1940 January 24, THE NEW YORK TIMES
In an editorial justified its aversion to reporting stories about atrocities in Poland because: "All we have heard until now have been unofficial accounts of such horrors that we chose to disbelieve them as exaggerated."
1940 January 26, BEN SHEMEN YOUTH VILLAGE (Eretz Israel)
Was raided by British police. Weapons were found that were stored there by the Haganah. The principal, Dr. Seigfried Lehman (former headmaster of an orphanage in Kovno), and others were arrested and sentenced to terms from 3-7 years.
1940 February 8, LODZ (Poland)
Nazi Germany ordered the setting up of the Lodz Ghetto. Before the war, Lodz was the second largest Jewish community in Poland with 233,000 Jews, one-third of the city's residents. As the Germans arrived around 75,000 fled the city. By May 1st, 160,000 Jews were funneled into the ghetto renamed Litzmannstadt. Of the more than 200,000 who were to live in the ghetto, only about 10,000 would survive. The reality that Lodz was annexed by Germany and isolated from the rest of the city, and the fact that people thought that the work camps may keep them alive, all contributed to the lack of any attempt at revolt.
1940 February 12, GERMANY
First deportation of German Jews into occupied Poland.
1940 February 26, CONSULTIVE POLITICAL COMMITTEE (London)
Was formed, which in effect served as the government-in-exile that was also known as the PKP. Part of their job was to coordinate all anti-Nazi efforts in Poland. Many of the delegates - who represented various political parties - were distinctly unfriendly to the Jews.
1940 April, - May, UNION FOR ARMED STRUGGLE (ZWZ) (Poland)
Attacked German targets in Poland while the Germans were busy in the West. All this changed as German victories increased. General Sosnkowski ordered (June18, July 20) that all such attacks cease immediately. On paper, the Union had over 300,000 people at their command. In reality only a few thousand became partisans and many of these actual fought against Jewish and Russian partisans. The general directive stipulated that there be no attacks on Germans within Polish borders while they were still winning the war in order to prevent reprisals.
1940 April 27, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
Under Himmler's orders, work began on Auschwitz. The first and smallest camp was used for German criminals. Later it was used for Polish prisoners as well. It only began taking in massive numbers of Jews in March 1942. Auschwitz was to become the main killing center for European Jewry. In May, its first commandant, Rudolf Hoess, was appointed. He eventually constructed the camp at Birkenau and developed an assembly line system for murder. At its peak, Auschwitz was able to "process" 10,000 people in 24 hours. Hoess was later captured by the British and hung on April 16, 1947 on the one-person gallows outside the entrance to the gas chamber.
1940 April 27, H. F. DOWNIE (England)
The British Head of the Middle East Department of the Colonial Office stated that "the Jews are enemies just as the Germans are, but in a more insidious way", and that "our two sets of enemies [Nazis and Jews] are linked together by secret and evil bonds." A year later (March 15, 1941), he wrote " one regret[s] that the Jews are not on the other side in this war."
1940 April 30, LODZ GHETTO (Poland)
Was surrounded with barbed wire, wooden fences, and outposts making it the first ghetto to be sealed off. In the previous 8 months, more than 70,000 Jews had left the city, with 164,000 remaining in the ghetto.
1940 May 14, NETHERLANDS FALLS
Just four days after the German invasion and one day after Queen Wilhelmina fled to London, the country surrendered to the Germans. Arthur Seyss-Inquart, an Austrian lawyer who had played an important role in the Anschluss, was appointed Reich commissioner. Almost all of Holland's Jews lived in three cities with 60% in Amsterdam alone, making it very easy for the Germans to concentrate their efforts. Out of Holland's 140,000 Jews, 80% would perish in the Holocaust. Seyss-Inquart was later hung after the Nuremberg trials.
1940 June, - 1942 November, LE CHAMBON SUR LIGNON (near Lyon, France)
Pastor Andre Trocme encouraged the inhabitants of this small village to help as many Jews as possible. An estimated 5,000 Jews were given refuge. Trocme is one of the over 19,100 people honored as righteous gentiles at Yad V'shem in Jerusalem.
1940 June 10, ITALY DECLARED WAR ON GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE
A month later, the Italian air forces began bombing Haifa and Tel Aviv. Almost 200 people were killed with hundreds wounded.
1940 June 15, LA MER ET L'ENFANT (Paris, France)
Became the first social welfare organization in occupied France. Under the guidance of David Rapoport, "Mother and Child" helped thousands of Jews. Rapoport and his wife were arrested by the Nazis in June 1943 and deported to Auschwitz where they perished. The La Mere et l'Enfant was originally founded at a day camp known as the Colonie Scolaire which was located at 26 Rue Amelot. There were also known by some as the Rebels of the Rue Amelot.
1940 June 22, FRENCH ARMISTICE (Compiégne, France)
Was signed. France was divided into two sections; an occupied zone under direct German rule and an unoccupied "free" zone in Vichy. It was estimated that of the 350,000 French Jews, less than half were native born. Approximately 90,000 were murdered.
1940 June 26, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE BRECKINRIDGE LONG (USA)
Six months after he entered his position as head of the Visa Division, he sent a memo to State Department officials with practical ideas for hampering the granting of U.S. visas. Long was a close friend of Roosevelt, and under orders to block any special efforts to help Jews, he succeeded in cutting those granted visas by half. Long (and many others) believed that any special help for the Jews would detract from the war effort. His policy was to "delay and effectively stop immigration." Long was helped by reports from Laurence Steinhardt, U.S. attorney and diplomat, who considered Jewish refugees undesirable. Ironically this same Steinhardt, later ambassador to Turkey, was effective in trying to save the remnant of Hungarian Jews through the War Refugee Board.
1940 July, ARMEE JUIVE; AJ (Jewish Army) (France)
A Jewish underground resistance movement was formed by David Knout and Abraham Polonski. Originally called the Movement des Jeunesses Sionistes (M.J.S.), it eventually metamorphasized into the Organization Juive de Combat (O.J.C.) and carried out almost 2000 actions against the enemy. Many Jews fought in other units as well, often in leading positions. Among them were: Jean-Pierre Levy the founder of the Franc Tireurs, Jacques Bingen, Ze'ev Gustman and Joseph Epstein (Colonel Gilles). Jews constituted almost 15% of the underground although they were less then 1% of the population.
1940 July 2, VICHY GOVERNMENT (France)
Was formed. Marshal Pétain headed the government with Pierre Laval as the vice-premier. Laval believed in total collaboration with the Nazi regime.
1940 July 3, MADAGASCAR PLAN (Berlin, Germany)
Adolph Eichmann prepared a detailed plan for the transfer of four million Jews to Madagascar to be paid for by Jewish confiscated property. The idea was to rid Europe of its Jews and at the same time use them as "hostages" to insure the "correct behavior" of world Jewry. The plan itself dates back to the German anti-Semitic nationalist Paul de Lagarde in 1885. The Germans needed French acquiescence which was predicated on a peace treaty which in turn depended on the end of hostilities with England. On February 1, 1942 the plan was discarded and replaced with the Endloesung, or the "Final Solution".
1940 July 10, HMT DUNERA embarks to Australia
Carrying 2542 “enemy aliens”. Of the group only 450 were either German Nazis or Italian fascists, the rest were Jewish German/Austrian refugees. As the ship was designed to hold a maximum of 1600 troops, conditions were atrocious as was the attitude of many of the crew to the Jewish passengers who were treated with brutality. Many of them had their belongings stolen or were beaten. Upon reaching Australia 57 days later, an Australian medical officer made his report which lead to a court martial of some officers including the senior commander Lieutenant-Colonel William Scott. A movie was made in 1985, The Dunera Boys which depicted their trials.
1940 July 17, THE IRGUN AND LEHI (LECHI) SPLIT (Eretz Israel)
Over disagreements between Abraham (Yair) Stern, and David Raziel . Stern, head of the Irgun's information department, wanted to have a policy independent of Ze'ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky and the Revisionist party, and was against any cooperation with the British whom he considered more of an enemy then the Arabs. Stern then formed his own organization which he originally called Irgun Zvai Le'umi Be'yisrael - National Military Organization in Israel. (Raziel's organization was called Irgun Zvai Le'umi Be'eretz Yisrael - National Military Organization in Eretz Israel). After Stern was summarily shot by the British, the name was changed to Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Israel Freedom Fighters) or Lehi.
1940 July 22, VICHY GOVERNMENT (France)
In its first anti-Jewish decree, it revoked the citizenship of naturalized Jews.
1940 July 28, SALZBURG CONFERENCE (Austria)
Was held to reach an agreement on establishing a National Socialist regime in Slovakia. The conference included Hitler, the Slovak leaders, Father Josef Tiso, Vojtech Tuka (later prime minister and minister of foreign affairs), Alexander (Sano) Mach (head of the Hilnka guards and later Minister of the Interior) and the leader of the local German minority (Karpaten-Deutsche), Franz Karmasin. Two State Agencies, the Center Office of the Economy and Department 14 of the Ministry of the Interior were set up do deal with "Jewish affairs" including deportation. Tuka was executed in 1946, Mach, who was responsible for many of the deportations, was sentenced to 30 years but later released.
1940 July 31, - August 28, CHIUNE (SEMPO) AND YUKIKO SUGIHARA (Kaunas, Lithuania)
The Japanese Consul-General began issuing travel visas to Japan through Russia so that Jews could get to Curacao and Dutch Guiana where one would not need entrance visas. Despite the Japanese official policy to deny any such visa to Jews, Chiune and his wife Yukiko, sat for many hours writing and signing visas by hand. They issued 300 visas a day which would normally take one month's worth of work for the consul. After the Soviet Union annexed Lithuania he was forced to move on to Germany. It is estimated that he saved well over 3,000 lives. Both were later honored by the Israeli government at Yad Vashem as righteous gentiles.
1940 August 3, VARIAN FRY (1907-1967) (USA)
Entered France to run the Emergency Rescue Committee. Fry, an American journalist, found that both the French and the American consulates sabotaged his efforts at every turn. Despite this and daily danger he succeeded during his thirteen months of work to help rescue almost 2000 artists and writers including Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Franz Werfel, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Heinrich Mann. Fry was placed under an FBI investigation and was never permitted to work for the U.S. government. The only recognition he received in his lifetime was the Croix de Chevalier from France in 1967.
1940 August 30, "VIENNA AWARDS"
Under pressure by Germany and Italy, Romania was forced to cede Northern Transylvania to Hungary, which put 150,000 more Jews under Hungarian control. Parts of Slovakia had been added to Hungary earlier and parts of Yugoslavia (Bacska) were later added as well, adding approximately 318,000 Jews to the 450,000 already living in Hungary. One of Hungary's motivations in signing a pact with the Germans was to gain back all its territory lost in World War I.
1940 September, DANUBE (Yugoslavia)
1,300 Jewish refugees on the way to Eretz Israel were stranded when they could not find a vessel to continue their journey. Two hundred refugees (mostly children) received immigration certificates and were able to continue on to Eretz Israel. The remaining men were taken to the village of Zasavica in October 1941 and shot. The women and children that were left were taken from the Sajmiste camp in February and gassed in closed trucks. There were no survivors.
1940 September 5, BRECKINRIDGE LONG, (USA)
Assistant Secretary of State, and a proponent of curbing Jewish immigration, sent a memo to his consulates that stated in part: "The list of Rabbis has been closed and now it remains for the President's Committee to be curbed."
1940 September 6, KING CAROL II RESIGNED (Romania)
Bowing to German pressure. This left the way for Ion Antonescu, the former minister of defense, to take power. Now a National Socialist state with the Iron Guard, its police force began anti-Jewish programs. The Iron Guard was similar to the SS and served as a political police force. Many Romanian guards joined the SS and took part in the mass killings of Jews. In Romania approximately 300,000 people (50% of the Jewish population) were murdered.
1940 October 3, VICHY REGIME "The Free Zone" (France)
Published the Statut des Juifs which eliminated freedom for French émigré Jews in the Free Zone. This Nazi initiated, but French enacted regulation served as the basis for the denial of all foreign born Jews to French nationality or protection under French law including those who had formally become naturalized citizens (see July 22, 1940). In all, 30,000 in the occupied zone and 25,000 in the Free Zone lost their rights.
1940 October 4, VICHY REGIME "The Free Zone" (France)
The Vichy government agreed to the internment of all foreign-born Jews, who were declared stateless. 25,000 thousand German and Austrian refugees were taken to the Gurs, Les Milles or Rivesaltes concentration camps (all operated by the French) where many of them died from hunger and disease.
1940 October 7, ALGERIA
French citizenship was withdrawn from all Jews by the Vichy government. They rescinded the Crémieux Decree which had secured them French citizenship since October 1870. Although two years later the allies recaptured Algeria, it took almost another full year and the personal intervention of President Roosevelt, for the Crémieux Decree to be reactivated on October 20, 1943.
1940 October 28, BELGIUM
The German military occupation defined Jews according to the Nuremberg laws and demanded that they all register. In all only 42,000 registered and between 10,000 -15,000 either refused or went into hiding. Despite the local fascist movement, the Rexists, most of the Belgium people did not support Nazi persecution of the Jews. The military Governor General Alexander Von Falkenhausen and his deputy Eggert Reeder, although unenthusiastic about Nazi racial policies, never the less cooperated with the Security office especially when it came to foreign born nationals.At their trial in 1951. although guilty of departing 25,000 Jews. They were sentenced to 12 years but ended up only spending three weeks in prison.
1940 November 15, GHETTOS SEALED (Poland)
The Warsaw ghetto, with more then 400,000 Jews, and the Krakow ghetto, with 70,000 Jews, were sealed off.
1940 November 25, SINKING OF THE PATRIA (Haifa, Eretz Israel)
In Haifa harbor. The French refugee ship, the Patria carried 1,771 "illegal" immigrants. The British decided to add other "illegals" and deport them all to Mauritius, a British colony east of Madagascar. To prevent this move, members of the Haganah decided to disable the ship. Unfortunately, the explosive charge was too large or the hull was too weak, and the ship sunk, drowning 257 people. The survivors were allowed to remain in Eretz Israel and were interned for a while at the Athlit detention camp near Haifa.
1940 December 24, LAW FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE NATION (Bulgaria)
Was passed by Parliament (Sobranie) and then signed into law by King Boris. Unlike Germany, the definition of a Jew did not include native Bulgarian Jews who converted, which led to many fictitious conversions. Although Bulgaria's Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, and Minister of Interior Ivalio Gabrovski were eager to please the Germans, especially when it came to anti-Jewish measures, they were met with partial opposition by the Church, other politicians, and many common people. This did not apply to Jews in Macedonia and Thrace. Many German measures had full effect, including confiscation of property, ban on travel and eventual deportation. Of the 64,000 Jews in Bulgaria, 14,000 were murdered. Almost all were from Macedonia and Thrace.
1941 January 21, THE IRON GUARD (Romania)
Revolted against Antonescu and the army. During the short lived revolt, the Iron Guard attacked Jews in Bucharest, killing 120 people. Some of them were hung on meat hooks with a sign placed on them reading "Kosher meat."
1941 February 6, The IG FARBENINDUSTRIE CHEMICAL CONCERN (Poland)
Decided to build a synthetic rubber plant in Auschwitz. The decision had been between locations in Norway or Auschwitz. They chose the latter due to better tax incentives. Tens of thousands of prisoners died working in the plant. Manpower turnover was 300%. Other major corporations like Siemens and Krupp also used Jewish slave labor to increase profits. The director of the plant, Dr. Walter Durrfeld was reelected to their Board of Governors in 1955 although he was sentenced at Nuremberg to eight years in prison. Otto Ambrose, another director who also ran the poison gas operations, was hired for a major position by J. Peter Grace, a major industrialist and leader of the U.S. Council of the International Chamber of Commerce.
1941 February 22, AMSTERDAM (Netherlands)
First initial deportation, in which 389 Jewish hostages were sent to Buchenwald and then the quarrying camp at Mauthausen. This was ostensibly for resistance to the anti-Jewish riots organized by the Nazis. They were later joined by another 230 Amsterdam Jews. By 1942 only eight were alive and by the end of the war only one Jew, Max Nebig, who had managed to survive by volunteering for medical experiments. The actual deportations began in July of 1942 and almost all of them to Auschwitz and Sobibor.
1941 February 23, LODZ (Poland)
During the winter of 1940-1941, a period known as the "great hunger", the Rabbis permitted pregnant women and those who were ill to eat non-kosher food. Many Rabbis also permitted working on the Sabbath - if refusal would endanger their lives.
1941 February 25, NETHERLANDS
A general strike which included cutting off electricity and gas was called in Amsterdam to protest German anti-Jewish actions. Three battalions of police and one of Deaths Head Verbande (Organization) were brought in and the strike ended the next day. Sixty Dutch workers were deported to concentration camps.
1941 March, ADOLPH EICHMANN (Germany)
Was appointed head of the Jewish Affairs section of the Gestapo, also known as Section IVB4. Within a few months, he was in charge of implementation of the "Final Solution" in all of its aspects. In 1944, Eichmann visited Auschwitz and proposed a method for speeding up the killings by twenty percent. Later that same year, Eichmann went personally to Hungary to oversee the deportation efforts.
1941 March 25, PRIME MINISTER DRAGISA CVETKOVIC (Yugoslavia)
With the (albeit) reluctant agreement of Prince Paul, Yugoslavia agreed to join forces
with Germany. As soon as the capitulation became known, a bloodless coup led
by General Bora Mirkovik and King Peter II took over the government. The
Germans retaliated by a full scale invasion. The Germans had to postpone
their invasion of Russia for the five weeks it took to subdue Yugoslavia
thus forcing them to contend with the Russian winter.
1941 March 29, COMMISSARIAT AUX QUESTIONS JUIVES (France)
The Commissariat of Jewish Affairs was established. Headed by Xavier Vallat, it became the main authority behind anti-Jewish measures. Surprisingly, when the Germans decided to force the Jews to wear the yellow star in the Vichy zone in June of 1942, he refused to agree to this measure believing it was against French interest and was replaced.
1941 April, HILLEL KOOK AND SAMUEL MERLIN (New York City, USA)
Met with Ben Hecht the novelist and playwright, and convinced him to join in their efforts in Jewish nationalist affairs. Kook, who went under the
name of Peter Bergson (so as not to involve his rabbinical relatives in Israel) was also active in the Irgun Zvai Leumi. His group, the American
Friends for a Jewish Palestine was better known as the "Bergson Group", encountered vehement opposition to almost everything they did from both the Jewish establishment (Stephen Wise) and the Zionist movement. Wise, a
staunch follower of the President would not tolerate anyone who differed with Roosevelt's actions or lack thereof. The Zionist movement had a tradition of opposing the Revisionist movement and the Irgun. In addition, it was vociferously against any organization which didn't work under its aegis. The organization later evolved into the Committee for a
Jewish Army and gained a lot of grass-root support from both Jewish and non-Jewish sources.
1941 April 10, AARON KOTLER (1891-1962) (USA)
The former head of the Yeshiva in Kletsk, Poland, arrived in San Francisco. Kotler
played an important role in the Vaad Hatzala and in the Orthodox community in general. His talmudic institution, Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, New Jersey became known as one of the foremost institutions of its kind.
1941 April 10, CROATIA
Declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Ante Pavelic, head of the Ustache party, initiated anti-Jewish measures within a few weeks, and held wealthy Jews for ransom. His troops, together with a Bosnian Muslim division, took part in the destruction of synagogues and cemeteries. The Muslim division was personally blessed by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the former mufti of Jerusalem. Within a month he established his country's first concentration camp at Danica.
1941 April 13, BELGRADE (Serbia, Yugoslavia)
The day after the arrival of German troops, the Volksdeutsche (local Germans) joined the Germans and destroyed much of the Jewish property in the city.
1941 April 17, SARAJEVO (Bosnia,Yugoslavia)
The Germans destroyed the Sephardic synagogue, considered one of the most beautiful synagogues in the Balkans.
1941 April 17, YUGOSLAVIA SURRENDERED
To Germany and was divided between Italy, Germany, Hungary, and Bulgaria with the remainder becoming the new state of Croatia. The status of the Jews depended upon who controlled their area. There were 71,000 Jews in Yugoslavia before the war. About 10,000 survived, many of them from the Italian or Bulgarian zones which were usually less then enthusiastic about implementing German racial laws.
1941 May, EINSATZGRUPPEN (Mobile Killing Units) (Germany)
Was officially established by Heydrich and army quartermaster Wagner. Although there were killing squads which operated in Poland as early as September 1939, the Einsatzgruppen was put into place in preparation for the attack on Russia which concluded the agreement between the Army and the SS as to the division of responsibilities. These mobile killing units consisted of about 3000 men. Most of them were professionals, including many lawyers and professional soldiers. There were even doctors and an opera singer. Each of the four main groups were assigned a different sector from north to south moving with the troops east. "A" moved into the northern sector and the Baltic states, "B" went through Bialystok and Vitbesk toward Moscow. "C" through Zhitomir, Kiev, and Krakow and "D" moved into the southern sector through Kaminetz, Odessa, and up to Stalingrad.
1941 May 14, PARIS (France)
Thousands of foreign-born Jews were arrested by French police.
1941 May 17, DAVID RAZIEL (1910-1941) (Iraq)
In cooperation with British Army intelligence, David Raziel, the commander of the
I.Z.L. (Irgun Zvai Leumi) lead a group to sabotage the oil depots on the outskirts of Baghdad. Raziel had been captured by the British in 1939 but was released at the outbreak of the war. The next day, while on an intelligence gathering mission, Raziel's car was bombed and both he and the liaison British officer were killed. Yaakov Meridor, who accompanied him on the mission, was appointed commander in his stead.
1941 May 18, TWENTY THREE PALMACH FIGHTERS (Eretz Israel)
Set sail on the British boat HMS Sea Lion on their way to a mission in pro-Nazi Lebanon. They were never heard from again.
1941 May 19, PALMACH (Eretz Israel)
The Palmach ("pelugot mahaz" - "assault companies") commando units were established by Yitzhak Sadeh as a defense from any Axis attack on Eretz Israel. Later they assisted in planning and executing the dropping of parachutists into occupied Europe. At its peak (November 1947) it had approximately 5000 members who were mainly responsible for capturing Safed and Tiberias as well as opening the road to Jerusalem. It was disbanded under Ben Gurion's order on November 7, 1948.
1941 May 24, BOB DYLAN (Robert Zimmerman) (USA)
Was born in Duluth, Minnesota. Dylan became an icon for young people in the 1960's and is credited with the formation of Folk Rock, which combined Rock and Roll with Folk music.
1941 June, JOSIP BROZ TITO (1892-1980) (Yugoslavia)
Revolutionary and statesman, he began his revolt against the Germans once they attacked Russia. About 2000 Jews fought together with Marshall Tito including one of his senior lieutenants, Mosa Pijade. The head of his Russian Battalion was a Jew, Pyotr Oransky.
