Holocaust Timeline

Holocaust Timeline

The purpose of this Holocaust Timeline is to outline the key points in history which led to the rise of the Nazis.

  • Trianon Peace Treaty signed at the end of World War I in Versailles. Hungary loses 2/3 of its pre-war territory, mainly to Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia.
  • Admiral Horthy is elected regent of Hungary.


  • Numerus clausus, a new law, limits the number of Jewish students allowed to pursue higher education in Hungary. A maximum of 6% of places in universities are now available to Jewish students.


  • The National Socialist (or Nazi) party takes power in Germany.
  • Adolf Hitler is elected Chancellor of Germany on January 30th.
  • Hungary forms an alliance with Germany that is political, economic and ideological in nature. Both authoritarian regimes share a keen interest in revising the Trianon Peace Treaty.


  • Hitler and Mussolini sign an accord called the Rome-Berlin Axis agreement, which formally outlines their common fascist interests.


  • Germany, Japan and Italy sign a military and political pact (the Anti-Comintern Pact), agreeing to fight the Soviet Union.


  • German troops annex Austria.
  • Anti-Jewish law restricts the role played by Jews in the Hungarian economy to 20%.
  • Hitler returns part of a former territory in Czechoslovakia to Hungary.
  • On Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), Nazis terrorize Jews throughout Germany and Austria. They kill 91 Jews, arrest 30 000, loot Jewish shops, businesses and homes, and destroy over 1000 synagogues.


  • Germany takes over Czechoslovakia in March and invades Poland on September 1st .
  • World War II begins as Britain and France declare war on Germany.
  • Count Pál Teleki, who became Hungary’s Prime Minister in March, did not join the war. He fears Germany’s strength and brutality and wishes to maintain a degree of political independence. Teleki commits suicide two years later.
  • The Hungarian Labor Service System is established in March. Hungarian Jewish men between the ages of 20-48 are drafted into forced labor units.
  • New anti-semitic laws in Hungary define who is a Jew and restricts Jewish participation in the economy to 6%.


  • Hungary annexes northern Transylvania on August 3rd.
  • Hungary, Romania and Slovakia join the Tripartate Pact between November 20th and 25th.
  • Mass murder of Jews in Poland begins.
  • Germany invades Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France.


  • On June 22nd, Germany attacks the Soviet Union.
  • In July and August, 1941, 17 000 immigrant Jews living in Hungary are deported by the Hungarian authorities and massacred by SS (Nazi) troops.
  • Germany, an ally of Japan, declares war on the United States immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The U.S. enters the war.
  • On Dec. 13th, Hungary and Romania declare war on the United States.


  • At the Wannsee Conference in January, fifteen highly-placed Nazis meet to discuss and co-ordinate the best strategy for the destruction of all 11 million Jews in Europe.
  • In January and February, 1000 Hungarian Jews are murdered by military and gendarmerie units.
  • Five death camps begin operation in Poland: Majdanek, Sobibor, Treblinka, Belzec, and Auschwitz-Birkenau.


  • Warsaw ghetto uprising.
  • The Germans are defeated by the Red Army in the Battle of Stalingrad.


  • On March 19th, in response to Hungary’s attempt to get out of the war and withdraw its armed forces from the eastern front, Germany invades Hungary and installs a pro-nazi puppet government.
  • On March 22nd, all Jewish shops (including 18 600 in Budapest) are ordered closed.
  • American and British air forces start bombing Hungary in early April.
  • Beginning April 5th, Hungarian Jews must wear yellow stars of David.
  • April 12th, the deputy minister of the interior orders that Jews turn over 500 apartments to non-Jews who are homeless as a result of bombings. Before the end of the day, Adolf Eichmann raises the number to 15 000.
  • April 28th, a law is passed for the ghettoization of Jews.
  • May 2nd, the first transport of Jews from Hungary arrives at Auschwitz.
  • Between May 16th and July 7th, 1944, almost half a million Hungarian Jews are deported from the countryside to Auschwitz. Most are gassed shortly after arrival.
  • Adolf Eichmann plans to kill the entire Jewish population of Budapest in one day.
  • Under pressure from allied countries, Horthy orders the deportation of Jews to stop. They cease temporarily. One train, deporting 1 600 Jews, is stopped and sent back to Budapest.
  • Raoul Wallenberg arrives in Budapest to rescue Jews.
  • In August, Horthy fires pro-German prime minister Sztójay.
  • Oct 15th, Horthy’s attempt to extricate Hungary from the Axis alliance is crushed when the Germans kidnap Horthy’s son and threaten to kill him if Horthy doesn’t reverse his plans to turn against Germany. Horthy is ousted. Hungarian Nazis, led by Ferenc Szálasi, begin their reign of terror and brutality. Deportations from the countryside and villages resume.
  • After the Arrow Cross coup, Gypsies are deported to camps along with Jews. (It is estimated that 31 000 Gypsies were deported from Hungary.)
  • On November 26th, Himmler orders the destruction of the crematoriums at Auschwitz.
  • December 26th, Soviet forces completely surround Budapest.


  • January 17th, approximately 80 000 Jews are freed by the Russians in Budapest.
  • Raoul Wallenberg is arrested by the Soviets.
  • January 20th, the provisional government of Hungary signs an armistice.
  • April 4th, Hungary is completely liberated.
  • May 8th, the day after the Germans surrender to the allies, marks the official end of the war in Europe.
  • A total of 6 million Jews were killed in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of Gypsies, at least 250 000 mentally- and physically- disabled people, tens of thousands of homosexuals, and thousands of communists, socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and resistance fighters were also killed.
  • People’s Court sentences captured Hungarian Nazi war criminals to death.
  • The Nuremberg trial, lasting from 1945-46, charges 20+ Nazi individuals and 7 Nazi organizations of being criminal.


  • A Jewish homeland is established in Palestine by the United Nations.


  • The Jewish homeland becomes the state of Israel.

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