Timeline of Rescue in the Holocaust - Part 2

1940
President Roosevelt designates Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long to be in charge of Jewish immigration policies.  Long and his associates in the State Department implement anti-Jewish immigration policies.  This policy lasts until the creation of the War Refugee Board in January 1944.
 
French Premier Edouard Daladier resigns.  He is succeeded by Paul Reynaud.  Reynaud appoints World War I French hero Marshal Pétain as the Vichy Premier.
 
Six “euthanasia centers” are established throughout Germany.  They murder Jews, handicapped, mentally ill and elderly persons.  The use of gas chambers and poison gas is established in these centers.
 
13,000 Jews successfully emigrate from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia.  55,000 Jews remain in Austria.  Since 1933, more than 300,000+ Jews have left the Old Reich and Greater Reich.
 
Estonia is occupied by the Soviet Union.
 
He Ústredna Zidov (Jewish Center) is established in Slovakia.  Jewish community leader Gisi Fleischmann is appointed its head of Alia (immigration department).
 
Joseph J. Schwartz is appointed head of the American Jewish Joint in Europe, with headquarters in Paris.  JDC’s operation is soon transferred to Brussels, Belgium.  Moses Leavitt returns to the Jewish Joint.
 
Great Britain’s Secretary of State for War Leslie Hore-Belisha, a Jew, resigns his office under pressure.  This is largely due to antisemitic sentiment among high British officials.
 
HICEM aids 10,500 refugees leaving Poland between 1940 and 1942. HICEM establishes an affiliate organization in Belgium called BELHICEM.  It is led by Alice R. Emanuel.  Jewish emigration from Allied territory is supervised by HICEM.
 
January 1940
First gassing of handicapped and mental patients in German asylums.  More than 70,000 people are murdered before protests by church leaders bring about an end to the euthanasia program.  However, this operation continues secretly until the end of the war.
 
President Roosevelt appoints Breckinridge Long as Assistant Secretary of State for Special Problems.  Long supervises 23 of the 42 divisions of the State Department.  Among his duties is overseeing the visa section, civilian internees, overseas relief, prisoners of war, immigration and refugee policies.  From the outset of his appointment, Long is opposed to helping refugees escape Nazi Germany and its occupied territories.  Long claims that refugees entering the country pose a major security risk for the United States.  This, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Long and his associates in the State Department implement anti-Jewish immigration policies.  This policy lasts until the creation of the War Refugee Board in January 1944.  Further, Long exploits divisions among American Jewish groups.  He states in his diary, “there is no cohesion, nor any sympathetic collaboration—rather rivalry, jealousy and antagonism…” 
 
Roosevelt submits a list of 200 people to the State Department to be given special consideration, i.e., emergency visas.
 
Numerous refugee committees are established in the US.  These committees represent refugee scholars, writers, artists, musicians, physicians, labor leaders etc.
 
Among these groups are the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton and the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Scholars (University in Exile).  Eventually, hundreds of intellectuals will be placed in universities, colleges, and other institutions throughout the US.  Besides Jewish committees, numerous other groups are established, representing Protestants, Catholics, Spanish loyalists from the Spanish Civil War, political, social and labor groups.
 
January 5, 1940
Great Britain announces that German and Austrian Jews will not be allowed into Palestine because they are considered “enemy aliens.” 
 
Curfew is imposed for Jews in the area of the General Government in Poland.  Jews are forbidden to change residences.
 
January 20, 1940
Jewish Council in Lublin is established.
 
January 24, 1940
Jews must register all property in the area of the General Government in Poland.
 
January 31, 1940
By the end of January 1940, 20,000 Jews from Lodz are deported.
 
February 1940
10,000 Jews are deported from Vienna to Lublin.
 
In Germany, clothing coupons are taken from Jews.
 
The Alaskan Development Bill is introduced into the US Congress as a possible refuge for German, Austrian and Czech Jews.  It is introduced by Senator William H. King and congressman Frank Havenner.  It is strongly supported by US Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes.  It is opposed by Assistant US Secretary of State Sumner Wells.  The proposal is also opposed by government representatives and special interest groups in Alaska.  FDR opposes the idea and the bill never gets out of committee.
 
February 8, 1940
Lodz ghetto is established in Poland.
 
February 2, 1940
New law requires that Jews leaving Germany must pay large tax.
 
February 12-13, 1940
First deportation of Jews from Germany.
 
March 5, 1940
The Central Immigration Office, under Adolf Eichmann, maintains complete control of all Jews in Czechoslovakia.
 
March 12, 1940
The Russian-Finnish War ends.  Finland and Russia sign peace treaty.
 
April 3, 1940
Winston Churchill is appointed Chairman of the British government’s Military Committee.
 
April 8, 1940
Soviet army massacres 26,000 Polish officers in the Katyn forest near Smolensk, Russia.
 
April 9, 1940
Germany invades and occupies Denmark and Norway.  Anti-Jewish measures are immediately applied by Nazi government.
 
April 10-14, 1940
British and German naval forces fight major battle off the Norwegian port of Narvik.  Ten German destroyers are sunk, greatly weakening Germany’s naval capabilities.
 
April 14-17, 1940
British Army lands in Namos and Andolsnes, Norway, to help Norway repel the German invasion.  This operation will soon fail.
 
April 15, 1940
The British begin to break the German enigma cipher codes.
 
April 25, 1940
Slovak parliament enacts law to confiscate Jewish property.
 
May 10, 1940
Germany invades the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.  136 German divisions participate in the invasion.  Germans enforce anti-Jewish measures in each area.  In the wake of the German invasions, more than 8 million persons are displaced all over Europe.  In Belgium, there are between 85,000 and 90,000 Jews, among whom 30,000 are refugees.  In Holland, there are 140,000 Jews.  110,000 are native Dutch Jews, and 30,000 are refugees from Germany and Austria.  In Luxembourg, the Jewish population is 3,500, many of whom are German and Austrian refugees.
 
The HICEM office in Belgium is evacuated.
 
Neville Chamberlain resigns as Prime Minister of Great Britain due to the failure of the Norway expedition.  Winston Churchill becomes new Prime Minister.  Lord Halifax is appointed Foreign Secretary.
 
May 12, 1940
Germany invades France.
 
May 13, 1940
Churchill gives “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat” speech in the House of Commons.
 
May 14, 1940
Luftwaffe bombs Rotterdam, Holland, heavily damaging the city.  Many civilians are killed.
 
May 15, 1940
The Netherlands surrender to Germany.  Thousands of German, Austrian and Czech Jews who sought refuge in Holland are now trapped.
 
May 16, 1940
German Governor-General Hans Frank orders AB-Aktion (extraordinary pacification) to begin in Poland.  3,500 Polish leaders are murdered, along with 33,000 others.
 
May 17, 1940
German army enters Brussels, Belgium.
 
General Weygood declares that the battle of France is lost and advises the French government to maintain order and avoid chaos of war.
 
A million French soldiers are taken prisoner by the German armed forces.
 
French government evacuates Paris.
 
May 20, 1940
Concentration camp established at Auschwitz, Poland.  It will become the largest and deadliest death camp in the Nazi system.  More than 1.2 million Jews, and tens of thousands of others, will be systematically murdered there.
 
May 22, 1940
British Parliament grants wide emergency powers.
 
May 24, 1940
Canada’s war cabinet meets to discuss the refugee situation.  Canadian Ambassador to France, Georges Vanier, proposes that Canada accept a number of Jewish refugees from southern France.  Vanier finds little support in the Canadian cabinet for accepting Jewish refugees.  There are tens of thousands of German and Austrian Jews in southern France.
 
