Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
German Occupation of Europe Timeline
[The Occupied Nations]
The German Occupation of Europe
Brief Year by Year Outline
German domination of most of Europe started on the 13 March 1938 with the annexation of Austria, followed by Sudeten Germans demanding full autonomy in April of the same year.
Decree on the Reporting of Jewish Assets on 26 April
14 June decree on the Registration and Identification of Jewish factories.
23 July sees the introduction of identity cards for Jews from 1 January 1939.
On 17 August Jewish first names Sara or Israel to be added to all Jewish names from 1 January 1939..
On 30 September a meeting was held in Munich, where Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler and Mussolini agree to transfer Sudetenland to Germany, and on 1 October 1938 German troops march into the Sudetenland.
Chamberlain announces on his return to London “I believe its peace in our time”.
On 5 October passports of Jews marked with the letter ‘J’.
28 October sees the expulsion of 17,000 ‘Stateless’ Jews out of Germany across the border into Poland.
On 7 November Herschel Grynszpan whose parents were deported in the above operation, shoots Vom Rath a German Embassy official in Paris, in protest. What follows on 9 November is the ‘Night of Broken Glass’, a State-organised pogrom against Jews in Germany, with synagogues and Jewish property being destroyed.
12 November sees over 26,000 Jewish men arrested and sent to Concentration Camps.
On 30 January Hitler prophesies in the Reichstag – “the extermination of the Jewish race in Europe in the case of war”.
On 15 March 1939 German troops march into Prague and take over Bohemia and Moravia, and the following day Hitler proclaims “Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist”.
On 22 March the Germans annex Memel.
In a surprise move on 23 August Ribbentrop, the German Foreign Minister flies to Moscow and signs a non-aggression pact with Russia, with secret clauses regarding the partition of Poland.
On 31 August 1939 Hitler orders the attack on Poiland, and at 0445 hours on 1 September 1939 the Germans annex Danzig, and invades Poland. Chamberlain sends ultimatum to Hitler to withdraw his troops from Poland. Hitler ignores the ultimatum.
3 September 1939 Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany.
The German army reaches Warsaw on 9 September and heavily bombards the city with guns and aircraft raids, inflicting substantial loss of life and damage to buildings. The German campaign is known as “Blitzkreig” – Lightning War.
On 17 September the Russians invades eastern Poland.
After a gallant resistance against a far superior and powerful invader the last Polish troops cease fighting on 6 October 1939.
On 12 October sees the first deportation of Jews from
Austria and Moravia to Poland.
28 October saw the Jewish star introduced for the first time in Wloclawek, Poland
On the 8 November Hans Frank is appointed Generalgouvernor of occupied Poland.
23 November the wearing of the Jewish star is made compulsory for all Jews over the age of 12.
During 10 –12 February deportations of Jews from Stettin, Straslund and Schneidermuhl to Lublin district in Poland.
On 9 April 1940 the Germans occupy Denmark and invade Norway, and on 10 June the Norwegians surrender. The German cause is helped by one Vidkun Quisling, a Norwegian sympathiser, and the term Quisling comes to be used in general for collaborators.
30 April sees the first ghetto in Lodz
10 May 1940 sees the Germans invade western Europe, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg and France.
After a severe and devasting air attack on Rotterdam on 14 May 1940, Holland fearing similar treatment of other cities in Holland capitulates.
The Germans make a vital breakthrough at Sedan in mid –May and rapidly move through France, and on 26 May 1940 the British Expeditionary Force and other allied troops are evacuated from the beeches of Dunkirk, under Operation “Dynamo”.
The following day Belgium surrenders, on 3 June Paris is bombed, and Operation Dynamo ends, with 224,585 British troops and 112,546 French and Belgian evacuated to Britain.
On 14 June the Germans enter Paris, and on 22 June 1940 France and Germany sign the Franco-German armistice at Compienge, using the same railway carriage that the Germans had signed the surrender in the First World War.
