The Ústredňa Židov (ÚŽ; English: Jewish Center) was the Judenrat in Bratislava that was imposed on the Jewish community of the Axis-aligned state of Slovakia to implement Nazi orders during the Holocaust. It was formed on the advice of SS official Dieter Wisliceny; the first leader, Heinrich Schwartz, was removed after refusing to cooperate with Nazi demands. Despite the collaborationist Department of Special Affairs run by Karol Hochberg, most of the ÚŽ members focused on improving the social welfare of Jews remaining in Slovakia. In addition, the ÚŽ attempted to resist deportation by retraining Jews who had been expelled from their previous profession and improving labor camps for Jews in Slovakia. The underground resistance organization that ran under its auspices, the Working Group, took over the ÚŽ leadership in December 1943. After the German invasion of Slovakia in August 1944, the ÚŽ was disbanded and many of its members were arrested and deported to concentration camps.
Jewish youth at a retraining course organized by the ÚŽ, 1941
|Purpose||Implementing anti-Jewish measures in Slovakia|
|Headquarters||Jewish Center, Bratislava, Slovakia|
On 14 March 1939, the Slovak State proclaimed its independence from Czechoslovakia under German protection; Jozef Tiso (a Catholic priest) was appointed president. According to the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, the persecution of Jews was "central to the domestic policy of the Slovak state". Slovak Jews were blamed for the 1938 First Vienna Award—Hungary's annexation of 40 percent of Slovakia's arable land and 270,000 people who had declared Czechoslovak ethnicity. In the state-sponsored media, propagandists claimed that Jews were disloyal and a "radical solution of the Jewish issue" was necessary for the progress of the Slovak nation.
In a process overseen by the Central Economic Office (led by Slovak official Augustín Morávek), 12,300 Jewish-owned businesses were confiscated or liquidated; this deprived most Slovak Jews of their livelihood. Although Jews were initially defined based on religion, the September 1941 "Jewish Code" (based on the Nuremburg Laws) defined them by ancestry. Among the Code's 270 anti-Jewish regulations were the requirement to wear yellow armbands, a ban on intermarriage, and the conscription of able-bodied Jews for forced labor. According to the 1940 census, about 89,000 Jews (slightly more than three percent of the population) lived in the Slovak State. About two-thirds of Jews in Slovakia were Orthodox, of whom many were strongly anti-Zionist. Other Jews belonged to Neolog Judaism or were Zionists influenced by German-Jewish culture. Zionists and Neologs often formed an alliance against Orthodox interests.
In response to the anti-Jewish measures, Zionist and Neolog leaders set up an umbrella organization called the ŽÚÚ (Židovská Ústredná Úradovna pre krajinu Slovenska) in late 1939. The ŽÚÚ attempted to negotiate with the Slovak government to ease anti-Jewish measures, as well as help Jews to emigrate and provide education and welfare. They tried to convince the Orthodox Jews to join the organization, to no avail; the lack of cooperation caused the ŽÚÚ to collapse.
In September 1940, Dieter Wisliceny, representing Adolf Eichmann, director of the Jewish section of the Reich Main Security Office, arrived in Bratislava as the Judenberater for Slovakia. His aim was to impoverish the Jewish community so that it became a burden on gentile Slovaks, who would then agree to deport them. On the basis of the Slovak Government Decree 234, passed 26 September, all Jewish community organizations were closed down and the Jews forced to form the Ústredňa Židov (Jewish Center, ÚŽ). The first Judenrat outside the Reich and German-occupied Poland, ÚŽ was the only secular Jewish organization allowed to exist; it inherited the property of the disbanded Jewish organizations. It operated under the direct control of the Central Economic Office and all Jews were required to be members. Its offices were located at multiple addresses in central Bratislava.
Leaders of the Jewish community were divided on how to react to this development. Some refused to associate with the ÚŽ in the belief that it would be used to implement anti-Jewish measures, but more saw participating in the ÚŽ as a way to help their fellow Jews by delaying the implementation of such measures. As a result, the ÚŽ was initially dominated by Jews who refused to collaborate and focused on charitable projects (such as soup kitchens) to help those impoverished by the anti-Jewish measures.