May 26-June 4, 1940
Following the encirclement of Allied forces in northeastern France, the British, French and Belgian forces are evacuated from Dunkirk, France.  338,226 soldiers are rescued by 861 ships.
 
May 28, 1940
Belgium surrenders to Germany.  The Prime Minister and members of the Belgian cabinet flee to southern France.  King Leopold III remains in country.  65,696 Jews come under Nazi rule.  34,801 Jews will eventually be imprisoned or deported.  28,902 Jews in Belgium will be murdered.  56% of the Belgian Jewish community will survive the war.
 
May 30, 1940
Saly Mayer accepts the honorary post of JDC head in Switzerland.
 
May 1940
Consul General Ho is transferred from Vienna.  Under Ho’s watch, the Chinese Consulate in Vienna had issued an average of 500 visas a month for the two years following the Anschluss.  Chinese consulate closed the following year.
 
June 1940
Marshal Pétain is installed as head of state with Pierre Laval his Vice President of the Council of Ministers.  Pétain is granted executive powers under the armistice agreement and the French National Assembly is merely a “rubber stamp.” 
 
The Third French Republic no longer exists.
 
Civil liberties in France are suspended.
 
The French begin to implement Nuremberg-style antisemitic laws imposed on all Jews in France. These laws and policies are initiated entirely by the Vichy government.  These restrictive laws and decrees will eventually disenfranchise most foreign Jews in France. 
 
After the fall of France, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) moves its main European office from Paris to Lisbon.  The JDC transfers millions of dollars to beleaguered Jewish communities throughout Europe.
 
JDC relief efforts in Lisbon are supervised by Moses B. Amzalak.  HICEM/JDC help more than 40,000 refugees in Lisbon between June 1940 and early 1942.  The JDC and HICEM charter medium sized Portuguese ships to evacuate refugees.  These ships are called Nyassa, Guinee, Teneriffe, Serpapinto, Magallanes, Mouzinho and Colonial.  The JDC and HICEM transported Jewish refugees to the United States, Cuba, West Indies, Latin and South America.
 
There is a refugee committee called the Commisao Portuguesa de Assistencia aos Judeos Refugiados, headed by Augusto d’Esaguy.  His Secretary was Samuel Sequerra.
 
Luis Martins de Souza Dantas, Brazilian Ambassador to France, issues visas to hundreds of Jews in occupied France.  He does this against the strict orders of the pro-fascist Brazilian government headed by Getulio Vargas, and at great risk to his diplomatic career.  Several of the Jews arrived in Brazil and were detained by the Brazilian government, but were later released.
 
Jan Zwartendijk, Director of Philips Electronics in Lithuania, is appointed Acting Dutch Consul.  He lives in Kovno, Lithuania.
 
Amelot, a Jewish rescue organization, is created in Paris.  Throughout the war, it will aid in the rescue of Jews.  It provides food, medicine and false papers.  It also hides children and adults in the countryside.
 
Belgium surrenders to Germany.  60,000 Jews come under Nazi domination.
 
US embassies and consulates in Nazi-occupied Europe (Germany, Austria, France, Holland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Luxembourg) are ordered to begin closing.  US embassy in Paris will be moved to a new headquarters in Vichy.
 
US Congress passes the Alien Registration Law of 1940.
 
Visa regulations for refugees are severely tightened.  A refugee must now be able to prove that they can return to the country of their origin from which they are fleeing.  This is, in most cases, impossible because they are subject to arrest in their home country.  Further, visa waiting periods are significantly lengthened.
 
Breckenridge Long’s Special Problems Division of the State Department is pressured by these organizations to help refugees.  He writes disparagingly of this pressure: “There is a constant pressure from Congressional and organized groups in this country to have us proceed on behalf of non-Americans….  So far, I’ve been able to resist the pressure.”
 
Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC) is established in the US under the leadership of Frank Kingdon.  It is established to coordinate various US rescue efforts.  Eleanor Roosevelt agrees to lobby on behalf of this organization.
 
After the surrender of France, a US Gallup Poll shows that 58% of Americans are willing to admit French and British children to the US during the war.
 
James Grover McDonald complained that certain refugees, particularly those with political affiliations, such as labor leaders, Spanish nationalists and intellectuals, were targeted for stricter screening regulations by the State Department.  McDonald and Chamberlain, of the National Refugee Service, offer to pay the expenses of refugee children while in the United States.  They ask that children be admitted outside the normal immigration quotas.
 
Long writes in his diary in 1940, “The list of Rabbis has been closed and the list of labor leaders has been closed and now it remains for the President’s Committee to be curbed.” 
 
Many rescue advocates are well aware of Long’s obstructionism.  Whether it is antisemitism or unjustified paranoia based on security concerns, there are numerous complaints.  Long is aware of this criticism by both refugee advocates and Jewish community leaders.  In his diary, Long writes: “[James Grover] McDonald…has developed a very definite and violent antagonism to me, he thinks I have been non-cooperative and obstructive…”
 
June 9, 1940
Norway surrenders to Germany.  Approximately 2,000 Jews are now subject to Nazi occupation.
 
June 10, 1940
Italy enters the war as a German ally, declares war on Great Britain and France, and invades France.
 
June 13, 1940
Mexico ends its immigration quota.
 
June 14, 1940
First deportation to Auschwitz death camp arrives.
 
Monsignor Giuseppe Burzio, who has been appointed Vatican Chargé d’Affaires to Bratislava, arrives at his post.
 
The President’s Advisory Committee on Political Refugees (PACPR) submits list of 600 refugees to be issued special emergency visas.
 
June 14-15, 1940
Paris falls, the German army occupies Paris and the French government is transferred to Bordeaux.  There are 100,000 Jews living in Paris.  More than 1 million refugees pour into Bordeaux.  
 
Various foreign consuls issue transit visas for refugees to leave Nazi controlled areas.
 
Soviets invade and occupy Lithuania.
 
June 16, 1940
French Vichy collaborationist government is established under Marshal Philippe Pétain, a hero of World War I.  Pétain becomes head of the French cabinet.  He asks for an armistice eight days before the fighting ceases.
 
June 17-19, 1940
The Portuguese Consul General Dr. Aristides de Sousa Mendes, his staff and his son, Pedro Nuno, issue thousands of Portuguese visas to Jewish and non-Jewish refugees in Bordeaux, France.  This is completely unauthorized and against Portuguese immigration regulations.
 
June 17, 1940
Lithuania declares itself a Soviet Socialist Republic.
 
June 18, 1940
A police regulation for immigrants is instituted in Switzerland.  It regulates the entry of military and civilian refugees.
 
June 20, 1940
Representatives from the Portuguese foreign office are dispatched to relieve de Sousa Mendes of his post and return him to Portugal to face charges of insubordination.  A few days later, de Sousa Mendes and his family travel to Bayonne, France; several thousand additional visas are issued there; Mendes helps these refugees cross closed borders.
 
June 21, 1940
The Bloom-Van Nuys Immigration Law is passed and takes effect on July 1.  It gives US consuls stationed in Europe wide latitude to deny immigration to the US by refugees based on the possibility that they may endanger public safety.
 
June 22, 1940
France surrenders to Germany.  The French sign an armistice with Germany; in Article 19 of this document, the French agree to “surrender on demand” all persons named by the German authorities in France.  France is divided into two zones.  The French Army is limited to 125,000 officers and soldiers in metropolitan France.
 
Approximately 350,000 Jews reside in France at the time of the German invasion.  They constitute less than one percent of the total population of France, which is 45 million.  France becomes the largest population center for Jews in Western Europe. 
 