1941 June 1, IRAQ
Prime Minister Rashid Ali al-Gailani completed a pro-German take over. More than 140 Jews in Baghdad and Basra were murdered.
1941 June 2, GREECE
Was occupied and was broken into three zones German, Italian and Bulgarian. Germany occupied eastern Thrace, Salonika and Crete. Italy occupied "old Greece" ,and Bulgaria annexed western Thrace, Macedonia and the Ionian islands. Salonika which had been occupied by the Germans on April 9th immediately began to institute anti-Jewish measures. The areas occupied by Italy did not institute any harsh measures until the Nazi occupation ( see Sept. 1943) The Bulgarians only "cooperated" after strong German pressure and then only in Thrace and part of Macedonia (March 9, 1943). Thirteen hundred Jews, 300 of them former soldiers join the partisans. Out of Greek population of 70,000 Jews 58,000 were murdered.
1941 June 8, BRITAIN ATTACKED SYRIA AND LEBANON
And evicted the pro-Vichy regime . Members of the Palmach took part in the attack. They included Moshe Dayan, Yigal Alon and Yitzchak Rabin.
1941 June 12, LUFTWAFFE BOMBED TEL AVIV AND HAIFA (Eretz Israel)
Twelve people were killed in a Tel Aviv old age home.
1941 June 22, FINLAND
Joined Germany and invaded its old nemesis, Russia. In the following months, Himmler tried to induce the Finns to deport their 2000 Jews. The Finns and their Foreign Minister Rolf Witting flatly refused.
1941 June 22, HUNGARIAN ARMY
Joined Germany in its surprise attack on the Soviet Union. Hungary joined in the attack. Its regular army was accompanied by 50,000 Jews who were sent as forced labor battalions. Over 40,000 died.
1941 June 22, OPERATION BARBARROSA (Russia)
Germany attacked Russia. Within a few weeks millions of Jews fell under Nazi rule. The official Soviet radios only reference to the German's successful incursion was to warn Jews to leave certain areas. Approximately 500,000 Jews fought under the Soviet flag and almost half of them were killed during the war. Many Jews served with valor and won 160,000 medals, including 145 "Heroes of the Soviet Union", the Soviet Union's highest award.
1941 June 23, Lithuania
Archbishop Juozapas Skvirecks (1873-1959) the papal prelate, sent a public greeting and prayer to “the German forces and Adolf Hitler”. When asked to intercede in the ongoing massacres of Jews by Lithuanians - he refused. Within 24 hours of the German invasion over150 Jewish communities were destroyed by locals, before German forces even arrived. There were 200,000 Jews were living in Lithuania when the Germans invaded. Less than 10,000 survived, making it one of the highest victim rates in Europe.
1941 June 27, BIALYSTOK (Poland)
Was occupied by the Nazis. Some 50,000 Jews lived in the city, which was a major textile center. It was this factor that led the head of the Judenrat, Ephraim Barash, to believe that Jewish work was too important to the German war effort for them to be annihilated. An underground was formed, with the tentative backing of Barash. It was totally disunited.
1941 June 28, JASSY MASSACRE (Romania)
Romanian and German troops murdered thousands of Jews and deported the rest with the active participation of local residents. It is estimated that there were 12,000 victims. Jassy had been considered the capital of Romanian anti-Semitism during the late 19th century when Alexander Cuza, the Romanian nationalist and anti-Semite, taught at the university. After the Antonescu government seized power in November 1940, Jassy became the "capital of the Iron Guard."
1941 July 18, COMMUNIST CENTRAL COMMITTEE (Russia)
Issued its first proclamation calling for partisan action against the Germans although in reality it was the following May that partisan action became operational. Until that time most Jewish partisan units operated at their own initiative and alone. It is estimated that 20 - 25,000 Jews joined various partisan units in the German occupied areas during the war.
1941 July 21, - 1944 July 24, MAJDANEK/Maidanek (Lublin, Poland)
Concentration and death camp. It was originally established as a camp for prisoners of war and only became a death camp in the beginning of 1942. It was the largest concentration camp in the General Government and had one of the highest rates of natural deaths. At least 130,000 Jews were murdered in the camp, which was run by Anton Thumann. He was sentenced at the British Neuengamme Trials in March 1946 and executed October 8th 1946.
1941 August, FIRST RUSSIAN BOMBING OF BERLIN (Germany)
Was led by a Jewish Squadron Leader Michael Plotkin, who was later awarded the "Hero of the Soviet Union" medal.
1941 August 7, MARSHAL PETAIN (France)
Asked the Vatican for guidance regarding upcoming anti-Jewish actions. French Ambassador Leon Bernard consulted with Pope Pius XII, who quoted Thomas Aquinas: since Jews are destined to perpetual slavery, anti-Jewish measures may be enacted. The Vatican also had no desire to argue with the Vichy government over "the Jewish statute."
1941 August 13, HINRICH LOHSE, (Riga, Latvia)
Reichskommissar Ostland (Reich Commissar of the Occupied Eastern Territories)
Which included the Baltic States (Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia) and part of White Russia, released secret "provisional regulations" regarding the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question." After the war, Lohse was sentenced to 10 years in prison but released in 1951 due to his "ill health."
1941 August 16, AUXILIARY BISHOP VINCENTAS BRIZGYS (Lithuania)
Filling in for the ailing archbishop, forbade the Lithuanian clergy to help the Jews in any way.
1941 August 21, - 1944 August 17, DRANCY CONCENTRATION CAMP (France)
Drancy served as the main French internment /Assembly camp (Sammellager). It was located near Paris and originally established late in 1940. Until its liberation on August 17, 1944, more than 61,000 Jews were sent onto various concentration camps, the vast majority to Auschwitz. In July of 1943, the camp was taken over by the infamous Alois Brunner. A day after it was totally reserved for Jews, the first escape attempt was made. During its two years, 41 inmates successfully escaped.
1941 August 21, LEON TROTSKY (Lev Davidovich Bronstein) (Mexico)
Was murdered on Stalin's order. In his last years he had tried to set up an independent movement known as the Fourth International as opposed to the Third (Communist) International, but did not succeed. Trotskyism became tantamount to treason throughout the Soviet Union.
1941 August 24, MOSCOW (Russia)
A meeting with "representatives of the Jewish world" was called to encourage Jews all over the world to help the Soviet Union in its fight against Hitler. This eventually led to the establishment of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in April of the following year.
1941 September, JEWISH UNIVERSITY (ALGERIA)
After the mass suspension of Jewish university lecturers an effort was made to start a Jewish university. Jewish students who were also banned from attending regular universities flocked to the school. They offered courses in Latin, medicine, physics, chemistry, French and English. By December, 1941 the school was forced by the local Vichy authorities to cease all activities.
1941 September 1, HUNGARY
Einsatzkommandos, with the help of some Hungarian militia, murdered 11,000 Jews. In August, Hungary had pushed 17,000 stateless Jews across the border to Kamenets-Podolski in the Ukraine. The German army protested that the large number of refugees interfered with the war effort and Hungary took a few thousand back as slave laborers, leaving the rest in the hands of the Germans. There were no survivors.
1941 September 3, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
The first test use of hydrogen cyanide, better known as Zyklon-B gas. The gas was produced in pellets by two companies: Dessauerworks and Kaliworks. The stabilizer for Zyklon-B was made by I.G. Farben. The gas was so lethal that 7.5 gm was enough to kill a 75 kilo person.
1941 September 3, DUBOSSARY (Moldavia, Romania)
In one of the first actions of its kind in the Dubossary ghetto, the Jewish underground run by Yankel Guzanyatsky (Guzinsky) killed the town's Commandant Kraft, and blew up an ammunition depot in retribution for his burning alive 600 old people in one of the town's synagogues. Guzanyatsky's unit had already been active since the summer and now he decided to leave the town and set up a partisan unit. General Kobpek's Partisans, located in that area made no effort to help. (Note: Although many small revolts took place we have little knowledge of them as there were often no survivors, furthermore in the Soviet Union, no research was allowed on "Jewish" revolts.)
1941 September 8, SERBIA (Yugoslavia)
Felix Benzler and Edmund Veesenmayer, high ranking German officials, demanded that the Foreign Office help them get rid of the 8000 Jews in the Belgrade ghetto, proposing that they be sent down the Danube to Romania. Foreign Minister Ribbentrop replied that it was unacceptable to unload Jews on Romanian territory without their permission. Martin Luther, the head of Special Department DIII also responded, telling them to handle it themselves as "the Military commander is responsible for the elimination of those 8000 Jews." In reality, over 2000 had already been killed. Each day groups of 100-300 Jews, were taken out to "work in the fields" near Jajinci and shot. In less then a year Serbia was "Jew Free."
1941 September 9, SLOVAKIA
Over 270 anti-Jewish regulations were passed, including wearing the yellow star, forced labor and evictions. Deportation began six months later. Of more than 90,000 Jews in Slovakia before the war, only 15,000 survived.
1941 September 10, 'WOMEN'S REBELLION' DUBOSSARY (Moldavia, Romania)
Broke out as the ghetto was being liquidated. The women demanded that they be allowed to die as families rather then the men being taken away on their own. The Germans unsuccessfully tried shooting children to break up the demonstration. They finally capitulated and by the end of the month the community ceased to exist.
1941 September 28, ROUNDUP OF JEWS IN KIEV (Ukraine)
Two thousand notices were posted around Kiev ordering all Jews to appear the next day with documents, warm clothes and valuables. These roundups were known as Aktions and referred to all forced gathering of Jews for the purpose of deportation or extermination. In this case, although rumors were rife that the Jews were being rounded up to be sent to a labor camp, the result of this aktion was the Babi Yar massacres in which, according to German records, 33,771 Jews were slaughtered in a ravine outside of Kiev by SS Colonel Paul Blobel. The massacre is immortalized in Yevgei Yevtushenko's poem "Babi Yar." The monument placed on the site does not mention Jews. After WWII a dance hall was erected on the site of the massacre despite international protests. Flooding caused by severe storms washed away the dance hall before it could be opened, and caused many skeletons of the massacre's victims to be unearthed.rn
1941 October, GERMAN AND AUSTRIAN DEPORTATIONS
Began. Jews were sent east to Polish ghettos. Out of the 240,000 Jews living in the Greater Reich in September 1929, only 30,000 survived. Many of those had been considered "privileged" and had been sent to Theresienstadt.
1941 October, ONA SIMAITE (1899-1970) (Lithuania)
A librarian at Vilna University, entered the ghetto, ostensibly to recover library books. During the next three years she managed to smuggle in food and other necessities, and take out important documents. She was arrested in 1944 and was sent to Dachau after being tortured. She survived the war.
1941 October, VAAD EZRA V'HATZALAH (Hungary)
The Relief and Rescue Committee was established by Joel Brand, Samuel Springmann, and Rudolf Kasztner. Later, in January 1943, the organization took on a more official role and Otto Komoly became its chairman.. Their goal was to find ways to save Jews (usually though bribes). Under Komoly they also began to organize non-Jewish protests, against Nazi policies in Hungary, especially among the clergy and politicians. Komoly was murdered in 1945 by members of the Hungarian fascist movement, the Arrow Cross.
1941 October 13 - 14, DNEPROPETROVSK (Ukraine)
In one of the largest massacres of its kind, 37,000 Jews were shot by machine guns and placed in tank ditches.
1941 October 15, POLAND
As part of its plan to concentrate all Jews in one region, a regulation was enacted enforcing the death penalty for anyone leaving any district of the general government.
1941 October 16, ODESSA (Russia)
Was occupied by the fourth Romanian army. Romanian troops, with a little help from Einsatzgruppe D (Action Unit D), (see May 1941) killed 8,000 Jews, about ten percent of the Jews living there.
1941 October 16, WERNER SCHARFF (Germany)
A Jewish electrician began his campaign against the Nazi regime. Scharff was active in helping Jews with hiding and changing identity. He was arrested twice and each time succeeded in escaping, even from Theresienstadt. Together with Frieda Wiegal he formed a group called "Union for peace and liberty" which, as the outcome of the war became evident, tried to encourage other Germans to join against the Nazi regime. Scharff was betrayed by an informer. Though tortured he refused to reveal any information and was shot at Sachsenhausen on March 16 1945 - six weeks before the end of the war.
1941 October 19, GENERAL FRANZ BOHME (Belgrade, Yugoslavia)
The German military governor, ordered 100 civilians to be executed for each of the twenty one German troops that had been killed by Serbian partisans. He specifically chose 1500 Jews from the Belgrade ghetto. This marked the first time that a Wehrmacht general initiated a mass execution. Bohme killed himself in 1947 rather than stand trial.
1941 October 22, ODESSA (Russia)
After a partisan explosion in the Romanian military building, Ion Antonescu ordered that 200 people be killed for each officer killed and one hundred for each soldier. Although only several dozen Romanian were killed, 19,000 Jews were doused with gasoline in the city square and burned alive. An additional 16,000 were massacred the next day by Romanian officers.
1941 October 23, BERNHARD LICHTENBERG (1875 -1943) (Germany)
A Catholic priest was arrested by the Gestapo. Up until his arrest, Lichtenberg continued to publicly pray from his pulpit in the St Hedwig Cathedral for the both Jews and Jewish Christians, as well as other victims of the Nazi regime . He was imprisoned in May 1942 and offered a deal to be freed in return for his ceasing of all preaching in favor of the Jews – he refused . While being deported to Dachauconcentration camp be became ill and died on November 5, 1943. rn
1941 November, GERMANY INVADED THE BALKANS
6,000 Jews of Saloniki were deported along with 85% of the Jewish Greek population totaling 65,000 Jews.
1941 November 9, CHAIM WEIZMANN
Again demanded that the British establish a Jewish Legion. The British didn't even reply.
1941 November 10, WARSAW (Poland)
A new regulation called for the death penalty for any Jew leaving the ghetto without permission and for any non-Jew who helped or harbored them.
1941 November 15, - December 5, GERMAN ATTACK ON MOSCOW (Russia)
One of the turning points of the war. Many Jews played important roles in Moscow's defense, including Jacob Kreiser who attained the rank of general.
1941 November 24, THERESIENSTADT, (Czechoslovakia)
A ghetto was set up in the old barracks and then in the walled town itself. All the 3,700 local inhabitants were moved out. Although Theresienstadt was set up as a "model settlement," its death rate reached fifty percent in 1942 through starvation and epidemics. During an investigation by the Red Cross in June 1943 the Germans changed the external appearance of the town and deported many so that there would be less overcrowding. All the interviews were carefully orchestrated and immediately after the visit most of those interviewed were deported. In all, 140,937 Jews were sent to Theresienstadt, of whom 33,529 died in the ghetto and 88,196 were deported to death camps. There were 17,247 persons left in the ghetto when it was liberated.
1941 November 28, HAJ AMIN al-HUSSEINI, MUFTI OF JERUSALEM (Berlin)
Met with Hitler and called him the "Protector of Islam." Hitler promised the Mufti that, after a certain objective was reached, "Germany's only remaining objective in the region would be limited to the annihilation of the Jews living under British protection in Arab lands."
1941 November 29, UNION GENERALE DES ISRAELITES EN FRANCE (UGIF) (France)
Was founded. The UGIF was to function similarly to the Judenrats in Poland and Germany. Officially the Jewish administrative body, its real purpose was to make it easy for the Nazis to keep track off all the Jews in preparation for their deportation to the east.
1941 December, JEWISH PARTISANS IN BELGIUM
Formed their own groups calling it "The Committee for Jewish Defense."
Aside from anti-German actions, they campaigned against voluntarily appearing for deportation to "work camps" which were published by the Judenrat, and saved Jews by hiding 3000 children and 10,000 adults.
1941 December 5, BELGIUM
Forcibly sent 83 Jewish families back to Poland making it the first western country to do so
1941 December 7 - 9, RIGA (Russia)
Within two days 80% of the Jews living in the ghetto (25,000 people) were shot including the famous historian Simon Dubnow. On December 8, at age 81, Dubnow was shot by a former student of his, now a Gestapo officer.
His dying message to fellow Jews was: "Yidn, shreibt un farshreibt!" ("Jews, write and record!").
1941 December 8, - 1945 January 18, CHELMNO/KULMHOF (Poland)
The first camp to be created specifically as a death camp was opened using the exhaust from mobile vans. Herbert Lange was the first commandant, followed by Hans Bothmann. Approximately 340,000 people were murdered there. Death camps or extermination camps were created for one purpose - to kill Jews and dispose of the bodies as efficiently as possible. The Nazi need to find more direct ways to implement their goal of a "Jew Free" Europe increased as a result of the influx of Jews from the East. In addition to Chelmno, there were five other main death camps: Belzec, Sobibor, Majdanek, Auschwitz, and Treblinka. Other smaller death camps were established near Vilna, Riga, Minsk, Kovno, and Lvov. In 1963, twelve of the camp's SS officers were sentenced to prison terms ranging form 1 to 20 years. Bothmann hanged himself in April 1946 after his arrest. There is no information on the whereabouts of Lange.
1941 December 8, UNITED STATES DECLARED WAR ON JAPAN (USA)
After the attack on Pearl Harbor. Before the war ended over half a million Jewish soldiers joined the American Army. Over 10,000 were killed, 24,000 wounded, and 36,000 received decorations for bravery.
1941 December 20, CHAIM MORDECHAI RUMKOWSKI (Lodz, Poland)
Under pressure from the Nazis to supply names of 10,000 people for "deportation", Rumkowski, head of the Lodz Ghetto Judenrat,
established a "resettlement commission" which decided that "criminals" would be the first to be deported. Among criminal actions that were punishable by deportation was violation of the blackout or being caught stealing potato peelings. Although Rumkowski did try to organize the ghetto and social welfare he was considered a tyrant and dictator. He justified himself by announcing that he helped in the deportations " ..to prevent its being carried out by others...I assigned for deportation .. those who were an ..abscess...and all sorts of persons harmful to the ghetto" He and his family were deported on the last transport in August 1944 to Auschwitz .
1941 December 31, - 1942 January 1, ABBA KOVNER (Vilna, Lithuania)
A member of the Hashomer Hatzair Youth Movement, urged young people to join him in establishing a resistance movement. His call "Let's not allow ourselves to be led like sheep to the slaughter" was later echoed in many other ghettos. Most of the people who joined him were young Zionists from HaShomer HaTzair and HaNoar HaTzioni. Kovner remained active in the resistance until after the Soviet liberation when he helped found the Bricha organization. After the war, he settled in Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh where he continued to write, winning the prestigious Israel Prize for Literature in 1970.
1941 December 31, ERETZ ISRAEL
Due to the war and British restrictions, only 4,600 Jews made it to Israel (the lowest number in 10 years) and only five new settlements were established.
1942 January, HUNGARIAN TROOPS (Yugoslavia)
Massacred several thousands Jews in the Bacska region of Yugoslavia under their control. Although this was not official policy, the perpetrators were able to flee to Germany.
1942 January 1, UNITED NATIONS (Washington, DC, USA)
Was founded as an assembly of the nations fighting Germany, Italy and Japan - the Axis powers. Twenty-six nations were among the original signatories. In the fall of that year, the Revisionist (New Zionist) Organization of America called on the United Nations to apply the "Four Freedoms" as delineated by President Roosevelt a year earlier to the Jewish people as well and to allow them to be represented. Roosevelt's four freedoms included speech and expression, religion, want (economic),and fear (arms reduction etc).
1942 January 16, SENITSA VERSHOVSKY (Ukraine)
The mayor of the city of Kremenchug was shot for protecting Jews. Kremenchug had over 30,000 Jews before the war, who made up over 40% of the population.
1942 January 20, WANNSEE CONFERENCE (Berlin,Germany)
This conference was meant to coordinate the activities of the ministries involved with the Nazi Party and SS agencies in carrying out the "Final Solution". The conference was convened by Heydrich and assisted by Eichmann. Heads of the Gestapo and other government offices worked on the bureaucratic details of the methods and logistics needed in carrying out the "Final Solution". Included in the discussions were plans for the mass sterilization of Jews who had mixed marriages, as well as the most efficient methods of mass killings. Their target was the Jewish population in 34 countries which they put at 11 million.
1942 January 23, UNITED PARTISANS ORGANIZATION (UPO) (Vilna, Lithuania)
Also known as the FPO (Fareynikte Partisaner Organisatsye) was founded in Vilna. It was the first organization which united the left-wing Zionists, the revisionists, the Bund and the communists. Its leaders included Isaac Wittenberg (communist), Abba Kovner (HaShomer HaTzair) and Joseph Glazman (revisionist). They were later joined by Abraham Chovnik (Bund). Its goals included armed revolt, sabotage, and contact with partisans in the forests. Like other groups, the main debate was whether to fight in the ghetto or join the partisans. Wittenberg convinced the others to accept the former. An underground press was founded which played a vital role in forging identification cards as well as bringing information to the populace.
1942 January 31, ESTONIA
Franz Stahlecker, commander of Einsatzgruppe A , in a report to Himmler, affirmed that there were no more Jews in Estonia and only a few thousand left in Latvia. By the end of the war, 90% of all Jews in the Baltic countries had been eliminated. Stahlecker was killed by Estonian partisans two months later.
1942 February, EDON REDLICH - "GONDA" (Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia)
A member of Maccabi HaTzair, helped in opening the first children's home in Theresienstadt. Redlich organized psychologists, teachers, and medical personnel to supervise about 2,300 children. He was sent to Auschwitz in September 1944 and did not return.
1942 February 1, OSWALD POHL (Germany)
A former naval paymaster, was placed in charge of the WVHA (The Economic and Administrative Head Office of the SS). He ruled the concentration camps from this office with the aim of achieving Himmler's goal: to use the camps to provide funding for the SS. Pohl was in charge of the conditions in the camps and arranged for everything from use of the clothing to the depositing of gold fillings into the SS accounts. He was hanged June 8, 1951.
1942 February 1, VIDKUN QUISLING (Norway)
The head of the pro-Nazi National Union Party (Nasjonal Smaling) was appointed prime minister by Josef Terboven, the Nazi commissioner. Quisling initiated anti-Jewish measures including confiscation of property and the establishing of labor camps. Half of Norway's 1,600 Jews were deported to Auschwitz on October 25, 1942.
1942 February 7, GIADO (JADU) CONCENTRATION CAMP (Libya)
After the retreat of the British army, Benito Mussolini, ordered the Jews living in Cyrenaica ( the eastern half of Libya) to be deported to an interment camp at Giado, 235 kilometers (146 miles) south of Tripoli. Eight months later approximately 2,600 were transferred to the camp hundreds more were sent to other camps (Sidi Azaz and one in the Tobruk area). Within 3 months 500 Jews died mostly from hunger and sickness, others were shot trying to escape. The British returned in February 1943 but due to the inmates poor health it took months for the camp to be closed down.