The first leader of the ÚŽ was Heinrich Schwartz, longtime secretary of the Orthodox Jewish community, who had been chosen for his fluency in Slovak.[a] Schwartz, a respected figure in the Orthodox community, was opposed by the Zionists and Neologs, who nevertheless joined the ÚŽ as a minority. Initially, the Zionists and Neologs worked to undermine Schwartz's authority, in order to gain influence for themselves. They were also worried that Schwartz and the Orthodox faction would collaborate with the authorities. These fears proved groundless; Schwatz thwarted anti-Jewish orders to the best of his ability by delaying their implementation. In particular, he sabotaged a census of Jews in eastern Slovakia with an aim to remove them to the west of the country; Wisliceny had him arrested in April 1941. His replacement was Arpad Sebestyen, who took a position of complete cooperation with Wisliceny. At about this time, Jewish businesses were being "Aryanized", causing massive unemployment. Many Jews who had lost their jobs sought positions in the ÚŽ with the support of the Central Economic Office, causing the introduction of "undesirable elements" who were willing to collaborate.
The ÚŽ's emigration department was headed by Gisi Fleischmann, a prewar Zionist leader known for her connections to international Jewish organizations. Through the embassies and consulates of neutral countries in Bratislava and Budapest, the department attempted to help Jews immigrate to other countries. The obstacles to immigration were rarely surmounted but a few Jews did manage to immigrate; the last group of 82 Jews left for Mandatory Palestine in April 1941.
The ÚŽ's main challenge was to provide social welfare to Jews who had been deprived of their livelihoods, using the dwindling resources of the Jewish community. By April 1941, 24,767 Jews had lost their jobs, (76% of those employed in 1939). By August, the ÚŽ was providing welfare to 23,877 Jews with 1,500 welfare applications to be considered; this consisted of about 3 Slovak koruna (Ks) daily per adult and 2 Ks per child. In addition, the ÚŽ established soup kitchens that fed more than 35,000 people. The organization also funded a hospital, orphanages, and homes for the elderly. It funded healthcare for Jews, establishing free clinics where Jewish doctors practiced.
This money came from resources inherited from Jewish organizations that had been dissolved as well as international organizations, especially the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). The ÚŽ also levied fees on its own members, but due to the impoverishment of the Jews, only collected 15 million Ks of the 50 million Ks due to it through July 1941. An attempt to take out a loan on immovable property owned by Jews, which had not yet been confiscated, failed due to the Central Economic Office's opposition to giving up its claim to the property. Over time, the ÚŽ's financial situation worsened while the demands on it increased due to the progressive exclusion of Jews from economic life. Despite its poor financial straits, the ÚŽ provided aid to Jews in neighboring countries, who were even worse off, sending packages to Germany, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and the General Government. With the Slovak Red Cross, it also provided food to Austrian Jews being deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp or locations in the east. In late 1941, the ÚŽ's budget was cut by one-third while it was struggling to provide aid to tens of thousands of Jews who had been forcibly relocated from their homes. Later, in 1943 and 1944, the ÚŽ received significant food supplies and other support from Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in neutral countries, while a changed leadership of the Central Economic Office, more sympathetic to the Jews, released some funds. The organization was finally able to solve the housing crisis and attempted to find work for its unemployed members, who absorbed the ÚŽ's funds and were most vulnerable to deportations in the event of a resumption.
The education and culture department succeeded at keeping most children in school due to an arrangement with Jozef Sivák, the minister of education; Sivák was sympathetic to the Jews. At the end of the 1940–1941 school year, 61 Jewish schools instructed 7941 children. However, 596 Jewish children did not attend school because a Jewish school did not exist in their area; Jews were barred from attending non-Jewish schools. The department also published a few books, including Theodor Herzl's The Jewish State which was the first publication to promote Zionism. However, the Central Economic Office prevented the ÚŽ from organizing a cultural academy or summer camps for youth, which it characterized as "undesirable activities". Most of the Jewish schools were later taken over for housing Jews displaced by the large-scale internal relocation of Jews in late 1941; educational activities had to cease.
The department also published the only Jewish newspaper allowed, which was called the Vestník Ústredne Židov (Gazette of the Jewish Center), distributed to every Jewish household. In this gazette, the ÚŽ called for calm and discipline for all Jews, in fear that a lack of cooperation would cause reprisals for the entire Jewish community, and held out the promise of immigration to Palestine, an increasingly unrealistic proposition. Kamenec notes that this absolute cooperation and suppression of resistance was exactly what the Slovak State sought to impose on the Jews.
