1941 Chronology

Key events shaped the lives of Themar’s Jewish community in 1941; for more detail, click here:  
  • January 30: In a speech to the Reichstag, Hitler repeats his threat to destroy the Jews of Europe.

“Finally this year will help to assure the basis for understanding between the peoples, and thereby, for their reconciliation. I do not want to miss pointing out what I pointed out on 3rd of September [1940] in the German Reichstag, that if Jewry were to plunge the world into war, the role of Jewry would be finished in Europe. They may laugh about it today, as they laughed before about my prophecies. The coming months and years will prove that I prophesied rightly in this case too.”

  • June 22: The Germans invade the Soviet Union in Operation “Barbarossa.”
  • July 20: The Germans begin to establish ghettos in the countries of occupied Soviet Union (Riga, Latvia; Kovno, Lithuania, and Minsk, etc.)
  • July 31: Göring orders Heydrich to plan for the implementation of a “Final Solution” of the alleged “Jewish question” throughout occupied Europe. “Resettlement to the east,” one of the strategies to be used, is to take place once the war against the Soviet Union is ended. The German assumption is that the war will be over by late fall.
  • Summer: Emigration from Germany becomes increasingly difficult, although not impossible.

    Sept., 1941. Man with “Judenstern.” Source: Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-B04490,_Mann_mit_Judenstern

  • August 24: Hitler suspends the adult euthanasia program in Germany.
  • September 1: German government decrees that all German Jews over the age of six must wear a yellow Star of David on their outer clothing in public at all times. Implemented on September 19, 1941.
  • mid-September: Hitler authorizes the deportation of Jews from “The German Reich” — that is, Germany, Austria, the Sudetenland and the Protectorate of Moravia and Bohemia — to the ghettos of occupied eastern Europe. This marks a major change in policy from earlier in the year.
  • October 18-23: Himmler instructs Heydrich to halt emigration of all European Jews. Order implemented on October 23.
  • November 8: The first deportation train leaves Germany for Minsk.
  • November 17: The first deportation train leaves Germany for Kovno.
  • November 27: The first deportation train leaves Germany for Riga.
  • December 11: USA declares war against Germany and Italy
  • December 15: Last transport of 1941 leaves Hannover for Riga. A total of approximately 28,145 German Jews have been deported in the three months since October 15.