Banner Image

America's Response to the Holocaust: Timeline of the Holocaust


1933 President Roosevelt's New Deal creates agencies that hire by "merit system," resulting in more opportunities for Jews.
January 30 -- Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.
March 20 -- The Nazis establish their first concentration camp: Dachau.
March 23 -- Germany passes the Enabling Act, giving Hitler dictatorial powers.
March 27 -- Mass anti-Nazi rally held in Madison Square Garden, New York.
April 7 -- Nazis' first anti-Semitic decree removes all Jews from the civil service.
September -- Nazis enact the Nuremberg Laws. Among other things they deprive German Jews of the right to vote and hold public office, and they outlaw marriages between Jews and non-Jews.
October 25 -- Hitler and Mussolini form Rome-Berlin Axis.
November -- Landslide re-election victory for President Roosevelt, with nearly complete Jewish support.
March 13 -- "Anschluss:" Germany annexes Austria.
April 26 -- German Jews required to register their property.
July -- Convened by President Roosevelt, 32 countries meet at the Evian Conference in France to discuss refugee problem. Little is accomplished; most Western countries unwilling to accept Jewish refugees.
September 29 -- Munich Agreement is signed. Britain and France accept Hitler's annexation of Sudetenland.
November 9-10 -- "Kristallnacht," The Night of Broken Glass. Throughout Germany and Austria, the Nazis destroy Jewish property and deport some 30,000 Jews to concentration camps.
November 12 -- All Jewish retail establishments in Germany ordered to cease business by end of year.
February - June -- Wagner-Rogers Bill proposes admitting 20,000 German refugee children to the U.S. The bill dies in committee.
March 15 -- Germany occupies Czechoslovakia.
May - June -- The S.S. St. Louis, carrying 930 Jewish refugees, is turned away by Cuba. The U.S. refuses to admit the refugees, who are forced to return to Europe.
May -- British government issues a White Paper which restricts future Jewish immigration to Palestine to 75,000 over the next five years.
September 1 -- Germany invades Poland.
September 3 -- Britain and France declare war on Germany.
November -- Germans have killed more than 16,000 Polish civilians in first six weeks of war. Five thousand of them are Jewish.
May 10 -- Germany launches attacks against Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium and France.
June -- Germans establish the Auschwitz concentration camp.
June 22 -- France surrenders to Germany. Marshall Pétain signs armistice with Germany
September 7 -- German begins massive bombing campaign on London.
October 22 -- Germany deports 15,000 from the Rhineland to internment camps in France.
November -- Warsaw Ghetto created.


June -- New rules in the U.S. cut refugee immigration to about 25% of the relevant quotas.
June -- More than 13,000 Jews have died of starvation in the Warsaw ghetto since January.
June 22 -- Germany attacks U.S.S.R.
July -- New York Yiddish dailies reveal that thousands of Jewish civilians have been massacred by Nazi soldiers in Minsk, Brest-Litovsk, Lvov and other places.
July 31 -- Reich Marshal Hermann Göring instructs Reinhardt Heydrich to organize a "complete solution of the Jewish question."
October 11 -- "New York Times" story reports on massacres of thousands of Jews in Galicia.
September -- First gassing experiments at Auschwitz.
November 27 -- Nazis establish Theresiendstadt, "a model ghetto," in Czechoslovakia.
December 7 -- The Japanese attack the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor.
December 8 -- First gassings at Chelmno death camp.


January 20 -- Nazis hold the Wannsee Conference, during which they outline a plan to kill eleven million Jews in Europe.
March -- Jewish aid organization reports that eyewitness accounts indicate the Nazis have already massacred 240,000 Jews in the Ukraine alone.
March -- The Nazis begin the forced evacuation of Slovakia's Jews. They are the first Jews taken to Auschwitz.
May 4 -- Gassing of more than one million Jews begins at Auschwitz.
May -- The Jewish Labor Bund in Poland compiles summary of verified massacres and transmits it to the Polish government-in-exile in London.
June 29 -- At a press conference in London, the World Jewish Congress estimates that the Nazis have already killed over a million Jews.