1942 February 12, ABRAHAM ("YAIR") STERN (Tel Aviv, Eretz Israel)
The leader of what later became known as
Lehi (the Stern Group) was shot by the British in his apartment in Tel Aviv.
1942 February 16, COMMITTEE FOR A JEWISH ARMY (New York, USA)
Led by Hillel Kook (alias Peter Bergson) took out an ad in the New York Times: "For Sale to Humanity, 70,000 Jews, Guaranteed Human Beings at $50 a Piece." Written by Ben Hecht, a famous Jewish playwright, it brought to the forefront the plight of Jews in Romania and demanded that the United Nations play a role in the rescue of European Jewry. The following week, Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado echoed the demand.
1942 February 24, SINKING OF THE STRÜMA (Turkey)
One of the "illegal" immigrant ships on which 768 of the 769 passengers perished. The Stürma was a former coal barge-turned-rescue ship, and although not seaworthy, loaded 769 passengers at Constanza, Romania on December 12, 1941. The ship reached Istanbul, Turkey, but the passengers were not permitted to land until the British would issue assurances that they would be allowed to proceed to Palestine. The British refused to allow them to land under the White Paper agreement of 1939. After two months of pressure, the British relented and agreed to allow children to leave the ship. Although they promised to notify the Turks, they delayed for 10 days. Giving up, the Turks had the boat towed out to the Black Sea where it was sunk, presumably by a Soviet submarine.
1942 February 27, BOOK AKTION (Lithuania)
Over 100,000 books including rare manuscripts and the entire library of the Slobodka Yeshiva are destroyed.
1942 March, - 1945 January 17, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
The largest concentration and death camp began to take in Jews. Auschwitz was divided into three camps. Auschwitz I held both Jews and non-Jews. Auschwitz II, better know as Birkenau, was the main extermination camp. Auschwitz III was used for Jewish slave labor. Over 1,000,000 Jews were exterminated in Auschwitz.
1942 March, IMPLEMENTATION OF RACIST LAWS (Tunisia)
The Vichy governor of Tunisia, Admiral Jean-Pierre Estéva (1880-1951), had succeeded in postponing their implantation for two years and even now did what he could to ease the restrictions. Estéva had visited the ancient synagogue of Ghriba at Djerba in May, 1941 and had made donations to the Jewish poor before Passover. On the eve of WWII there were about 85,000 Jews in Tunisia (2.7% of the general population). More than half of them lived in the capital Tunis.
1942 March 1, BARANOVICHI (Russia)
The Germans demanded that the head of the Judenrat, Joshua Izikzon, hand over 3,000 old people. Izikzon refused, stating that they were all "dear to me." Three days later, with the help of Latvians and Poles, the first massacre took place. Izikson and his wife (both naked), were forced to watch and then were shot. The Belarusns, who dug the pits, were also killed to get rid of witnesses.
1942 March 2, - 1943 April, BELZEC (Poland)
The second death camp (and former labor camp) became operational. Over 600,000 Jews, mostly Polish, were murdered in the camp before it was closed by the Germans. Odilo Globocnik was its first commandant. Globocnik was appointed by Himmler to be in charge of the European sector of the "Final Solution" and was involved in organizing Belzec, Sobibor, Majdanek, and Treblinka. He took poison in May 1945. Christian Wirth, another commandant, was killed by Tito's partisans. When the camp was abandoned, local villages were attracted to the site and dug for valuables. In order to obliterate the site, the Germans plowed it over and turned it into a farm run by one of the Ukrainian guards.
1942 March 2, MINSK ROUNDUP (Belarus)
The Nazis demanded that the Judenrat, hand over 5000 people for deportation. When the Judenrat refused to comply, they dug a pit in a ravine in the center of the ghetto and buried alive anyone they found including the entire Shpalerna Street orphanage run by Dr. Chernis.
1942 March 6, SLOVAKIAN RABBIS
Reported to the Slovakian government that "the deportations mean physical extermination."
1942 March 10, LAZLO BARDOSSY (Hungary)
The pro-German prime minister, was ousted and Miklos (Nicholas) Kallay was appointed in his place. Although Kallay did stop deportations and executions, he kept all the anti-Jewish measures in place.
1942 March 14, S. BERTRAND JACOBSON (USA)
The chief representative in Eastern Europe for the Joint, held a press conference. He estimated that the Nazis had already killed 250,000 Jews in the Ukraine and that the Jews of Slovakia would probably begin to be deported very soon. Their deportations actually began within a few weeks.
1942 March 14, VATICAN (Italy)
Sent a letter to a Slovak official protesting the deportation of Slovakian Jews. The reply by Foreign Minister Vojtech Tuka assured the Vatican that the Jews were being settled in labor camps and that their conditions were "humane." Eichmann and his lieutenant, Dieter Wisliceny, organized "letters" from those deported, to be sent upon their arrival to Auschwitz. They also organized an "inspection" by Fritz Fiala, a pro-Nazi Slovak editor whose report and pictures (censored directly by Himmler) were published in the Slovak and Romanian press.
1942 March 16, The PALESTINE POST (Eretz Israel)
Printed a small article at the bottom of the page entitled "Warsaw Jews Threatened, Quarter million Jews massacred." Most papers in Eretz Israel refused to print the reports, considering them exaggerated. They also did not wish to "alarm the world."
1942 March 26, AUSCHWITZ, POLAND
The first Jewish transport arrived under the command of Rudolf Hoess, containing 1000 Jews from Slovakia and 1000 women from Ravensbruk. According to a conservative estimate, from March 1942 until the liberation on January 27, 1945 over 750,000 Jews were gassed within its gates. Hoess himself estimated it at 1,135,000.
1942 March 28, FIRST DEPORTATIONS TO AUSCHWITZ (France)
From France. Many of the 1100 prominent foreign Jews had been arrested the previous December. Some had been held in the Drancy camp, others in the camp at Compiegne.
1942 April 6, JEWISH ANTI-FACIST COMMITTEE (Russia)
Was founded, with its goal being to drum up Jewish support for the Soviet war effort. Although it was headed by the famous actor Solomon Mikholes, it was actually the initiative of the Soviet government. Other important members were Ilya Ehrenburg (the Russian author), Solomon Lozovsky, a member of the Communist Central Committee, and David Bergelson (a well known Yiddish writer). Mikohels was killed by the secret police in January 1948. Bergelson and Lozovsky were liquidated by Stalin in 1952. Only Ehrenburg survived, often clashing with Soviet authorities.
1942 April 10, PARTISAN UNIT (Minsk, Belarus)
Was set up by Israel Lapidus who fled the ghetto with 20 men. His unit, known as the Kutuzov detachment, became very active in the area, bombing German supplies even in Minsk itself. Two weeks later, another group under Nahum Feldman also fled the ghetto establishing the Budyonny detachment, of whom many of its guides were 10 -13 years old. All of the units set up became mixed with non-Jews, although many Jews remained in command. The main force behind these efforts was Hersh Smolar (Smoliar), a Communist activist from Bialystok who managed to survive the war and later immigrated to Israel. All of them received direct help from local Belarusns. It is estimated that out of the approximately 10,000 Jews who succeeded in fleeing the Minsk ghetto, more than half survived.
1942 April 13, SERGEANT ANTON SCHMID (Lithuania)
Serving in the Wermacht was executed by the Nazis. Schmid was accused of disobeying orders after saving over 250 Jews near Vilna. In 1964 he was awarded the title "Righteous Among the Nations" by the Israeli government. In May 2000, the German government renamed a military base, Feldwebel Anton Schmid Kaserne, in his honor.
1942 April 20, ZDZIECIOL GHETTO (Dyatlovo, Belarus)
Alter Dworetsky and all the members of the Judenrat were forced to flee after their activities on behalf of the partisans became known to the Germans. Dworetsky tried to organize an attack on the Germans in the city but the Russian partisans refused to join them and later killed him. Dworetsky's efforts paid off when 800 people succeeded in escaping the ghetto and joined the Orlinski detachment of Russia partisans as a Jewish unit under Hersch Kaplinski. Dyatlovo was the birthplace of Israel Meir HaCohen (the Chafetz Chayim) as well as Jacob Wolf Kranz of Dubno (the Dubno Maggid). By August there were no Jews left.
1942 May, - 1943 October, SOBIBOR (Lublin, Poland)
Was a death camp in which approximately 250,000 were murdered. Richard Thomalla and afterwards, Franz Stangl, were the commandants of the camp, which was closed after a revolt. Thomalla "Architect" of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka was killed by the Russian secret service in 1945. Stangl managed to evade arrest and fled to Brazil with the knowledge of the Austrian government He was finally arrested and sentenced to life in prison in 1970 but died of a heart attack the following year.
1942 May 8, TUVIA BIELSKI (Novogrudok region - Poland)
Together with his brothers, Zusye and Asael (Eshahol) and Aharon, encouraged entire families to escape from ghettos and join his fighters in Belarus. He began with 100 men, and they were known as the Zhukov Detachment. By December 1943, his "Family" had 1,230 men, women, and children - only 30% of whom could fight. Asael was killed at Königsberg in 1944. Tuvia eventually moved to the USA where he died in 1987.
1942 May 11, THE BILTMORE PROGRAM (New York, USA)
Was adopted in an emergency meeting (at the Biltmore Hotel in New York) of the Conference of American Zionists. The program, proposed by Ben Gurion and Abba Hillel Silver, totally rejected the British White Paper and called for the establishment of a Jewish state. There was opposition to the proposal by the "non- Zionists" and those who believed in a bi-national state (HaShomer HaTzair).
1942 May 15, SLOVAKIA
Passed legislation exempting any Jew who converted prior to March 14, 1939 (the date of the establishment of the Slovakian state) from being deported. During the previous year, thousands of Jews had tried to convert, hoping that despite the Nuremberg Laws, their conversion would save them.
1942 May 21, KORETZ (Ukraine)
Germans and Ukrainians killed 2,200 people, including the wife and 13 year old daughter of Moshe Gildenman who was soon to become famous as the partisan "Uncle (Dyadya) Misha". Gildenman succeeded in escaping with his son, Simcha, and a few others with one pistol and five rounds of ammunition. His groups slowly grew in strength and were eventually absorbed into Saburov's brigade group. They were always known as Uncle Misha's Jewish groups. During the war, Gildenman received the Order of the Red Star and finished the war with his son in Berlin. After the war, his son returned to Koretz and upon meeting the Ukrainian who killed his mother and sister - shot him.
1942 May 25, JOSEPH FELDMAN (Germany)
Held the rank of colonel in the Red Army. He was asked to go to Germany and set up an underground among Russian POWs. In April 1943, the Brotherhood of Prisoners of War (BZV) planned an audacious attack in Munich itself. Unfortunately, the Gestapo arrested German anti-Nazis who knew of their existence. Feldman was eventually caught and died on March 10, 1944, refusing to give over any information even after being tortured repeatedly.
1942 May 27, YELLOW BADGE (Belgium)
The Belgium administration refused to disseminate the order for Jews to wear the yellow badge, and the Germans were forced to do it themselves.
1942 June 6, MORDECAI GEBIRTIG (1877-1942) (Cracow, Poland)
The famous Yiddish and songwriter was shot and his wife and daughters were sent to a death camp. Gebertig's Undzer Shtetl Brent ("Our Town is Burning") was written in 1938 after a pogrom and won instant fame. Other famous compositions were Sug nit Keinmol (Never Say Never) and Mayn Cholem (My Dream).
1942 June 7, YELLOW BADGE (France)
Jews were ordered to wear a yellow badge in the occupied section of France. Many Jews marched down the streets of Paris wearing their war medals together with the star and were applauded by the crowds. Xavier Vallat, Commissariat of Jewish Affairs, told the Germans that he would not enforce the regulation and was replaced by Darquier de Pellepoix . A month later, Jews were banned from public places and only allowed one hour a day for shopping.
1942 June 22, GENERAL ERWIN ROMMEL (Egyptian border)
With Rommel's approach from the south, a general draft was instituted in Eretz Israel. Twenty thousand Jews joined the army.
1942 June 25, ARTUR SAMUEL ZYGELEBOYM (London, England)
And his compatriot, Dr. Ignacy Schwartzbart, arrived in London and released the most comprehensive account of confirmed massacres to date. Known as the Bund Report, it gave detailed information according to date and location. The report estimated that 700,000 Jews had already been murdered and concluded that the Germans planned to "annihilate" all the Jews in Europe. The Boston Globe published the information the next day, making it the first American newspaper to carry the report.
1942 June 31, BELGIUM
Four Jewish partisans dressed as Gestapo officers entered the Judenrat known as the Association de juifs de Belgique (AJB) and destroyed the records and lists of Jews, thus hampering the German effort at deportation.
1942 July, DEPORTATIONS BEGAN IN THE NETHERLANDS
Jews were first sent to two transit camps, Westerbork and Vught and from there to Auschwitz and Sobibor. Approximately 13,000 Jews were successfully hidden by both Jews and non-Jews. Out of 140,000 Jews before the war, only 35,000 survived.
1942 July, VICHY FRANCE
Pierre Laval, the new premier of Vichy France
(April 1942), agreed to a German request to expel 100,000 Jews from France. Laval conditioned it on limiting it to "foreign born Jews" further stating that neither was he concerned with their children. Within a month, 50,000 foreign born Jews were handed over to the Germans for deportation. Laval was executed for treason October 15, 1945 in France.
1942 July 1, OBERTYN (Ukraine)
As the Russians withdrew in advance of the German offensive, the local party secretary urged the Jews to join them. The Jews decided to remain, believing the promises of the Ukrainian nationalists that Hitler only wanted them to work. The next day, Ukrainian mobs rounded up all the Jews from the neighboring towns, tied theirs hands with barbed wire and threw them off the ferry into the Dniester river. There were two survivors.
1942 July 2, PIERRE LAVAL (Vichy, France)
The premier of Vichy France reinstated in April 1942, agreed to a German request to expel 100,000 Jews from France. Laval conditioned it by limiting it to "foreign-born Jews," further stating that he was also not concerned about their children. Within a month, 50,000 foreign-born Jews were handed over to the Germans for deportation. Laval was executed for treason on October 15, 1945 in France.
1942 July 10, DR. JOSEF MENGELE (Auschwitz, Poland)
Began medical experiments in Auschwitz. His experiments on twins were among the most horrific. Many were as young as 5 years old and they were usually murdered after the experiments. Of the approximately 3,000 twins experimented on, very few survived. Mengele succeeded in evading capture and was rumored to have died in 1979 in South America.
1942 July 16 - 17, LARGEST AKTION OF FRENCH JEWS (Paris, France)
12,884 people, among them 4,051 children, were arrested and imprisoned in the Paris Velodrome d'Hiver cycling stadium. The action had been postponed so as not to conflict with Bastille Day. People were kept there for five days without almost any food and water. In general, the French police would only participate in roundups of foreign Jews, while the Gestapo itself would act against French Jews.
1942 July 19, BARANOVICHI (Russia)
Plans were made for the outbreak of a revolt. When the Judenrat heard of it, they threatened the fighters with exposure, warning them that such an action would bring disaster down on the whole town. The revolt was postponed and in the end, never took place. In any town that the population and the Judenrat were not behind a revolt, the chances that it would take place at all, let alone succeed, were almost nil. In most cases, the Judenrat counseled against revolt or even mass escape, afraid of the repercussions for the rest of the population. Others supported resistance, in spite of the possible consequences. Still others e.g. Bialystok and Vilna were ambiguous.
1942 July 19, - October 6, OPERATION (AKTION) REINHARD (Poland)
Was ordered by Himmler and carried out by Odilo Globocnik. It included mass deportations of Jews within what was known as the General Government in Poland, from small towns to 7 major ghettos. All this was to make it easier for their eventual deportation in the "Final Solution."
1942 July 20, RABBI ALEXANDER ZUSHA FRIEDMAN (Frydman) (Warsaw, Poland)
A leader in Agudat Israel, called on the people not to oppose the Germans with force. "God will not permit his people to be destroyed. We must wait and a miracle will certainly occur." Agudat Israel, like many groups in the Judenrat, were afraid that any "violent" opposition would mean the liquidation of the ghetto.
1942 July 22, ANTI FACIST BLOC (Warsaw, Poland)
Was formed and composed of HaShomer HaTzair, Dror, and Poale Zion movements. The organization had no weapons and was able to do almost nothing when the mass deportations known as the "great liquidation" began the next day. One of its commanders, Yitzchak ("Antek") Zuckerman, together with his wife Zivia Lubetkin, played important roles in the revolt and later in the forests. Both survived the war and were among the founders of Lochmaei Hagettaot.
1942 July 22, ARMED RESISTANCE IN NESVIZ (Belarus)
A small town in former Russian territory with less then 6,000 Jews prior to the war. Four thousand had been killed on October 30, 1941 after which the head of the Judenrat, Magalif, began to work with the underground. When the final Aktion came, all those left attacked the Germans with knives, hatchets, sticks, and home made incendiary devices. They then set the ghetto in fire. Only 25 Jews succeeded in reaching the forest and joining the partisan units. Over 40 Germans were either killed or wounded. Many similar incidents occurred in small ghettos in this region, such as Kletsk (on the same day), where 400 people broke out of the ghetto.
1942 July 22, THE GREAT LIQUIDATION (Warsaw, Poland)
Began. Each day, between 5-6,000 Jews were brought to the Umschlagplatz (literally 'transshipment square')on Stawki street and sent to Treblinka in cattle cars. This continued until September 12, 1942.
1942 July 23, - 1943 October 14, TREBLINKA II (Poland)
Death camp went into operation with the first transport of Warsaw's Jews. (Treblinka II was different from Treblinka I which was a labor camp and also housed political prisoners). Over 750,000 Jews were murdered there. The camp was closed and dismantled after a revolt.The camp was organized by Odilo Globocnik. Those that ran it included Joseph (Sepp) Hirtreiter and Kurt Franz, who were sentenced to life imprisonment, and Franz Stangl, who was caught in Brazil and sentenced in 1971 to life imprisonment but died the same year.
1942 July 24, - ADAM CZERNIAKOW (1880-1942) (Warsaw, Poland)
The leader of the Jewish council of Warsaw, the
Judenrat, committed suicide. Czerniakow had held the position for 3 years and kept a diary of over 1,000 pages that chronicled the formation of the ghetto up to the beginning of the forced transports. The Germans had ordered him to provide them with a list of names for deportation. His response was a list of his own name written hundreds of times. The day before his suicide, the Nazi officer in charge of the deportation procedure, Sturmbannfuehrer (major) Hoefle, threatened to shoot his wife if he didn't cooperate. In his suicide note he writes "I am powerless, my heart trembles in sorrow and compassion. I can no longer bear all this."
1942 July 24, DERECHIN (Poland)
After witnessing the murder of his sister and parents a few months earlier, Dr. Yehezkel Atlas joined with Boris Bulat and Pavel Bulak to form a partisan unit which included the surviving families from Derechin and the surrounding area. His second in command was a man of unbelievable strength named Eliyahu Kowienski. Atlas told those joining him "Every additional day in your life is not yours but belongs to your murdered families. You must avenge them."
1942 July 25, GENERAL POLITICAL MEETING (Warsaw, Poland )
Was held with representatives from the Joint, General Zionists, left-wing Zionists, Bund, Agudat Israel, communists and Jewish socialists, as well as the historians Emanuel Ringeblum, Dr. Shipper and others. Everyone except Rabbi Alexander Zusha Friedman and Dr. Isaac Shipper agreed that although there would be little help from the outside world and it would be like "a fly fighting an elephant"- resistance was the only answer. Dr. Shipper's position was that any defense would bring about the total destruction of the ghetto and Rabbi Friedman called on them to believe that God would help them through the Allies and the Russian army.
1942 July 28, JEWISH FIGHTING ORGANIZATION (ZOB) (Warsaw, Poland)
(Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa) was formed at a meeting of HaShomer HaTzair, Dror, and Poalae Zion, Akiva, at HeHalutz headquarters. It was based on the Anti-Fascist Block which was supported by the Bund and led to their joining. Although the Revisionists (ZZW) did not join, they were in contact to coordinate efforts.
1942 August 5, THE GHETTO SPEAKS (USA)
A publication of the Jewish Labor Bund in the United States disclosed information on the murder of 700,000 Jews at Chelmno. Neither the American press - nor for that matter the Jewish press - were prepared to believe the reports.
1942 August 8, DR. GERHART REIGNER (Switzerland - USA) (Poland)
Representative of the World Jewish Congress in Switzerland, brought the first irrefutable evidence of the German plans for their "Final Solution" to the American Consulate in Geneva. He asked that the Vice Counsel Howard Elting send it to the State Department and to Rabbi Stephan Wise. Elting sent it on to the American Legation in Bern along with a note that confirming that Reigner was "serious and balanced". They in turn sent a telegram to the State Department on September 11 with a note advising that it was probably "a war rumor." Although it was decided to send a copy to Wise ,Elbridge Dubrow, a State Department official , recommended that Bern decline to send any more such messages which could reach a third party. The State Department, especially Gordon Hull and Sumner Wells, refused to send it on to Roosevelt and told Wise, after he approached them, not to publicize it until it could be "confirmed". U.S. officials withheld the news for three months.
1942 August 9, MIR REVOLT (Belarus)
Only 850 Jews were left in the town after the Nazis killed 1500 on November 9, 1941. They were transferred to the old Mirski fortress where many began to plan a revolt. Informed of an impending Aktion, two hundred young people decided to escape and join the partisans rather than try to fight the Germans in the town. Over 15,000 Jews fought under the Russians partisans alone. A few days later, on August 13, all those who were left were murdered.
1942 August 10, DERECHIN (Poland)
Yehezkel Atlas helped organize 300 partisans to retake the town. 17 Germans and 2 Lithuanians were killed. Another 44 were captured and executed over the Jewish mass grave.
1942 August 11, MOSCOW RADIO BROADCAST (Russia)
Described how Jews were forced to dig their own graves in the Nazi-occupied Minsk region.
1942 August 13, SWITZERLAND
For the first time, Swiss police hand over to the Germans Jewish refugees who had
entered Switzerland "illegally."
1942 August 20, FIRST HAND REPORT OF THE "FINAL SOLUTION" (Berlin)
Kurt Gerstein, a member of the SS, reported in detail the existence of extermination camps to Swedish Consul Baron Gören von Otter. Baron von Otter conveyed it to the head of the Swedish legation in Berlin, which refused to pass it on to the allies until August 1945. Gerstein tried again to speak to Papal Nuncio Cesare Orsenigo, who threw him out. Gerstein had joined the Nazi movement early on but left it in 1935 disillusioned. He joined the SS after his sister-in-law had been killed by their Euthanasia program with the intent to "see its workings.. and proclaim them to the world." Gerstein surrendered to the Americans and presented them with accurate information regarding Zyklon B gas and his biography. He was being held in a French prison with other SS prisoners when he allegedly hanged himself.
