- 1879 Wilhelm Marr, a member of the German Reichstag, coins the term “anti-Semitism” and subsequently organizes the League of AntiSemitism.1881 German composer Richard Wagner, in an essay titled “Know Thyself,” attacks Jews as the “demon causing mankind’s downfall.” Karl Eugen Duhring, German economist and philosopher, writes the first in a series of tracts on racial anti-Semitism. He argues that the “Jewish type” presents a biological danger to the German people.1886 Edouard Drumont publishes La France Juive, in which he charges that the Jews control the economic, political, and cultural life of France.1894 15 October: Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an officer on the French general staff, is accused of passing secrets to the Germans and is arrested. 19–22 December: Dreyfus is court-martialed, found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island off the coast of French Guiana.1895 Karl Lueger, the head of the anti-Semitic Christian Socialist Party, is elected for the first time as mayor of Vienna, and reelected in 1897.1896 Theodor Herzl, offended by the virulent anti-Semitism while he attended the Dreyfus trial, writes The Jewish State.1897 29–31 August: Theodor Herzl convenes the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland.1899 Houston Stewart Chamberlain publishes The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century.1905 The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is published in Russia.1914 28 June: The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand at Sarajevo precipitates the events that lead to the outbreak of World War I in August 1914.1917 2 November: The British government issues the Balfour Declaration. 7 November: The Bolshevik Revolution begins in Russia.1918 11 November: The armistice is signed, bringing World War I to an end.1919 5 January: The German Workers’ Party (DAP), the forerunner of the Nazi Party, is founded in Munich by Anton Drexler and Karl Harrar. 16 September: Adolf Hitler joins the German Workers’ Party.1920 24 February: The DAP party platform is written, and a week later the party changes its name to Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP).1921 July: Hitler becomes chairman of the NSDAP. November: Hitler is recognized as party Fuhrer.1922 24 June: Walther Rathenau, a Jewish industrialist and Germany’s foreign minister, is assassinated by a reactionary nationalist.1923 9 November: In Munich, the Nazis, led by Hitler, fail to overthrow the government of Bavaria in what becomes known as the Beer Hall Putsch.1925 Hitler publishes Mein Kampf (My Struggle).1928 20 May: The Nazis win 12 seats in the Reichstag elections.1930 Alfred Rosenberg publishes The Myth of the Twentieth Century. 14 September: The Nazis become the second-largest political party in Germany as they win 107 seats in the Reichstag elections.1932 13 March: President Paul von Hindenburg defeats Adolf Hitler for the presidency of Germany but does not attain a majority, thus forcing a runoff. April: In the second election in April, Hindenburg defeats Hitler with a plurality of 6,000,000 out of a total vote of 36,000,000.1933 30 January: Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany after the Nazi Party receives approximately 33 percent of the vote in the Reichstag election. Archbishop Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber delivers Advent sermons defending Jews against Nazi persecution. 27 February: The Reichstag building is set afire, and the government declares a national emergency the next day. 2 March: The first Nazi concentration camp is established at Dachau. 24 March: The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act, which becomes the basis for Hitler’s dictatorship.1 April: A one-day nationwide boycott is instituted by the German government against Jewish businesses. 7 April: Quotas are applied to the number of Jewish students allowed in higher education, and laws are passed prohibiting Jews from working in the government. 10 May: Books are publicly burned throughout Germany. Thousands of students gathered and put to the torch approximately 20,000 books written by Jews and other “undesirables.” The books destroyed included those by such writers as Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Andre Gide, Helen Keller, Jack London, Erich Maria Remarque, H. G. Wells, and Emile Zola. 25 August: Jewish leaders from Palestine and Nazi authorities sign the Transfer Agreement (“Haavara Agreement”). 22 September: Jews are removed from literature, music, art, broadcasting, theater, and the press in Germany.1934 17 May: Julius Streicher publishes a special issue of Der Sturmer on the subject of Jewish ritual murder. A storm of international protest results in Hitler ordering the suppression of the issue. 