On the same day the Germans take Paris the first transport of Polish political prisoners from Tarnow arrives at Auschwitz.
10 July 1940 sees the Battle of Britain begin with 70 aircraft raiding docks in South Wales, the EagleDay on 13 August 1940, where massive bomber raids are launched on British airfields and aircraft factories. This is the first part of Operation Sea-Lion, the planned invasion of Britain.
On 15 August Eichmann proposes the Madagascar Plan, which envisages Jews being shipped over to Madagascar.
On 20 August Churchill makes his famous speech – “so much owed to so few”, a tribute to the allied airmen who fought with such bravery.
The Germans switched their tactics and on 23 August 1940 an all-night raid on London signified the start of the London Blitz.
17 September Hitler decides to postpone Operation Sea-Lion.
On 7 October 1940 German troops enter Rumania, and on 18 December Hitler issues secret memo on Operation ‘Barbarossa’
16 October the order for the creation of a Jewish Quarter in Warsaw is made public.
On 22 October Operation ‘Buerckel’ the deportation of Jews from Baden, the Palatiate and the Saar District to the South of France, from there to Auschwitz at the end of 1942
15 November the Warsaw Ghetto is sealed off
Between February and April the deportation of 72,000 Jews to the Warsaw Ghetto.
On 12 February Joodsche Raad (Jewish Council) installed in Amsterdam
On 22-23 February 400 Jewish hostages deported from Amsterdam to Buchenwald, via the Dutch Camp un Schoorl. From Buchenwald the survivors were sent to Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria, where they perished within a few months
25/26 February Strike in Amsterdam and several neighbouring towns as a sign of protest regarding deportations of Jewish citizens.
On 22-23 February 400 Jewish hostages deported from Amsterdam to Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
On 6 April 1941 the Germans invade Greece and Yugoslavia, the Yugoslavs capitulate on 17 April and Germany complete the occupation of the Greek mainland by 30 April 1941.
On 14 May 3600 Parisian Jews are arrested.
20 May sees the German invasion of Crete by airborne forces, after some bitter fighting with allied troops on 27 May the British Commander Freyberg is allowed to evacuate Crete, which is completed by the end of May 1941.
End of May sees the establishment of the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile killing squads
On the 22 June 1941 Germany invades Russia along a front from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and they carry all before them capturing vast swathes of territory, and capturing substantial numbers of Red Army forces. Riga, Smolensk, Kiev, Poltava, Orel, Kharkov, Simferopol, Kerch
On 28 June a pogrom in Kovno, Lithuania claims 3800 victims
2 – 3 July sees a pogrom in Lwow claiming 7000 lives
8 July sees the introduction of the Jewish star in the Baltic States
11 July in Bialystok a massacre of Jews
On 31 July Goring charges Heydrich with the Final Solution to the Jewish problem.
End of August sees the first use of Zyklon B at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, on Soviet Prisoners of War in Bunker 11.
15 September sees the introduction of the Jewish star in the German Reich for all Jews aged 6 and over.
On 19 September liquidation of the Zhitomir Ghetto claiming 18,000 victims
27 September Reinhard Heydrich becomes Reichs – Protektor of Bohemia and Moravia
During 28-29 September the Germans Einsatzgruppen massacre approximately 34,000 Jews in Kiev, at the Babi Yar ravine.
During 12 – 13 October massacre in Dniepropetrovsk claims 11,000 victims
On 14 October the order for the deportation of German Jews to Lodz is issued.
End of October sees massacres in Riga, Vilna, Kovno and Dvinsk
On 1 November construction of the death camp in Belzec begins, under the control of the SSPF Lublin, a mass murder programme that was eventually to be called Aktion Reinhard.
6 November mass execution in Rovno – 15,000 victims
25 November sees the Decree on the Confiscation of Jewish property on deportation.
On 27 November 1941 the German panzers are halted 19 miles short of Moscow, and on the 28 November forced out of Rostov.
