies) and mentally and physically disabled persons were also killed, victims of Nazi racism. Countless others, including Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, political dissidents, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals, were executed or died from maltreatment during imprisonment in Nazi prisons and concentration camps.

October 1939 "Euthanasia" program—murder of institutionalized handicapped persons—begins.
30 April 1940 The Nazis create their first major Jewish ghetto in Lodz, in the German-annexed part of Poland.
22 June 1941 Mobile killing squads (Einsatzgruppen) begin mass shootings of Jews, Gypsies, and Communists in Nazi-occupied Soviet territory.
23 September 1941 First gassing experiments in Auschwitz; 600 Soviet prisoners of war and 200 Poles are killed.
8 December 1941 Chelmno killing center begins mass gassings.
Spring 1942 Mass gassings begin at Sobibor, Belzec, and Treblinka, where 1.5 million Jews are killed by late 1943.
Spring 1943 Mass gassings of Jews from the parts of Greece occupied by Germany and Bulgaria, and from the Bulgarian-annexed parts of Yugoslavia.
15 May 1944 Deportations of approximately 440,000 Jews from Hungary begin; most are gassed upon arrival at Auschwitz.
7 May 1945 Germany surrenders and war in Europe ends.

The Museum’s exhibitions are supported by the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund, established in 1990.

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