1942 August 22, METROPOLITAN (Archbishop) ANDREY SHEPTYTSKY (Ukraine)
Wrote Pope Pius XII describing the atrocities of the Nazis. Although Sheptytsky initially welcomed the Germans, he had done so because of his belief in Ukrainian independence. Once he witnessed the scope of the persecutions, he wrote to Himmler himself. The Pope's reply urged him to show patience.
1942 August 23, MONSIGNOR JULES-GÉRARD SALIÈGE ( France)
Archbishop of Toulouse, issued a public letter of protest upon receiving information regarding the first deportation of Jews to the Dracy transit camp . All the priests in his diocese read out his letter from their pulpits. They included Bishop Théas of Montauban, Bishop Delay of Marseilles, Cardinal Gerlier of Lyon, Bishop Vanstenbergher of Bayonne, and Archbishop Moussaron of Albi. In November of the previous year he also objected to the treatment of Jews under the Vichy government.
1942 August 24, FRANCE
Handed over to the Germans around 15,000 foreign-born Jews. By the end of the month, 25,000 Jews were deported, although not from the "free" zone.
1942 August 25, RESISTANCE IN THE SARNY GHETTO (Ukraine)
Was organized after being informed that deportations would soon begin. On the day of the revolt, the Judenrat ordered the organizers to cease all activities, claiming that resistance would be harmful since they would only be deported for work camps. Most of the inhabitants allowed themselves to be convinced, and the revolt was postponed. Between August 27-29, most of the 14,000 Jews were murdered. Only a few succeeded in escaping to the forest.
1942 August 26, MARIE-ROSE GINESTE (Montauban, France)
Traveled well over 100 km by bicycle to hand deliver to other churches, copies of an appeal from Monsignor Pierre-Marie Theas (bishop of Montauban), condemning the deportation of Jews and urging defiance of German orders. Four days later, he proclaimed from his church "all men Aryan or non Aryan are brothers being created by the same God."
1942 September, CONGRESSMAN EMANUEL CELLER (D N.Y) (USA)
Introduced a bill into the House of Representatives which would have permitted Jewish refugees in France, who were facing deportation to Eastern Europe, to enter the United States. Congressman Samuel Dickstein (also from New York) of the House Committee on Immigration postponed any discussion until after the elections and then helped kill the bill in the committee.
1942 September 2 - 3, LACHVA / LACHWA (Belarus)
German troops, together with Belarusn police, surrounded the ghetto which still had 2,000 people. Dov Lopatin head of the
Judenrat refused the German request to line up for deportation. Although many of the town's elders were against taking any initiative, Lopatin and the youth leaders decided to resist even without weapons. As the Germans entered, most of the town attacked them, equipped with axes, sticks, and Molotov cocktails. Between 600 to 700 Jews were killed fighting, and a further 600 succeeded in reaching the forests after killing or wounding about 100 Nazis. The rest were shot by the Germans. Many of those who reached the forests were killed by local police units. Approximately 90 people survived the war.
1942 September 3, JACOB ROSENHEIM (USA)
President of Agudat Israel received a telegram from Israel Sternbuch, his representative in Switzerland, confirming the mass murder of 100,000 Polish Jews. Rosenheim sent the letter to President Roosevelt, James G. McDonald, the president's advisor on political refugees, and Stepen Wise. McDonald also forwarded it to Eleanor Roosevelt. There was no reply from either Roosevelt.
1942 September 3, JOSEF KAPLAN (Poland)
One of the founders of the ZOB (Jewish Fighting Organization) was arrested for forging documents. Kaplan was a leader in the HaShomer HaTzair movement in Warsaw. He was requested by his movement not to emigrate and instead return to Warsaw. He was killed on September 11, 1942.
1942 September 12, MORDECHAI TENENBAUM - TAMAROFF (Poland)
A member of the Dror youth movement and the Jewish Fighting Organization was asked to organize the underground in the Bialystok ghetto. He also was active in organizing the Warsaw ghetto uprising and served as a contact with Anton Schmid, the Austrian soldier who helped Jews. Tenenbaum probably committed suicide after the failed uprising.
1942 September 12, WARSAW (Poland)
Only 60,000 Jews remained in the the ghetto.
1942 September 23, TUCHIN/TUCZYN UPRISING(Ukraine)
Up till then, around 3000 Jews survived by working in the local tannery and cotton mill. After the Germans and Ukrainians surrounded the town, the heads of the community decided to resist and almost the entire town decided not to submit. Among the principal organizers of the resistance were the chairman of the
Judenrat Gecel Schwarzman, and his deputy, Meir Himmelfarb. While some were burning down the ghetto, others rushed and flattened the barbed wire fence. Almost 2,000 people succeeded in getting to the forests. Unfortunately, there were no partisans operating in that area and local Ukrainians gave many of them away. Starving and with little hope, 500 of them believed a Nazi promise and returned to the ghetto where they were shot.
1942 October, COUNCIL FOR HELPING JEWS (Poland)
Was formed by two Polish women Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowiczowa. For their efforts, Kossak-Szczucka was sent to Auschwitz (where she was ransomed) and Krahelska was denounced by the "Polish National Armed Forces" and died in the hands of the Gestapo. This was one of the few Polish organizations which tried to help the Jews. Unfortunately, by the end of 1942, most of Poland's Jews had already been killed.
1942 October, HUNGARY
Germany pressured the government of Miklos Kallay to adopt German actions against Hungarian Jews. Kallay, though not against anti-Jewish legislation, balked at the idea of deportation.
1942 October 1, - 1943 August 2, TREBLINKA (Poland)
Twenty-five railway cars full of human hair were delivered to factories for the use in making industrial felt as well as slippers for U-boat crews.
1942 October 8, ATLAS' PARTISIANS (Poland)
Participated in an attack on a German stronghold in Huta Jaworska. 127 Germans and their supporters were killed.
1942 October 9, RACIAL LAWS (Libya)
A decree was issued by the Italian government, enforcing Italian racial laws in Libya,
1942 October 12, PHILIPPE ETTER (Switzerland)
The former president of Switzerland persuaded the Red Cross not to adopt any resolution which related to "certain nationalities" ... (who suffered) attacks on their lives for acts they did not commit. On the other hand, Carl Burckhardt,
another Red Cross official, helped pass information on the plight of the Jews to the American Legation in Switzerland that same month.
1942 October 15, BEREZA KARTUSKA (Belarus)
The Germans began to liquidate the A camp (non-productive workers). In response, the Jews set fire to the camp. The local Judenrat was then ordered by the Nazis to hand over Jews for deportation. At their last meeting, many of the members chose to commit suicide rather then help the Germans. While many Jews were killed in the camp itself, over 18,000 were shot outside the town.
1942 October 23, BATTLE OF EL ALAMEIN (Egypt)
The British 8th Army, led by General Montgomery,
began its push against Rommel's Afrika Korps. Its successes removed the threat of a German attack on Eretz Israel.
1942 October 30, LUBLIN (Poland)
One hundred Russian-Jewish POW's escaped from the Lipowa Street labor camp. They purchased around 100 police uniforms and marched right through Lublin until they reached the forests. The Germans decided to liquidate the camp after this and a few other escapes.
1942 November, MORDECAI TENENBAUM-TAMAROFF (Poland)
Was sent to Bialystok by the Jewish Fighting Organization in Warsaw to help organize and unite the movement which was fractured by political and ideological splits - especially between the communists. Tenenbaum, a leader in the HaShomer HaTzair movement, succeeded in uniting most of the movements and convinced them that they should defend the ghetto rather than join the partisans. There had been major differences (as in most ghettos) between the groups as to whether it was better to fight within the ghetto or to join the partisans, Tennenbaum favored the former, only leaving for the forests when there was no choice.
1942 November, PRESIDENT RAMON CASTILLO (Argentina)
Agreed under pressure to accept 1,000 French Jewish children. The government (ostensibly neutral) refused to put the plan into operation.
1942 November 2, MARCINKONIS Marcinkance/Marcinkonys (Lithuania)
After a demand that the Jews report for "transfer," Aaron Kobrovsky, head of the Judenrat, realized that there was little hope, and publicly called on all the Jews to fight or flee. Some attacked the Nazis while others broke down the fence and fled. Those who reached the forest, including some of the fourteen Kobrovsky siblings (nephews of Aaron). Moyshe, Leyb and Jacob, and Yitzkhok, set up a small unit and managed to purchase some weapons. They later joined the famous "Davidov Company" of partisans and were known for their daring and courage. Most of them survived the war and live in Israel today.
1942 November 3, LUBLIN (Poland)
After the closure of the Lipowa camp, the 1,500 Jewish-Russian POW's were ordered to march to Majdanek. The prisoners used their few arms to storm the armory in Lublin, which they captured at a cost of 400 prisoners. Using the arms they tried to reach the forests. In all, 800 escaped. Unfortunately the Polish underground refused to help them and many were killed or turned over to the Germans by the London based Polish government in exile Home Army.
1942 November 7, CAPTURE OF ALGIERS (Algeria)
Allies landed. Of the 377 resistance members who took Algiers - 315 were Jews. Many of the rebels' leaders were from the Aboulker family, including José 1920-2009)who was one of its founders.. The Americans found it hard to believe that the group had actually taken the town and decided to negotiate with the Vichy leaders, Admiral Darlan and General Juin, for their tactical surrender, leaving the Vichy government in place.
1942 November 9, GERMANS OCCUPY TUNISIA
For six months, from November 1942 through May 1943. Within the first two weeks they arrested the leaders of the Jewish community, and demanded 3,000 Jews for forced labor. SS Colonel Walther Rauff also ordered all to Jews wear a yellow star on their backs. Jewish property was confiscated, and heavy fines imposed on the community. Thirty two forced labor camps for Jews were set up across Tunisia. The largest of these, were the camps in Bizerte and Mateur, where tens of Jewish prisoners died from disease, labor, punishment by the German guards, and Allied bombings.
1942 November 11, GERMANS OCCUPIED ALL OF FRANCE
In response to the allied invasion of North Africa, Germany and Italy occupied all of France. Nazis began to round up Jews in Marseilles. Many Jews in the Vichy areas fled to southern France (which was still occupied by Italy). Ninety thousand French Jews, mostly foreign-born, were deported. Father Pierre-Marie Benoit began to organize the transfer of Jews to the Italian occupation zone. He printed thousands of counterfeit baptismal certificates. For his actions Father Pierre-Marie Benoit was recognized in 1966 as "Righteous Among the Nations" by the State of Israel.
1942 November 25, JAN KARSKI (Poland - England -USA)
A courier of the Polish underground and an eyewitness to the Holocaust reached England. Karski, who had met with Jewish leaders in Warsaw and had traveled to Belzec, gave details to British officials and directly to President Roosevelt in Washington the following year. Roosevelt decided not to react immediately and didn't mention the Holocaust in any of his press conferences until March 1944.
1942 November 25, TEMPORARY COMMITTEE (USA)
Later known as the Joint Emergency Committee on European Jewish Affairs, was established by Stephen Wise. It was made up of the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, B'nai B'rith, World Jewish Congress, Synagogue Council of America and Agudat Israel of America. Though often at odds with each other, they managed to contact important non-Jews, asking for their help, and to pressure the press to cover the genocide. They also sponsored a national day of mourning and managed to get the only meeting about the Holocaust between Roosevelt and Jewish leaders during the war.
1942 November 29, LA SIXIEME (The Sixth) (France)
The term referred to the Sixth Division of the French Jewish Scouts (EIF),
an underground organization formed and headed by Henry Wahl, Ninon Hait, Denise Levy, and Marc Haguenau. Until the liberation, they would produce thousands of false papers, recruit volunteers for the Marquis, and organize escape routes to Spain. Its core consisted of only 88 young people, 26 of whom were eventually arrested by the Gestapo.
1942 December, CHAIM MORDECHAI RUMKOWSKI (Lodz, Poland)
Despite evidence to the contrary, continued in his belief that it is the work of the ghetto that protects the Jews. In a speech, he declared: "our children and grandchildren will proudly remember the names of those who contributed... labor opportunities which grated justification to live".
1942 December 2, DAY OF MOURNING AND PRAYER (USA)
Was observed in many countries in addition to the USA. Although a special broadcast was carried nationally by NBC, it did not receive prominent coverage by other radio stations or the press.
1942 December 5, DR.YEHEZKEL ATLAS (Poland)
The founder and commander of a Jewish partisan unit fell in battle with the Germans. He and his second in command, Eliyahu Kowienski (who survived the war and now lives in Israel) received the highest Soviet Decoration - Hero of the Soviet Union.
1942 December 8, PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT (USA)
After submitting to friendly pressure by Stephen Wise, who stated that refusal to meet with them may be "gravely misunderstood," met with Jewish leaders of the Temporary Committee for half an hour. Roosevelt spoke 80% of the time and mostly about issues unrelated to the plight of the Jews. After hearing the evidence he confirmed its veracity, stating the U.S. was "well acquainted with most of the facts." Despite his acknowledgement of the planned annihilation of European Jewry his only concession was to agree issue a war crimes warning. The entire holocaust part of the conversation lasted less then two minutes. This was his only meeting with Jewish leaders concerning the Holocaust. His only other meeting to discuss the issue was with 7 Jewish congressmen on April 1 1943.
1942 December 17, A CONDEMNATION OF GERMAN ATROCITIES
Was finally issued by the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the governments in exile.
1942 December 17, FRANCE - SPAIN
The first organized group of young French Jews left to try crossing to Spain. Upon arrival, they were arrested and spent the next 2 ½ months in the prison of Pampeluna. Only later the next year, under pressure from both England and the United States, did the Spanish government allow refugees to move into boarding houses provided that the funds would come from abroad. Until that time, many of the refugees were kept in camps under appalling conditions. The Spanish government, although rarely turning away people at the border, did its best to discourage refugees crossing over from France.
1942 December 17, UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION
By the 3 major allies and 8 occupied countries, condemned the German governments "intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe" and committed itself to establishing a war crimes commission after the war. One possible result was that Himmler began his attempt to bargain for Jewish lives after this, partially in order to be seen in a more "favorable light."
1942 December 19, THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION OFFICE (New York, USA)
Published a report confirming that the Nazis had made Poland "One vast center for murdering Jews."
1942 December 20, ALPES MARITIMES (Maritime Alps -Italian occupied Vichy France)
The local French Prefect ordered all foreign-born Jews to leave and relocate in German-occupied areas. Encouraged by Angelo Donati (an influential half Jew), the Italian government, especially its generals, countered the order despite the efforts by Ribbentrop and even Himmler. Thus, the Italian zone became a haven of sorts for Jewish refugees up till September 1943 when the Italian zone was overrun by the Germans.
1942 December 21, VARIAN FRY (USA)
After his return to the U.S., he tried to warn of the impending disaster for the European Jews in an article in The New Republic entitled "The Massacre of the Jews."
1942 December 22, AHARON LIEBESKIND (Cracow, Poland)
The joint forces of HeHalutz HaLohem and P.P.R (Polish Workers Party) Jewish Units attacked German targets in the capital of the General Government. Liebeskind was Secretary of the religious Zionist Akiva movement and commander of the HeHalutz HaLohem (fighting organization of the Pioneer Jews). In the coordinated attacks, dozens of Germans were either killed or wounded. Liebeskind himself was killed in hand-to-hand combat when the Germans attacked his bunker on December 24, 1942. Before he died he succeeded in killing 2 German officers. He is credited with the line: "The Jewish fighters are fighting for 3 lines [telling about us] in history [books]."
1943 January 14, RABBI MENACHEM ZEMBA (Warsaw, Poland)
One of the leading Rabbis called on the Jews of Warsaw to revolt, "we must resist the enemy on all fronts". He also warned that "we are prohibited by Jewish law from betraying others...". Zemba was killed (19 Nissan) a few days after the revolt began. He had refused the offerof Catholic priests to help him and flee with another two rabbis, believing that he must remain until the end with his fellow Jews. Zemba had published over 20 manuscripts, many others were destroyed in the ghetto.
1943 January 17, BISHOP KONRAD GRAF VON PREYSING ( Berlin)
Warned Pope Pius XII that he would be forced to resign if the collaboration between the German bishops and the Nazi regime did not cease. Von Preysing (1880 – 1950), was a strong adversary to Nazism from the outset stating, "We have fallen into the hands of criminals and fools". He was also a supporter in the anti- Nazi resistance movement.
1943 January 17, CASABLANCA MEETING (Morocco)
Two months after liberation, a meeting was held between President Roosevelt, General Patton, the U.S. envoy Robert Murphy, and General Nogues representing the non Vichy government. In response the Jews demand for the right to vote, Roosevelt encouraged the postponement of free elections. He also recommended limiting the number of Jews being allowed to practice law, medicine etc. to their percentage of the entire north African population. This he stated would “eliminate specific and understandable German complaints… that fifty% of the lawyers doctors teachers etc in Germany were Jews”. Later that day he proposed the same idea regarding the Jews of Algeria to the French army commander General Henri Giraud.
1943 January 27, PRUZANA (Pruzhany, Belarus)
In a surprise visit to the Judenrat, the Gestapo ran into two members of the resistance who were meeting with Yitzchak Janowicz. The members of the Judenrat helped them escape, although their watchman was killed. In retaliation, over the next four days, the entire Jewish population of about 10,000 was sent to Auschwitz.
1943 January 30, VICHY MINISTER JOSEPH DARNARD (Vichy, France)
Formed the Milice, a militia unit which was officially recognized by the Nazis. His units worked with the Germans to capture Jews for deportation. Darnard was executed for treason in October 1945.
1943 February, STATUS REPORT (Europe)
Out of the approximately 2,700,000 Jews in areas occupied by the Germans since June 1941, less then 10% were still alive.
1943 February 2, STALINGRAD (Russia)
The German 6th army was defeated, marking the turning point in the war. This eventually had an effect on countries such as Romania regarding a newly found reluctance in cooperating with the Germans on Jewish deportations to concentration camps.
1943 February 5, BIALYSTOK AKTION (Poland)
Although unprepared, still disunited, and with few weapons, the United Anti-Facist Bloc decided on limited revolt. Led by Mordecai Tennenbaum-Tamaroff, Daniel Moszkowicz (communist), and Edek Boraks (Bund), most of the fighters fought in small groups. Individuals fought with axes, knives, and even acid to prevent from being taken to Treblinka. After the Aktion, many informers were "taken care of." The small revolt proved the importance of a united front and forced the major second organization consisting of HaNoar HaTzioni, Dror, and other organizations to join in one united front.
1943 February 10, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT TELEGRAPH 354
Sent by Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles to all American consulates "suggested" that they not to accept any " private messages" or reports regarding the German actions against Jews. This effectively closed off almost all reports regarding the Holocaust from even reaching the United States. Although reportedly Welles may have been personally sympathetic to the "Jewish problem", he totally identified with the State Departments policies and carried them out with alacrity.
1943 February 13, ROMANIA
Offered to "sell" 72,000 Jews and permit them to be transferred to Eretz Israel on ships flying a Vatican flag for a price of $130 a person. Although Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau brought this offer to the attention of the President Roosevelt , it was shuffled back to Sumner Wells at the State Department who decided without checking on the facts that the proposal "was without foundation."
1943 February 18, TEHERAN CHILDREN (Europe - Eretz Israel)
858 Polish children saved from the Holocaust made their way from Europe though Iran and India to arrive in Eretz Israel with the help of the Jewish Agency and were absorbed by Aliyat HaNoar.
1943 February 26, BERLIN (Germany)
Was declared Judenrein (free of all Jews).
1943 February 27, "FABRIK-AKTION" FACTORY-ACTION (Berlin, Germany)
The last 10,000 Jews still working in "vital war production" were taken
directly from their factories to be deported. Seven thousand of them
were sent to Auschwitz, others were sent to Theresienstadt. More than 100
Jews labeled as Mischlinge (half-breeds) or living in a Mischehe
(racially mixed marriage) were held separately. After a mass protest
(the only one of its kind) by thousands of relatives and friends, the
Nazi released them. During the war,
over 50,000 Berliner Jews were deported to the East. A few thousand, most
of them with non-Jewish spouses, managed to survive with many of them hiding the
entire war in the city.
1943 March 1, MASS DEMONSTRATION (New York City, USA)
Was organized by Stephen Wise and the World Jewish Congress and co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO. Twenty thousand people inside Madison Square Garden and tens of thousands outside heard messages from Wise, Mayor La Guardia and Chaim Weizmann. Although the rally received good press, Wise was accused of organizing the rally to upstage the one already planned by the Committee for a Jewish Army ("Bergson Group") for March 9th at the same spot.
1943 March 9, "WE WILL NEVER DIE" PAGEANT (New York City, USA)
Took place in Madison Square Garden. With 40,000 people attending it broke all attendance records. The pageant, organized by Billy Rose, was written by Ben Hecht, directed by Moss Hart, with music by Kurt Weill and a cast which included Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson. Bergson and his Committee for a Jewish Army had asked the World Jewish Congress to join the rally, offering to take away their own official sponsorship. The Jewish Congress was unwilling grant them any legitimacy and unable overcome its animosity toward the group rejected both offers. Other performances took place in other major cities with Eleanor Roosevelt 300 senators and congressmen and six Supreme Court Justices watching in Washington. Despite rave reviews, the World Jewish Congress did its best to block further performances in other cities.
1943 March 9, OPPOSITION TO TRANSPORTATION (Bulgaria)
Vice-president of the Bulgarian Parliament, Dimitar Peshev protested to Minister of Interior Gabrovski, against planned deportations of Jews. Peshev and 42 fellow members of the National Assembly, presented a petition to the prime minister that successfully held off their deportation. Consequently, Peshev was dismissed as vice president. As a compromise, none of the (approximately 34,000) Jews from old Bulgaria were deported. Yet over 11,384 Jews from Macedonia and Thrace were sent to their death.
1943 March 14, VILNA (Lithuania)
Under the direction of poet Abraham Sutzkever and the Yiddish Scientific Institute
(YIVO), local high school students organized an exhibition and festival commemoration of Yehoash -Solomon Bloomgarden (1872-1927), the Yiddish poet and Bible translator.
1943 March 15, SALONIKA (Greece)
The first transport 2,800 Jews left for Auschwitz under the direction of Eichmann's deputy, Dieter Wisliceny. By August 7, the last of the 19 transports left Salonika. Of the 46,091 Jews deported, only only 2,469 survived. Wisliceny, who also served in Greece and Hungary, later surrendered to the Allies, presenting them with invaluable evidence. He was hanged in Bratislava in 1948. By the end of the war, out of 77,000 Greek Jews, 60,000 were murdered during the Holocaust.