France is divided into two zones.  The northern zone is administered by German military forces.  The south, called the “Free Zone,” is established in the resort town of Vichy.  The Nazi military occupation forces control about two thirds of France.
 
France is forced to pay Germany 400 million francs a day as a war indemnity.
 
Italy and France sign a peace agreement.
 
June 23, 1940
General Charles de Gaulle, head of the French National Committee in London, pledges war against Germany.
 
June 26, 1940
Assistant US Secretary of State Breckinridge Long implements a policy to effectively block or obstruct the granting of US visas to Jews seeking asylum in the US.  Long argues that immigration can be “delayed and effectively stopped” by ordering US consuls “to put every obstacle in the way [to] postpone and postpone and postpone the granting of visas.”  His instructions are secretly sent to US consular office all over the world.
 
June 27, 1940
Mrs. Roosevelt influences her husband to issue emergency visas to notable Jewish artists, labor leaders and other refugees in France.
 
June 28, 1940
The British government recognizes General Charles de Gaulle as leader of the Free French organization during the German occupation of France.
 
Mid-1940
Following the deportation of Jews from the occupied and unoccupied zones of France, Spain’s border becomes a vital escape route for Jewish refugees.  By October, several thousand Jewish refugees have escaped across the border.
 
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) moves its main European offices from Paris to Lisbon, Portugal.  The JDC arranges for thousands to leave Nazi-occupied Europe for neutral Spain and Portugal.  JDC transfers millions of dollars to beleaguered Jewish communities throughout Europe.  This money is used to provide documents to feed, transfer, transport or hide Jews.
 
Gastone Guidotti, Secretary of the Italian legation in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, issues unauthorized visas to Jews.
 
Henri François Deroover, Belgian Consul in Bayonne, France, issues 150 blank Belgian passports to French and Belgian Jews.  The visas are filled out by the Jewish refugees themselves, who use them to escape to neutral Portugal.
 
Boyan Atanassov, Bulgarian Diplomat in Paris, France, issues unauthorized visas to Bulgarian Jews and other refugees to escape France under the Nazi occupation.
 
July 1940
An estimated 30,000 Jews escape from France into Spain and Portugal with the help of rescuers and relief organizations.  Upon arrival in Lisbon, these refugees are helped by Jewish relief agencies such as the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Hebrew Immigration and Sheltering Society (HIAS).
 
Soviet authorities order all foreign embassies to leave Kovno; Sugihara requests and gets 20-day extension and requests permission from Tokyo to issue visas to Polish Jews.  His request to issue visas is denied.
 
Jews can shop for food only during the late hours in Germany.
 
July 1, 1940
The French government moves to Vichy, France.
 
July 5, 1940
Vichy France severs relationship with Britain.
 
Roosevelt bans shipment of oil and strategic materials to Japan.
 
July 8, 1940
Eleanor Roosevelt writes Varian Fry explaining that she is trying to get the President to get cooperation of South American countries to accept refugees.
 
July 10, 1940
Hitler orders the implementation of the invasion of England, called Operation Sea Lion.  He orders the Luftwaffe to attack British air bases, convoys and ports.  Battle of Britain begins.
 
The French National Assembly gives Pétain full powers to govern occupied France.  The next day, Pétain abolishes the French constitution of 1875 and dismisses the French Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
 
America First committee is established in the United States.  This is an isolationist group that lobbies to keep America out of the war.  There are strongly antisemitic elements to this organization.
 
July 11, 1940
Marshall Petain becomes President of Vichy France.  It is a collaborationist regime to administer central and southern France.
 
Jan Zwartendijk issues first “Curacao” visa.  He is authorized to do this by Dutch Ambassador to the Baltic States L. P. J. de Decker.
 
July 12, 1940
Pierre Laval is appointed Prime Minister of France.
 
July 21, 1940
The British government recognizes the Czech national government in exile in London.
 
July 22, 1940
A French commission is set up to review French citizens who have been naturalized since 1927.  It is set up with the intention of revoking the citizenship of citizens who are considered “undesirable.”  15,000 people, including 6,000 Jews, have their citizenship revoked.
 
German writer Lion Feuchtwanger is hiding in US Vice Consul Hiram Bingham’s house in Marseilles.  Bingham tells Feuchtwanger “all about the work that emigrants are making for him.  He is always tired and exhausted.”
 
July 27-August 28, 1940
Consuls Sugihara and Zwartendijk issue visas to Polish Jews in Kovno.  At least 2,139 visas are issued to individuals and families.  One group was the famous Mir Yeshiva from Poland.  An estimated 3,500 Polish refugees escape using these visas.  Additional visas are forged by the Jewish community and used to escape.  Many of the refugees find haven in the Japanese controlled city of Shanghai, China.
 
British consul in Kovno Thomas Preston issues more than 800 visas and papers for Jews to go to Palestine.  Another 400 of these are forged. 
 
Summer 1940
An estimated 30,000 Jews escape from France into Spain and Portugal with the help of diplomatic rescuers.  Upon arrival in Lisbon, these refugees are helped by Jewish relief agencies.
 
In Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, British Consul Thomas Preston provides 400 illegal and 800 legal travel certificates for Jews to escape through Istanbul to Palestine.  A few hundred of these Jews are able to cross the Baltic Sea to neutral Sweden.
 
July 1940
De Sousa Mendes returned in disgrace to Lisbon, unceremoniously discharged from the diplomatic service and stripped of rank and pension.  Mendes unsuccessfully fights a lifelong battle to have his good name restored.  Ironically, Portuguese dictator Oliveira Salazar takes credit for Mendes’ rescue work.
 
August 1940
American private citizen Varian Fry, appointed by the Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC), arrives in Marseilles, France.  He is empowered to save artists, writers, composers and other intellectuals who are on Hitler’s arrest lists.  Fry and his volunteers make contact with numerous foreign consular officials who issue him hundreds of legal and extra-legal visas and other documents to help Jews escape the Nazis.  These diplomats include US Vice-Consul Hiram “Harry” Bingham and Mexican Consul General Gilberto Bosques, along with a Chinese diplomat.  These diplomats also work with Vladimir Vochoc, the Czech Consul in Marseilles.  Vochoc also issues false visas and passports to Jews and anti-Nazis to escape to Spain and Portugal.  Vochoc is soon arrested, but manages to escape to Lisbon.  Fry and his associates organize escape routes over the Pyrenees mountains for refugees.  Hans and Lisa Fittko are among his most able guides.  The Fry group will rescue an estimated 2,500 persons.
 
The Armée Juive (AJ; Jewish Army) is founded in Toulouse, France.  This group is headed by David Knout (Zionist), Abraham Polonsky and Leo Lublin (socialist-Zionist).  It fights for France as a segregated group.  By war’s end, there are 900 Jews fighting in the Armée Juive.
 
August 1, 1940
Institution of antisemitic laws to be enforced in the General Government in Poland.
 
August 5, 1940
Britain recognizes the Polish government in exile in London of General Sikorski.
 
August 6, 1940
The French order a census of all foreigners.
 
August 7, 1940
British government signs agreement with the Free French organization of French exiles under Charles de Gaulle.
 
August 8, 1940
The Battle of Britain begins with an attack by the Luftwaffe in southern England.
 
August 10, 1940
Romania enacts antisemitic laws.
 
August 15, 1940
Madagascar Plan is announced by Adolph Eichmann to send the Jews of Europe to the island of Madagascar.
 
August 21, 1940
Phillipe Pètain rescinds 1939 French law that prohibits the French press from inciting racial hatred.
 
