1935 — The Nuremberg Laws are passed by the Reichstag

Unanimously passed by the Reichstag on the evening of September 15, 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were the first legal codification of Nazi anti-Semitism. There were two laws: the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which prohibited marriages and extramarital intercourse between “Jews” and “Germans” and also the employment of “German” females under forty-five in Jewish households; and The Reich Citizenship Law, declared those not of German blood to be Staatsangehörige (state subjects) while those classified as “Aryans” were Reichsbürger (citizens of the Reich). In effect, this second law stripped Jews of German citizenship.

In addition, the laws contained a codification of who was considered to be Jewish, defined by how many grandparents one had who were Jewish or German. There were four statuses under the law, of which two were considered Jewish and two German. A later expansion of the law extended its provisions to Gypsies and Negroes. These laws remained in effect until the German surrender, nearly ten years later.

Referenced in:
Mrs. O — The Dreden Dolls

1941 — Zyklon B is first used at Auschwitz

One of the deadliest chemicals ever invented, Zyklon B is a derivative of Prussic acid. It was invented in 1922 by a small team of German chemists led by Nobel Prize winning chemist Fritz Haber, whose previous creations included mustard gas and other chemicals of warfare used in World War One.

In 1941, the gas was first deployed in three death camps: Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Majdanek, and Sachsenhausen. Its first large scale use was one September 3, when 600 Russian POWs, 250 Polish POWs and 10 criminals were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Some of the victims survived more than 24 hours of exposure to the gas – when this was discovered, additional quantities of it were pumped into the killing chambers. By the time the war ended, an estimated 1.2 million people were killed with Zyklon B, most of whom (960,000) were Jews.

Referenced in:

Point of No Return — Immortal Technique

1933 – Dachau concentration camp opens

Dachau was the first of the Nazi concentration camps. Located near Munich, over the next 12 years, until the camp was liberated by American forces in 1945, thousands of people were interned there. In addition to Communists and Jews, the camp also held ordinary German criminals, Christian clergy and a range of prisoners from various conquered nations. Over 32,000 deaths were documented there – and very likely thousands more were not documented.

After the war, it was used to hold captured SS troops as they awaited trial at Nuremberg, in a small measure of poetic justice. Not nearly enough, though.

Referenced in:
Nazis 1994 — Roger Taylor
Dachau Blues — Captain Beefheart
Ghosts of Dachau — The Style Council

1941 – Hitler announces the destruction of the Jews

Of all things, it was the entry of the United States into the war that prompted Hitler to move the Holocaust into high gear. Now that the Americans were in it, the usefulness of the remaining Jews as hostages was at an end, and Hitler saw no reason to delay the complete destruction of the Jewish race – all the ones he could get his hands on, at least – a moment longer.

This announcement was made to a group of fifty or so of the highest ranking Nazis, chiefly the politicians and bureaucrats who formed the Third Reich’s top echelon, whom Hitler had summoned to a meeting in the Reich Chancellory. Himmler, Goebbels and Bormann are all known to have attended the meeting. Moreover, documents related to this meeting – including Goebbels’ diaries – make it clear that the plan to exterminate the Jews was not carried out without Hitler’s knowledge or responsibility, but that he was an enthusiastic proponent and participant of it. The following year, 1942, would account for almost half the total Jewish deaths in the Holocaust all by itself.

Referenced in:
The Final Solution — Sabaton

1944 – Anne Frank and her family are arrested by the Nazis

Anne Frank is perhaps best known for the posthumous publication of her diaries. In them, she recounts how, along with her parents and older sister, she hid in a back room of her father’s office block for two years from 1942, after the Nazi invasion of Holland. During this time, they were joined by four other Jews, also in hiding from the Nazis. Conditions were cramped and food was scarce, leading to occasional outbursts of ill-temper. On the whole, though, the eight people showed remarkable fortitude and self-control, at least as depicted in Anne’s diary.

Only six people outside of it knew of the hiding place: four of Otto Frank’s employees, the spouse of one employee and the father of another. It is believed that none of these six were responsible for the tip off that led to a raid by Nazi forces on August 2, 1944. Whoever was responsible, the results were tragic: all eight were arrested along with two of the conspirators who had helped them, and all but Otto would die in the camps, mere weeks before the Allied forces liberated them.

Anne’s diary was saved from the Nazis, and later published around the world under the title “Diary of a Young Girl.”. It is widely regarded as a moving tale of the human spirit, and also a stark caution regarding fascism. While Holocaust deniers have decried it as a forgery, its authenticity has been repeatedly proven – indeed, one of the Nazi officers who participated in the arrest has verified many of the details in it.

Referenced in:

Anne – Discus
Dear Anne – Ryan Adams
So Fresh, So Clean – Oukast
Oh Comely – Neutral Milk Hotel

1942 – Anne Frank and family go into hiding

Anne Frank is perhaps best known for the posthumous publication of her diaries. In them, she recounts how, along with her parents and older sister, she hid in a back room of her father’s office block for two years from 1942, after the Nazi invasion of Holland. During this time, they were joined by four other Jews, also in hiding from the Nazis. Conditions were cramped and food was scarce, leading to occasional outbursts of ill-temper. On the whole, though, the eight people showed remarkable fortitude and self-control, at least as depicted in Anne’s diary.

Only six people outside of it knew of the hiding place: four of Otto Frank’s employees, the spouse of one employee and the father of another. It is believed that none of these six were responsible for the tip off that led to a raid by Nazi forces on August 2, 1944. Whoever was responsible, the results were tragic: all eight were arrested along with two of the conspirators who had helped them, and all but Otto would die in the camps, mere weeks before the Allied forces liberated them.

Anne’s diary was saved from the Nazis, and later published around the world under the title “Diary of a Young Girl.”. It is widely regarded as a moving tale of the human spirit, and also a stark caution regarding fascism. While Holocaust deniers have decried it as a forgery, its authenticity has been repeatedly proven – indeed, one of the Nazi officers who participated in the arrest has verified many of the details in it.

Referenced in:

Anne – Discus
Dear Anne – Ryan Adams
So Fresh, So Clean – Oukast
Oh Comely – Neutral Milk Hotel