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September 1: Blitzkrieg

Nazi Germany invaded Poland on this date in 1939, triggering World War II and setting in motion the genocide of Europe’s Jews. Close to two thirds of Poland’s 3.5 million Jews would fall into Nazi hands, while a third came under the rule (and relative protection) of the Soviet Red Army, which invaded Poland from […]

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65 Years Later: The Lessons of World War II

An Editorial Sixty-five years after the defeat of fascism, what have we learned? May 8th marked the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, and August 14th  marked its end in Asia. War is a fearsome, terrible enterprise, committed to destruction and killing, and World War II was no exception: some […]

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August 14: Japan Surrenders

The Emperor of Japan surrendered to the United States on this date in 1945, initiating a formal process of surrender that brought a final end to World War II within two weeks. Despite its alliance with Nazi Germany and its killing of millions of Chinese and other peoples, Japan was one of the world’s only […]

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June 22: The G.I. Bill

The G.I. Bill (“Serviceman’s Readjustment Act”) was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on this date in 1944. Designed to avoid the domestic unrest that accompanied returning veterans in World War I — including the Bonus March of 1932, when mostly unemployed veterans were fired upon by troops in Washington, DC — the G.I. Bill […]

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June 16: Marc Bloch and the French Resistance

French historian Marc Bloch was captured, tortured and murdered by the Gestapo on this date in 1944 for his participation in the Resistance. When the Nazis invaded France, Bloch left his professorship at the Sorbonne to become a captain in the French Army at age 52 (he had already been awarded the Legion d’honneur for […]

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June 6: D-Day

The Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe began on this date in 1944, with over 150,000 American, Canadian, British and Free French troops landing on the beaches of Normandy, France. By nightfall, over 9,000 of them were dead. Swimming ashore with the second assault wave on Omaha Beach, Life magazine photographer Robert Capa took more than […]

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May 8: V-E Day

On this date in 1945, World War II ended in Europe with the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces to the Allies. Japan would hold out until late August, by which time the U.S. had dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war took a total of 60 million lives […]

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Nurturing Holocaust Studies in the Former Soviet Union

A Conversation with Ilya Altman, Director of the Center for Holocaust Research and Education in Moscow The Jewish Community Development Fund (JCDF), a project of the American Jewish World Service, has helped to fund and nurture grassroots Jewish cultural projects in the former Soviet Union for the past twelve years. [To read our interview with […]

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Jewish Cultural Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto

Each year, the commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – which began on the eve of Passover, April 19th, 1943 – makes us feel astonished by the fact that the revolt took place at all. The Second World War was in its fourth year. The Nazis had been carrying out their plan to annihilate Jews […]

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