August 23, 1940
Germans launch an all-night air raid against London, England.
 
August 25, 1940
British Royal Air Force (RAF) conducts night bombing raid against Berlin.  This escalates into a terror bombing campaign between Germany and Great Britain.
 
August 27, 1940
The US Congress amends US Neutrality Act with the enactment of the Hennings Bill.  It permits rescue and refugee ships to evacuate and bring refugee children under 16 years old from war zones, including France and Portugal, to the United States.  4,200 children and 1,100 adults come to the US by the fall of 1940 under this provision.
 
August 30, 1940
Hungary annexes northern Transylvania.
 
US State Department authorizes the United States Committee for the Care of European Children (USC) to evacuate 5,000 Jewish children from Vichy France.  The Allied invasion of North Africa on November 8 prevents this rescue.
 
September 1940
Ion Antonescu, head of the antisemitic National Legionary Government, takes power in Romania.
 
September 5, 1940
Vatican nuncio in Slovakia, Msgr. Giuseppe Burzio, writes an official dispatch to Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Maglione informing him of anti-Jewish regulations and persecutions in Slovakia.
 
Germans impose antisemitic Nuremberg Laws in occupied Luxembourg.  Jewish businesses and property are confiscated.
 
Cardinal Roncalli of Turkey is told of the fate of Jews in Nazi occupied Poland. 
 
September 6, 1940
King Carol II flees Romania.  Ion Antonescu becomes Prime Minister of Romania.  It is a fascist dictatorship.  The Iron Guard becomes the sole legal party.
 
September 7, 1940
Hitler initiates terror bombing of London.  Called the “Blitz,” it lasts for 57 days.
 
September 11, 1940
The Quanza, a Jewish refugee ship chartered out of Lisbon with nearly 300 refugees, is granted temporary asylum in Virginia.  Many of these refugees have received visas from the Mexican ambassador Castillo in Lisbon.  Eleanor Roosevelt intercedes on behalf of these refugees.
 
September 17, 1940
Due to the setbacks of the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, Hitler puts off the invasion of England.  This is the first major setback for Hitler.
 
50,000 Jews, mostly refugees and elderly, are driven from the Warsaw district into the capital.
 
September 27, 1940
Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis alliance is signed.
 
First antisemitic German law (Verordnung) is enacted in the occupied zone of France.  It defines Jews by race and requires Jews to register with the police in the French prefects.
 
October 1940
The German government in Poland abolishes exit visas for Jews.
 
Jews of Warsaw are ordered into a ghetto.  In mid-November, the ghetto is sealed.
 
350,000 Jews, out of a total of 1.9 million, are now in German ghettoes in Poland.
 
Vice-Admiral Jean-Pierre Estéva, the French Governor General of Tunisia, refuses to apply antisemitic laws against the Jews in Tunisia.  The Moslem leader in Tunisia, Beysidi Mohammed al Mounsof, is also sympathetic to the Jews of Tunisia.
 
October 3, 1940
Statute des Juifs, a set of Nuremberg-style anti-Jewish laws, is passed by the French Vichy government.  Law removes many civil rights for Jews in France.
 
Breckinridge Long meets with President Roosevelt and convinces him to implement a policy that will let local US consuls make the final decision regarding visas to be issued to refugees.  Long does this because he believes most US consulates will deny visas on the issue of a possible threat by the refugee to “national security.”  He states in his diary, “About noon I had a long satisfactory conversation with the President on the subject of refugees.  McDonald, Chairman of the President’s Advisory Committee on Refugees, has developed a very definite and violent antagonism to me.  He thinks I have been non-cooperative and obstructive and has given evidence of his personal animosity.  In a recent conversation in Mr. Welles’ office he indicated that he had a superlative ego and a vindictive mentality added to his disregard, to put it lightly, of me.”  He goes on to say: “I found that [Roosevelt] was 100% in accord with my ideas.”
 
Rescue leaders such as Myron C. Taylor, James Grover McDonald and Stephen Wise find it very difficult meeting with the President to advocate rescue.
 
October 4, 1940
Vichy government is empowered to arrest and imprison Jews in concentration camps in the southern unoccupied zone in France.  31 of these camps are established throughout France.  Eventually, more than 50,000 Jews will be interned in these French-administered camps.  4,000 Jews will die from the poor health conditions in the camps.  Eventually, these will become centers for deportation to the death camps in Poland.
 
October 5, 1940
Laws passed in Romania to confiscate Jewish property.
 
October 7, 1940
German troops enter Romania.  Romania allows Germany to take control of oil fields.
 
The Bulgarian government approves the antisemitic Law for the Protection of the Nation.  The Law severely curtails Jewish civil rights.  21 leaders in the Bulgarian parliament will send a protest letter to the Prime Minister.
 
The Vichy Law of October 7, 1940, strips Algerian Jews of citizenship.  They had been citizens for more than 75 years.
 
October 8, 1940
James G. McDonald and representatives of rescue groups meet with FDR to complain that Undersecretary Breckinridge Long and the US State Department are unjustly using security as a reason to block legitimate rescue of needy refugees.  McDonald states: “[I] cannot believe, that those without visas present threats to the national interest.”  Specifically, McDonald criticizes US consuls in Europe.  FDR takes no action on this.  567 names are submitted to the State Department in August and September, yet only 40 visas are issued.
 
James McDonald states that refugees, despite reaching Portugal, “are still refused visas.  To close this last avenue of escape is to condemn many scientists, scholars, writers, labor leaders and other refugees to further sacrifices for their belief in democracy and to bring to an end our tradition of hospitality to the politically oppressed.  The original arrangements were wisely and soundly planned.  Their purpose is still to be achieved.”  Breckinridge Long defends his policies using the security issue as a rationale.  After the complaint by McDonald, Long states: “In view of reports indicating that Nazi and other totalitarian agents are endeavoring to enter the United States in the guise of refugees, it has been considered essential in the national interest to scrutinize all applications carefully.”  Reports by the FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover state that there was negligible entry of foreign agents into the United States during World War II. 
 
October 10, 1940
German occupying government in Belgium asks Belgian government to implement economic sanctions against Jews.  The Belgian government refuses.  Nazi decrees in Belgium define who is a Jew and order a census of Jews and their businesses.  Antisemitic laws prohibit Jews from working in public professions, teaching and journalism.
 
46,000 Belgian Jews over 15 are registered.  By the end of the war, 31,416 are deported, of whom only 3,000 survive.  26,000 Jews survive in Belgium, which is 50% of its Jewish population.
 
October 12, 1940
Warsaw ghetto is established.  Ghetto walls begin to be constructed on October 16.
 
Hitler again postpones Operation Sea Lion (the amphibious invasion of Great Britain).  The German air force switches its attacks from military targets to English cities.
 
October 18, 1940
German decree in France orders all Jewish property to be transferred to Aryan ownership.
 
October 21, 1940
149,734 Jews are registered in the French census.  86,664 are French Jews.  65,070 are foreign Jews.
 
Central Commission on Jewish Relief Organizations (Commission Centrale des Organizations Juives d’Assistance; CCOJA) is created to unite Jewish relief organizations. 
 
October 22, 1940
Jews in Holland must register business and property with the German occupying forces.
 
Hitler and French leader Philippe Pétain meet in Montoire for two days.
 
October 28, 1940
Italy invades Greece.  Many Greek Jews participate in the defense against the Italian invasion.
 
Antisemitic law in Belgium removes Jews from public administration.  This law will cause widespread resentment against German occupying forces.
 
October 31, 1940
The Belgian government in exile is established in London.  It agrees to support the Allied cause.
 