The department for Jews who had converted to Christianity was largely unsuccessful in exempting converts from anti-Jewish measures. It argued that being forced to wear the Star of David would have "severe consequences from the psychological, educational, family and religious points of view".
Wisliceny set up a department for "Special Affairs" or "Special Tasks" on 11 June 1941 to ensure the prompt implementation of Nazi decrees, appointing an ambitious, unprincipled Viennese Jew named Karol Hochberg as its director. The main task of the department was collecting statistical data to be used in future forced relocations. On 4 October 1941, the Slovak government ordered 11,466 Jews from Bratislava—those not employed or intermarried—to relocate to fourteen smaller towns: Zvolen, Bardejov, Prešov, Humenné, Liptovský Mikuláš, Michalovce, Nové Mesto nad Váhom, Nitra, Žilina, Stropkov, Topoľčany, Trnava, Vrbové and Spišská Nová Ves. The ÚŽ was forced to pay for their relocation, which Hochberg's office supervised. To be more efficient, he reorganized the department into six subdivisions, for registering Jews, tracking down those who did not report for deportation, keeping track of stolen property, and so forth. More than 160,000 Ks in property was confiscated, despite the fact that the affected Jews were poorer than average. Hochberg personally embezzled some of the confiscated furniture to bribe Wisliceny. According to the official statistics, 5,679 people had been relocated by the beginning of December, and a total of 6,720 had been moved to the towns by the end of March. This did not include some who had been imprisoned in labor camps.
Due to Sebestyen's ineffectuality, Hochberg's department came to dominate the operations of the ÚŽ. During the 1942 deportations, Hochberg's department worked on categorizing Jews. These records were used by various Slovak agencies, such as the Central Economic Office and the Hlinka Guard, for preparing the lists of Jews to be deported. Andrej Steiner, an employee of the ÚŽ who was involved in the Working Group, tipped off the Slovak police to Hochberg's acceptance of bribes from the Working Group on behalf of Wisliceny; Hochberg was arrested in November 1942 and jailed for corruption. Although Hochberg's collaborationism was strongly opposed by much of the ÚŽ leadership, it tarnished the ÚŽ's reputation in the Jewish community, which persisted even years after Hochberg had lost power.
As an outgrowth of the work of the welfare department, a retraining department led by Oskar Neumann ran retraining courses for Jews put out of work, supposedly in preparation for emigration to Palestine. However, Neumann was able to use his position in order to extend aid to the Zionist youth movements, which had been banned. By February 1941, 13,612 people had applied for these courses but only a few could be accommodated. In June, 63 courses were retraining 1,300 Jews for agricultural work. Craft retraining programs were more difficult to organize because Jewish businesses were rapidly liquidated. Nevertheless, by July there were 605 participants in such courses. Many graduates later worked in the labor camps in Slovakia. The ÚŽ paid for the courses, which included instruction in the Hebrew language and life in the future Jewish state.
In a further step to reduce unemployment, the ÚŽ established labor camps and centers, an activity approved by an April 1941 decree. Although this effort was connected to the discriminatory conscription of all Jewish men aged 18–60 for labor, it had a beneficial effect for unemployed Jews. The first center was established at Strážke in spring 1941; by September, about 5,500 Jews were working at 80 sites. The companies employing the Jews enjoyed cheap labor, but the ÚŽ had to subsidize their wages to meet the legal minimum. By the end of the year, most of these centers were dissolved, officially due to the harsh weather conditions. According to Slovak historian Ivan Kamenec, the real reason was that the Slovak State was planning to deport the Jewish workers. Instead, three larger camps were established at Sereď, Nováky, and Vyhne. The ÚŽ financed the construction of these camps in the fall of 1941; however, the government began to discourage construction (because it planned to deport Jews instead) in the fall of 1941.
During the deportations, the welfare department provided aid to Jews forced into concentration centers for deportation, providing blankets and other supplies to indigent Jews to take with them. However, its efforts were inadequate to alleviate the poor housing, food, and sanitary conditions. During the deportations, the desperate Slovak Jewish leadership tried to use the camps as a way to save the Jews imprisoned there. Alois Pecuch, the director of the camps, and others were bribed to prevent the deportation of the Jews working in the camps, but many local commanders ignored their instructions to this effect. Sereď and Nováky were used as concentration centers and their workers targeted for deportation on the last trains of autumn 1942. Jews deported from Slovakia had to sign a declaration surrendering their remaining property to the ÚŽ. 2,500 Jews, out of the 18,945 legally present, were living in these three camps at the end of 1942.