1943 March 20, MUSSOLINI (Italy)
Pressured by Germany for the lack of enthusiasm of the Italian army in France to act against Jews, Mussolini set up the Polizia Razziale (Racial Police). He appointed Guido Lospinoso as the commissioner of police. Lospinoso soon proved to be a master at evading German instructions. Father Pierre-Marie Benoit, persuaded him to help delay any deportation orders. Together they succeeded in preventing any mass deportations in the Nice area until the Germans took over in September.
1943 March 23, WILLIAM TEMPLE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY (England)
In a speech to the House of Lords, called upon the British government to "end its procrastination" and establish a temporary refuge for the Jews. "We at this moment have upon us a tremendous responsibility," he said. "We stand at the bar of history, of humanity, and of God." The British government responded by calling for a conference, afraid that if “successful” they may be flooded “ with alien immigrants. That same day Himmler received a report that 1,500,000 Jews had already be exterminated.rnrn
1943 March 25, MATHAUSEN (Austria)
A Bavarian Catholic priest reported that an estimated 10,000 Dutch Jews had already been murdered in poison gas experiments at the Mathausen concentration camp. The report was confirmed by the Dutch government-in-exile on April 5, and by an American diplomat on June 8. Despite this, no action was taken by the American State Department or the British government.
1943 April, RABBI MICHAEL DOV WEISSMANDEL (Slovakia)
An Orthodox Rabbi, together with Gisi Fleischmann, leader of the Women's International Zionist Organization and head of the Aliya section of the officially established Jewish Centre in Slovakia, helped organize (through bribes to Slovak officials) a slow down of the number of people being deported and to find false "Aryan" papers for many of them. After the Slovak revolt, Rabbi Weismandel succeeded in jumping from a train while Gisi Fleischman as a result of her work was shot as soon as she arrived in Auschwitz at the request of Eichmann's deputy Rolf Gunther.
1943 April 7, ADMIRAL MIKLOS HORTHY (Hungary)
Regent of Hungary met with Ribbentrop and Hitler who demanded that Hungary adopt a more aggressive anti-Jewish policy. Horthy insisted that he could not " beat them to death" to which Hitler replied that they must adopt the same policy as Poland.
1943 April 19, ANGLO-AMERICAN CONFERENCE ON REFUGEES (Bermuda Conference)
Met. The American delegation was headed by Harold Willis Dodds, and the British delegation was headed by Richard Law. The conference was also attended by Sol Bloom who agreed from the start not to discuss certain issues such as: sending food to the victims, British "Palestine" policy, or negotiation with Axis countries. The conference decided not to adopt any policy for the rescue of European Jewry. Eventually the only practical decision was to set up a refugee camp in North Africa for those refugees already in Spain which, despite all the talk, only took in 630 people. The conference which was publicly supported by Bloom was condemned as a "Mockery" by the Bergson group. Bloom would never forgive them and opposed their every move.
1943 April 19, BELGIUM
A Jewish partisan groups, under the direction of the Dr.Georges Lifshitz (Livchitz) and his brother Alexander stopped a deportation train that contained many resistance fighters and forced open its doors. Some 600 jumped from the train, with about half making it to safety. Eight were wounded trying to escape. On May 2, in a daring raid by another group, the wounded were abducted from the hospital while under German guard. Both brothers also active in the general Belgium partisan movement were later caught and shot by the Nazis at the Breendonck camp in Belgium.
1943 April 19, WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING (Poland)
On Passover eve, the Germans executed the final phase of the liquidation of the ghetto. The Germans planned for it to take three days. The Jewish armed underground consisted of two main groups: the ZOB, headed by Mordechai Anielewicz, which had no more than 800 fighters and the ZZW, headed by David Appelbaum and Pawel Frenkel, which had no more than 400 fighters. Most of the ZZW was lightly armed and, aside from Revisionists, it also contained some Bund and Agudat Israel (Orthodox) members. A few independent groups also existed which had a few hundred members. Despite pleas to the Polish underground to join, there was no help forthcoming from them. General Juergen Stroop attacked with an initial force of around 5,000 heavily armed troops, yet it took him weeks, even with tanks, artillery and air support, to crush the uprising.
1943 April 22, MOSHE MERIN (Bedzin, East Upper Silesia)
The head of the Judenrat of Bedzin and Sosnowiec informed the council that 8 young men were executed by the Gestapo for treason. Merin, who supported cooperation with the Nazis " in order to save a few", had sent some of the victims to the Gestapo for their underground activities.
1943 April 28, KIBBUTZ KFAR ETZION (Eretz Israel)
Was set up in the Judean mountains strategically placed off the main road from Hebron to Jerusalem. It was built on the site of Migdal Eder, which had been abandoned in 1929. Soon it was joined by Kibbutz Masuot Yitzchak, Ein Tzurim and Revadim, forming what was known as the Etzion Block.
1943 April 29, RABBI ISRAEL GOLDSTEIN (USA)
Of the Synagogue Council of America was quoted in the New York Times: "The job of the Bermuda Conference was apparently not to rescue victims of Nazi terror but to rescue our State Department and the British Foreign Office. Victims are not being rescued because the democracies don't want them."
1943 May 6, BRITISH TROOPS CAPTURED TUNIS (Tunisia)
While the American troops captured Bizerte in northern Tunisia. This timely move prevented the Nazi’s from further implementing their plans for the Jewish community.
1943 May 8, MORDECHAI ANIELEWICZ (Poland)
Commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was killed in the main bunker at Mila 18. The Germans blocked up the exits and began to propel gas into the bunker which contained over 100 fighters. Many of them killed themselves. Anielewicz had united the various factions, published a newsletter Neged Hazerem (Against the Stream) and started an urban kibbutz in Warsaw. Kibbutz Yad Mordechai is named after him.
1943 May 10, THE SEWERS OF WARSAW (Poland)
Were used by the remaining fighters to flee to the forests, especially from the bunker at Mila 18. Among them was Tosia (Tova) Altman, who was one of the leaders of the HaShomer HaTzair youth movement which played a vital role in the revolt. Tosia, who had worked as a courier, succeeded in getting to the Aryan side when on May 24, 1943, she was badly burned in an accidental fire. The Gestapo captured her and she died in custody without any medical help. Another dominant figure in the ZOB, Zivia (Celina) Lubtkin, succeeded in getting to the Aryan side and fought in the Polish uprising along with Yitzchak ("Antek") Zuckerman in August 1944. Approximately 75 fighters made it out through the sewers.
1943 May 12, SAMUEL (SHMUEL) (ARTHUR) ZYGELEBOYM (London, England)
A member of the Bund, who committed suicide after reading the reports of the Bermuda Conference. Zygelboym had been trying to get official recognition of Nazi atrocities, especially after meeting Jan Karski, the Polish underground courier. He left a note explaining that his suicide was a protest against the inaction of the Western Allies.
1943 May 16, SS GENERAL JUERGEN STROOP (Poland)
Sent in his report, "A Jewish Quarter in Warsaw no longer exists." His final action was the destruction of the Great Synagogue on Tlomacka Street. Stroop reported 56,065 Jews captured, 13,929 killed and 631 bunkers destroyed. Though it is impossible to know the exact amounts, Polish estimates place the numbers of German dead to well over 1,000, with many more wounded. Some fighters escaped to the Aryan side of the city through sewage tunnels and others fled and tried to join Polish underground forces. Despite the official end to the uprising, small groups knows as "rubblemen" continued to attack German troops until mid-September.
1943 May 22, FIRST OF THE JEWISH PARACHUTISTS (Yugoslavia)
Peretz Rosenberg jumped behind German lines into Yugoslavia. Sent by the British, he served with Marshall Tito as a wireless operator. In all, 250 men and women, some who had recently immigrated to Eretz Israel from the target countries they planned to infiltrate, volunteered. 110 were trained by the British but only 37 actually went. Twelve were captured and 7 were killed in action. These included Hannah Szenes,
Enzo Sereni, Zalman Rabinovich, and
1943 May 24, KING BORIS III (Bulgaria)
Ordered Sofia's Jews to resettle in the provinces as a step to appease the Germans. A demonstration against the order was held that day in front of the King's Palace. The principal cleric, the Metropolitan Stefan, took the chief rabbi into his house for protection.
1943 June 11, HIMMLER
Ordered the liquidation of all ghettos in Poland and the Soviet Union. On July 21, liquidation of ghettos began at Nieswiez, in Poland, and soon spread to other ghettos.
1943 July, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT (USA)
Issued a new visa application which was four feet long. The waiting period for processing was now nine months. In addition, Jews in Nazi-held territories had no way of making a visa application since there were no American consulates. Any refugee who succeeded in reaching countries which had an American consulate (Spain, Portugal) was considered to be "not in acute danger" and was therefore denied a visa.
1943 July 2, ALOIS BRUNNER (France)
Described by Eichmann as "one of my best men", took over Drancy, the main transit camp in France. During his 14 months in France, he sent an estimated 25,000 men, women and children to their deaths. Brunner was an assistant to Eichmann and was responsible for the deaths of over 128,000 people including 200 Americans. Brunner also masterminded the deportation of Thessaloniki's 50,000 Jews to death camps. Brunner was one of the most wanted war criminals and succeeded in finding refuge in Syria, which steadily refused to give out any information on him.
1943 July 13, YITZHAK (ANTEK) ZUCKERMAN (Antek, Poland)
A former leader of HeHalutz HaTzair, he became the leader of the ZOB after Mordechai Anielewicz died. He appealed to the Polish Home Guard to allow Jews to join them or at least provide them with arms. His requests were denied. During the uprising, he was assigned to the Polish sector in order to maintain contacts, which he made good use of. He headed the Jewish Fighters Unit of the Polish uprising of August, 1944. After the war, he and his wife Zivia Lubetkin were among the founders of Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot.
1943 July 16, FATHER PIERRE-MARIE BENOIT / PADRE BENEDITTI (Italian Occupied France)
Known in Marseilles as "the Father of the Jews." Pledging himself to protect Jewish refugees, he met with the Pope Pius XII. Marie-Benoit realized that it was only a matter of time before the Germans took over France and asked the pope to help convince Mussolini to allow 30,000 safe passage through Italy and settle them in North Africa. Unfortunately, with the fall of the Badoglio government and the occupation by the Germans of northern Italy, the plan came to naught.
1943 July 16, WITTENBERG DAY (Vilna, Lithuania)
Ended with Yitzhak Wittenberg, head of the FPO (the various political organizations in the ghetto created a unified fighting organization, F.P.O. (Fareynigte Partizaner Organizatsye), surrendering in the Vilna Ghetto. A week earlier, Wittenberg had been fingered by two members of the Vilna Communist Committee (outside the ghetto) as their Jewish contact. Wittenberg was taken into custody, probably by Jacob Gens, the head of the Judenrat, and Salek Dessler, the head of the Ghetto police, but succeeded in getting away. The Germans then demanded that he be turned over to them or they would destroy the ghetto. After a long and tragic debate, the FPO decided that he should give himself up. He was dead the next day, dooming the future of the ghetto resistance to failure. Many underground leaders, including Josef Glazman, decided to leave the ghetto and join the partisan in the forests.
1943 July 20, THE EMERGENCY CONFERENCE TO SAVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE (USA)
Was attended by 1500 people including senators, labor leaders and media personalities (including newspaper tycoon William Randolf Hearst). Herbert Hoover addressed the conference by radio. Its goals were to discuss and come up with ideas on such varied topics as transportation, military affairs, diplomacy, and church involvement. Peter Bergson was behind organizing the conference. Unfortunately, here too, (see
April 1941), due to Bergson's involvement, the World Jewish Congress tried to convince political leaders to stay away from the conference. One positive result of the conference was the gradual involvement of Eleanor Roosevelt in bringing the issue to the public (and political) forefront.
1943 July 22, PARTISAN UNIT NEKAMA (Lithuania)
Was founded in the Narosch forest near Vilna by Josef Glazman, the head of Lithuanian Beitar. Glazman was one of the founders of the F.P.O. On October 7, 1943, the Germans attacked and only one young girl survived.
1943 July 25, MARSHAL PIETRO BADOGLIO (Italy)
Took over from Mussolini who had been ousted a few days earlier. The Allied invasion of Sicily two weeks earlier began to change Italy's position in the war. Badoglio's short-lived government tried to hamper Nazi efforts to deport Jews to what was known as the "Italian zone" in France.
1943 August, AMERICAN JEWISH CONFERENCE (USA)
Led by B'nai B'rith, passed a resolution favoring the establishment of a Jewish State, causing the American Jewish Committee (which was at the time anti-Zionist) to disaffiliate itself. The Conference, which existed until 1949, issued many pro-Zionist statements to government and international organizations. Despite this, little was actually accomplished during the war years.
1943 August, GENERAL BOR-KOMOROWSKI (Poland)
The newly appointed commander of the Polish Home Army issued an order that actions should be taken against "Jewish bandits" (partisans). He encouraged his groups to "liquidate the leaders of those bands," even by cooperating with the Germans. Many Home Army members killed or turned over to the Germans thousands of Jewish partisans and refugees.
1943 August 2, REVOLT IN TREBLINKA (Poland)
Led by a small group of prisoners using primitive weapons and pistols, inmates at Treblinka attacked the guards and burned down the barracks. Between 300 and 500 prisoners escaped, although most of them were either captured or turned over by Polish peasants. Though the revolt did not stop all activities, the German government decided to liquidate the camp by October.
1943 August 13, A FREE PALESTINE LEAGUE
Was proposed by Y. Ben Ami in a letter to
Peter Bergson. Its goal was to influence United States policy on the Middle East and to wage a publicity campaign to create public support for an independent Palestine. The result was the formation of the American League for a Free Palestine. Its members included
Ben Hecht, Will Rogers, Jr., Arthur Szyk, and Mrs. Louis Untermeyer. Guy M. Gillette, senator from Iowa, became president of the league in August 1945.
1943 August 15, FATHER MARIE-BENOIT (Italian Zone, France)
And Angelo Donati devised a plan to save over 30,000 Jews in the Italian zone by taking them through Italy to North Africa. They won support from the Allies with the entire expense covered by the JDC
(Joint Distribution Committee).
1943 August 16 - 20, BIALYSTOK UPRISING (Poland)
Ephraim Barash, head of the Judenrat had been told the night before that the ghetto with the 40,000 Jews left in it was to be liquidated. The next morning he reported to the main square with his suitcase. Himmler, not wishing a repeat of the
Warsaw, uprising, appointed Odilo Globocnik as the commander of the operation. He had at his command 3 battalions and other police and military units as well as artillery. There were only enough weapons for 300 of the 500 Jewish fighters. The Germans called in tanks and even aircraft to put down the revolt. Although the main fighting was over within a few days (having run out of ammunition), it took the Germans almost a month before they could leave the ghetto. Mordecai Tenenbaum-Tamaroff and Daniel Moszkowicz were believed to have committed suicide when their bunker was surrounded. Only 70 of the fighters succeeded in reaching the forests.
1943 August 17, FULDA CONFERENCE (Germany)
In the presence of twenty-six Archbishops and Bishops, and presided on by Cardinal Adolf Bertram, Archbishop of Breslau (1859-1945, the conference debated whether to speak out about the Holocaust. They decided not to.
1943 August 18, SONDERKOMMANDO 1005 EXHUMED BODIES AT BABI YAR (Ukraine)
In an attempt to erase evidence of the mass slaughter, units of
Sonderkommando 1005 under Commander Paul Blobel undertook the exhumation
and cremation of the tens of thousands killed at Babi Yar. The prisoners
began their work on August 18 and finished six weeks later on September
29. Later on after midnight, the Babi Yar revolt began after the prisoners
discovered they were going to be put to death. Blobel, who was director
of exhumation activities, was executed in 1951.
1943 August 20, NIKOLAI KUZNETSOV (Rovno,Poland)
Killed General Gellen and his adjunct, Kuznetsov, who was well educated, spoke fluent German and spent a month training to pass as an East Prussian professional officer. He was so successful that he was able to infiltrate and assassinate many high ranking Nazi officials, including General Alfred Funnk who had been the Chief SS judge in the Czech Protectorate. He later became the commander of the Narodny Mstitel (Peoples Avengers) Brigade near Minsk.
1943 August 28, DEATH OF KING BORIS III (Bulgaria)
A new government was formed, headed by Dobri Bozhilov. Many of the anti-Jewish measures were slowly dropped.
1943 August 28, GERMANS OCCUPIED COPENHAGEN (Denmark)
In response to Danish resistance, the Danish-German Agreement of 1940 was revoked. A year earlier, the Germans had changed their policy of relative non-interference with the Danes and had appointed Karl Werner Best, a former legal adviser to the Gestapo, as the Reich's representative in Denmark. Martial law was now imposed under General von Hannecken and the Danish Parliament dissolved. This also gave Best the opportunity to begin preparations for deportations. Best was sentenced to death by Copenhagen courts in 1946 but after an appeal, his sentenced was reduced and he was freed in 1951.
1943 August 30, INFORMATION REGARDING CONCENTRATION CAMPS SUPPRESSED
Britain still refused to allow the mention of concentration camps in any Allied statements, claiming that there was not yet enough evidence.
1943 September 1, VILNA UPRISING (Lithuania)
After the disaster of July and the death of Yitzhak Wittenberg, many of those in the underground decided to flee the city. The German entry into the ghetto was a surprise and there was no time to organize. Forty fighters led by Yechiel Scheinbaum fought until they were all killed. Around 200 more left the ghetto and joined the partisans. A second Aktion on September 23 marked the end of the ghetto.
1943 September 3, BELGIUM
Despite a promise made by military Governor General Alexander Von Falkenhausen to the Queen Mother Elisabeth and Cardinal Van Roey that Belgium Jewish citizens would not be deported, nevertheless, hundreds of Jews were taken for deportation. After a strong protest by the Queen Mother and the Cardinal, they were released. Although there were transports to Auschwitz of Belgium Jews, it was never done en mass.
1943 September 3, ITALY
The government of Marshal Pietro Badoglio that had ousted Mussolini,
signed an armistice with the Allies which was kept secret until the Allied landing.
1943 September 9, ALLIES INVADE SOUTHERN ITALY
The Germans immediately invaded Italy and reached Rome. Italy was divided into two parts. The Nazis under Otto Wachter placed Mussolini back in the government. Jews were now going to be deported. The Germans also took over all of France, dashing any hopes of rescuing Jews by transferring them through Italy to North Africa. Angelo Donati was forced into hiding as he was wanted by the Gestapo.
1943 September 9, NAZI GERMANY OCCUPIES ZAKYNTHOS GREECE
Their first act was to ask to a list of all the Jews. The mayor Loukas Karrer and the Metropolitan Bishop Chrysostomos replied by returning a paper with only their names on it. The 275 Jews were dispersed into the local villages until the Germans left in October 1944. No Jew was deported. They were honored by Yad Vashem in 1978 with the title of "Righteous among the Nations. Statues of the Bishop and the Mayor celebrate their heroism on the site of the town’s historic synagogue, destroyed in the Earthquake of 1953
1943 September 16, GOLDMANN PLAN (USA)
Nahum Goldmann proposed a plan to send $10 million (partially funded by Jewish contributions) worth of medicines and food to those Jews still alive in Poland, the Balkans and Czechoslovakia. The aid was to be sent though the Red Cross. Breckenridge Long, the Assistant Secretary of State, ostensibly agreed to the idea but proposed to first send it to a discussion by the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees - which according to officials was tantamount to "tossing it in the waste paper basket".
1943 September 20, ATHENS (Greece)
Rabbi Eliyahu Barzilai was ordered by Eichmann's deputy, Wisliceny, to provide him with a list of all Athenian Jews. Instead, Barzilai warned them all to flee and did so himself.
1943 September 30, DENMARK
On Friday morning, the day before Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Marcus Melchior of Copenhagen announced that "There will be no services this morning ......tomorrow the Germans plan to ... arrest all the Danish Jews... By nightfall tonight we must all be in hiding." Melchior had been warned by Hans Hedtoft (later Prime Minister) who in turn had been warned by Georg Duckwitz, an attache to the German Merchant Marine. Thus began one of the heroic stories of the Holocaust. On the appointed day, which was also the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the raid took place.
During the next few weeks, over 7000 Danish Jews were hidden and smuggled to Sweden which had promised refuge to any Danish Jews who reached it. Only 202 Jews were found. After the war the Danish Government restored all Jewish property to their original owners.
1943 September 30, SONDERKOMMANDO BABI YAR REVOLT (Ukraine)
Led by Vladimir Davidov and Fyodor Yershov (a Russian soldier). Over 50 of the 275 men in the Sonderkommando unit succeeded in picking the locks. They then overpowered the guards using their bare hands, hammers and screw drivers. Fourteen of them (11 of whom were Jews) succeeded in surviving until the Red Army arrived on November 6, 1943. Davidov was an important witness at the Nuremberg trials and helped bring their story to the world.
1943 October 7, ARCHBISHOP DAMASKINOS (Greece)
Ordered all monasteries to shelter any Jews who approached them. This was in
response to Hoherer SS- und Polizeifuhrer, (HSSPF) (Higher SS and Police
Leader) SS General Jurgen Stroop's order for all Jews to register on
penalty of death.
1943 October 14, SOBIBOR REVOLT (Poland)
Led by Alexander Pechersky, a former Red Army officer, and a few other Jewish members of the Red Army, a revolt broke out in the
Sobibor death camp. Prevented from fleeing through the gates, approximately 80 Jews died trying to escape through the mine fields Prisoners, remaining in the camp, were rounded up and shot. Twelve SS guards were killed, and another 38 guards were killed or wounded. The number of prisoners to initially escape Sobibor was 320 but 170 of them were soon captured and executed. . Of the remaining 150 escapees, 50 joined up with partisan units and the Red Army, of whom 5 were killed, while 92 were killed in hiding, mostly by hostile native elements, Only 53, survived until the liberation. Told of the revolt, Himmler was furious and ordered the camp closed immediately and plowed under by Jewish laborers who were in turn shot when the job was finished. Semyon Rozenfeld, one of the revolt leaders, survived, and was the soldier who carved
on the Reichstag wall "Baranovichi-Sobibor-Berlin."
1943 October 16, JUDENRAZZIA (ROUNDUP OF JEWS) IN ROME(Italy)
In the largest action of its kind in Italy, over one thousand Jews were rounded up and deported directly to Auschwitz by SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer (Lieutenant-Colonel) Herbert Kappler, the head of the Gestapo on Rome. Out of Italy's approximately 40,000 Jews, 8000 Jews or 20% were annihilated. Over 2000 Jews joined various partisan units. Despite the silence of the pope, the help offered by local clergy and the Italian people in general, played a major role in the low number of deportations.