In Belgium, King Leopold III and Queen Mother Elizabeth try to prevent the deportation of the Jews.  The Ministry of the Interior refuses to legislate against the Jewish community.  The University of Brussels states that it will not “participate in the execution of these orders.”
 
November 1940
The Nîmes Committee (Camps Committee) is created, consisting of 25 organizations, including the American Friends’ Service Committee (Quakers), Unitarian and Catholic organizations, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and the American Federation of Labor (AFL).  It unites to bring relief and rescue to thousands of Jews in Vichy France.  They are helped by countless French civilians and entire towns and villages.  French Catholic and Protestant clergy are particularly helpful in hiding, transporting and feeding Jewish refugees.  The organization is headed by Dr. Donald Lowrie, an American representing the International YMCA, Dr. Charles Joy of the Unitarian Committee, and Varian Fry of the Emergency Rescue Committee.  Cardinal Gerlier, of Lyon, Dr. Marc Boegner, President of the Protestant Federation of France, and Archbishop Saliège, of Toulouse, are among those who protest the outrages against Jews by Nazi authorities.  Abbé Glasberg, an assistant of Cardinal Gerlier, rescues thousands of Jews.  Father Charles Devaus, of the Pères de Notre Dame de Sion, rescues one thousand Jews.  Jewish self-help and rescue organizations, including the OSE, FSJ and CAR, are also extremely active in hiding and sheltering thousands of Jews.  Many of these rescue operations are financed by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.  These funds are distributed by Catholic and Protestant churches.  Thousands of Christians shelter Jews throughout the countryside.  These organizations provide false ration cards, baptismal certificates, and identity cards.
 
40,000 Jews are deported from Lorraine to Lyon, France. 
 
Roosevelt elected to an unprecedented third term as US President.  Democrats retain majority in Senate and House of Representatives.
 
New and more complicated screening procedures for approving visas to refugees are implemented by the State Department.  The procedure involves a review of visa applicants not only by the State Department, but also by the Justice Department, the FBI and US Military and Naval Intelligence.  This system requires that if a diplomat or consul in the field rejects an applicant for any reason, the visa would have to be approved by these various government departments.  The visa process is slowed to a trickle.
 
November 7, 1940
In France, Jews must have passports, visas stamped with “Jew” in prominent letters.
 
November 11, 1940
An article appears in the New Republic magazine exposing terrible conditions in the French concentration camp Le Vernet.  They call it the “French Dachau.”
 
November 15, 1940
The Warsaw Ghetto is sealed.  There are 450,000 Jews crammed into a few square blocks.
 
November 16, 1940
Undercover Polish diplomat Jan Karski visits the Warsaw ghetto and a concentration camp.  He prepares a written report for the Polish government in exile on his observations.
 
November 20-24, 1940
Hungary, Romania and Slovakia join the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis.
 
Late 1940
During the Italian occupation of Tunisia in North Africa, Italian officials there prevent the implementation of anti-Jewish laws.  They demand that the French refrain from confiscating the property of 5,000 Jews in Tunisia who held Italian passports.  After December 1942, thousands of Jews are made to do forced labor under harsh conditions.  In the Italian forced labor camps, the Jews are treated far better than in German camps.  On May 7, 1943, the Allies liberate Tunis and thousands of Jews are saved from annihilation.
 
December 1940
Julio Palencia, Spanish Minister Plenipotentiary in Bulgaria, organizes protection for 150 Jews of Sephardic origin.
 
SS Haputsturmführer (Captain) Theodore Dannecker, under Eichmann, sets up the Anti-Jewish Institute in Paris.
 
All Jewish businesses must display a large yellow placard in their windows identifying it as a Jewish business.
 
Vichy government negotiates with Mexican Consul General Gilberto Bosques regarding the fate of 150,000 Spanish Republican refugees.  The object is to send these refugees to Mexico.  The Germans object to this plan and are fearful that these repatriated soldiers will fight for the British.
 
Myron Taylor, a friend of Roosevelt, is appointed Special US Envoy to the Vatican (Holy See) to elicit help from the Vatican for refugees.
 
US Justice Department rules that all refugees coming to the United States are protected by the Constitution with all rights guaranteed to citizens.
 
US Congressman Samuel Dickstein introduces new bill to utilize Alaska as a refugee haven.  The bill dies in subcommittee.
 
December 9, 1940
Operation Compass begins in North Africa.  The British Army advances from Egypt to Libya.
 
1941
Roosevelt announces Lend-Lease policy to furnish Allies with ships and armaments.  This is the beginning of the end of US isolation.
 
The United States, a non-belligerent in the war, has a more rigid screening procedure for refugees than does Britain, who had been fighting for two years.  As a result of the US State Department’s interference and antisemitic policies, many European Jews are unable to obtain refuge in the United States.  In the crucial year of 1941, only 47% of quota for German-Austrian immigration to the United States is filled.
 
US Minister to Romania Franklin Mott Gunther, stationed in Bucharest, reports to the State Department about the murder of Jews by the fascist Horia Sim Iron Guard.
 
The New Republic magazine writes a series of articles in 1941 calling for an inquiry into antisemitism in the US State Department.  The article categorically states that there is “widespread antisemitism in the Foreign Service.”
 
José Rojas, Spanish Minister in Bucharest, Romania, criticizes Nazi policy of persecuting Jews.  He adamantly opposes the deportation of Jews and the brutal conditions imposed by the Nazis.  He posts diplomatic protective signs on more than 300 houses where Jewish families live.
 
January 1941
Isaac Weissman, a Turkish-born Jew of Polish ancestry, becomes a representative of RELICO in Lisbon.  In 1942, he aids Jewish illegal immigrants who are stranded in Portugal.
 
Virginia Chase Weddel, wife of the US Ambassador to Spain, and Dorsey Stephens, wife of the US military attaché, help distribute JDC money to refugees stranded in Spain.
 
January 4, 1941
Great Britain sends soldiers to help its ally Greece.
 
January 10, 1941
Jews in occupied Holland are forced to register.
 
The Belgian government in exile in London issues an injunction (arrête-loi) that states that German laws against Jews are invalid and illegal.
 
January 22, 1941
Bulgarian parliament enacts the antisemitic Law for the Protection of the Nation.  It is based on the German Nuremberg Laws.  Jews are forced out of many professions and a special tax is levied against Jews.  Jewish community leaders in Bulgaria begin an information campaign to counter affect the antisemitic law.  A group of 21 leading Bulgarian writers, physicians and lawyers sends strong letter of protest to the Prime Minister.  Soon, Bulgarian political leaders endorse the protest.  The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church protests the Law.  These include Metropolitans Stephan of Sofia, Cyril of Plovdiv, Neofit of Vindin, and Sofroni of Vratsa.
 
February 1941
French Vichy officials object to Germans using southern France as a dumping ground for Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and other occupied territories.
 
February 1, 1941
Deportation of Jews to the Warsaw ghetto begins.
 
February 5, 1941
Reinhardt Heydrich states in memorandum that he sees the “later total solution to the Jewish problem” is to “send them off to whatever country will be chosen later on.”
 
Romanian government passes the antisemitic Law for the Protection of the State.
 
February 14, 1941
Heydrich tells German foreign ministry representative in France Martin Luther, “After the conclusion of the peace, they [Jews] will be the first transported to leave fortress Europe in the total evacuation of the continent we plan.”  Luther then tells his diplomatic representatives that forced Jewish emigration from German territories must take priority.
 
February 22, 1941
400 Jewish men from Antwerp, Belgium, are deported to Buchenwald concentration camp.
 
