Genocide

During the Second World War, Nazi persecution of the Jewish people worsened into 'genocide' – the attempt to kill all the Jewish people in Europe.

Children in Jewish ghettos

Genocide

1940: Jewish children were forced to live in ghettos

1940In many towns, Jewish people were forced to leave their homes and go to live in Jewish areas, or 'ghettos', where they were forbidden to earn a wage. Many starved to death.
1941All Jewish people were forced to wear a yellow Star of David.
1941In eastern Europe, Nazi Einsatzgruppen rounded up and murdered over a million Jewish people.
1942Wannsee Conference: In January, the decision was taken for a 'Final Solution to the Jewish Problem' – to exterminate all the Jewish people in Europe. Camps were built at places such as Auschwitz and Jewish people were rounded up and sent there to be gassed. Jewish prisoners were organised into Sonderkommando units to burn the bodies in the crematoria. Others were worked to death in labour camps to help the war effort.
Winter 1944‒1945The 'Death Marches'. As the Russians advanced, the SS guards marched the Jewish people to concentration camps in the west. Many Jewish people died on the marches. Many were killed because they could not keep up. When they reached camps such as Bergen-Belsen in West Germany, they were crammed in in such numbers that they died of starvation or disease.