Mass Murder

June 22, 1941 -
German troops invade the Soviet Union, followed the next day by mobile killing units, Einsatzgruppen, that massacre roughly 1.25 million Jews by September 1943.

July 31, 1941 -
Hermann Goering, Hitler's deputy, orders planning of a "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem in Europe."

September 29, 1941 -
On the eve of Yom Kippur, mobile killing units and Ukranian police strip and gun down 33,771 Jews at the Babi Yar ravine near Kiev.

December 8, 1941 -
Chelmno, the first Nazi death camp, uses poison gas vans to begin mass murder of the Jews in Poland.

January 20, 1942 -
At the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, German officials discuss details of the "Final Solution," a plan to kill an estimated 11 million Jews in Europe and Britain.

February 15, 1942 -
The Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp begins mass murder of Jews using Zyklan-B gas. By June 1943, the ovens at this death factory are cremating more than 8,000 bodies a day.

March 17 - July 23, 1942 -
Nazis complete a network of six death camps, all located in Poland. In addition to Chelmno and Auschwitz, these now include Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Majdanek.
May 1942 -
Poland's Jewish Labor Bund, in a plea issued after 11 months of gathering firsthand reports, concludes that the Nazis plan to "annihilate all the Jews of Europe."