In March 1943, the Central Office for Jewish Labor Camps (Ústredná kancelária pre pracovné tábory Židov) was established in order to increase production in the labor camps. The Central Office also improved conditions in the camps by constructing new buildings and staging cultural activities for prisoners. Bribery of labor-camp guards continued, in order to ease life for the inmates.
During the 1942 deportations a Department of Appeals, led by Tibor Kováč, was formed in order to ensure that exemptions from deportation would be honored. The department also helped Jews apply for exemptions. The workers in this department went to great lengths to save Jews; some were arrested and deported while attempting to obtain the release of Jews from detention centers. There is little information on how much success it had.
In summer 1941, several ÚŽ members dissatisfied with the Department of Special Affairs gathered around Gisi Fleischmann, who began holding meetings for the nascent resistance group in her office. In 1942, this group was eventually formalized into an underground organization known as the "Working Group". Israeli historian Livia Rothkirchen emphasizes that the members of the Working Group operated in dual capacities as resistance members and official representatives, coordinating legal and illegal activities, which makes it difficult to draw a distinction between the two groups' activities. She also notes that the successes of the Working Group were due in large part to the official standing of the ÚŽ.
Censorship of correspondence and this newsletter intensified in early 1942 during the deportations, in order to prevent the ÚŽ from warning the Jewish population. After news of forthcoming deportations was leaked on 3 March 1942, many Jews came to the ÚŽ offices in Bratislava to confirm the rumors. Several ÚŽ officials signed a petition detailing the economic arguments for retaining Jews in Slovakia and mailed it illegally to Tiso. The chairman of the ÚŽ, Arped Sebestyen, also wrote a petition arguing that the Jews could serve as a source of cheap labor in Slovakia, to the profit of Slovak companies, and sent it illegally to the Slovak parliament. These efforts failed to halt or delay the deportations. Despite censorship, the ÚŽ managed to insert covert warnings into the official circulars.
Later, the Working Group attempted to prevent the deportation of Jews by bribing German and Slovak officials. Sebestyen was aware of the activities of the Working Group and made no effort to stop them; neither did he report them to the authorities. In December 1943, a reorganization of the Slovak government caused Sebestyen to be let go. The Jewish community was allowed to choose his successor and the Working Group voted unanimously for Neumann, one of its members, effectively taking over the ÚŽ. Neumann focused on restoring the reputation of the ÚŽ in the Jewish community. The Working Group activists even distributed information about rescue operations in official ÚŽ messages.
Because of Germany's imminent military defeat, much of the Slovak populace and the leadership of the army switched its allegiance to the Allies. Increasing partisan activity in the mountains caused a dilemma for Jews and the leadership in particular. The Slovak government ordered the removal of Jews from eastern Slovakia; the ÚŽ leadership was able to avoid their resettlement in camps. On 29 August, Germany invaded Slovakia in response to the increase in partisan sabotage. The same day, the Slovak National Uprising was launched, but it was crushed by the end of October. The Jews, who fought with the partisans in substantial numbers, were blamed for the uprising, providing the Germans with an excuse to implement the Final Solution. Eichmann sent SS-Hauptsturmführer Alois Brunner to Bratislava to oversee the deportation and murder of some 25,000 surviving Jews in Slovakia. Immediately after the German invasion, Neumann disbanded the ÚŽ and told its members to go into hiding or flee. The ÚŽ employees suffered the same fate as the remaining Slovak Jews; most were deported to concentration camps.