July15 -- Nazis begin deportation of Jews from Amsterdam.
July 16 -- Nazis begin deportation of Jews from France.
July 21 -- Twenty thousand people gather in New York's Madison Square Garden to protest the Nazi atrocities.
July 22 -- Nazis begin deporting Jews from the Warsaw ghetto.
August -- News of Nazi plan to annihilate Jews of Europe reaches Gerhart Riegner, the World Jewish Congress representative in Switzerland.
August 8 -- Gerhart Riegner informs U.S. consulate in Geneva about a Nazi plan to murder the Jews of Europe.
August 11 -- U.S. Legation in Switzerland passes information received from Gerhart Riegner to State Department regarding Nazi plan to kill all European Jews.
August 21 -- President Roosevelt warns Axis powers that the perpetrators of war crimes would be tried after their defeat and face "fearful retribution."
August 28 -- After receiving details of Gerhart Reigner's report regarding the Nazi plan to annihilate European Jews, a British politician cables the information to American Rabbi Stephen Wise.
September -- State Department grants permission for 5,000 Jewish children in France to enter the U.S. The initiative fails because of stalling by the Vichy government.
September -- Representative Emanuel Celler introduces bill into the House calling for the opening of U.S. doors to refugees in France who can prove they are facing persecution. The bill dies in committee.
September 2 -- Rabbi Stephen Wise contacts State Department about Nazi plan to kill all European Jews. Wise agrees to remain silent until the information is confirmed.
November 24 -- State Department confirms report of Nazi plans to slaughter the Jews in Europe. Rabbi Stephen Wise holds press conference.
November 24 -- For the first time, reports of Jews being methodically murdered at Auschwitz reach outside world.
November -- A Jewish member of the Polish government informs the press that one million Polish Jews have perished since the war began.
December 8 -- Jewish leaders meet with President Roosevelt and hand him a 20-page summary of the Holocaust.
December17 -- The Allies issue a statement condemning "in the strongest possible terms this bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination."
December 19 -- The United Nations Information Office in New York releases a report that authenticates the accounts of the Holocaust.


January -- State Department receives information from Switzerland that discloses that 6,000 Jews a day are being killed at one location in Poland.
February 2 -- Germans surrender at Stalingrad.
February -- The Russians begin a slow reconquest of Ukraine.
February 10 -- State Department asks legation in Switzerland to discontinue sending reports about the mass murder of Jews to private persons in the U.S.
February 13 -- "The New York Times" reports that Rumania is willing to help move 70,000 Jews from Transnistria to a safe haven chosen by the Allies.

March 1 -- An estimated 75,000 people show up at a "Stop Hitler Now" rally in Madison Square Garden. Only 20,000 can get in.
March 9 -- The Committee for a Jewish Army presents a pageant in New York called "We Will Never Die" in memory of the murdered Jews of Europe.
April 19 -- British and U.S. officials open a 12-day conference in Bermuda to discuss the possibility of rescuing European Jewish refugees.
April 19 -- First day of Warsaw ghetto uprising.
April 20 -- State Department receives message from Gerhart Riegner outlining plan to rescue Rumanian and French Jews.
May 4 -- Ad in the "The New York Times" taken out by Jewish activists assails the Bermuda Conference as: "a mockery and a cruel jest."

May 16 -- Nazis liquidate the Warsaw ghetto.
June -- Chief of the U.S. Visa Division admits that Spanish consulates are withholding visas from refugees who had advisory approvals.
July 16 -- The Treasury Department is prepared to issue license allowing for the transfer of funds from Jewish organizations in the U.S. to Switzerland. The money would be used to help rescue Jews from Rumania and France.
July 20 - 25 -- The Emergency Conference to Save the Jewish People of Europe takes place in New York City. 1500 people attend.
July 24 -- Mussolini is toppled from power in Italy.
July -- Jan Karski, a courier for the Polish resistance, meets with FDR, giving him an eyewitness account of the Holocaust.
August -- A report received by Jewish leaders in the U.S. advises that the death toll of European Jews has reached four million.
September -- A bill is introduced into the House that would allow refugees who don't endanger public safety to come to the U.S. temporarily. The bill doesn't reach the floor of either House.
September 3 -- Italy secretly signs an armistice with the Allies.
October 6 -- Four hundred Orthodox rabbis gather outside the White House to present a petition to FDR calling for a rescue agency. The president declines to meet them.
October -- Danish citizens help 7,200 Jews in Denmark escape to Sweden.
November 9 -- Identical resolutions are introduced into the House and Senate calling on the president to create a government rescue agency.
November 10 -- FDR suggests setting up refugee camps in North Africa and southern Europe. State Department demolishes plan.
November 26 -- Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long testifies in the House on the rescue resolution.