30 June: Hitler orders the Schutzstaffel (SS), under Heinrich Himmler, to purge the Sturmabteilung (SA) leadership. In what is known as the “Night of the Long Knives,” many are murdered, including Ernst Rohm. 2 August: Paul von Hindenburg, the German president, dies, giving Hitler the opportunity to establish a dictatorship.1935 15 September: The Nuremberg Laws are decreed, defining who may be a German citizen and banning marriage and other forms of contact between Jews and Germans. 31 December: Jews are dismissed from the civil service in Germany. Late 1930s The Nazis introduce a Euthanasia Program designed for the “mercy killing” of the incurably ill, “asocials,” and other categories deemed “life unworthy of living.” Ultimately the techniques used in the euthanasia campaign were applied to the death camps. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people died in the euthanasia killing process.1937 14 March: Pope Pius XI issues “With Burning Concern” (“Mit Brennender Sorge”), a statement against racism and nationalism. 16 July: A concentration camp is established at Buchenwald.1938 13 March: In the Anschluss, Germany annexes Austria. 24 April: The German government announces that all Jewish property must be registered. 26 April: Orders are issued in Austria for expropriation of Jewish property. 29 May: The first anti-Jewish law is proclaimed in Hungary, restricting to 20 percent the Jewish share in the economy. 25 June: German-Jewish physicians are permitted only to treat Jewish patients. 6–15 July: A conference is held at Evian-les-Bains, attended by representatives from 32 nations, to discuss the refugee problem; little action toward solving the problem is taken. 17 August: All Jewish men in Germany are required to add “Israel” to their name, and all Jewish women, “Sarah.” 26 August: The Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration (Zentralstelle fur Judische Auswanderung) is organized in Vienna under Adolf Eichmann. 27 September: Jews are banned from practicing law in Germany. 5 October: Passports of German Jews are marked with the letter J, for Jude. 28 October: Between 15,000 and 17,000 stateless Jews are expelled from Germany to Poland; most are interned in Zbazyn. 9–10 November: The Kristallnacht pogrom takes place in Germany and Austria, and 30,000 Jews are interned in concentration camps. 12 November: In the aftermath of the Kristallnacht pogrom, German Jews are fined 1 billion reichsmarks.1939 1 January: “The Measures for the Elimination of Jews from the German Economy” are invoked, banning Jews from working with Germans. 2 March: Cardinal Eugencio Pacelli becomes Pope Pius XII. 17 May: A British government white paper is issued, severely restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine. 4 July: The Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (Reich Association of Jews in Germany) replaces the Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden (Reich Representation of German Jews). 23 August: The German–Soviet Pact is signed.1 September: A curfew is imposed that forbids Jews throughout Germany from being out of doors after 8 p.m. Germany invades Poland. 3 September: France and Great Britain declare war on Germany. 27 September: The Reich Security Main Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt, RSHA) is established. 28 September: Poland is partitioned between Germany and the Soviet Union; German forces occupy Warsaw. 1 October: The Polish government-in-exile is formed in France (later it moves to London). 8 October: The Nazis establish the first ghetto in Piotrkow Trybunalski in Poland. 16 October: Krakow becomes the capital of the General-Gouvernement. 9 November: Lodz is annexed to the German Reich. 12 November: The deportation of Jews from Lodz to other parts of Poland begins. 23 November: Hans Frank orders that by 1 December Jews in the General-Gouvernement must wear the yellow Star of David badge. 28 November: Frank issues an order calling for the establishment of Judenrate in the General-Gouvernement.1940 February: The Lodz ghetto is established. 12 April: Frank declares that Krakow must be Judenfrei (“free of Jews”) by November. 27 April: Himmler orders the establishment of a concentration camp at Auschwitz. 16 May: Hans Frank issues orders whereby thousands of Polish leaders and intellectuals are killed. June: The first prisoners, mostly Poles, are brought to Auschwitz. 22 June: Germany and France sign an armistice. 16 July: The expulsion of Jews from Alsace and Lorraine to southern France begins. 19 July: Telephones are confiscated from Jews in Germany. 6 September: Michael I becomes the king of Romania, after his father, Carol II, flees the country, and a National Legionary government is set up under Ion Antonescu. 3 October: The first Statut des Juifs is announced in Vichy France. 7 October: The Law for the Protection of the Nation is issued in Bulgaria, curbing the rights of Jews. 22 October: Jewish businesses are registered throughout the Netherlands. 