February 25, 1941
Thousands of Dutch Christians go out on general strike to protest the deportation of Jews to Buchenwald.  This is the only such strike in Europe in reaction to Jewish persecution.  Dutch students go on strike to protest dismissal of Jewish teachers.  Dutch citizens wear a yellow flower to protest the Jewish star decree.  In Rotterdam, signs are put up to encourage Dutch citizens to respect their Jewish countrymen.  Dutch Catholic and Protestant clergy speak up on behalf of Jews.
 
March 1, 1941
Bulgaria joins the Tripartite Pact with Germany, Italy and Japan.  In April, Bulgaria takes part in the attack of Yugoslavia and Greece.  In return, Hitler gives Bulgaria Thrace, Macedonia, and parts of eastern Serbia.  Bulgaria declares war on the US and England.
 
Himmler orders the construction of a second death camp in Auschwitz called Birkenau (Auschwitz II).
 
Thousands of Dutch citizens of all backgrounds aid in the rescue of beleaguered Dutch Jews.  Secret organizations come into existence all over Holland to help Jews hide.  Jewish children are hidden in private homes and most of them survive.  Dutch groups provide Jews with false documentation.
 
March 2, 1941
German army enters Bulgaria.
 
March 3, 1941
Krakow ghetto is established.
 
March 12, 1941
Jewish property is confiscated by Nazi authorities in Holland.
 
March 25, 1941
Yugoslavia joins the Tripartite Pact.
 
March 26, 1941
The German general staff gives the approval for the activities of the Einsatzgruppen (murder squads) in the Soviet Union.  The Wehrmacht will participate directly in the murder of civilians.
 
March 29, 1941
The antisemitic General Commission on Jewish Affairs is established in France.
 
March 30, 1941
Hitler informs German military leaders that the upcoming war against the Soviet Union will be a war of “extermination.”
 
April 6, 1941
German forces invade Greece and Yugoslavia.
 
April 9, 1941
German forces occupy Salonica (Thessaloníki).  Fifty thousand Jews reside there.
 
April 10, 1941
Croatia declares its independence after the invasion of Yugoslavia by Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.
 
April 12-13, 1941
German Army enters Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
 
April 18, 1941
Yugoslavia surrenders to Germany.
 
April 24, 1941
Lublin ghetto is sealed.
 
Portugal announces it will no longer issue transit visas.
 
April 27, 1941
Greece surrenders to the German and Italian armies.  After a protracted battle for conquering Greece, Germany intervenes on behalf of the Italian army.  This delays Hitler’s planned attack on the Soviet Union.
 
May 1941
As a result of Germany’s invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia, Roosevelt declares a national emergency.  The declaration will enable the US Congress to pass extraordinary legislation.
 
French Admiral Jean-François Darlan meets with Hitler at Berchtesgaden and cedes to Germany military bases in North Africa and Syria.  The French receive nothing in return.
 
By the end of May 1941, the Jewish office of HICEM in Marseilles had received more than 35,000 requests from Jews to leave France.  The HICEM managed to help approximately 3,000 Jews leave France in 1941 and another 3,000 Jews emigrated in the first months of 1942.
 
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee intervenes on behalf of refugees with the Portuguese ambassador in Washington, DC.
 
May 1, 1941
Grossrosen, located in Germany, becomes a major independent concentration camp.  125,000 persons go through the camp; 40,000 are murdered.
 
May 7, 1941
US Vice Consul Hiram Bingham is notified he is being transferred out of Marseilles.
 
May 10, 1941
Deputy Führer Rudolph Hess commandeers an airplane and goes on a secret mission to negotiate a separate peace with the British government.  This action has not been authorized by Hitler and it is disavowed.  Hess is imprisoned by British authorities.
 
May 14, 1941
Thousands of Jews in Paris are rounded up pending deportation.
 
Romanian Jews are conscripted for forced labor.
 
May 15, 1941
French Vichy government declares policy of cooperation with Nazi German government.
 
May 20, 1941
Gestapo issues circular prohibiting Jewish emigration from Germany and Austria.
 
May 25, 1941
Under pressure, the Portuguese government lifts its ban on issuing transit visas.
 
May 31, 1941
Decree in Belgium orders Jews to display signs in businesses and to declare their ownership of properties and assets; limits banking transactions.
 
Spring 1941
Defeated Greece is divided into three occupation zones.  Italy occupies most of the Greek peninsula, including Athens, Epirus and the Ionic Islands.  The zone is controlled by the Italian army and the Italian Foreign Ministry.  This zone has approximately 13,000 Jews.  It will become a safe haven for Jews until the Italians surrender in September 1943.
 
Giuseppe Bastiannini of Italy, acting Governor of Dalmatia, drafts an important memorandum for the signature of Italian leader Mussolini to protect Jews in the Italian zones of occupation.  Bastiannini encourages Italian diplomats to protect Jews.
 
During World War II, the Italian army and Italian diplomats administer three zones of occupation.  They are in Athens and the Ionic Islands; Croatia and Yugoslavia; and southern France.  The Italian occupying forces actively participate in sheltering Jews from deportations to the Nazi death camps.  It is estimated that more than 40,000 Jews are rescued from Nazi murder.
 
After Hiram Bingham is relieved of his post in Marseilles, France, he is transferred to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  While in Argentina, Bingham reports on the activities of pro-Nazi groups and infiltrators.  The State Department refuses to act on his recommendations and he resigns from the State Department in protest.
 
Many Jews join Tito’s anti-German partisan soldiers fighting in Yugoslavia.
 
June 1941
Finland joins Germany in its attack on the Soviet Union.
 
US State Department closes German consulates in the United States.  It bans pro-Nazi propaganda in the US.
 
US Congress passes Russell Bill, which permits US diplomats and consults in Europe to deny visas to refugees who, in their opinion, would “endanger the public safety of the United States.”  Breckinridge Long, who lobbied for this bill, did it to keep State Department diplomats in check.
 
Head of the Justice Department Francis Biddle asserts the right of the Justice Department to rule in favor of refugees in certain visa cases.  This removes some power from Breckinridge Long at the State Department.
 
Louis Darquier de Pellepoix becomes head of Commissariat General aux Questions Juives.  He is extremely antisemitic.
 
Czech Consul Vladimir Vochoc is arrested by Vichy authorities in southern France.  He later escapes.
 
June 2, 1941
The second Statute des Juifs (set of antisemitic laws) is enacted by the French Vichy government.  Law calls for the expropriation and Aryanation of Jewish property are enacted.  Eventually, 42,000 Jewish businesses, buildings, homes and other properties are confiscated. 
 
June 3, 1941
US State Department institutes additional policies discouraging help for refugees from German occupied countries.
 
June 6, 1941
Hitler issues the Commissar Order.  It authorizes the German army to murder any and all Soviet authorities in the upcoming invasion of the Soviet Union.
 
June 7, 1941
Jews are ordered to wear the yellow star in occupied France.  Many Jews refuse to wear the star and some French citizens wear stars and yellow flowers in solidarity with persecuted Jews.
 
June 18, 1941
Turkey and Germany sign a treaty.
 
June 22, 1941
Breaking the non-aggression pact of 1939, Hitler orders the German army to invade the Soviet Union.  The plan is called “Operation Barbarossa.”  Germany is now fighting a two-front war.  The Wehrmacht, with 150 divisions and more than three million men, invade and occupy much of the western Soviet Union.
 
Following the German army, Nazi Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) begin mass murder of Jews, civilian and Communist leaders.  More than one and a half million people are murdered by the Einsatzgruppen.
 