1944 January 13 -- Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. receives "Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews."
January 16 -- Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. proposes to FDR that a rescue commission be established.
January 22 -- President Roosevelt establishes the War Refugee Board.
March 24 -- President Roosevelt issues a war-crimes statement.
March -- War Refugee Board helps organize the evacuation of 1200 Jewish refugees from Rumania aboard three tiny Bulgarian vessels.
March -- War Refugee Board convinces Rumania to move 48,000 Jews from Transnistria, out of the path of retreating German troops.
April -- The Nazis begin concentrating Jews into central locations in Hungary.
April -- Gallup poll shows 70% of Americans approve setting up emergency refugees camps in the U. S.
April -- Two escapees from Auschwitz provide Jewish underground in Slovakia with full description of the death camp.
May -- The War Refugee Board opens its first refugee camp at Fedala in North Africa.
May 15 -- Nazis begin deporting Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. Four trains leave per day, each carrying 3,000 Jews.
June 1 -- President Roosevelt agrees to allow 1,000 refugees in Italy to come to a camp in the U.S.
June 6 -- The Allies land at Normandy in the D-Day invasion of France.
June 25 -- Pope Pius XII makes a plea to the Hungarian head of state Miklós Horthy to save Hungarian Jews.
June -- Appeals from the Jewish underground in Slovakia to bomb the deportation routes to Auschwitz reach Switzerland.
June -- War Department turn downs appeals to bomb rail links between Hungary and Auschwitz.
July -- War Refugee Board secures Rumanian commitment to accept Jews fleeing the Nazis in Hungary.
July 31 -- The American Jewish Conference sponsors a rally in Madison Square Park to draw attention to the plight of Hungary's Jews.
August -- In large part because of the efforts of the War Refugee Board official in Turkey, Ira Hirschmann, Bulgaria abolishes its anti-Jewish laws.
August -- Nine hundred eighty-two refugees, most of them Jewish, arrive at Fort Ontario in upstate New York.
August 14 -- War Department writes that bombing Auschwitz would divert air power from "decisive operations elsewhere."
August 20 -- One hundred twenty-seven Flying Fortresses drop high-explosives on the factory areas of Auschwitz, less than five miles east of the gas chambers.
September 13 -- U.S. heavy bombers rain destruction on factory areas of Auschwitz, but not on crematoria just a few miles away.
October 7 -- In a suicidal uprising, Jewish inmates in Auschwitz manage to destroy one and damage another of the crematorium buildings.
November 2 -- SS Chief Heinrich Himmler orders a halt to the gassing of Jews, followed by destruction of gas chambers and crematoria.
December 16 -- The Germans begin the Battle of the Bulge as a way of striking back at U.S. troops.
January -- Death marches into the interior of Germany begin, taking 250,000 Jewish lives.
January 27 -- Soviet forces capture Auschwitz.
February 1 -- State Department announces that perpetrators of all crimes against Jews and other minorities will be published.
February 13 -- Soviet forces capture Budapest saving the lives of 120,000 Jews.
April 30 -- U.S. troops occupy Munich. Hitler commits suicide.
May 7 -- Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies.
July 1 -- The U.S. visa system reverts to pre-war procedures, ending Washington's complex security-screening machinery.
November 20 -- Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal commences.


Timeline is provided from PBS's American Experience. 

Timeline from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 

© 2018 Mount St. Mary's University - Phillips Library
Library Home | Library Admin | Worldshare Admin | Mobile Site