Photos: Invasion of PolandClick on a thumbnail image to view the full photograph.
Soviet Foreign Commissar, Vyacheslav Molotov, signs the German-Soviet nonaggression pact. Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Stalin stand behind him. Moscow, August 23, 1939. Germany's invasion of Poland marked the beginning of World War II. Here a Nazi unit is en route to Poland at the end of September 1939. Handwritten on the side of the train car is, "We are going to Poland to thrash the Jews." Close-up of the above photo showing antisemitic message on side of troop train bound for Poland. German troops parade through Warsaw, Poland, September 1939. Wehrmacht (German Army) soldiers amuse themselves by harassing a Jewish man. Many of the photographs documenting the Holocaust were taken by the Nazi government as part of their passion for detailed record keeping. This photograph was taken in late 1939 in southwestern Poland. After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, German soldiers enjoyed the public humiliation of Polish Jews. In this photograph, one Jew is forced to cut the beard of another under German supervision as the local population of Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Poland watches. German soldiers cutting the beard of an elderly Jew in Poland. As Germany pushed its borders eastward into Poland, Jews in western Poland who lived in areas overtaken by the Third Reich were forced to move east. This mass deportation occurred in the winter of 1939-40. The Third Reich refers to the German government from the end of the Weimar Republic until the fall of Nazi Germany. Humiliation was a part of the psychological warfare that Nazis used against their enemies. In Poland, a soldier tutors two Jewish men on how to give the Nazi salute correctly. Jews are forced, with a little help from a Nazi soldier's boot, into a truck that is to take them to their execution. During the September 1939 Nazi military campaign, about 600,000 men of the Polish Army, including 60,000 Jews, were taken prisoner by the German fascists. Most of the Jewish prisoners were murdered. Return to Other Archival Photographs
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A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 2005.