4 November: Jewish civil servants are dismissed throughout the Netherlands. 15 November: The Warsaw ghetto is sealed.1941 21–23 January: The Iron Guard unsuccessfully attempts a coup in Romania, accompanied by riots against the Jews. 5 February: The Law for the Protection of the State is issued in Romania, making Romanian Jews subject to double the punishment for crimes committed. 13 February: The Joodse Rand (Jewish Council) meets for the first time in Amsterdam. 22 February: In Amsterdam, 389 Jewish males from the Jewish quarter are sent to Buchenwald. 25 February: A general anti-Nazi strike is held in Amsterdam. March: By March, 40,000 out of 60,000 Jews have been deported from Krakow. 1 March: Bulgaria joins the Tripartite Pact. Himmler orders the construction of a camp at Birkenau (Auschwitz II). 15 May: A law is passed in Romania permitting Jews to be drafted for forced labor. 2 June: The second Statut des Juifs is promulgated in Vichy France. 6 June: The Kommissarbefehl (Commissar Order) stating that political officers in the Soviet army must be singled out and killed is issued in preparation for the invasion of the Soviet Union. 22 June: Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, is launched by Germany. 23 June: The Einsatzgruppen begin their killings in the Soviet Union and submit daily reports of their activities. 24 June: German forces occupy Vilna. 27 June: Hungary enters the war on the Axis side. 1 July–31 August: Einsatzgruppe D, Wehrmacht forces, augmented by Romanian forces, kill between 150,000 and 160,000 Jews in Bessarabia. 4 July: A Judenrat is established in Vilna. About 5,000 Vilna Jews are killed during the month of July by Einsatzkommando 9 and local collaborators. 21 July: Hermann Goering signs an order giving Reinhard Heydrich the authority to prepare a “Final Solution” to the “Jewish question” in Europe.1 August: The Bialystok ghetto and the Minsk ghetto are established. 17–21 August: Seventy thousand Jews pass through the Drancy transit camp. 1 September: The Euthanasia Program is officially ended; between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed in Germany. 3 September: The first experimental gassing at Auschwitz is conducted on Soviet prisoners of war. 19 September: Jews in the Reich are required to wear the yellow badge in public. 19 September: Kiev is captured by the Germans. 10,000 Jews are killed in Zhitomir. 29–30 September: At Babi Yar, 33,771 Kiev Jews are killed by Einsatzkommando 4a. 1 October–December 1943: In Aktionen in Vilna, 33,500 Jews are killed. 19 October–28 September 1943: Luxembourg Jews are deported to Lodz in eight transports. 28 October: Nine thousand Jews are killed in an Aktion outside Kovno at the Ninth Fort; 17,412 Jews remain in the Kovno ghetto. 8 November: The establishment of a ghetto in Lvov is ordered. 24 November: The Theresienstadt ghetto is opened by the Germans. 29 November: The Union Generale des Israelites de France (UGIF), the organization of French Jewry, is formed. 7 December: Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor; the United States declares war on Japan. 8 December: The first transport of Jews arrives at the Chelmno death camp; transports continue to arrive until March 1943. 11 December: Nazi Germany declares war on the United States.1942 16 January: Deportations from Lodz to Chelmno begin and continue until September 1942. 20 January: The Wannsee Conference is presided over by Heydrich and attended by top Nazi officials, in order to coordinate the Final Solution. 1 February: The SS Wirtschafts Verwaltungshauptamt (VHA) (Economy and Administration Main Office) is established under Oswald Pohl. 8 February: The first transport of Jews from Salonika is sent to Auschwitz. 23 February: The Struma, a ship loaded with Jewish refugees, is refused entry to Palestine and sinks off the coast of Turkey; 768 passengers drown and only one survives. 1 March: Construction of the Sobibor death camp begins in Poland; Jews are killed there beginning in May. 12 March–20 April: Thirty thousand Jews are deported from Lublin to Belzec. 17 March: Killings begin at the Belzec death camp; the first of the Aktion Reinhard camps is put into operation. 27 March: The first transport of 60,000 Jews from Slovakia are sent by Adolf Eichmann’s office to Auschwitz. 28 March: The first transport of French Jews is sent to Auschwitz. 27 May: In Belgium, the wearing of the yellow Star of David badge is decreed and goes into effect on 3 June. 7 June: The Jews in occupied France are required to wear the yellow Star of David badge. 11 June: Adolf Eichmann’s office orders that the deportations of Jews from the Netherlands, Belgium, and France begin in a few weeks. 22 June: The first transport from the Drancy camp in France leaves for Auschwitz.26 June: A transport from Brussels is sent to the Organisation Todt labor camps in northern France. 