June 24, 1941
Wehrmacht occupies Kovno and Vilna, Lithuania.  Einsatzgruppen [murder squads] immediately begin murdering Jews.
 
June 25, 1941
15,000 Jews are murdered by the Iron Guard in Romania.
 
June 27, 1941
Hungary enters the war against the Allies.
 
June 28, 1941
The Wehrmacht occupies the Soviet city of Minsk in the western USSR.  It surrounds 27 Soviet divisions.
 
June 30, 1941
Wehrmacht occupies Lvov, Poland.  Almost 4,000 Jews are murdered immediately.
 
July 1941
Jewish relief agency CENTOS establishes 143 residences for refugees in the General Government in Poland.  It runs 26 homes and 62 children’s centers, taking care of 12,299 children.  It establishes 122 kitchens where 47,000 will eat.
 
July 1941-January 1942
HICEM sponsors 10,700 Jewish refugees fleeing Europe from Lisbon on JDC-sponsored ships.
 
July 1, 1941
Wehrmacht occupies Rega, Latvia.  18,000 Jews are murdered by the end of the month.
 
July 2, 1941
Wehrmacht occupies Ternapol.
 
July 4, 1941
Jewish Council in Vilna is established.
 
July 9, 1941
Unable to win the air war over England, Hitler calls off Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of Great Britain.
 
July 15, 1941
US consulates in Nazi occupied Europe are closed.  These include consulates in Germany, Austria, France, Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium.
 
July 20, 1941
Minsk ghetto is established.
 
July 28, 1941
Former US diplomat Alfred Wagg publishes a series of articles in the New Republic magazine highly critical of the visa policy of the US State Department.  He accuses the State Department of widespread antisemitism and anti-refugee sentiments in the US Foreign Service.
 
July 31, 1941
Hermann Göring appoints Reinhardt Heydrich to implement the “final solution of the Jewish question.”
 
July 1941
Nazi troops occupy Croatia, part of Yugoslavia, and begin deporting Jews.
 
August 1941
The Nazis order the closing of the emigration department of the Reichsvereinigung.  Nazis ban emigration for Jews between 18 and 45 years old.  The age is soon extended to 60 years old.
 
Antisemitic Commassariate for Jewish Questions in the Ministry of the Interior in Bulgaria is created.  It is headed by antisemite Aleksander Belev.
 
The Drancy detention/transit camp is established in a suburb of Paris.  It is under French administration.  Most of the Jews who are deported to the Auschwitz death camp will leave from Drancy.
 
Bernardo Rolland de Miota, the Spanish Consul General in Paris, actively intervenes in the cases of 14 Jews who were deported to the Drancy concentration camp.  At the same time, he embarks on a dangerous mission to transfer 2,000 Jews from Drancy to Morocco.  Throughout the war, he denounced Nazi persecution of Jews.  By September 1943, Rolland would be partially responsible for the escape of hundreds of French Jews to Spain.
 
Queen Mother Elizabeth of Belgium intervenes on behalf of Belgian Jews.  She appeals directly to Hitler to stop the deportations.  This action leads to widespread protest and postponement of deportations.  The Red Cross distributes parcels to Jews in hiding in Belgium.
 
August 1, 1941
Bialystock ghetto is established.
 
August 4, 1941
Kovno ghetto is sealed.
 
August 8, 1941
Deportation of 11,485 Jews begins from the Gurs and Rivesaltes camps in the southern zone.  The Coordinating Relief Committee for the Camps (CIMADE), a Protestant relief organization comprised of the Red Cross, the Quaker Relief Committee, the Swiss Service Civil International and the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, is allowed to rescue Jews. 
 
Ross McClelland, Dr. Donald Lowrie and Father Arnoux, representing Catholic Archbishop Gerlier, lobby Philippe Pétain to save Jews.
 
August 14, 1941
Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill sign Atlantic Charter.  This is an eight point document declaring joint US and British peace aims.
 
August 15, 1941
German government stops issuing exit visas to Jews.
 
August 20, 1941
The Eleventh District in Paris is sealed off and 4,000 Jews are interned and sent to Drancy.  French officials protest the arrests. 
 
Protestant Minister Marc Boegner sends protest letter to Marshal Pétain: “…the indescribable sadness that our Churches feel at the news of the decisions taken by the French government, with regard to foreign Jews, whether converted to Christianity or not.”
 
August 21-September 26, 1941
Wehrmacht encircles city of Kiev and captures 665,000 Soviet prisoners.
 
August 23, 1941
Monsignor Saliège, Archbishop of Toulouse, France, publicly disapproves of the deportations.  He orders a message to be read in churches by his priests at mass.
 
August 26-28, 1941
A massive roundup of Jews in Lyons, France.  In response, Monsignor Théas, Bishop of Montauban, issues a protest.
 
August 29, 1941
Jews in Belgium can reside only in major cities and are subject to curfew.
 
Samuel Sequerra represents the Jewish Joint in Barcelona, Spain.  Sequerra disburses funds in support of 600 refugees receiving financial aid.  After September 1941, he looks after refugees who have entered the country illegally.
 
September 1, 1941
Hitler ends the T-4 euthanasia program in Germany under pressure from church and civic leaders.  Between 70,000 and 93,000 people are killed in this program.
 
September 2, 1941
Francis Biddle and James G. McDonald convince FDR to liberalize the “close relative clause” and the visa policy for refugees.  In a small way, this helps refugees in their appeals process.  The rate of visa rejection is lowered by 15%.
 
Rabbi Wise contacts US State Department with information about the Nazis’ plan to murder European Jews.  The State Department advises Wise to remain silent until the information is verified.
 
September 3, 1941
Experimental gassing of Soviet POWs in Auschwitz.
 
Vilna ghetto is established.
 
September 6, 1941
The Nazis forbid emigration of Jews between 18 and 45 years old.  The RVE in Germany helps Jews escape to Spain and Portugal.
 
September 17, 1941
The beginning of the general deportation of German Jews to the death camps in Poland.
 
September 19, 1941
In Germany, Jews are forced to wear the yellow star.
 
September 20, 1941
German forces capture Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
 
September 23, 1941
Experimental gassing tests on prisoners are conducted at Auschwitz.
 
September 24, 1941
The Nazi government blocks 60 million marks that had been earmarked for emigration assistance to Jews.
 
September 29-30, 1941
German murder squads kill 33,771 Jews in Babi Yar, near Kiev.  Eventually more than 100,000 people will be murdered there.
 
October-November 1941
German and Austrian Jews are deported to ghettoes in Eastern Europe.
 
October 1941
In France, the Archbishop of Lyons, Pierre Cardinal Gerlier, of L’Amité Chretienne [Christian Friendship], protests anti-Jewish decrees and instructs French Catholics to help Jews.  Many nuns, priests and monks are arrested, deported and killed in their efforts to save Jews.
 
The Archbishop of Toulouse, France, protests Nazi terror.
 
Monsignor Giuseppe Burzio, Vatican Nuncio in Bratislava, Slovakia, reports to the Vatican about Jews being murdered by the Germans.
 
Only 4,800 visa applications out of 9,500 have been approved by the US State Department for refugees.  The US State Department and Department of Justice disagree on refugee visa policy and security issues.
 
October 1, 1941
All legal emigration out of Germany and the occupied territories is stopped by Gestapo order.
 
The German armies advance from Smolensk, Russia, toward Moscow.
 
October 10, 1941
Cardinal Roncalli, Nuncio to Turkey, has an audience with Pope Pius XII.  Roncalli writes in his private diary, “He [the Pope] asked me if his silence regarding Nazism was not judged badly.”
 