1943 October 20, IRENA SENDLER (Warsaw, Poland)
A Polish Catholic, was arrested by the Gestapo. Irena had worked for the Council for Aid to Jews, (Zegota), an underground unit in which Catholic democratic activists gathered to assist Jews. At great risk, Irena rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto and placed them with Christian families. She buried jars containing their real and assumed names in the garden, so that they could be reunited with their own families after the war. During her torture she refused to divulge any information regarding her activities Although sentenced to death, she managed to escape from prison and survived the war. In 1965 she was awarded with the title Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem and in 1991 she was made an honorary citizen of Israel. A play was also written about her life entitled "Life in a Jar".
1943 October 21, MILA RACINE (France)
A member of the Zionist Youth Movement (MJS) was arrested along with Roland Epstein while trying to lead a group of children and old people to Switzerland. Both were deported and Mila died in Ravensbruck during a bombing raid.
1943 October 23, FRANCESKA MANN (Auschwitz)
A beautiful, young dancer from Warsaw who performed at the famous Melody Palace nightclub, arrived at the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau along with about 1700 other Polish Jews. As she was preparing for the gas chamber, one of the SS men, Josef Schillinger, stared at her as she undressed. Mann threw her shoe at him. As he drew his revolver she wrested it away from him, shooting him twice and killing him and shooting another SS man, Emmerich, as well. The Germans opened fire with machine guns and forced the survivors into the gas chamber.
1943 October 28, BARON ERNEST VON WEIZSACKER (Italy)
The German ambassador to the Vatican wrote to the German Foreign Office, "The pope, although pressed...has not allowed himself...any expression of disapproval against the deportations." A week earlier (October 22) Von Weizsacker forwarded to the Security Police Commander Herbert Kappler a protest against the deportations by Bishop Alois Hudal, rector of the German church in Rome.
1943 November, JANOWSKA CAMP (Janow) REVOLT (Lvov)
Although a number of underground groups were formed, they did not unify and many of their leaders were betrayed by informants. Despite this, a number of them tried to fight back when the camp was liquidated. Only a few survived, most being killed by Ukrainian police.
1943 November 3, OPERATION HARVEST FESTIVAL (Erntefest) (Poland)
Partly in response to Jewish resistance including the revolt on Sobibor. Himmler ordered Jakob Sporrenberg to eliminate all the Jews in the Lublin area where most of them were in forced labor camps. In one day, 10,000 Jews from the Trawniki labor camp and 8,000 Jews, from Maidanek were machine-gunned after digging their own graves. In the Poniatowa camp 15,000 were killed the next day. During the operation, the Germans killed almost 43,000 Jews.
1943 November 9, DRANCY CONCENTRATION CAMP (France)
German guards led by Commandant Alois Brunner found a tunnel being built under the camp. Prisoners had been working twenty-four hours a day for three months and had only thirty meters left to dig. The underground leader, Col. Robert Blum, as well as others were shot in response. The rest were deported on November 25. Twelve out of the fourteen succeeded in jumping from the train and rejoined the resistance.
1943 November 9, RESCUE RESOLUTION (USA)
Introduced in Congress. This resolution recommended that the president create a commission to "save the surviving Jewish people of Europe from extinction". The resolution, together with a strong press campaign led by William Randolph Hearst and a massive campaign by the Emergency Committee organized by Bergson, forced Sol Bloom to publicly come out for the resolution even though he did his best, together with Breckinridge Long to kill it behind the scenes. Bloom, serving as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, had been hostile to every action of the Bergson group, stemming from their condemnation of the Bermuda conference.
1943 November 14, ITALIAN JEWS KILLED (Ferrara, Italy)
Italian fascists killed 3 Jews in cold blood in broad daylight. They were not arrested or prosecuted in any way.
1943 November 19, JANOWSKA CAMP (Janow) REVOLT (Lvov, Ukraine)
Although a number of underground groups were formed they did not unify and many of their leaders were betrayed by informants. Despite this, a number of them tried to fight back when the camp was liquidated. Only a few survived; most were killed by the Ukrainian police.
1943 December, MENACHEM BEGIN (Eretz Israel)
Became commander of the Irgun Zvai Leumi. Begin's first decisions were that the Irgun should maintain an independent policy separate from the Revisionist movement. and begin to plan a revolt against British rule.
1943 December, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Issued a new visa application which was four feet long. The waiting period for processing was now nine months. In addition Jews in Nazi held territories had no way of making visa applications since there were no American consulates. Any refugee who succeeded in reaching countries that had an American consulate (Spain, Portugal) was now considered "not in acute danger" and was therefore denied a visa.
1943 December 6, MILAN JEWS DEPORTED (Italy)
In one of the last major Italian deportations, 212 Jews from Milan were sent to Auschwitz.
In all, out of a population of 35,000 before the war, approximately 8500 Jews were killed. An estimated
2000 Jews fought with the partisans, five of them winning Italy's highest medals for bravery.
1943 December 10, TARASIKA (Romania)
As Soviet troops began to break through German lines, the Germans (and local Romanians) tried to cover up their actions by killing the surviving inmates of the labor camp and destroying the camp itself. This type of action was repeated over and over again as Soviet troops moved toward Germany.
1943 December 13, VLADIMIRETS-VOLYN (Ukraine)
As the SS began its extermination of the local population of Vladimiretz-Volyn, they were attacked by 30 armed Jews. A number of the SS officers were killed as well as half of the attacking force. The remainder fled to the forests to join the partisans. The Voroshilov Detachment and (Anton) Brynsky's partisan battalion were made up mostly of Jews who played an important role fighting against Ukrainian Nationalists and Germans, and later helping the Russians as they advanced.
1943 December 24, NINTH FORT (Kunas, Lithuania)
Considered almost escape proof, 64 Jews broke out on Christmas eve when most of the guards were celebrating. Most were caught in a massive manhunt by Germans and Lithuanian police. Only fourteen made it to the partisans.
1944 January 1, IRGUN ZVAI LEUMI (Eretz Israel)
As news of the destruction of European Jewry filtered in, Menachem Begin, frustrated by the British refusal to let in refugees, declared an armed revolt. The majority of the country followed the lead of the Jewish Agency and the Haganah's call to wait until the end of the war before acting against Britain.
1944 January 16, HENRY MORGENTHAU JR. (1891-1967)
Secretary of the Treasury, presented a personal report to President Roosevelt accusing the State Department of actively preventing the rescue of European Jewry. The State Department's antagonism toward any help for European Jewry stemmed from both incompetence and a fear of "what to do with the Jews if they do get out". The Department was totally against a more liberal attitude toward its own anti-immigration policy and fully supported the British position of not allowing more Jews into Eretz Israel.
1944 January 22, WAR REFUGEE BOARD (USA)
Was set up by President Roosevelt and directed by Henry Morgenthau , with John Phele of the Treasury Department as its executive director. The board lobbied for finding a temporary haven for Jewish refugees, the bombing of Auschwitz and the establishment of a war crimes commission which they felt might make Germans think twice since that the war had turned against them. Despite the late hour and the fact that the State Department under Cordell Hull still dragged its feet, they did succeed in a number of important rescue and relief actions. The Joint Distribution Committee raised $15 million,
the Orthodox Vaad Hatzala $1 million, and the WJC around $300,000 for its activities.
1944 January 26, ARGENTINA
Finally broke off diplomatic relations with Germany. The 100 Argentinean citizens detained by the Nazis were deported to Bergen-Belsen. Until that time, German officials had approached Luis H. Irigoyen, the secretary of the Argentine Embassy in Berlin, regarding their repatriation. Irigoyen had refused, stating that their documents were probably false.
1944 February 1, IRGUN ZVAI LEUMI (Eretz-Israel)
Began its revolt against British rule. The two limitations it set for itself was not to attack military targets until the end of the war and not to attack individuals. On February 12, they attacked the British immigration offices in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa.
1944 March, BRICHAH ORGANIZATION (Rovno, Ukraine)
A month or so after the liberation of Rovno, Eliezer and Abraham Lidovsky, together with Pasha (Isaac) Rajchmann, decided that there was no future for the Jews in Poland. They officially formed an artisan guild to cover their activities. During that summer they sent a group to Cernauti Romania to explore escape routes. Yet it was only after Abba Kovner and his group from Vilna joined in January 1945 that the organization which was known as Brichah took shape.
1944 March, DETAILED REPORT ON AUSCHWITZ (Poland - USA)
Prepared by the Polish underground, it was distributed to the Office of Strategic Services, the War Department and the U.N. War Crimes Commission. None of them released the report.
1944 March, ROSWELL McCLELLAND (Switzerland)
Was assigned to run the War Refugee Board in Switzerland. McClelland had lived in occupied France working for the American Friends Service Committee and had vast experience dealing with these issues. With the financial backing of the Joint, he succeeded in producing thousands of false identity cards, work permits and birth certificates, as well as shipping emergency aid to those who hid Jews in their homes or in convents.
1944 March 16, ADMIRAL MIKLOS HORTHY (Hungary)
Promised Hitler to dismiss the Kallay government which had been making overtures to the Allies and had refused to deport Hungarian Jews.
1944 March 19, OPERATION MARGARET (Hungary)
Germany moved into Hungary. At the time of the occupation 63,000 Jews had already died or been killed. Eichmann, as the head of S.S. officers of the R.S.H.A. (Reich Security Main Office), arrived in Budapest along with SS Major Dieter Wisliceny and Edmund Veesenmayer who was to be in charge of "Jewish Affairs".
1944 March 22, DOME SZTOJAY (Hungary)
A rabid anti-Semite and the former Hungarian minister in Berlin, was appointed prime minster. Laszlo Baky, a leading member of Arrow-Cross Party, Laszlo Endre, a veteran anti-Semite, and Major Ferenczy all played prominent roles in the annihilation of Hungarian Jewry. All were eventually executed after the war.
1944 March 25, VOLOS, GREECE
Volos had a population of 872 Jews before the war which rose to about 1000 by 1944. Tipped off by Archbishop Joachim Alexopoulos, Rabbi Moshe Pessah, working together with the archbishop, managed to disperse all but 130 in the surrounding villages. All of those who remained perished. When they returned after the war, the Archbishop urged the local residents to return any valuables or property which they had been given for safekeeping.
1944 April, IRA HIRSHMAN (USA)
An executive at Bloomingdale's and the representative for the War Refugee Board (WRB) in Turkey succeeded in convincing the Romanian ambassador to Turkey, Alexander Cretzianu, to move Jews from Transnistria, which the Germans still occupied, to Romania itself, thus saving 48,000 people.
1944 April 4, AUCHWITZ WAS PHOTOGRAPHED (Poland)
By Allied airplanes flying overhead. The Allies still refused to bomb the camp or the railroad tracks leading to the camp.
1944 April 5, BUDAPEST JEWISH LEADERS (Hungary)
Dr. Rudolf Kastzner and Joel Brand met with Dieter Wisliceny and proposed to ransom Hungarian Jews in what became known as Blut fuer Ware ("Blood for Goods"). Eichmann, with Himmler's approval, allowed Brand to go to Istanbul in order to broker the deal with the Allies. It is theorized that Himmler was trying to prepare for the inevitable Allied victory by "showing" that he was really in favor of Jewish emigration rather than annihilation.
1944 April 6, LA MAISON D'IZIEU (Izieu France)
Klaus Barbie, head of the Gestapo in Lyons, raided a children's home known as La Maison d'Izieu. Barbie, known as "the Butcher of Lyons", deported 44 Jewish children aged 4 to 13 years and 5 women who were taken directly to Auschwitz and murdered. After the war, Barbie worked for U.S. Army Intelligence, which helped him escape to Bolivia. It was only in 1983 that he was extradited to stand trial. He was convicted in July 1987 and died 4 years later.
1944 April 15, PONARY (Lithuania)
During the years from July 1941 until July 1944, approximately 100,000 people (mainly Jews) were murdered in the forests of the resort town, Ponary in Lithuania. As the Russians approached, a group of 70 Jews and 10 Russians were given the task of burning all the bodies to cover up the mass murder. Realizing that at the end of their work they too would be killed they dug a tunnel thirty meters long with spoons over a period of three months. On the night of April 15 they escaped. Only 13 reached safety alive.
1944 April 18, CROATIA
The German consul in Zagreb, Siegfried Kasche, reported to the German government that "Croatia is one of the countries in which the Jewish problem has been solved."
1944 April 19, HENRY MORGENTHAU (USA)
After an emotional meeting with three old Rabbis, Morgenthau pressured Secretary of State Cordell Hull to help Jews in Vitel, France who possessed Latin American passports and were in danger of deportation to Poland. George Tait, the first secretary in Bern, strongly objected. The State Department succeeded in stalling for 7 weeks by which time the 214 Jews held in Vitel were deported.
1944 April 21, ESCAPEES FROM AUSCHWITZ
Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, who had been in Auschwitz Auschwitz for two years, reached Slovakia and gave an eye witness detailed account of the camp. They were able to produce a detailed report on the structure, workings, and methods of the camp - including the entire annihilation process. The report reached Rabbi Dov Weissmandl who sent it on the head of the Orthodox community in Budapest, Rabbi Philip Von Freudiger, as a warning for Hungarian Jews, and sent it to the American Delegation in Bern as well. It took Roswell McClelland of the American delegation in Switzerland almost six months to forward the full text of the report to the State Department. Weismandel appealed for the bombing of the camps but was rebuffed.
1944 May, SERVIGLIANO CONCENTRATION CAMP (Italy)
Was attacked by partisans led by Haim Vito Volterra. Several hundred Jews were able to escape. This was the only time in Western Europe that Jewish and non-Jewish partisans joined in attacking a Jewish concentration camp.
1944 May 14, - July 8, HUNGARIAN JEWS DEPORTED (Hungary)
Mostly to Auschwitz. According to German reports, 437,402 Jews were deported in 55 days on 148 trains.
1944 May 15, HIMMLER
Offered Rudolf Kasztner to keep 30,000 physically fit Hungarian Jews "on ice" in an Austrian labor camp at a price of $200 per head plus maintenance. The committee could only find around 10,000 dollars. Eichmann took the money and sent them to Auschwitz.
1944 May 19, BLOBEL COMMANDO/SONDERKOMMANDO 1005 ESCAPE (Ponary, Lithuania)
Led by Isaac Dogim and Yudi Farber, a tunnel was dug with spoons running under a barbed wire fence and a mine field. It took 3 months to complete the 80 meter tunnel. It is unknown how many of the 80 prisoners actually escaped, although 11 managed to join a partisan unit near Vilna. The
Sonderkommando 1005 under Commander Paul Blobel had the job of burning the bodies both in extermination camps and at mass graves. A month earlier Dogim had discovered the remains of his mother and three sisters at Ponary, Lithuania.
1944 May 31, MARIANNE COHN ("COLIN") (France)
A member of the Zionist Youth Movement (MJS), Marrianne was arrested while trying to smuggle Jewish children out of France. Until her arrest, she had succeeded in getting hundreds of children to Switzerland. She was taken with a group of 23 children and although the local mayor succeeded in releasing them, she was incarcerated until the Gestapo took her from the prison on July 3,1944. Her body was found in a mass grave when the town was liberated only a month later.
1944 June 7, ESCAPE FROM AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
Vladimir Epstein and two Russian POW's escaped from the camp and formed their own partisan unit known as The People's Avenger (Narodny Mstitel). When he met the first Russian detachments on January 15, 1945, he presented them with the identity papers of 120 SS men that they themselves had killed.
1944 June 17, CHANIA (CANEA) (Crete)
The Jewish community of Chania (Canea), Crete dating from Roman times, came to an end when the Nazis occupying the island of Crete ordered Chania's remaining 269 Jews into the Etz Hayyim (Tree of Life) synagogue. In the morning, they were forced to board the ship Danai on the first leg of a journey to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Halfway to the mainland, the vessel was hit by British torpedoes and sank. There were no survivors, including 600 other Greek and Italian prisoners. At the beginning of the war there were 322 Jews in Crete. Only 7 Jews survived.
1944 June 25, MONSIGNOR ANGELO ROTTA (Hungary)
The papal nuncio (ambassador) in Budapest, at his own initiative, delivered a letter of protest from the pope over the deportation of Hungarian Jews. This letter, combined with a warning from Secretary of State Cordell Hull regarding reprisal for the Hungarian actions, forced Regent Horthy to stop the deportations.
1944 June 30, BLUT FUER WARE ("BLOOD FOR GOODS") (Hungary - Switzerland)
Hungarian Jewish leaders Joel Brand and Rudolf Kastner working together with the Jewish Agency and the War Refugee board concluded a deal with Adolph Eichmann. It became known as Blut fuer Ware ("Blood for Goods"). This date marks the first of three transports with 1,658 people to Switzerland. Included in this transport were 80 prominent Jews including the Satmar Rebbe (Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum), the Debreziner Rav, Rabbi Jonathan Steif, and Adolph Deutsch, head of the Budapest Agudah. This transport was held up in Bergen-Belsen for six months and only reached Switzerland in December. There were two other transports; one on August 18, with 318 people and the last on December 6, with 1,368 people. A total of 3,344 Jews were sent at a price of 1,000 dollars per head. The deal was the subject of much controversy and after the war, Kastner was accused by Malkiel Grünwald of collaboration with the Nazis and of testifying for an SS officer Kurt Becher who had negotiated with him on behalf of Eichmann. Much of the resentment had to do with the selection made for the transports. He was accused of helping only those who were either wealthy, had a personal connection to the committee, or were politically acceptable. Although the Supreme Court in Israel (on an appeal) cleared his name on January 17, 1958, it came too late for Kastner who had been shot and killed in March, 1957 in Tel Aviv by Ze'ev Eckstein, a Hungarian survivor.
1944 July 2, THE NEW YORK TIMES (USA)
Published an article concerning the murder of 400,000 Hungarian Jews. It was put on page twelve while page one was dedicated to problems with the July 4th holiday crowds.
1944 July 7, AMERICAN BOMBERS (Poland)
Flew over Auschwitz but did not drop any bombs.
1944 July 9, RAOUL WALLENBERG (Hungary)
Arrived in Budapest to join Per Anger, secretary of the Swedish legation in Budapest, at the Swedish Embassy at the request of the Swedish government and the War Refugee Board. Anger had already begun to use temporary passports but Wallenberg had the idea of a Schutzpass (protective pass) which was more effective. Charles "Carl" Lutz, consul for Switzerland, joined in with him. Wallenberg helped set up soup kitchens, and medical care facilities. They would often go to the trains using threats and even bribery to get Jews off the trains. Wallenberg managed to issue around 15,000 protective passes.
1944 July 13, RUSSIANS ENTERED VILNA (Lithuania)
During the war, over 100,000 Jews passed though the ghetto. The Russians found only 600 Jews who were hiding in the sewers.
1944 July 18, REGENT MIKLOS HORTHY (Hungary)
Offered the Red Cross to allow all children under ten with valid visas as well as anyone who had a British Palestine certificate to leave the country. Despite American pressure, the British stalled, refusing to commit themselves until August 17. By the time the arrangements were made it was too late and the Germans sealed the borders.
1944 July 22, ARMEE JUIVE; AJ (Jewish Army) (Toulouse, France)
Informants led French militia to a meeting of the AJ. Ariane Knout, who had been active along with her husband David since 1940, was killed. Ariane, a convert to Judaism, was the daughter of composer Alexander Scriabin and Vyasheslav Molotov's niece. Tommy Bauer, another leader, was wounded and taken by the Gestapo. After three days of torture he died.
1944 July 24, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
The largest number of executions in the history of the camp took place with 46,000 victims.
1944 August 1, SECOND WARSAW UPRISING (Poland)
As the Russians approached the Vistula river, the National Armed Force (NSZ) called for a revolt against the Germans. Thousands of Jews who had been hiding in the Aryan section tried to join but were rejected outright and in many cases attacked. Yitzhak Zuckerman did succeed in leading a Jewish Fighters Unit. Others joined Polish resistance groups such as Armia Krajowa (Home Army) and the Armia Ludowa (People's Army).
1944 August 5, MEFKURE (Romania - Turkey)
A refugee ship from Romania, arranged by the War Refugee Board was sunk off the Turkish coast by a German warship. The Germans then machine-gunned the survivors, including 100 children. Out of 295 passengers, only five survived. Due to difficulties placed in their path by the Turkish government, the WRB succeeded in only bringing in 2,700 refugees to Turkey between May and August.
1944 August 6, LODZ GHETTO (Poland)
The last ghetto in Poland was liquidated. 60,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz.
1944 August 17, DRANCY CONCENTRATION/TRANSIT CAMP (France)
Was liberated. From August 21, 1941 until it was liberated over 61,000 Jews were deported from Drancy "to the East." Many Jews died in Drancy and its satellite camps (Noe, Gurs, and Recebedou). 1500 inmates were still in the camp when it was liberated.
1944 August 19, JEWISH MARQUIS (French Resistance movement) (France)
The Marc Haguenau company (named for the Jewish resistance leader killed in 1943 who had been a leader of the "sixth") led by Robert Gamzon, together with help from an American sabotage team, blew up a German troop train near Mazamet. After the initial blast, an intense firefight ensued. By dawn the Germans fearfully surrendered to the calls "Wir Sind Juden" ("We are Jews"). The next day they participated in the German surrender (3,500 soldiers) in Casters.
1944 August 20, AMERICAN B-17 FLYING FORTRESSES (Poland)
Bombed a factory five miles east of Auschwitz. That same month (August 14) Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy, wrote to the World Jewish Congress: "Such an operation could be executed only by the diversion of considerable air support...such an effort, even if practical might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans."
1944 August 21, BERGEN-BELSEN (Germany)
A token transport of 318 Jews was sent from Bergen-Belsen to Switzerland on the orders of Himmler to show "good will" for Kastzner and the other negotiators.
1944 August 23, BUCHAREST LIBERATED (Romania)
By the Russians. Ana Pauker (1890-1960), who had been imprisoned for being a communist, returned and founded the Romanian Democratic Front. She became minister of Foreign Affairs in 1947, but was later expelled, being accused (wrongly) of favoring emigration to Israel.
1944 August 29, BULGARIA
All anti-Jewish legislation was officially withdrawn.
1944 August 29, SLOVAK UPRISING
Began with the participation of over 1500 Jewish partisans. The revolt was viciously repressed by the Germans who occupied the whole country and deported more than 18,000 Jews.
1944 August 30, DOME SZTOJAY (Hungary)
Was forced to resign. General Geza Lakatos became prime minister and tried to prepare Hungary for an Allied victory. He requested that Eichmann remove the Einsatzkommandos.
1944 September 13, IG FARBEN'S BUNA FACTORY (Auschwitz, Poland)
Made synthetic rubber and was bombed by B-24 Liberators of the 93rd Bomb Group. A few bombs fell on the camp, accidentally killing fifteen SS officers as well as inmates. It was bombed again on December 19th and on the 26th.