14 July: The systematic transfer of Dutch Jewry to Westerbork camp begins. 15 July: The first transport leaves Westerbork for Auschwitz. 16–17 July: In Paris, 12,887 Jews are rounded up and sent to Drancy; a total of about 42,500 Jews are sent to Drancy from all over France during this Aktion. 19 July: Himmler orders that the extermination of the Jews of the General-Gouvernement be completed by the end of the year. 22 July: Construction of the Treblinka extermination center is begun and is completed by August 1943; about 870,000 Jews were eventually killed there. 22 July–12 September: During mass deportations from Warsaw, some 300,000 Jews are deported, 265,000 of them to Treblinka; about 60,000 Jews remain in the Warsaw ghetto. 23 July: The head of the Warsaw Judenrat, Adam Czerniakow, commits suicide rather than assist the Nazis in deporting the Warsaw Jews. 6 August–29 December 1943: Jewish inmates from the Gurs camp in France are deported to Auschwitz and Sobibor.8 August: In Geneva, Gerhart Riegner cables Rabbi Stephen S. Wise in New York and Sidney Silverman in London about Nazi plans for the extermination of European Jewry. The U.S. Department of State holds up delivery of the message to Wise, who receives it from Silverman on 28 August. 12 August: Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Averell Harriman meet in Moscow and affirm their goal of destroying Nazism. 13–20 August: The majority of Croatian Jews are deported to Auschwitz. 1 November: The deportation of Jews from the Bialystok district to Treblinka begins. 24 November: Rabbi Wise releases to the press the news contained in the Riegner cable. 4 December: The Zegota (Council for Aid to the Jews) is established in Poland. 10 December: The Polish government-in-exile asks the Allies to retaliate for the Nazi killing of civilians, especially Jews. 17 December: An Allied declaration is made condemning the Nazis’ “bestial policy of coldblooded extermination.”1943 14–24 January: Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt meet at Casablanca and proclaim that Germany’s unconditional surrender is to be the central war aim. 18–22 January: Over 5,000 Jews are deported from Warsaw and are killed; the first Warsaw ghetto uprising breaks out. 5–12 February: In Bialystok, 2,000 Jews are killed and 10,000 deported to Treblinka; Jews offer armed resistance. 26 February: The first transport of Gypsies reaches Auschwitz, where they are placed in a special section of the camp called Gypsy Camp. 20 March–18 August: Transports from Salonika arrive at Auschwitz. 13 April: Mass graves are discovered at Katyn, Poland, the site of a massacre of Polish officers by the Soviets. 19 April–16 May: The Warsaw ghetto uprising starts; the ghetto is eventually destroyed by the Germans. 8 May: Mordecai Anielewicz and other leaders of the Warsaw ghetto uprising are killed in a bunker at 18 Milna Street during the fighting. 12 May: Samuel Arthur Zygielbojm, a Jewish representative of the Polish governmentin-exile in London, commits suicide as an expression of solidarity with the Jewish fighters in Warsaw, and in protest against the world’s silence regarding the fate of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. 1 June: The final liquidation of the Lvov ghetto begins. When the Jews resist, 3,000 are killed; 7,000 are sent to Janowska. 5 July: Himmler orders that Sobibor, an extermination camp, be made a concentration camp. 2 August: The uprising at Treblinka takes place. 15–20 August: Nazi forces under Odilo Globocnik surround the Bialystok ghetto, and its 30,000 remaining Jews are ordered to appear for evacuation; a Jewish uprising breaks out in the ghetto. 18–21 August: The final deportation of Bialystok Jewry takes place. 1 September: An uprising is attempted in the Vilna ghetto but is aborted. During the rest of September, the fighters escape to the partisans. 23–24 September: The Vilna ghetto is liquidated; some 3,700 Jews are sent to labor camps in Estonia and 4,000 are deported to Sobibor. 1–2 October: German police begin rounding up Jews for deportation in Denmark. The Danish population begins the rescue of 7,200 Danish Jews. 2–3 October: Throughout the Netherlands, families of Jewish men are drafted for forced labor and sent to Westerbork. 14 October: The Sobibor uprising takes place. 18 October: In Rome, 1,035 Jews are deported to Auschwitz. 22 October: The Germans destroy the Minsk ghetto and all those remaining in it.1944 13 January: U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Josiah Dubois delivers his report titled “Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews” to Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. Later in the month, President Roosevelt establishes the War Refugee Board. 19 March: Fearful that Hungary would secede from the war and determined to annihilate Hungarian Jews, the German army marches into Hungary. 