When the Germans invade the Soviet Union in 1941, three Jewish brothers prepare to fight back. Tuvia, Zus, and Asael Bielski hide in a dense forest and form a group of resistance fighters. While surviving in the forbidding wilderness, they also rescue Jews, and try to hold on to a sense community.
All her life, Pauline Kneissler wanted to become a nurse. And in 1939, she is recruited by the Nazis to be a nurse in a secret killing operation. Will she be forced to murder? Or will she choose to become a killer?
Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie, and his friends at the University of Munich secretly form a resistance group called “The White Rose.” They distribute messages condemning the Nazi regime and speak out on behalf of Jews. Until one morning in 1943, they’re caught.
Kurt Gerstein, a Nazi SS officer, is asked to supply the chemical Zyklon B to the Auschwitz killing center in 1942. But once Gerstein sees that the chemical will be used to murder Jews in gas chambers—he makes an unexpected move.
While visiting Vienna, Austria with her family in March 1938, American Helen Baker finds herself caught up in a pivotal moment. She watches as the Nazis move in and annex Austria. Then, she steps into the story, herself.
12 Years That Shook the World explores stories of real people, the choices they made, and specific moments in Holocaust history from 1933–1945. From the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, this podcast is released in seasons, twice-yearly.
From an office in Geneva, Switzerland, two friends—a Jewish businessman and the Salvadoran colonel who rescued him—manufactured thousands of false citizenship documents that protected Jews in Nazi-controlled Europe.
“We are in the presence of a crime without a name,” Winston Churchill said in a 1941 speech. At the time of the Holocaust, there was no legal definition for an atrocity on such an enormous scale. And there wouldn’t be one for seven more years.
Most of what we know about the Holocaust comes from Nazi perpetrator documents. One striking exception is the Ringelblum Archive: a massive collection of artifacts and writings from Jews trapped in the Warsaw ghetto during the German occupation of Poland.
Holocaust history reminds us that the unimaginable is possible, and that individuals have far more power than they realize. Welcome to 12 Years that Shook the World, a podcast from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.