Andrew Steiner (22 August 1908 – 2 April 2009, also known as Endre, André, or Andrej Steiner) was a Czechoslovak-American architect who participated in Jewish resistance to the Holocaust as a member of the Bratislava Working Group, an underground Jewish organization. He played a major role in the negotiations with SS official Dieter Wisliceny to pay random of $50,000 to the Nazi hierarchy which was one of the main reasons the Slovak transports to Auschwitz stopped in early 1942. Later, he negotiated a ransom payment to spare Jews from death in large parts of Europe as part of the Europa Plan. After the war, he settled in Atlanta, where he was notable for his architecture.Armin Frieder
Abraham Armin Frieder (30 June 1911 – 21 June 1946) was a Slovak Neolog rabbi. After attending several yeshivas, he was ordained in 1932 and became the leader of Slovak Neolog communities before Slovakia declared independence in 1939 and began to oppress its Jewish population. Frieder joined the Working Group, a Jewish resistance organization, and delivered a petition to President Jozef Tiso begging him to halt deportations of Jews to Poland. Frieder was involved in efforts to send relief to deportees and interview escapees to learn about the progress of the Holocaust in Poland. After the German invasion of Slovakia during the Slovak National Uprising, deportations from Slovakia resumed; Frieder was captured but managed to avoid deportation from Sereď concentration camp. After the war, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Slovakia and attempted to smooth tensions between Neolog and Orthodox Jews. He died after surgery in 1946.Gisi Fleischmann
Gisi Fleischmann (Slovak: Gizela Fleischmannová) (21 January 1892 – 18 October 1944) was a Zionist activist and leader of one of the best known Jewish rescue groups during the Holocaust: the Bratislava Working Group. Fleischmann was arrested on 15 October 1944 and was murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp three days later.Jadovno concentration camp
The Jadovno concentration camp was a concentration and extermination camp in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. Commanded by Juco Rukavina, it was the first of twenty-six concentration camps in the NDH during the war. Established in a secluded area about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the town of Gospić, it held thousands of Serbs and Jews over a period of 122 days from May to August 1941. Inmates were usually killed by being pushed into deep ravines located near the camp. Estimates of the number of deaths at Jadovno range from 10,000 to 68,000, mostly Serbs. The camp was closed on 21 August 1941, and the area where it was located was later handed over to the Kingdom of Italy and became part of Italian Zones II and III. Jadvono was replaced by the greater sized Jasenovac concentration camp and its extermination facilities.
The camp site remained unexplored after the war due to the depth of the gorges where bodies were disposed and the fact that some of them had been filled with concrete by Yugoslavia's Communist authorities. Additional sites containing the skeletal remains of camp victims were uncovered in the 1980s. Commemoration ceremonies honouring the victims of the camp have been organized by the Serb National Council (SNV), the Jewish community in Croatia, and local anti-fascists since 2009, and 24 June has since been designated as a "Day of Remembrance of the Jadovno Camp" in Croatia. A monument commemorating those killed in the camp was constructed in 1975 and stood for fifteen years before being removed in 1990. A replica of the original monument was constructed and dedicated in 2010, but disappeared within twenty-four hours of its inauguration.Karol Hochberg
Karol Hochberg (1911–1944, also Karl or Karel) was a collaborator during the Holocaust, who led the "Department for Special Affairs" within the Ústredňa Židov, the Judenrat in Bratislava which was created by the Nazis to direct the Jewish community of Slovakia.Oskar Neumann
Jirmejahu Oskar Neumann (1894–1981) was a journalist. During the Holocaust, he worked for the Ústredňa Židov (ÚŽ)—the Judenrat in the Slovak State—first as the head of the vocational training department, and after December 1943 as the leader of the ÚŽ. He was part of the underground resistance within the ÚŽ known as the Working Group.Oskar Schindler
Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. He is the subject of the 1982 novel Schindler's Ark and its 1993 film adaptation, Schindler's List, which reflected his life as an opportunist initially motivated by profit, who came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity, courage, and dedication to save the lives of his Jewish employees.
Schindler grew up in Svitavy, Moravia, and worked in several trades until he joined the Abwehr, the military intelligence service of Nazi Germany, in 1936. He joined the Nazi Party in 1939. Prior to the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, he collected information on railways and troop movements for the German government. He was arrested for espionage by the Czechoslovak government but was released under the terms of the Munich Agreement in 1938. Schindler continued to collect information for the Nazis, working in Poland in 1939 before the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II. In 1939, Schindler acquired an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland, which employed at the factory's peak in 1944 about 1,750 workers, of whom 1,000 were Jews. His Abwehr connections helped Schindler protect his Jewish workers from deportation and death in the Nazi concentration camps. As time went on, Schindler had to give Nazi officials ever larger bribes and gifts of luxury items obtainable only on the black market to keep his workers safe.