5 April: Jews in Hungary begin wearing the yellow badge. 7 April: Alfred Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba escape from Auschwitz and arrive in Slovakia with detailed information about the killing of Jews in Auschwitz. Their report, which reaches the free world in June, becomes known as the Auschwitz Protocols. 15 May–9 July: Approximately 437,000 primarily Hungarian Jews are deported to Auschwitz. Most of those sent to Auschwitz are gassed soon after their arrival. 6 June: D-Day, Allied forces land in Normandy with the largest seaborne force in history. 23 June–14 July: Transports from Lodz reach Chelmno. 9 July: Miklos Horthy, Hungarian regent, orders an end to the deportations from Hungary; two days later they cease. 21–25 July: Children’s homes in France operated by the Union Generale des Israelites de France are raided. Three hundred Jewish children, in addition to adult staff, are sent to Drancy and then to Auschwitz. 23 July: A delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visits Theresienstadt. 28 July: The first major death march begins, with the evacuation of the Gesia Street camps in Warsaw. Some 3,600 prisoners set out on foot for Kutno; 1,000 are killed on the journey of 81 miles. 6–7 October: In the Sonderkommando uprising at Auschwitz, one of the gas chambers is destroyed before the uprising is quelled. 8 November: Deportations from Budapest are resumed.1945 17 January: The Schutzstaffel (SS) is ordered to evacuate Auschwitz and depart on the following day. Some 66,000 prisoners are marched on foot toward Wodzislaw, to be sent from there to other camps, and 15,000 die on the way. At this time, 48,000 men and 18,000 women are still prisoners in Auschwitz and its satellite camps. 19 January: Lodz is liberated by the Red Army. 5–6 April: More than 28,250 inmates are evacuated from Buchenwald, and between 7,000 and 8,000 others are killed. 9 April: The evacuation of Mauthausen begins. 11 April: The Buchenwald concentration camp is liberated by American forces. 15 April: Danish Jews in the Protectorate are transferred to Sweden, with the help of the ICRC. 29 April: Dachau is liberated by the American Seventh Army. 29–30 April: Ravensbruck is liberated; in the camp are 3,500 sick women. 30 April: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide in Hitler’s bunker in Berlin. 3 May: The Nazis hand over Theresienstadt, with 17,247 Jewish inmates, to the ICRC. 7 May: The Germans surrender to the Allies. 8 May: Soviet troops liberate Theresienstadt. 18 October–1 October 1946: The Nuremberg Trials, under an international military tribunal, are held to try and punish those who had planned or waged aggressive war, or acted criminally against humanity. Great Britain, the United States, the USSR, and France act on behalf of the United Nations for the 26 countries who had fought Germany. The evidence taken by the tribunal exposed to the world the genocidal fury that had fueled the Nazi movement. The initial trial of 22 major Nazi war criminals resulted in the following judgments. Sentenced to death: Marin Bormann, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Hermann Goering, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, Fritz Sauckel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, and Julius Streicher. Sentenced to life imprisonment: Walthur Funk, Rudolph Hess, and Erich Racder. Sentenced to prison terms: Karl Donitz (10 years), Konstantin von Neurath (15 years), Baldur von Shirach (20 years), and Albert Speer (20 years). Acquitted: Hans Fritzche, Franz von Papen, and Hjalmer Schacht.1946 4 July: In the town of Kielce, the Polish residents instigate a pogrom that results in the murder of 42 Jews.1947 8 May–30 July 1948: The Nuremberg Tribunal sentences 13 I. G. Farben officials to prison terms ranging from 18 months to eight years for exploiting slave labor. 2 July: The Polish Parliament creates a museum at the Auschwitz death camp. July–August: Exodus 1947, a ship bearing 4,550 Jews from displaced persons camps in Germany, is refused entry to Palestine by the British. Subsequently, the passengers are returned to displace persons (DP) camps in Germany. 