A combination of fierce Soviet resistance and the early onset of “General Winter” stopped the Germany army from capturing its prize goal.
8 December sees the first mass murder of Jews at Chelmno. Stationery gas vans were used to gas the Jews, then their bodies were driven to the forest for burial.
8 December bloodbath in Riga – 27,000 victims
On 22 December another bloodbath this time in Vilna 32,000 victims
30 December massacre at Simferopol – 10,000 victims.
End of December Eichmann visits the Belzec death camp, whilst still under construction
Early January the murder of Austrian Gypsies at Chelmno, having been deported from Lodz Ghetto.
First deportations in Holland, Dutch Jews to Amsterdam, and foreign and stateless Jews to Westerbork transit camp.
15 January the deportation of Jews from the Lodz Ghetto to Chelmno begins
On 20 January Heydrich convenes the Wannsee Conference – to prepare the way for the Final Solution of the Jewish question in Europe.
End of January marks the beginning of deportations to Theresienstadt
February / March – mass murder of Jews in Kharkov – 14,000 victims
16 March 1942 – Belzec death camp commences mass murder through gassing using carbon monoxide, in primitive gas chamber barrack.
17 – 21 March Deportation of Lublin Ghetto to Belzec
28 March the first Slovak Jews arrives in Auschwitz, and on the same day the first Paris – Auschwitz transport.
April – May construction of the second Aktion Reinhard death camp – Sobibor, the first transport arrived in early May.
3 May introduction of Jewish star in Holland
27 May Reinhard Heydrich attacked by Czech agents trained by the British in Prague.
1 June Introduction of the Jewish star in France
4 June Reinhard Heydrich died from his wounds in Prague
14 July First round up of Jews in Amsterdam and transport to Westerbork
15 July First deportation train from Holland to Auschwitz
22 July Grand Aktion in Warsaw – deportation of Jews to the Treblinka death camp, which
was constructed between April and July.
On 4 August The first deportation from Belgium to Auschwitz
During 10 – 22 August deportation of Lwow Ghetto to Belzec.
During August decision taken to capture Stalingrad on the Volga River.
August – September Deportations from Zagreb to Auschwitz and Jews deported from Theresienstadt gassed in Minsk
16 September Deportation of Lodz Ghetto completed
3 October The Grand Aktion in Warsaw is completed
On 4 October Concentration camps in Germany become ‘Jew Free’.
29 October Mass execution of Jews in Pinsk – 16,000 victims .
On 11 November 1942 the Germans entered the Unoccupied part of France and Corsica.
25 November first deportation of Jews from Norway
17 December The Allies promise that those responsible for War Crimes against the Jews
will be brought to justice.
On 18 January the first armed resistance to deportations in the Warsaw Ghetto took place
During 20 – 26 January transports from Theresienstadt Ghetto to Auschwitz
On 21 January Deportation of patients from mental asylum “Het Apeldoornse Bos” to Auschwitz - Birkenau
2 February After almost capturing the city, the Vl army under Field-Marshall Von Paulus surrendered this defeat was seen as the end of German expansion in the Second World War.
During 5 –12 February first deportations from Bialystok
On 27 February deportation of Jewish armament workers from Berlin to Auschwitz
From 2 March to 20 July 19 transports from Holland to the Sobibor death camp. Also from March transports from Prague, Vienna, Luxemburg and Macedonia to Treblinka.
On March 13 – 14 the Krakow Ghetto liquidated, most went to the Labour Camp in Plaszow or to Auschwitz.
The same day the first of the new Crematoria in Auschwitz operational
15 March deportations from Salonika andThrace
19 April sees the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, which lasts until 16 May
On 5 – 6 June Children’s transports from Vught transit camp via Westerbork to Sobibor. All children under 16 deported from Herzogenbusch concentration camp.