By July 1944, Germany was losing the war; the SS began closing down the easternmost concentration camps and deporting the remaining prisoners westward. Many were murdered in Auschwitz and the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. Schindler convinced SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth, commandant of the nearby Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, to allow him to move his factory to Brněnec in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, thus sparing his workers from almost certain death in the gas chambers. Using names provided by Jewish Ghetto Police officer Marcel Goldberg, Göth's secretary Mietek Pemper compiled and typed the list of 1,200 Jews who travelled to Brünnlitz in October 1944. Schindler continued to bribe SS officials to prevent the execution of his workers until the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, by which time he had spent his entire fortune on bribes and black market purchases of supplies for his workers.
Schindler moved to West Germany after the war, where he was supported by assistance payments from Jewish relief organisations. After receiving a partial reimbursement for his wartime expenses, he moved with his wife Emilie to Argentina, where they took up farming. When he went bankrupt in 1958, Schindler left his wife and returned to Germany, where he failed at several business ventures and relied on financial support from Schindlerjuden ("Schindler Jews")—the people whose lives he had saved during the war. He and his wife Emilie were named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1993. He died on 9 October 1974 in Hildesheim, Germany, and was buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, the only member of the Nazi Party to be honoured in this way.The Holocaust in Estonia
The Holocaust in Estonia refers to the Nazi crimes during the occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany. Prior to the war, there were approximately 4,300 Estonian Jews. After the Soviet 1940 occupation about 10% of the Jewish population was deported to Siberia, along with other Estonians. About 75% of Estonian Jews, aware of the fate that awaited them from Nazi Germany, escaped to the Soviet Union; virtually all of those who remained (between 950 and 1,000 people) were killed by Einsatzgruppe A and local collaborators before the end of 1941. Roma people of Estonia were also murdered and enslaved by the Nazi occupiers and their collaborators. The Nazis and their allies also killed around 6,000 ethnic Estonians and 1,000 ethnic Russians who were accused of being communist sympathizers or the relatives of communist sympathizers. In addition around 25,000 Soviet prisoners-of-war and Jews from other parts of Europe were killed in Estonia during the German occupation.The Holocaust in France
The Holocaust in France refers to the persecution, deportation, and annihilation of Jews and Roma between 1940 and 1944 in occupied France, metropolitan Vichy, and in Vichy-North Africa, during World War II. The persecution began in 1940, and culminated in deportations of Jews from France to concentration camps in Germany and Nazi-occupied Poland from 1942 which lasted until July 1944. Of the 340,000 Jews living in metropolitan/continental France in 1940, more than 75,000 were deported to death camps, where about 72,500 were killed. French Vichy government and the French police participated in the roundup of Jews. Although most deported Jews died, the survival rate of the Jewish population in France was up to 75% which is one of the highest survival rates in Europe.The Holocaust in Lithuania
The Holocaust in German occupied Lithuania resulted in the near total destruction of Lithuanian (Litvaks) and Polish Jews, living in Generalbezirk Litauen of Reichskommissariat Ostland within the Nazi-controlled Lithuanian SSR. Out of approximately 208,000–210,000 Jews, an estimated 190,000–195,000 were murdered before the end of World War II (wider estimates are sometimes published), most between June and December 1941. More than 95% of Lithuania's Jewish population was massacred over the three-year German occupation — a more complete destruction than befell any other country affected by the Holocaust. Historians attribute this to the massive collaboration in the genocide by the non-Jewish local paramilitaries, though the reasons for this collaboration are still debated. The Holocaust resulted in the largest-ever loss of life in so short a period of time in the history of Lithuania.The events that took place in the western regions of the USSR occupied by Nazi Germany in the first weeks after the German invasion, including Lithuania, marked the sharp intensification of the Holocaust.An important component to the Holocaust in Lithuania was that the occupying Nazi German administration fanned antisemitism by blaming the Soviet regime's recent annexation of Lithuania, a year earlier, on the Jewish community. Another significant factor was the large extent to which the Nazis' design drew upon the physical organization, preparation and execution of their orders by local Lithuanian auxiliaries of the Nazi occupation regime.The Holocaust in Luxembourg
The Holocaust in Luxembourg refers to the persecution and near-annihilation of the 3,500-strong Jewish population of Luxembourg begun shortly after the start of the German occupation during World War II, when the country was officially incorporated into Nazi Germany. The persecution lasted until October 1941, when the Germans declared the territory to be free of Jews who had been deported to extermination camps and ghettos in Eastern Europe.The Holocaust in Russia
The Holocaust in Russia refers to the Nazi crimes during the occupation of Russia (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) by Nazi Germany.The Holocaust in Ukraine
The Holocaust in Ukraine took place in Reichskommissariat Ukraine during the occupation of the Soviet Ukraine by Nazi Germany in World War II. Between 1941 and 1944 more than a million Jews living in Ukrainian SSR were murdered as part of Generalplan Ost and the Final Solution extermination policies.