16 August–31 July 1948: The Nuremberg Tribunal convicts 12 officials of the Krupp Works to sentences ranging from 6 to 12 years in prison. Alfried Krupp is sentenced to 12 years but his punishment is reduced by clemency to time served and restoration of assets.1948 14 May: The State of Israel is founded.1951 September: The West German Bundestag agrees to make amends for Nazi crimes against the Jews in the form of material payments to Israel and compensation for Holocaust survivors.1952 10 September: Israel and West Germany sign a reparation agreement in which the German Federal Republic agrees to send millions of dollars of goods to Israel and provide individual restitution to victims of Nazi persecution.1953 18 May: The Israeli Knesset (Parliament) establishes Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority.1956 September: A stage adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank is premiered simultaneously in several West German cities to great critical acclaim.1959 27 March: Pope John XXIII declares that the phrase pro perfidis Judaeis (“Let us pray for the unbelieving Jew”) be deleted from the Good Friday service.1960 May: Adolf Eichmann is abducted from Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Israeli agents and flown to Israel to stand trial for crimes against the Jewish people. The televised trial opens in Jerusalem in April and is viewed in many countries, including the United States.1961 15 December: Eichmann is convicted and sentenced to death.1962 31 May: Adolf Eichmann is executed by hanging following the denial of his appeal.1964 26 February: Rolf Hochhuth’s controversial play The Deputy opens to mixed reviews. The play indicts Pius XII for his failure to publicly protest the mass murder of the Jews during the Holocaust. 12 October–24 August 1965: The West German government tries and convicts 10 members of the Schutzstaffel (SS) who served at Treblinka. Among those convicted of war crimes is Kurt Franz, the deputy commandant of the camp, who is sentenced to life in prison. November: The Second Vatican Council repudiates the notion of the Jewish people as “rejected, cursed or guilty of deicide.”1970s Marcel Ophul’s The Sorrow and the Pity, which depicts the general indifference of the French population to the plight of the Jews under the Vichy government, is banned in France and not shown on French TV until 1981. 21 April 1970: Bruno Kreisky is elected chancellor of Austria. Kreisky, who fled the Nazis in 1938, becomes the first Jew to hold such office. 5–6 September 1972: During the Munich Summer Olympics, members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually 11 were murdered by Black September, a militant Palestinian group with ties to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization. The massacre of the Israeli athletes is followed by criticism of the West German government’s rescue efforts. 22 October 1979: An estimated audience of 20 million West Germans views the TV miniseries Holocaust. The film results in a national demand for information about both the Nazi era and the Holocaust.1983 April: President Ronald Reagan announces the transfer of two large buildings in Washington, D.C., for the construction of a Holocaust museum.1984 Carmelite nuns attempt to establish a convent in a vacant building that borders the Auschwitz death camp. The effort is opposed by Jewish groups, which sets off a bitter controversy between Poles and Jews that is not resolved until the intercession of Pope John Paul II temporarily resolves the conflict.1985 5–7 May: Despite widespread criticism, President Ronald Reagan visits the Bitburg military cemetery in West Germany where 47 Waffen SS men lay buried among the 2,000 German soldiers. 8 May: Richard von Weizsacker, president of the German Federal Republic, in a speech in the Bundestag commemorating the murder of six million Jews, acknowledges, in regard to the Nazi era, that “everyone who wanted to be informed could not fail to observe that the deportation trains were on their way.” November: A Vatican document on Christian Jewish relations, “The Common Bond: Christians and Jews; Notes for Preaching and Teaching,” for the first time mentions Israel and the Holocaust in a Vatican document. Claude Lanzmann’s more than nine-hour documentary Shoah opens to worldwide acclaim. The film records the memories of survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders to the Holocaust.1987 April: The U.S. Justice Department places Kurt Waldheim, the former secretary-general of the United Nations and the current president of Austria, on its Watch List as a suspected war criminal. July: Klaus Barbie, a Gestapo official in Lyon, France, who was responsible for the execution of at least 4,000 persons and the deportation of 7,000 Jews to concentration camps, is convicted of war crimes by a French court and sentenced to prison, where he dies on 25 September 1991.1988 8 February: A six-man international commission of prestigious historians found that Kurt Waldheim was aware of Nazi atrocities and did nothing to stop them, though he did not personally participate in war crimes.1991 19–21 May: President Lech Walesa of Poland, speaking before Israel’s Knesset, apologizes for anti-Semitism in Poland’s history.1993 22 April: The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is opened. 