1944 September 20, THE JEWISH BRIGADE GROUP (Eretz Israel)
Was formed by the British High Command. After a long battle by Chaim Weizmann and Moshe Sharret, Britain agreed to the establishment of a Jewish unit to fight alongside British troops. Their brigade commander was Ernest Frank Benjamin, a Canadian-born Jew serving in the Royal Engineers. The brigade, also known as "Chi'l" Chativa Yehudit Lohemet (Jewish Fighting Brigade) had its own flag consisting of a gold star of David with a blue and white striped background. In all, over 5000 people enlisted from pre-state Israel, including many who had fled from Europe. Seven hundred of them lost their lives. After the war they formed the basis for the illegal immigration efforts and served as one of the foundations of the IDF. Two chiefs of staff, M. Makleff and H. Laskov, were trained in the brigade.
1944 September 28, JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE (Slovakia)
Represented by Saly Meyer leader of the Swiss Jewish community, and Rudolph Kastzner offered fifteen million Swiss francs to save the remaining Slovak Jews. The offer was dismissed despite the fact that Romania, Finland, and Bulgaria had already surrendered and the fate of the war was sealed.
1944 October, PLASZOW CONCENTRATION CAMP (Poland)
Oscar Schindler obtained permission from SS commandant Amon Goeth to move his factory, which produced ammunition for the German army, from Plaszow near Cracow, to Brunnlitz in occupied Czechoslovakia. Schindler succeeded in drawing up his own list of 1,098 workers which became known as "Schindler's list." Most of the other 25,000 Jews in Plaszow were sent on the short 60 km journey to Auschwitz. Goeth, who was known for his cruelty which included target practice on bypassing Jews, was hanged near Plaszow on September 13, 1946.
1944 October 3 - 6, THE WASHINGTON POST (USA)
A Jewish owned newspaper ran anti- Bergson articles from its front page. It was later forced to retract them. This was the only time that it gave any front page coverage to a "Holocaust" issue.
1944 October 7, BIRKENAU (AUSCHWITZ II) UPRISING
David Szmulewski, one of the leaders of Birkenau's underground, and of the Jews of the Sonderkommados, who worked in the gas chambers and crematorias, blew up
crematorium IV. Rosa Robota, one of the heroines of the Auschwitz underground, succeeded in smuggling explosives out of a munitions factory. Rosa was caught and tortured but refused to give away any of her comrades. Her last words scribbled on a piece of paper just before she was hanged were "Hazak V'Arnatz"--Be Strong and Brave." After killing several SS men, the group escaped, although few survived.
1944 October 15, HUNGARY
With the Soviet Red Army just 100 miles away from Budapest, Horthy began considering signing an armistice with the Allies. The Nazis acted swiftly sending in German Commando Otto Skorzeny, who kidnapped Horthy's son, Nicholas, forcing Horthy to abdicate. A pro-German government was installed with Ferenc Szalasi, the leader of the Arrow Cross party, heading the government. Eichmann returned immediately and continued with the transports. In reaction to Szalasi's policies, Raoul Wallenberg the Swedish diplomat, set up thirty "Swedish houses" with a Swedish flag outside each door, declaring these homes Swedish territory. Almost 15,000 people found refuge in these shelters. Szalasi was later hanged by the Russians.
1944 October 19, LATRUN INTERMENT CAMP (Eretz Israel)
The British surrounded the camp and deported 251 members of the Irgun and Lehi to Eritrea in Eastern Africa. Until the end of the British mandate, 439 people suspected of being associated with the Irgun and Lehi were deported.
1944 October 23, THE HUNTING SEASON (Eretz-Israel)
Also known as "the season" in which the Jewish Agency and Haganah leadership began a campaign directed at ending Irgun activities. Eliyahu Golomb demanded that the Irgun take its directives only from the Haganah. Begin replied that while he respected Ben Gurion as the leader of the Yishuv, he rejected both the policy of havlagah (restraint), and the hands-off policy regarding the British. He predicted that the Haganah would eventually come around to the Irgun's way of thinking. The Haganah gave the British direct information, as well as assisting in arresting over 700 Irgun activists, including financial supporters. Several hundred of them were deported to Eritrea, Africa. Although at this stage the decision was made to dismember the Irgun without overt cooperation with the British, this changed dramatically after the assassination of Lord Moyne by the Lehi in November, 1944.
1944 October 28, NATIONAL REVOLT (Slovakia)
Approximately 2,500 Jews, including a parachutist from Eretz Israel, joined to try to help organize the revolt. The Germans used this as the alleged reason for the deportation of most of the 13,500 Slovakian Jews who were left. The rebels succeeded in liberating two labor camps, Sered and Novaky, before the rebellion was put down and they had to escape to the mountains.
1944 October 30, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
Last use of gas chambers.
1944 November 6, LEHI ASSASSINATED BRITISH MINISTER LORD MOYNE (Eretz Israel)
The LEHI group (Lochami Cheirut Yisrael) had accused him of expelling immigrant ships and preventing the arrival of refugees to Eretz Israel. When approached by Joel Brand in Cairo with a request to help save Hungarian Jewry he had commented, "what would I do with a million Jews." Two of Lehi's members - Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet-Zuri - were dispatched to Cairo to assassinate Lord Moyne but were caught shortly after carrying out their mission. On January 10, 1945 they were put on trial and were hanged March 23, 1945.
1944 November 7, HANNAH SZENES (Senesh) (1921-1944) (Hungary)
was murdered. Born in Hungary, she immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1939 and volunteered with 32 other young Jews who were trained by the British to infiltrate behind enemy lines. Szenes was captured in June by the Hungarian secret police and refused to give away information, even under torture. On November 7, 1944 although her final sentence had not been passed ,she was shot in the courtyard of Conti prison under the orders of Captain Simon. Six other parachutists lost their lives during their missions. Captain Simon was later charge with her illegal execution and sentenced to one year in prison. In 1993 she was exonerated by a Hungarian military court.
1944 November 19, HAGANAH (Eretz Israel)
In reaction to world condemnation of Lord Moyne's assassination, the Haganah decided to actively help the British in tracking down the Irgun. In addition, on Ben Gurion's, orders, all members of the undergrounds and their supporters were thrown out of work and even schools. Two executives of the Jewish Agency, Rabbi Yehuda Fishman-Maimon and Yitzhak Greenboim objected, and Greenboim even resigned in protest. Ironically, Lehi supporters - who ordered the assassination - were not hunted. According to Lehi sources, Natan Yellin Mor (one of Lehi's leaders) had warned Golomb, that unlike the Irgun (who decided not to take revenge and risk a civil war), they would pay a heavy price if any of Lehi's supporters were touched.
1944 November 20, HAVIVA REIK (1914-1944) (Slovakia)
was executed by the Nazis. Reik along with Rafael Reiss, Zvi Ben-Yaakov, and Haim Hermesh volunteered to parachute into Slovakia to help the uprising against the Nazis. In September 1944 despite British refusal to send her on the mission she succeeded in reaching her fellow paratroopers in Banska Bystresis. When it fell they moved into the mountains and fought together with other Jewish partisans until she was captured by the Ukrainian SS troops in early November. In 1952 she was reburied on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.
1944 November 26, HIMMLER DESTROYED EVIDENCE
As World War II entered its last phase, the Germans decided to hide all evidence of the mass murders. On orders from Himmler, the gas chambers and crematoria were to be blown up or dismantled. Pits were filled with human ash.
1944 November 28, BUDAPEST (Hungary)
As Soviet troops reached the outskirts of the city, the Germans forced 85,000 Jews on a death march towards Austria.
1944 December, - 1945 January, GIORGIO PERLASCA (1910-1992) (Budapest, Hungary)
An Italian, worked together with the Spanish ambassador, Angel Sanz Briz, to not only become a Spanish citizen but to even be "appointed" as his substitute after Briz was transferred to Germany. Under this guise, Perlasca used the "Rivera law" to give Spanish citizenship to all Sephardic Jews. In the 45 days until the entry of the Russian army, he managed to save 5218 people.
1944 December 11, BRICHAH (Romania)
Rabbi Meir Kahan and Dr. Shmuel Amarant were arrested by the NKVD, together with a number of Zionist youth trying to get through the Romanian border on their way to Eretz Israel. Abba Kovner was also on the wanted list and new routes had to be devised.
1944 December 22, LABOR PARTY (Britain)
Adopted a proposal for the establishment of a Jewish state and the voluntary transfer of the Arab population.
1945 YESHIVOT KETANOT - RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS (USA)
By the end of WWII there were six all day religious schools in the United States. Although the emphasis was on religious teachings, they also offered a full curriculum in secular subjects. Approximately 9000 students attended these schools
1945 January, BRICHAH (Lublin,Poland)
Organization was founded by Abba Kovner and Yitzchak Zuckerman joining the Lidovsky brothers and their group from Rovno. What had begun as an ideological discussion six months earlier had become a movement to get Jews out of Europe and into Eretz Israel. Mordechai Roseman was asked to direct the organization, which began sending small groups to Romania. It later merged into Mosad leAliyah Bet (or "Mosad", center for "illegal" immigration) in Palestine, whose head, Shaul Avigur, moved his office to Paris in 1946. Between 1944-1948, Brichah moved over 200,000 people to southern ports and eventually to Eretz Israel, mostly against the will of the occupying governments.
1945 January 16, ARMY LIBERATED BUDAPEST (Hungary)
From the time the Arrow Cross party took power until the Russian liberation, over 90,000 Hungarian Jews lost their lives.
1945 January 17, RAOUL WALLENBERG (Hungary)
The Swedish diplomat disappeared in Budapest two days after it was liberated. Eyewitnesses last saw him in the company of two Russian soldiers. Wallenberg was instrumental in saving tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis. The Russians claim that he died in a Russian prison on July 17, 1947. There are many witnesses who claim they saw him in prison years later.
1945 January 18, AUSCHWITZ EVACUATED (Poland)
As the Russians approached, Germans began to evacuate Auschwitz. Some 66,000 prisoners were forced on a death march of which over 15,000 died. When the Russians arrived on January 26, they found only 7,000 survivors, many of whom died in the following days.
1945 March 1, HIGH COMMISSIONER (Eretz Israel)
Complained in a letter to the colonial secretary about the Haganah (during "the Season"). His accusation was that "many of the 830 suspects"detained so far...include numerous people who have no terror connections, but politically speaking are undesirable to the Jewish Agency."
1945 March 2, HAGANAH POLICY TOWARDS THE IRGUN (Eretz Israel)
Ha'aretz newspaper reported that Yaakov Tavin, head of the Irgun's intelligence service, had been arrested and held for six months in Kibbutz Ein Harod. During that time he was interrogated and even tortured. This and other incidents led to the condemnation of the Haganah policies by the Chief Rabbinate and civil organizations. The protests, together with the disillusion of the Zionist leadership with British promises, led to the eventual collapse of
"the Season". According to both sides, the Season did not succeed in dismantling of the Irgun.
1945 March 9, KOL YISRAEL (The Voice of Israel) (Eretz Israel)
Began its clandestine broadcasts. Although the Haganah had tried broadcasting in March of 1940, it only lasted a few months. This time the Haganah was prepared, and despite the best British efforts they never succeeded in closing down the transmitters.
1945 March 15, ANNE FRANK (Bergen Belsen, Germany)
Died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp from typhus, shortly before the liberation. Through her diary, she became singular symbol of the Holocaust for millions of people. She was 15 years old. (see June 12 , 1929)
1945 March 25, NARODOWE SILY ZBROJOWE (NSZ) (Poland)
A fascist organization announced that it is a patriotic duty to kill Jews.
1945 April 15, BRITISH LIBERATED BERGEN-BELSEN (Germany)
The first major camp to be liberated by the Allies, the British found 60,000 inmates still alive although 14,000 of them died soon after the liberation. The dreadfulness of the camp received wide spread public attention. Among those found were its commandant Josef Kramer, and many of its administrators. The British forced them to help in the clean up. Twenty of them contracted disease and died. Kramer, who was also the commandant of Birkenau, was condemned to death November 17, 1945 by the British.
1945 April 29, DACHAU (Germany)
The first of the S.S. concentration camps was captured by the US Army. They found 32,335 prisoners, many of whom died in the weeks that followed. The Americans later used it as a prison camp for Nazi war criminals.
1945 April 29, NEW YORK (USA)
60,000 people attended a mass rally calling for the establishment of a Jewish state. There were 88 rallies held all over the United States in preparation for the San Francisco Conference of the United Nations.
1945 April 30, HITLER (Germany)
Killed himself in the bunker at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.
1945 May, THE JEWISH BRIGADE
Was transferred to northeast Italy where they come into contact with Jewish survivors. With the end of the war the Brigade played an important part in illegal immigration and the founding of the state as well as the Israel Defense Forces.
1945 May 3, SS CAP ARCONA
A converted passenger ship is sunk by the British the day before the unconditional cease fire. The ship which was also used in the past as a German troop ship and as a model for the German movie Titanic was harbored in the Bay of Lübeck in the Baltic sea and was carrying approximately 5000 concentration camp survivors. After the initial British attack those who tried to jump ship were shot by the SS aboard. S.S., cadets from a submarine school, and the Home Guard from Neustadt were on the beach to make sure that none would reach safety. Although British intelligence knew that the ship held prisoners they failed to pass on the information. The British government ordered the records to be sealed for 100 years. Nearly 490 of the 600 Germans onboard survived including 400 SS men and 20 SS women.There were only 350 Jewish survivors. rnrn
1945 May 8, GENERAL JODL SIGNED GERMANY'S SURRENDER (Rheims, Germany)
At Eisenhower's headquarters, Germany was divided into four sectors. Tens of thousands of Jews fled to the American and British Zones. The Third Reich, known as the Thousand Year Reich was over. While it existed, approximately 6,000,000 Jews were killed; 63% of the Jewish population of Europe prior to the war was exterminated.
1945 May 9, ARRIVED IN BRUNNLITZ (Czechoslovakia)
Oscar Schindler and his wife Emilie bid an emotional good bye from the 1,200 Schindlerjuden (Schindler's Jews) he managed to save. In addition to the 1,100 Jews he saved from Plaszow, he and his wife also rescued two cattle cars of half frozen Jews who had been left to die. Schindler, although personally a controversial figure, attained the admiration of Jews and non-Jews all over the world. His comment, when asked about his actions was: "I could've got more, if I'd just..." He died October 9, 1974 and upon his request was buried on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
1945 June 2, POPE PIUS XII
At the college of cardinals attacked the former Nazi regime. In his speech he mentioned the catholic priests imprisoned in Dachau, and other priests and nuns who died in Nazi concentration camps. He did not say one word about the annihilation of the Jews or any other group.
1945 July 1, SHE'ERIT HA-PELETAH (surviving remnant) (Germany)
A conference was organized with 94 representatives of Jewish DPs from all the zones at the St. - Ottilien Camp in Germany. Among their demands was the establishment of a Jewish state and Jewish participation in the peace negotiations. The group, which also called itself the Central Committee of Liberated Jews, had first met in Feldafing a month earlier. Although at first they succeeded in putting political issues aside, by October many including the Zionist formed their own groups within the central committee.
1945 July 4, TRIPOLI (Libya)
And in other Libyan towns, Muslims begin
1945 July 26, LABOR PARTY (England)
Won the election. Prior to the elections, Churchill had promised the end to the White Papers and to help establish a Jewish state. Within a month of his election, signs appeared that disputed Churchill's statements.
1945 August 11, CRACOW (Poland)
A Jewish school was burned down in the first of the post-war anti-Jewish riots that spread over Poland. Many of them were instigated by organizations such as AK-WiN (Wolnosc i Niezawislosc - Freedom and Independence) which was the successor to the right wing A.J. (Armja Krajowa). WiN accused the Jews and the Soviet NKVD of instigating the riots. Other riots broke out in Radom and Czestochowa. The approximately 80,000 Jews in Poland at the time (a further movement of Jews into Poland from Russia would take place in 1946) looked for any means to enter the western sectors of Germany.
1945 August 21, GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON (Poland)
Turned back four trainloads of 650 Jews organized by the Brichah movement. They attempted to cross the Allied zones near Pilsen, Czechoslovakia hoping to enter Germany and the special camps being set up for Jewish refugees. Although there had been a request from the "top authorities" of the US army's XXII corps to allow the transports through, General Patton ordered his 8th armored Division to use force to send them back to Poland and many Jews were injured. The uproar in the press, combined with the soon-to-be-released Harrison Report, once and for all stopped the Americans from prohibiting Jews from enter into the American zone in Germany.
1945 August 24, HARRISON MISSION (USA)
Earl Harrison, the Dean of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and a
former U.S. commissioner on immigration, had been sent as a personal envoy
of President Harry S. Truman to inquire into the conditions of the Displace
Persons (DP's), especially the Jews, and issued his report. "Jews are kept
behind barbed wire
in camps, including concentration camps
to communicate to the outside world. We appear to be treating
the Jews as the Nazi's
except that we don't exterminate them." He concluded
that "the U.S. should convince the British to open Palestine to refugees."
1945 August 27, MAURITIUS DETAINEES (Eretz Israel)
The 1310 surviving Mauritius detainees were allowed into Eretz Israel. Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean, was used by the British to detain Jewish refugees fleeing Europe and trying to enter Eretz Israel. In late December 1940, about 1500 people, including 621 women and 116 children, were forcibly transferred to the island. Twenty-two died from disease along the way. Although many of the men volunteered to join the Allied forces, their families were not recognized as families of British soldiers, by the British government
1945 August 28, DALIN (Eretz Israel)
With the end of the war, the last and largest movement of illegal immigration began. The ship Dalin dropped off 35 new immigrants near Caesarea and then took dozens of emissaries back to Europe to help bring others to Eretz Israel.
1945 August 31, PRESIDENT HARRY S.TRUMAN (USA)
In reaction to the Harrison Report, President Truman severely criticized the conditions of the DP's and contended that his policies "are not being carried out." In addition, he urged the British government to grant 100,000 immigration permits to the DP's in Germany. It was also decided to arrange for Jews to live in separate camps with the
Joint providing additional rations.
1945 September 16, PRIME MINISTER ATLEE (Britain)
Rejected Truman's request to allow the admission of 100,000 refugees into Eretz Israel. A few days later, (September 21), the British cabinet decided that despite previous promises, "Palestine" was to become a country with an Arab majority. Jewish immigration was to be limited to 18,000 Jews a year.
1945 September 17, GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON
Taking General Eisenhower on a visit to DP camps, he called Jewish inmates "the greatest stinking bunch of humanity" and stating that they have "no sense of human relationships". Patton had also referred to the Jewish DP's as "lower than animals". When attacked for his anti-Semitic remarks, Patton called it a "plot by Jews and Communists" to replace him.
1945 September 23, MOSHE SNEH (Eretz Israel)
Head of the Haganah General Headquarters, disappointed in the continual anti immigration attitude of the British, requested from David Ben Gurion permission to begin to act. Ben-Gurion agreed and instructed him to "stage a grave incident" as a warning. With this change in attitude, plus the protest against their actions, "the season" against the Irgun (Etzel) ended and the three groups began to cooperate in order to clandestinely bring in Jewish immigrants.
1945 October, POLAND
From the beginning of the year until October, 351 Jews had been murdered in anti-Jewish riots in Poland.
1945 October 6, GENERAL MARK CLARK (Austria)
After receiving a report from James Rice, a representative of the JDC, (and fearful that this report may reach the press), he publicly reprimanded General Rinehart and his chief of staff Colonel Epes of the 26th division for their treatment of Jewish DP's and the appalling conditions of the camps under their control. The area of General Harry Collins and the 42nd "Rainbow Division" had no such problems.
1945 October 10, ATLIT (Eretz-Israel)
In a daring raid, the Palmach freed 208 "illegal" immigrants from the internment camp set up by the British.
1945 November 1, NIGHT OF THE RAILWAYS (Eretz Israel)
In the first cooperative effort between the rnHaganah, rn Etzel, and Lehi, railroad tracks all over the country were blown up. This unification was known as Tnuat HaMeri Ha'ivri (The Hebrew (Jewish) Resistance Movement. The Haganah sabotaged railway tracks in 153 places throughout the country, as well as targets in Jaffa and Haifa ports. The Irgun-Lehi unit, commanded by Eitan Livni, attacked the main railway station at Lydda (Lod). The movement included two representatives of the Haganah (Yisrael Galili and Moshe Sneh), an Irgun delegate (Menahem Begin) and a rn Lehi delegate (Nathan Yellin-Mor). All operations were authorized by the Haganah command, which had the right of veto based on strategic, or political considerations.
1945 November 2, EGYPT
Riots took place on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Similar riots in Tripoli left 120 Jews dead.
1945 November 5, TRIPOLITANIA PROVINCE RIOTS (Libya)
In three days of riots more than 140 Jews were murdered (including 36 children) and hundreds more injured in the British controlled area of Tripolitania. The British were criticized for not acting to quell the riots soon after they began. Nine synagogues and over 4000 Jewish houses were destroyed. This directly led to the mass immigration to Israel which began four years later.
1945 November 13, ANGLO-AMERICAN COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY
Was established by President Truman and British Prime Minster Atlee to look into the problem of Jewish refugees, as well as political, economic, and social conditions in Eretz Israel. The committee consisted of six American and six British members with joint chairing by J. E. Singleton and J. C. Hutcheson. Prior to visiting Eretz Israel, they traveled around Europe visiting DP camps and meeting officials. (See May 1, 1946 for their report.) British Foreign Minister Ernst Bevin came out with a vicious attack on Zionism and announced that Jewish immigration would be reduced.
1945 December 3, ARAB BOYCOTT
The origin of the Arab Boycott of Israel can be traced to a decision by the Arab league to boycott all Jewish goods produced in Eretz Israel.
1945 December 5, BRITAIN
Announced that Jews were no longer permitted to enter DP camps in their zone.
1945 December 10, NUREMBERG
Council Law No. 10 is signed by 23 countries establishing the war crimes commission at Nuremberg. Approximately 5000 people were tried with 600 receiving the death sentence.
1945 December 22, EXECUTIVE ORDER (USA)
By President Truman was to give priority to DP's and allow into the United States almost 40,000 per year. In reality, between December 1945 and July 1948 (when the Displaced Persons act was passed) the State Department only let in 45,000 DP's of which only about 12,600 were Jews.
1945 December 27, BRITISH INTELLIGENCE OFFICES (Jerusalem and Jaffa)
Were attacked again by a combined Lehi-Irgun force. Both buildings, despite fortifications were severely damaged.
1946 January 1, DISPLACED PERSONS (Europe)
Britain agreed to allow 1500 Jews a month to immigrate to Eretz Israel. The United States, still under quotas, allowed only 1500 permits for anyone from Eastern Europe (Jews and non-Jews alike). It is estimated that there were over 250,000 Jewish Displaced Persons (DPs) in Europe, approximately thirty percent of all the displaced persons in Europe. Britain closed off their sector to Jews, forcing 5000 Jews a month into the American zones over the next four months. Over the next few years Israel would take in 142,000, the USA 72,000, Canada 16,000, Belgium 8,000, France, 2000, and the rest of the world combined 10,000.
