Jewish experience in Nazi occupied countries

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Hitler Youth members overseeing Jews made to scrub the streets in Vienna, Austria, 1938
© 2011 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

On 12 March 1938 the Nazis annexed Austria. Later that year they marched into the Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia, and on 15 March 1939 the German army invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia. This brought over half a million Jews under German control.

The German invasion of Western Poland on 1 September 1939 led to the start of the Second World War (WW2). Between 1939 and June 1941 the German army invaded and occupied many countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Greece, Norway and Western Poland. By this time many millions of Jews were living in territories under German control.

The experience of Jews in countries that were invaded and occupied by the Nazis was often quite similar to that of the Jews within Germany. However, what was different was the speed at which the Nazis enacted anti-Jewish measures.

This section will highlight the key events and features of the Jewish experience in countries that were occupied by the Nazis.