So many people think that the Holocaust started in 1939 or 1940, but the fact is it started years before that. In 1933 already it had become clear what the Nazis were planing to do, although the Jews were targeted already before that they weren’t the main focus as of yet.On July 14 1933 the Nazis passed the “Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases” empowering the state to sterilize certain individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Propaganda material as the picture above (which dates from 1934) used to fool the people to believe that this was a necessity for the greater good of the nation. Slogans like “Life only as a burden.” were used.
This law was preceded by the enabling act , the act which basically gave Hitler absolute power, the act passed the German parliament on 23 March 1933 and was signed by President Bismarck that same day. The scary thing is this was done via democratic measures. Below is the translation of the act. The official title of the act was “Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”
Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Reich
The Reichstag has enacted the following law, which is hereby proclaimed with the assent of the Reichsrat, it having been established that the requirements for a constitutional amendment have been fulfilled:
In addition to the procedure prescribed by the constitution, laws of the Reich may also be enacted by the government of the Reich. This includes the laws referred to by Articles 85 Paragraph 2 and Article 87 of the constitution.
Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain unaffected.
Laws enacted by the Reich government shall be issued by the Chancellor and announced in the Reich Gazette. They shall take effect on the day following the announcement, unless they prescribe a different date. Articles 68 to 77 of the Constitution do not apply to laws enacted by the Reich government.
Treaties of the Reich with foreign states, which relate to matters of Reich legislation, shall for the duration of the validity of these laws not require the consent of the legislative authorities. The Reich government shall enact the legislation necessary to implement these agreements.
This law enters into force on the day of its proclamation. It expires on 1 April 1937; it expires furthermore if the present Reich government is replaced by another.
AUGUST 19, 1934.
17 days after the death of President Hindenburg and Hitler becomes the absolute dictator of Germany; there are no legal or constitutional limits to his authority.
APRIL 1, 1935
Often forgotten but the Jehovah Witnesses were also persecuted by the Nazis. An estimated 2,500 were killed in concentration camps or by execution. On April 1,1945 the German government bans Jehovah’s Witness organizations. This is because the Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to pledge allegiance to the state; their religious convictions forbid an oath of allegiance to or service in the armed forces of any temporal power.
The picture above is from the Kusserow family, who were active Jehovah’s Witnesses and distributed religious literature and taught Bible study classes in their home. They were constantly harassed by the Gestapo and the SS. In 1936 most of them were arrested and send to concentration camps where they remained until after the end of the war.
SEPTEMBER 15, 1935
On 15 September 1935 the Nuremberg laws were passed. The Nuremberg Race Laws consisted of two pieces of legislation: the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor. These laws specifically targeted the Jewish populations. Below are just some examples.
Marriages between Jews and citizens of German or related blood are forbidden. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if concluded abroad to circumvent this law.
Annulment proceedings can be initiated only by the state prosecutor.
Extramarital relations between Jews and citizens of German or related blood are forbidden.
Jews may not employ in their households female citizens of German or related blood who are under 45 years old.
Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich or national flag or display Reich colours.
They are, on the other hand, permitted to display the Jewish colours. The exercise of this right is protected by the state.
Any person who violates the prohibition under Article 1 will be punished with prison with hard labour [Zuchthaus].
A male who violates the prohibition under Article 2 will be punished with prison [Gefängnis] or prison with hard labour.
Any person violating the provisions under Articles 3 or 4 will be punished with prison with hard labour for up to one year and a fine, or with one or the other of these penalties.
JULY 15, 1937
The Nazis open the Buchenwald concentration camp for male prisoners in east-central Germany.
NOVEMBER 9, 1938.
MAY 13, 1939
On May 13, 1939, the German transatlantic liner St. Louis sets sail from Hamburg, Germany, for Havana, Cuba. On board are over 900 passengers, almost all of them Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany.
The majority of the Jewish passengers had applied for visas to enter the United States, and had planned to stay in Cuba only until they could enter the United States. However, after Cuba and then the United States denied these refugees entry, the St. Louis was forced to return to Europe.
MAY 20, 1940.
Auschwitz is established and opened ,on May 20,1940. I don’t think I have to say much more then that. Everyone knows about the horrors of that place.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1941.
Two years after the invasion of Poland which triggered WWII. The Nazis pass a lawthat all Jews six years of age and older
in the Reich, Alsace, Bohemia-Moravia and the German–annexed territory of western Poland (called the Warthegau), are to wear yellow Star of David on their outer clothing in public at all times. The word “Jew” is to be inscribed inside the star in German or the local language.
JANUARY 20, 1942.
On January 20, 1942, this villa was the site of the Wannsee Conference, at which the decision to proceed with the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” was announced.What is so disturbing about the conference is not so much the fact that the Nazis came up with a plan to kill all the Jews, because that had already been clear for a while, but the business like language used during the conference. It could easily be mistaken for a conference on supply chain demand issues.
NOVEMBER 3, 1943
On November 3,1943 SS and police units implement Aktion Erntefest (Operation Harvest Festival), the murder of the Jewish laborers in concentration camp Lublin/Majdanek and the forced-labor camps Trawniki and Poniatowa. It became the largest single-day, single-location massacre during the Holocaust.
DECEMBER 11, 1944
At Hartheim, German authorities carry out the last gassing of inmates. Hartheim was one of the T4 euthanasia clinics. Although the T4 program was officially suspended in August 1941, secretly the gassing of people with disabilities had continued until December 11,1944. Political opponents were also branded as mentally disabled. In fact it took very little to become marked as someone with a disability not fit for life.
APRIL 30, 1945.
On this day Hitler and his wife Eva Braun killed themselves. The following day Goebbels and his wife killed their children and then themselves.
I limited the timeline to just a few events but I could have put down thousands and thousands of events, 1933-1945 was by far the darkest era in history. Ahistory that should never be erased or forgotten.
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