15 December: Stephen Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List is greeted with universal acclaim.1994 20 April: Paul Touvier, director of the Milice (a French paramilitary group formed in 1943 to support German occupation and the Vichy government), is convicted of crimes against humanity, which included his responsibility for the deportation of Jews to the death camps from 1943 to 1944. The trial is opposed by French prime minister Francois Mitterrand. Touvier dies of cancer in prison on 17 July 1996.1996 5 September: David Irving files a libel suit against historian Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, for stating in her 1993 book, Denying the Holocaust, that Irving was a Holocaust denier, a falsifier of history, and a bigot.1995–1998 In the mid-1990s the World Jewish Congress demands that Swiss banks account for the unclaimed deposits of Jewish victims of the Holocaust.1998 16 March: The Catholic Church issues a document, We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, that acknowledges that centuries of Christian prejudice aimed at the Jews rendered many Christians insensitive to Nazi atrocities against the Jews. The document absolves the church from complicity in the Holocaust and gives credit to Pope Pius XII for saving the lives of several hundred thousand Jews. The document, however, skirts the issue of Pius XII’s silence in the face of his knowledge of the Final Solution. 2 April: Maurice Papon, the secretary-general of the Gironde prefecture in Bordeaux, France, between May 1942 and August 1944, is found guilty by a French court of complicity in Nazi crimes against humanity. October: Jewish and Serbian groups protest the action of Pope Paul II, who beatified Alojzije Cardinal Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb, who was imprisoned in 1946 by the government of Joseph Tito of Yugoslavia, as a Nazi collaborator. 11 October: Pope Paul II pronounced Edith Stein, a Jewish intellectual who became a Carmelite nun and died in Auschwitz, a saint and a martyr for the Roman Catholic faith.2000 11 April: In DJC Irving v. Penguin Books LTD and Deborah Lipstadt, Justice Charles Gray rules against David Irving and finds Professor Lipstadt’s claims against Irving in Denying the Holocaust (1993) to be true.2005 20 September: The “Nazi hunter” Simon Wiesenthal, famed Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to the pursuit of Nazi war criminals, dies.2006 11 December: The International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust opens in Tehran, Iran. The conference is hosted by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and features Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis.2007 19 April: President George W. Bush speaks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the subject of the importance of Holocaust remembrance and the need for action in preventing genocide in Darfur. 9 September: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at Columbia University and questions those who oppose his right to cast doubt on the Holocaust.2008 1 November: President George W. Bush visits the Yad Vashem Memorial in Israel and notes that the memorial is a sobering reminder that evil must be resisted, and praises the victims for not losing their faith.2009 19 April: Former president Bill Clinton opens the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. 12 May: John Demjanjuk, the alleged guard at Sobibor who was accused of herding thousands of Jews into the gas chambers, arrives in Germany to stand trial after being extradited from the United States. 5 June: President Barak Obama, accompanied by Elie Wiesel, visits the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. 10 June: White Supremacist and neo-Nazi James von Brunn kills a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. 18 September: President Ahmadinejad calls the Holocaust a “lie” at an anti-Israel rally in Tehran. 24 September: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, speaking before the United Nations, displays Naziera documents on the extermination of the Jews. In his rebuke of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Israeli prime minister brandishes two documents: a copy of the minutes of the Wannsee Conference and the original blueprints of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. 30 November: The trial of John Demjanjuk opens in Munich, Germany. 18 December: Thieves steal the sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work liberates) from the entrance to the former Auschwitz death camp. 19 December: Pope Benedict XVI moves Pius XII, whom a number of Jewish groups have accused of remaining publicly silent during the Holocaust, a step closer to sainthood when he confirms his predecessor’s “heroic virtues.” The announcement was denounced by the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors as “a disturbing and callous act.” 20 December: Polish police recover the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign that was stolen from the gate of Auschwitz. Five suspects are arrested.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.