Across Europe, the Nazis found countless willing helpers who collaborated or were complicit in their crimes. What motives and pressures led so many individuals to abandon their fellow human beings? Why did others make the choice to help?
The Nazi Party used modern techniques as well as new technologies and carefully crafted messages to sway millions with its vision for a new Germany.
From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany carried out a campaign to “cleanse” German society of people viewed as biological threats to the nation’s “health.” Enlisting the help of the medical community, the Nazis developed racial health policies that began with the mass sterilization of “genetically diseased” persons and ended with the near annihilation of European Jewry.
Thousands of Jewish children survived the Holocaust in hiding. Facing constant fear and danger, they lived in shadows, where a careless remark, a denunciation, or the murmurings of inquisitive neighbors could lead to discovery and death.
In addition to her diary, Anne Frank filled five notebooks and more than 300 loose pages during her two years in hiding. Explore these original writings, view her photo album from before the war, and see the “Secret Annex” in which she and her family lived.
On May 10, 1933, university students across Nazi Germany burned thousands of books in an ominous “cleansing” of the “un-German spirit,” setting fire to the works of Helen Keller, Ernest Hemingway, Sigmund Freud, and others. These book burnings became a potent symbol in America’s fight against Nazism and continue to resonate today.
Believing homosexuals to be carriers of a “degeneracy” that weakened society and hindered population growth, the Nazi regime arrested and incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps tens of thousands of German men—leaving many dead and shattering the lives of many more.
The Jewish children of Lodz suffered the unfolding harsh realities and recorded their experiences. Their voices offer a view into the struggle of a community and its young to live in spite of the most difficult circumstances.
During the first half of the 20th century, Polish-born Jewish artist Arthur Szyk raised his pen against antisemitism and Nazi tyranny, using his artwork in leading magazines and newspapers to push for international intervention to end the Holocaust.
With the help of a Dutch businessman and a Japanese diplomat, some 2,100 Jewish refugees escaped war-torn Europe just months before the mass killings began—ultimately finding safety in the Far East and points beyond.
For the Jews who survived the Holocaust, the end of World War II brought the beginning of a long and arduous period of rebirth.
In 1939, the Cuban government turned away the St. Louis, a transatlantic liner carrying 937 Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Refused safe haven in the United States as well, the ship returned to Europe. Follow the arduous voyage of the St. Louis and the Museum’s ten-year project to uncover the fates of the passengers.
Determined to leave a record for the future, the Jews of the the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania methodically created secret archives, diaries, drawings, and photographs to document German crimes against their community.
For two weeks in August 1936, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character while hosting the Summer Olympics.
Jasenovac was the largest concentration camp in Croatia during World War II. Run by the fascist and terrorist Ustaša regime, which depended upon German support for its survival, the camp claimed the lives of an estimated 77,000 to 97,000 victims.
This online journal features contributions from UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, human rights activist John Prendergast, and photographers Ed Parsons and Laura Engelbrecht from their travels to wartorn Congo in 2002 and 2003.