Many people I’ve encountered over the years believe that the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler only murdered German and Polish Jews, without realizing that everywhere that Germany brought under their control, the Holocaust took place.
In March 1938, Austria is annexed by Germany.
In September 1938, the Czechoslovak Republic is forced to give up the Sudetenland to Germany as part of an agreement signed by France, Germany, Great Britain and Italy.
In August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union sign an agreement to not take aggressive action against each other. Part of the agreement involved their division of Eastern Europe.
In September 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union invade Poland and Poland surrenders by the end of the month and the nation is divided up by Germany and the Soviet Union.
In November 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Finland.
In April 1940, Germany invades Denmark and Norway. Denmark surrenders on April 9, the same day as the invasion began.
In May and June, 1940, Germany attacks Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The Netherlands surrendered on May 14 and Belgium surrendered on May 28. France signed an armistice with Germany which basically allowed them to occupy and control the northern half of France.
In June 1940, the Soviet Union annexed the eastern and northern parts of Romania.
In August 1940, Germany and Italy divided up the Transylvania region of Romania, forcing Romanian King Carol abdicating his throne to his son Michael.
In September 1940, Germany, Italy and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact, officially forming the Axis powers.
In November 1940, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia join the Axis powers. Once these nations joined the Axis powers, tens of thousands of Jews in those countries began to flee in fear of their lives. Many of them fled to the Soviet controlled Ukraine. When the Soviet Union tried to send the Jews back to their homelands, the countries refused to take them.
On this day, August 28, 1941, most of the Ukraine had fallen to German control. SS General Franz Jaeckeln, stationed in Kamenets Podolsk, Ukraine, ordered over 23,000 Hungarian Jews to gather in the bomb craters. The Jews were ordered to strip off all of their clothes and once the clothes had been gathered, Jaeckeln’s Gestapo troops opened fire with machine guns. The majority were killed by the hail of bullets. Those that weren’t killed by bullets were buried alive with the bodies of their family, friends and fellow Jews.
Jaeckeln was the man who gave the order to his men to murder more than 23,000 people simply because they were Jewish. He had promised that he would completely liquidate all of the Jewish refugees by September 1, 1941.
In April 1945, Soviet Union troops captured and arrested Jaeckeln. He was charged with his war crimes and tried by a Soviet military court in January and February 1946. Jaeckeln was found guilty along with several others.
On February 3, 1946, Jaeckeln and six of his fellow convicted war criminals were publicly hanged in front of a large crowd of people in Riga, Latvia which at the time was part of the Soviet Union.
By the end of the World War II, over 600,000 Jews had been murdered in the Ukraine alone by order of the Nazi government of Germany. Additionally, tens of thousands of Gypsies were also murdered by the Germans during World War II.
Sources for the above includes: World War II: Timeline; Timeline of Selected Events 1931-1945; Mass Slaughter in Ukraine; Murder of Hungarian Jewry; 70 Years Ago Today, The Holocaust Came to Hungary; The Holocaust in Hungary: Frequently Asked Questions; Nazi War Crimes Trials: Riga Trial