On 11 June Heinrich Himmler orders the liquidation of all Polish ghettos decree, extended to the Soviet Union on 21 June.
Between 21 – 27 June liquidation of the Lwow Ghetto
25 June Uprising and destruction of the Czestochowa Ghetto
5 July 1943 sees the Germans launch the last major offensive in the East at Kursk, the offensive was repulsed and the Russians counter-attacked on 12 July, now began the long German retreat.
2 August Revolt at the Treblinka death camp.
16 – 23 August Uprising and destruction of the Bialystok Ghetto
On 10 September 1943 Germans occupy Rome, and on 3 October attack the island of Kos.
11 September sees the beginning of police raids on Jews in Nice
During 11 – 14 September marks the liquidation of Ghettos in Minsk and Lida
During 11 – 18 September Family Transports from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz
On 23 September liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto
29 September Last of the round-ups and deportations from Amsterdam, after which the city is declared “Judenrein”.
On 14 October revolt and mass escape from the Sobibor death camp
18 October marks the first Jewish transport from Rome to Auschwitz
On 3 November the Riga Ghetto was liquidated
3 November was the infamous Erntefest Massacre of Jews at Majdanek and at virtually
all the labour camps in the Lublin district – 17,000 victims, in one day.
On 18 March 1944 German troops enter Hungary
14 April sees the first Athens – Auschwitz transport
During 15 May – 8 July 476,000 Jews deported from Hungary to Auschwitz
On 6 June 1944 Allied Naval forces land troops on the French coast between Cherbourg and Le-Harve, D-Day has began the liberation of Western Europe. The Normandy landings are amongst the bloodiest battles seen during World War Two.
20 July sees the assassination attempt on Hitler – mass arrests and executions
24 July Soviet forces liberate Majdanek concentration camp
25 July Kovno Ghetto evacuated
1 August 1944 sees the Polish Underground rises up against the Nazis, as the Russians had reached the outskirts of Warsaw at Praga. The uprising is one of the most tragic events of the Second World War. After an heroic struggle the Polish Home Army surrendered and on 19 October Hitler orders the total destruction of Warsaw.
4 August Anne Frank and the others in hiding at Prinsengracht 263 Amsterdam, captured after betrayal and deported to Westerbork.
23 August the transit camp at Drancy near Paris liberated
On 5 September Lodz Ghetto evacuated.
During September final transports of Jews in Dutch Transit Camps to Germany, several hundreds remain in Westerbork.
During September final transports of all Jews in Dutch Transit Camps to Germany
17 September – Operation ‘Market Garden’ planned to secure the Rhine bridgehead at Arnhem fails, in the face of heavy German resistance.
On 7 October Sonderkommando revolt in Auschwitz
End of October the remnants of the Plaszow Labour Camp gassed in Auschwitz, and the last gassings in Auschwitz are performed.
During November -trial of some of the Majdanek staff takes place
During 8 –18 November Eichmann deports 38,000 Budapest Jews to Germany
26 November Himmler orders the destruction of the remaining Auschwitz Crematoria
16 December 1944 sees the Battle of the Bulge the final German offensive in the West in the Ardennes.
This is repulsed and the US Fist Army counterattacks on 3 January 1945
16 January Soviet Troops liberate 800 Jews in Czestochowa and 870 in Lodz
17 January liberation of 80,000 Jews in Budapest.
26 January the Concentration Camp at Auschwitz – Birkenau liberated.
March Anne Frank, exhausted by life in Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, dies from typhus.
11 April Buchenwald Concentration Camp liberated
15 April Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp liberated
23 April Mauthausen Concentration Camp taken over by International Red Cross
28 April Dachau Concentration Camp liberated
30 April Adolf Hitler commits suicide
7 May Germany surrenders- the War in Europe is over
10 May Thersienstadt liberated
23 May Heinrich Himmler commits suicide
GHF (Vilna Mass Grave Photo)
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