According to Yale historian Timothy D. Snyder, "the Holocaust is integrally and organically connected to the Vernichtungskrieg, to the war in 1941, and is organically and integrally connected to the attempt to conquer Ukraine."The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia
The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia refers primarily to the genocide of Jews, but sometimes also include that of Serbs (the "Genocide of the Serbs") and Romani (Porajmos), during World War II within the Independent State of Croatia, a fascist puppet state ruled by the Ustashe regime, that included most of the territory of modern-day Croatia, the whole of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina and the eastern part of Syrmia (Serbia). 90% of Croatian Jews were exterminated in Ustashe-run concentration camps like Jasenovac and others, while a considerable number of Jews were rounded up and turned over by the Ustashe for extermination in Nazi Germany.The Holocaust in the USSR
The Holocaust in the Soviet Union (USSR) refers to the German persecution of Jews, Roma and homosexuals as part of The Holocaust in World War II.
It may refer to:
The Holocaust in Russia
The Holocaust in Belarus
The Holocaust in UkraineIt may also refer to The Holocaust in the Baltic states, annexed by the Soviet Union before the war:
The Holocaust in Latvia
The Holocaust in Lithuania
The Holocaust in EstoniaTibor Kováč
Tibor Kováč (1905–1952) was an activist in the illegal Working Group resistance organization during the Holocaust in Slovakia; he also worked for the welfare department of the Ústredňa Židov (ÚŽ), the Judenrat in the Slovak State.During the deportations from Slovakia in 1942, Kováč served on the Department of Appeals at the ÚŽ, which was set up to help Jews gain exceptions and ensure that those issued would be honored. It is unclear how effective this department was in saving Jews from deportation. The Working Group also attempted to bribe Slovak officials in order to halt the deportations. One of its targets was Anton Vašek, head of the Ministry of the Interior department responsible for implementing the deportations. Because he was Vašek's former classmate, Kováč was given the responsibility of negotiating with him. He visited Vašek's office almost daily to deliver bribes and provide Vašek with excuses to explain delays in deportations to his superiors. Due to Vašek's intervention, a 26 June transport of Jews was cancelled; Vašek presented Interior Minister Alexander Mach with a falsified report that all non-exempt Jews had already been deported. Mach was skeptical about the report, however, and the deportations resumed in July.On 28 August 1944, the Germans invaded Slovakia, triggering the Slovak National Uprising. Kováč remained in Bratislava while his group attempted to negotiate with the Nazis. On 28 September, Kováč and another Working Group activist, Michael Dov Weissmandl, were summoned to the office of their negotiating partner, SS officer Alois Brunner, who arrested them. Kováč and Weissmandl witnessed the use of stolen lists of Jews to prepare for a massive roundup that evening; 1,800 Jews in Bratislava were captured. Kováč was allowed to remain in Bratislava after the roundup along with another colleague, Gisi Fleischmann. Fleischmann was arrested by the SS on 15 October and killed at Auschwitz concentration camp, but Kováč managed to go into hiding and survived the war. He served as the main witness for the prosecution during Vašek's trial for his participation in the Holocaust. Philosophically, Kováč was an assimilationist and decided to remain in Czechoslovakia after the Soviet takeover. He was harassed by the secret police, which led him to commit suicide in 1952.Yizkor books
Yizkor books are memorial books commemorating a Jewish community destroyed during the Holocaust. The books are published by former residents or landsmanshaft societies as remembrances of homes, people and ways of life lost during World War II. Yizkor books usually focus on a town but may include sections on neighboring smaller communities. Most of these books are written in Yiddish or Hebrew, some also include sections in English or other languages, depending on where they were published. Since the 1990s, many of these books, or sections of them have been translated into English.
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