October 15, 1941
The Soviet government in Moscow is evacuated to the city of Kuybyshev, on the Volga River.  Stalin remains in Moscow.
 
Jews from Germany and Austria are deported to the Kaunus, Lodz, Minsk and Rega ghettoes.
 
Nazi authorities pass a law imposing the death penalty for all Jews who leave the ghettoes without permission or for “persons who knowingly provide hiding places for Jews.”
 
October 16, 1941
Wehrmacht occupies Odessa, Russia.  Soon 19,000 Jews are murdered by Einsatzgruppen [special killing squads].
 
October 19, 1941
Jews from Luxembourg deported to Lodz, Poland.
 
October 23, 1941
Himmler orders that no more Jews are to emigrate from the German occupied zones.  This order takes effect in France in February 1942.
 
October 24, 1941
The German Army captures the city of Kharkov in the Ukraine.
 
October 25, 1941
The first part of the German army’s offensive against Moscow fails.
 
October 27, 1941
Monsignor Burzio sends a detailed report to the Vatican regarding the systematic murder of Jews in Europe.  This is the first Vatican-produced report regarding the massacre of Jews.
 
October 28, 1941
9,000 Jews are murdered in the old Czarist Ninth Fort in Kovno, Lithuania.
 
Late October 1941
After being forced to leave Marseilles, Varian Fry returns to New York City. 
 
November 1941
The early onset of the Russian winter greatly slows the German army’s advance in the Soviet Union.
 
Swiss Minister René de Weck contacts Red Cross urging them to protect Jews being murdered in Bucharest.
 
There are approximately 17,500 internees in French camps in the southern unoccupied zone.  11,150 are Jews (63%).  Many will receive exit visas to leave these camps.
 
A Catholic resistance organization called Temoignage Chrétien publishes a brochure that directly addresses the issue of French antisemitism.  It mentions the concentration camps, Nazism, and French hypocrisy.
 
November 10, 1941
All emigration of Jews from Austria now officially prohibited.  126,445 Jews have been able to emigrate from Austria, thousands with the Ho, Bosques and other diplomatic visa. 
 
November 12, 1941
Franklin Mott Gunther, the US Minister in Bucharest, Romania, sends Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull a detailed report describing the atrocities committed by the Iron Guard in Romania against Jews.  Gunther will continue to send reports regarding the deportation of Jews.  The State Department’s Eastern European Division replies to Gunther that “endorsing of such a plan is likely to bring about new pressure for an asylum in the Western Hemisphere…We are not ready to handle the whole Jewish problem.”  Nothing was done on Gunther’s reports or proposals.
 
November 20-December 7, 1941
30,000 Jews are murdered in the Rumbula Forest near Rega, Latvia, by SS murder squads.
 
November 25, 1941
Decree in Belgium orders the establishment of the Association of Jews in Belgium (Association des Juif en Belgique; AJB).  At its head is Chief Rabbi of the Belgian Army Solomon Ullman.  All Jews must be registered and some Jewish children are expelled from public school.
 
November 29, 1941
Under German pressure, Vichy orders the dissolution of all Jewish organizations in France.  Their records must be turned over to Vichy officials.  Vichy forms the Union General de Isrealites du France (UGIF), which the Germans hope to turn into a Judenrat (Jewish Council).  The UGIF refuses to take part in selecting Jews for deportation during the roundups.  The UGIF helps Jews escape and provides them with food and shelter.
 
December 1941
Germany Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories declares, “As a matter of principle, no consideration should be given to economic interest…”  This statement declares that killing Jews takes precedence over all other considerations, including use of Jewish labor for the war effort.
 
The US Congress authorizes $10 billion of lend-lease assistance to the Allies.
 
December 1941
The Swiss Red Cross launches a relief operation specifically to save French Jewish children.  The Swiss Red Cross has delegations located in Paris, Marseilles, Lille, Lyon, Toulouse and Arles.
 
Harry Bingham, US Vice Consul in Marseilles, hides painter Marc Chagall in his home, issues him visa to leave France.
 
December 1-5, 1941
The German army reaches the outer suburbs of Moscow.
 
December 5, 1941
The Soviets launch a major counteroffensive against the German army’s attack on Moscow.
 
December 7, 1941
Japanese Imperial Navy attacks US forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
 
Night and Fog Decree: Hitler orders the suppression of anti-Nazi resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe.  This order is carried out by the German army in Eastern Europe.  Tens of thousands are murdered under this order.
 
December 8, 1941
The United States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Japan.
 
Gassing of Jews begins at Chelmno extermination camp in Poland.  Jews are herded into trucks and vans, where they are asphyxiated.  320,000 Jews are eventually murdered in Chelmno.
 
By the end of December 1941, the Nazis have murdered more than one million Jews.
 
December 9, 1941
China declares war on Germany and Japan.
 
December 10, 1941
The United States declares war on Germany and Italy.  The vast majority of the war effort will be directed at winning the war against Germany.
 
December 14, 1941
Churchill and Roosevelt meet in Washington, DC.
 
Major deportations in France are announced.  Due to lack of rail transportation, the deportations to the death camps do not begin until March 1942.
 
The German occupying force in France fines the Jewish community one billion francs.
 
December 16, 1941
The German army forces of Army Group Center, who are attacking Moscow, begin to retreat as a result of Soviet Marshall Zhukov’s counterattack.
 
December 25, 1941
British armed forces in Hong Kong surrender to the Japanese army.
 
December 31, 1941
United Partisans’ Organization in Vilna, Lithuania, which is founded by Jewish leader Abba Kovner, calls Jews to resist the Nazis.  Kovner states, “We must not go like sheep to the slaughter.”
 
Winter 1941-1942
The French village of Le Chambon begins rescue work to hide 5,000 Jews.  This rescue is led by Pastor André Trocmé.  All survive until the end of the war.
 
The Dutch village of Nieuwlande succeeds in saving all the Jews of its town.  All 117 townspeople hide Jews in their homes.  All of the Jews in the town survive the war.
 
Many Christian organizations help to rescue Jews in France.  Among them are the Sisters of Zion at the Hospice de la Vieille Charité, the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Dominican Order of St. Baume, led by Father Régis de Perceval in Boulogne.  Fathers Perrin and Pipro hide Jews in their houses.  CIMADE helps Jewish evacuees interned at Gurs to escape to Switzerland.  Fathers Perceval and Perrin are arrested in August 1943 for helping Jews.  Father Abbé Blanc and 50 agents provide Jews with false records.  During this period, Church people issue thousands of false Baptismal Certificates.
 
Father Marie-Benoit, a Capuchin priest, works with the UGIF and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to print and distribute false documents and hide Jews.  He establishes a Jewish children’s refuge in the French province of Var.  He is credited with rescuing as many as 4,000 Jews.
 
A number of French prefectural officials in southern France are helpful to Jews.  Among them are Jean Séguy, Marseilles police captain Dubois, Monsieur Roux and Madame Esmiol of the Aliens’ Bureau, Marie-Ange Rodriguez, Secretary General of the Cassis Town Hall, Monsieur Boyer, also of Cassis, Antoine Zattara and Georges Barellet.
 
A number of guards at the French concentration camps take great risks to help Jewish internees survive and eventually escape.  Among them are Lucien Mercier, Auguste Boyer, Aimé Bondi, and Jean-Louis Kissy.  The Commandant of Les Milles, Robert Maulavé, helps individual Jews.  He is later put in jail for these efforts.
 
Father Pierre Chaillet of the Amitié Chrétienne [Christian Friendship], centered in Lyons, organizes an association of priests and laypersons under the guidance of Archbishop Gerlier and Pastor Boegner.

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