1946 January 2, GENERAL SIR FREDERICK MORGAN (Germany)
The British Chief of Displaced Persons for the United Nations (UNRRA - The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) in Germany claimed that there was a Jewish conspiracy in trying to leave Europe. "They are well dressed, well fed, and rosy cheeked" and had "pockets bulging with money" and warned that the Jews were "growing into a world force." He also insisted that he did not find one "concrete example" of a pogrom within Poland since the war. Although he later claimed he was misquoted, he never retracted or explained what he really did say.
1946 January 6, POGROM IN ZANZUR (LIBYA)
Islamic instigators encouraged the local population to attack the Jewish community. Half of the 150 local Jews were murdered. The rioting spread to a number of small towns near Tripoli, leaving a death toll of approximately 180 Jews and nine synagogues destroyed. The local police and Arab soldiers often joined in the destruction and murder.
1946 February 1, DP POLL (Europe)
By Major John Denny of the U.S. Army revealed that 95% of the 1,941 persons polled wished only to go to Eretz Israel. Another army poll showed that out of 5,057 participants, only 109 wished to go to other countries.
1946 February 23, HAGANAH ATTACKED (Eretz Israel)
The British police forces at Kfar Vitkin, Shfar'am and Sarona (now the Kirya in Tel Aviv).
1946 February 25, 'NIGHT OF THE AIRFIELDS' (Eretz Israel)
Three airfields were attacked by the combined Jewish Resistance Movement. At Kfar Syrkin six planes were destroyed, at Lydda (Lod) eleven, and at Kastina twenty aircraft were destroyed.
1946 March 2, OFFENBACH ARCHIVAL DEPOT (OAD) (Germany)
Was established by the American military. Its goal was to house and protect the collection of Judaica taken from various Nazi depots. Within less then a month, they processed over 1.8 million items which were contained in 2,351 crates. By August 1947, 2,000,000 books and "identifiable materials" were returned and distributed to the survivors.
1946 March 5, BIRYA (Eretz Israel)
British soldiers raided the kibbutz and after finding hidden weapons they occupied the moshav and arrested the settlers. On March 14, thousands of young people went up and started building Biriya Bet (Biriya II) but were driven off by British troops. The following night they returned with tents, eventually forcing the British to free the prisoners and withdraw from the kibbutz (June 7). Eventually the kibbutz was turned into a moshav for North African immigrants.
1946 March 6, SARAFAND ARMY CAMP ARMORY (Eretz Israel)
Was raided. Irgun fighters were disguised as British soldiers and two of them, Yosef Simchon and Michael Ashbel, were captured. Both were sentenced to be hanged. On June 18, 1946, the Irgun captured five British officers and warned that they would be hanged in return. The death sentence was commuted.
1946 April, RAID ON RAILWAY STATION AND BRIDGES (Ashdod, Eretz Israel)
In the largest operation planned by the
Irgun, 100 members commanded by Dov Cohen (Shimshon) blew up railway tracks in the south of the country. Thirty-one people were arrested in the Bat Yam dunes, among them some of the best Irgun commanders, and one was killed.
1946 May 1, ANGLO - AMERICAN COMMISSION
On the Jewish refugee problem in Europe
advised to allow the immediate entry of 100,000 Jews into Eretz Israel.
1946 May 1, ANGLO-AMERICAN COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY
After examining the situation in the DP camps, the committee concluded unanimously that no other country was willing to help Jews who wished to leave Europe. As such, in addition to trying to find other countries willing to take in Jewish refugees, 100,000 certificates for immigration to Eretz Israel was to be issued immediately. Although President Truman endorsed the recommendation, the British again turned him down.
1946 June 17, NIGHT OF THE BRIDGES (Eretz Israel)
In a coordinated effort by the
Haganah, eleven bridges linking Eretz-Israel
to other countries were destroyed. North of Acre, 14 of the fighters died.
Kibbutz Gesher Haziv was established in their memory. The British reaction
came 12 days later on what would become known as Black Sabbath, with mass
arrests including members of the Jewish Agency executive.
1946 June 19, KFAR GILADI (Eretz Israel)
In a raid on the kibbutz, twelve members were injured while offering passive resistance. When hundreds of nearby residents tried to reach the kibbutz, the British opened fire, killing three and wounding six. In all, during the two days of confrontation, four Jews were killed, eighteen injured and more than 100 arrested.
1946 June 29, BLACK SABBATH (Eretz-Israel)
In the largest operation against the Yishuv to date, a countrywide curfew was proclaimed, and 17,000 soldiers searched kibbutzim and institutions looking for weapons, documents, and individuals. The Jewish Agency, as well as homes of the Yishuv leaders, were ransacked, and truckloads of secret documents were taken away to the British military headquarters at the King David Hotel. Hundreds of the Yishuv's leaders were arrested. Only one "slick" (a hiding place for weapons) was found, at Kibbutz Yagur. In all, around 2,700 people were arrested, including Moshe Shertok (Sharett) and Bernard Joseph (Dov Yosef) of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency, and David Remez, chairman of the Vaad Le'umi. Most were taken to the Rafiah internment camp.
1946 June 29, ESCAPE FROM ERITREA (Eastern Africa)
Fifty-four Irgun and Lehi prisoners succeeded in tunneling seventy meters under the fence. Although none succeeded in escaping from Ethiopia itself, it humiliated the British, who decided to move them to Kenya.
1946 July, MISKOLC POGROM (Hungary)
Five Jews were killed and many injured. This, following a pogrom at Kunmadaras, convinced many Hungarian survivors that they should emigrate.
1946 July 4, KIELCE POGROM (Southern Poland)
Claimed 42 Jewish lives. Kielce had a history of Jewish settlement (depending on expulsion orders) of over 500 years. Prior to World War II, there were over 25,000 Jews living there. After the war approximately 200 survivors returned. The riots broke out after a nine year old boy told the head of the local militia that the Jews had held him captive for two days in a basement at 7 Planty Street. He also related that other Christian children had been murdered there. The commander surrounded the house and confiscated their weapons. In return, they were promised protection. During the ensuing pogrom, forty-two people were murdered and dozens more injured. The Kielce pogrom served as a warning to Holocaust survivors not to try to return to their towns and gave an additional push for the massive movement to the West. Within three months, 70,000 Jews left the country.
1946 July 11, CARDINAL PRIMATE AUGUST HLOND (Poland)
Held a press conference and denied church responsibility for not preventing the Kielce pogrom. Prior to the incident, Chief Rabbi David Kahane of Warsaw had tried unsuccessfully to get an audience with the cardinal for a pastoral letter against the anti-Semitic attacks. Hlond insisted that anti-Semitism was in part due to Jewish-supported communism.
1946 July 22, KING DAVID BOMBING (Jerusalem, Eretz Israel)
After the Black Sabbath, Moshe Sneh on July 1 ordered the Irgun to destroy the King David Hotel and the military headquarters located there. Four warnings were made: to the kitchen staff, the hotel, the Palestine Post, and the French consulate. According to witnesses, one high British official shouted "we are not here to take orders from the Jews, we give them orders." He then left, and ordered guards to prevent others from leaving. Twenty-five minutes later the bombs went off, killing 91 people. The British government originally denied that they had been warned, but they were forced to retract it and no inquiry was made as to why the order was given not to leave the building. Despite the orders by Sneh, the Jewish Agency fearful of world opinion, condemned the act. This marked the end of the united resistance movement.
1946 July 24, MORRISON - GRADY PLAN
Herbert Morrison, deputy prime minister of Britain, and Ambassador Henry Grady of the United States put forth a proposal to divide Palestine into three sectors, Jewish, Arab, and British. The British would retain control for another four years, and its sector would include Jerusalem and the Negev. The proposal was rejected by both sides.
1946 July 26, JAN MASARYK (Czechoslovakia)
The Czech foreign minister influenced the government to open its borders to Jews wishing to flee Poland. Within three months over 70,000 Jews, using transportation paid for by the Czechs, used this route to get to Eretz Israel.
1946 August, SOVIET UNION
With a speech in the Central Committee by Andrei Zhdanov, Stalin once again tried to destroy Jewish nationalism and identity. The campaign called for the banning of Yiddish literature and theater. Jewish participation in both the Red Army and the partisan units in the war against the Nazis was obscured.
1946 August 13, CYPRUS
Britain decided that all illegal immigrants would be deported to special camps set up in Cyprus. Over 50,000 refugees were detained there until May, 1948.
1946 September 14, POPE PIUS XII (Rome, Italy)
Met with Rabbi Phillip Bernstein who had replaced Judge Simon Rifkind as advisor on Jewish affairs to the U.S. European theater of operations. Bernstein asked the pope to condemn the pogroms. The pope's reply was cautious, claiming that it was difficult to communicate with the Church in Poland because of the Iron Curtain.
1946 October 4, PRESIDENT TRUMAN (USA)
In his holiday message on Yom Kippur Eve, President Truman announced his support for partition and the setting up of the Jewish state.
1946 October 5 - 6, TOWER AND STOCKADE SETTLEMENTS (Eretz Israel)
In one night, 11 new settlements (the largest number to date) were put up in the Negev by using the stockade and tower method. First begun in 1936 (at Nir David), 118 settlements were eventually set up in this manner, helping to determine the borders of the future state.
1946 October 16, ERNST KALTENBRUNNER (1903-1946) (Germany)
The S.S. leader and successor of Heydrich as chief of the RSHA, was hanged after a trial at Nuremberg. Kaltenbrunner, a friend of Eichmann, was a key figure in the implementation of the "Final Solution". As the end of the war approached, he insisted on continuing the annihilation of the Jews until the last possible moment.
1946 October 28, PRESIDENT TRUMAN (USA)
Confirmed in a letter to King Ibn Saud that he supported the establishment of a Jewish "National home".
1946 December 8, NUREMBERG TRIALS (Germany)
An American military court tried 177 people, including industrialists who directly profited from slave labor. The longest sentence was given to Alfred Krupp (twelve years). Krupp was released from prison with all his co-defendants on February 4, 1951. Although Krupp's industries had been confiscated, his personal fortune of around fifty million pounds sterling was returned to him. Over three million people were liable to be judged. Out of the 622,300 judged to be guilty, ninety-five percent were given fines or labor without imprisonment. Of the 93,000 major offenders, less then 300 were still in jail after 1949.
1946 December 9 - 24, ZIONIST CONGRESS (Basel, Switzerland)
The first Congress since the Holocaust. The Congress accepted the plan of the Zionist Organization "to establish a Jewish commonwealth integrated into the world democratic structure." A British proposal for a Jewish-Arab conference in London was rejected, and as a result Weizmann resigned. It was also reported that between July 1945 and December 1946, about 111,500 Jews succeeded in fleeing Poland, most of them organized by the Brichah organization.
1946 December 31, ERETZ ISRAEL
During 1946, 25 new settlements were established and 22 boats containing over 20,000 illegal immigrants tried to reach the shores of Israel. Most were caught. Some of the illegal immigrants were freed after a short time, and were allowed to stay in Israel. The rest were sent to Cyprus.
1947 January 31, KOL YERUSHALAYIM (Jerusalem, Eretz Israel)
Broadcasted a Mandatory government announcement that due to the disturbances, it was evacuating all non-essential personnel, including women and children. In addition, the British army began to build "security zones" which became know as "Bevingrads", British army enclaves (named for Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin), in the three major cities.
1947 February 7, JEWISH AGENCY
The Jewish Agency, a world-wide organization centered in Israel, was
officially founded. It was dedicated to the establishment of Israel as the
Jewish Homeland, and to the encouragement and fulfillment of Aliyah (Jewish
Immigration) from around the world. The Agency later became active in Jewish- Zionist education and serving as a bridge between the Diaspora and Israel.
1947 March 13, FIRST USE OF THE DAVIDKA (Jaffa, Eretz Israel)
A homemade Israeli mortar created by David Lebowitz was used on the front, near Abu Kabir and Jaffa. It was said, half in jest, that its noise sometimes did as much damage as the shell. These mortars were the only heavy artillery the Haganah possessed until the arrival of Czech arms in the spring of 1948.
1947 March 31, HAIFA OIL REFINERY (Eretz Israel)
Was severely damaged by Lehi fighters.
1947 April 17, BRITISH HUNG FOUR ETZEL FIGHTERS (Eretz Israel)
Dov Gruner Yehiel Dresner, Eliezer Kashani, and Mordechai Alkahi were hanged by the British. All four sang Hatikvah until they were hanged, one after the other. Despite accepted practice, no rabbi was present. Five days later Meir Feinstein and Moshe Barzani killed themselves before they were to be hanged.
1947 May 4, ACRE PRISON BREAK
Irgun fighters broke into the British prison fortress at Acre, disguised as British soldiers. Twenty-seven inmates succeeded in escaping: twenty from the Irgun and seven from Lehi). Nine fighters were killed in clashes with the British army. This daring action was later immortalized on film in the movie Exodus. Avshalom Haviv, Yaakov Weiss, and Meir Nakar were seized by the British at the prison and on May 28, they stood on trial for carrying weapons. After a three week trial they were sentenced to death.
1947 May 14, UNITED NATIONS (New York City, USA)
After a number of strong speeches supporting the establishment of a Jewish state, a special commission was established. Known as UNSCOP (United Nations Special Commission of Palestine), it consisted of eleven members. In their report, published on August 31, 1947, the majority recommended partitioning Palestine into two states. Jerusalem was to be internationalized corpus separatum.
1947 May 28, AVSHALOM HAVIV, YAAKOV WEISS AND MEIR NAKAR
Stood trial for carrying weapons. The trial lasted nearly three weeks, with the final judgment of the death penalty.
1947 May 31, YEHUDAH HALEVI (Eretz Israel)
The first illegal immigration boat from North Africa reached the shore of Eretz Israel only to be stopped by the British. All 430 passengers were deported to Cyprus.
1947 June 21, BENJAMIN ("Bugsy") SIEGEL (1905-1947) (USA)
U.S. racketeer and criminal, was murdered. Siegel was a "student" of Louis ("Lepke") Buchhalter from whom he learned the basics of Mob affairs. Bugsy moved to Los Angeles, where he became involved with actors, gambling, sports, and narcotics. He then spread out to Las Vegas, believing that it was the future for rich profits in gambling and loan sharking as well as prostitution and drugs. Siegel was probably killed by a member of Al Capone's gang over gambling rights.
1947 July 12, IRGUN (Eretz Israel)
Took two British sergeants prisoner after the British sentenced three Irgun fighters to death. The Irgun warned the British that carrying out the sentence would mean their retaliation by hanging the British soldiers.
1947 July 18, EXODUS 1947 (Eretz Israel)
Was towed to Haifa. The refugees were forced off the boat into three other boats. The Exodus (originally the President Warfield) carried 4,515 survivors and was stopped at sea by the British Navy. During the struggle, three Jews were killed and 28 injured. The passengers were forcibly removed and sent first to France. The Exodus was destined to become the symbol for all Jews prevented from being able to leave the slaughterhouse of Europe and immigrate to Israel.
1947 July 29, EXODUS (France)
Reached Southern France. The British demanded that the refugees disembark - the passengers refused.
1947 July 29, AVSHALOM HAVIV, YAAKOV WEISS AND MEIR NAKAR (Eretz Israel)
Were hanged. They were the last three Jews to be executed by the British. In retaliation the Irgun hanged two sergeants. British soldiers then began shooting in Tel Aviv, killing five and wounding twenty.
1947 August 31, UNSCOP REPORT (New York City, USA)
Was published. Although many were disappointed in the size of the proposed Jewish state, Zionist leaders accepted the plan. Britain refused to implement it.
1947 September 8, REFUGEE SHIP EXODUS TURNED BACK (Germany)
To Hamburg and its cargo of 4,500 Holocaust survivors was removed by force in front of the hundreds of reporters and photographers. All this attracted world attention and condemnation of the British. This act, more than any other, helped force international public opinion against British policy.
1947 October 13, SOVIET UNION
Switched its position and decided to support the United States on the "partition of Palestine."
1947 November 29, UNITED NATIONS (New York City, USA)
Voted in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel as a national homeland for the Jewish people in 55 percent of the country. The vote consisted of 33 in favor, 13 against, and 10 abstentions. Jews around the world reacted with dancing in the streets. The Arabs reacted with threats of violence.
1947 November 30, WAR OF INDEPENDENCE (Eretz Israel)
This day marks the beginning of the first stage of the Israeli War of Independence as a bus near Lydda (Lod) was attacked and five of its passengers killed. The Arabs proclaimed a general strike and attacked the commercial quarter near the Old City of Jerusalem. This stage, fought mostly against local Arabs with some foreign help, ended May 15, 1948, when the British left the country. The second stage of the war began on May 16, and was fought against regular Arab armies. This ended on July 20, 1949, with the signing of a cease fire agreement with Syria.
1947 December 29, HAIFA (Eretz Israel)
Arabs attacked Jewish workers at the oil refinery in Haifa, 39 were killed. Two days later, the Haganah attacked the village of Balad a Sheich in a retaliatory raid.
1948 January 1, ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION (Eretz Israel)
The largest ma'apilim (illegal immigrants) ships, the Pan Crescent
(Atzmaut) and the Pan York (Kibbutz Galuyot), attempted to bring in 15,000 refugees. They were caught by the British and deported to Cyprus.
1948 January 10, FAWZI AL KAUKJI (Kfar Szold, N.E. of Hula Vallery, Eretz Israel)
The commander-in-chief of the Arab forces, led a force of 900 men in the first attack on a settlement in the war. Though vastly outnumbered, the forces in Kfar Szold held out and Kaukji was forced to retreat.
1948 January 13, SOLOMON MIKHOELS (1890-1948) (Russia)
Leading Russian and Yiddish actor was murdered. He was famous for his roles as Tevye the Milkman and King Lear. During the war he tried to win support for the Russian war effort by touring England and the United States. In January 1948 he was killed by the secret police under Stalin's orders, as part of a campaign to eradicate Jewish intellectualism and culture.
1948 January 16, THE THIRTY-FIVE (Lamed Hey) (Eretz Israel)
Members of the Haganah tried to reach Gush Etzion to help strengthen its forces. They came across an Arab shepherd and decided to tie him up rather then kill him. He broke loose and soon they found themselves surrounded and greatly outnumbered. There were no survivors and most of the bodies were mutilated.
1948 January 23, MAPAM (Mifleget HaPoalim HaMeuchedet) (Eretz Israel)
The United Workers' Party was formed with the merging of HaShomer HaTzair and Ahdut HaAvodah.
1948 February 1, THE PALESTINE POST (Eretz Israel)
Was blown up by Abd el-Kader el Husseini with the help of two British soldiers. Six people were killed and twenty people were injured.
1948 February 16, FIRST ORGANIZED ARAB ATTACK (Beit Shean Valley, Eretz Israel)
Despite promises to the British that they would refrain from attacking while the British were still in the country, Kaukji's forces attacked Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi. Forty Arab attackers and one Jewish defender were killed.
1948 February 22, CAR BOMBS ON BEN YEHUDAH STREET (Jerusalem, Eretz Israel)
Three British army trucks, led by a British armored car, parked on Ben Yehudah street and blew up after the terrorists fled in the armored vehicle. Four English soldiers took part in the attack leaving 52 dead and 123 injured.
1948 March, MAHAL (Eretz Israel)
A volunteer corps was founded to help in the War of Independence. Approximately 5,000 volunteers served in the war: 1,500 from North America, 500 from South Africa, and about 1,000 from Great Britain. Thirty even came from Finland. The major contribution was to the fledgling air force, which was staffed with World War II air force veterans. Around 150 of the volunteers lost their lives.
1948 March 11, JEWISH AGENCY BUILDING (Jerusalem, Eretz Israel)
Was bombed. A car driven by the chauffeur for the American consulate parked next to the building which served as the headquarters for the Yishuv. A guard, seeing that the car blocked the road, moved it to a side wing. Twelve people were killed and forty- four wounded. Since the U.N. resolution in November, around 850 Jews had been killed by Arab terror.
1948 March 18, CHAIM WEIZMANN (Washington DC, USA)
Met with President Truman. The meeting was arranged by Truman's long-time friend, Eddie Jacobson, but Truman insisted that it be "off the record" and without any press coverage. Although Weizmann felt somewhat reassured by the meeting, little if anything of substance was actually achieved.
1948 March 28, KIBBUTZ YEHIAM (Western Galilee, Eretz Israel)
A haganah convoy led by 22 year old Ben Ami Pachter was sent to reinforce the kibbutz which had been holding out against constant Arab attacks. The convoy was ambushed near Kabri. All of the forty-seven killed, were between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two including one women.
1948 April 1, CZECHOSLOVAKIANS ARMS (Eretz Israel)
Loaded in a DC-4, made a successful landing at a small airfield, Beit Darras. Included in the "agricultural equipment" were 140 Czech M-34 machine guns and their ammunition. This was the first of many shipments organized by Ehud Avriel later ambassador and Knesset member and the purchasing unit of the Haganah, known as Rekhesh.
1948 April 3 - 15, OPERATION NACHSHON (Eretz Israel)
Began with 1,500 men. Its goal was to open the road to Jerusalem. Shimon Avidan, the commander of the operation, had waited until the first shipment of arms had arrived before he could begin.
1948 April 8, DEIR YASSIN (Near Jerusalem, Eretz Israel)
After repeated attacks on the neighborhoods of Bet Hakerem and Yefe Nof, the Irgun and Lehi, with the agreement of the Haganah, entered the town. A loud speaker was used calling on the population to evacuate. According to Shai (Haganah Intelligence) there were at least 100 Arab fighters in the town. During the battle, civilians were also killed. Deir Yassin became a battle cry for Arabs accusing Israel of atrocities. Hazen Nusseibeh, an editor of the Palestine Broadcasting Service's Arabic news in 1948, admitted he was instructed by the Arab Higher Committee to "make the most of this" and thus wrote an inflammatory press release.. The wide publicity given to the unpleasant incident intensified the panic among local Arabs and was one of the sources for their mass flight.
1948 April 9, ABD AL-QADIR AL-HUSSEINI (Castel - near Jerusalem, Eretz Israel)
The Arab commander of the Palestinian irregular army, was killed in the attack on the Castel fortress, part of Operation
Nachshon, outside Jerusalem. His death dealt a demoralizing blow to Arab troops.
1948 April 13, HADASSAH CONVOY TERROR ATTACK (Eretz Israel)
Arabs murdered seventy-seven people, mostly doctors and nurses on their way to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. British troops stationed close by refused to "interfere".
1948 April 14, OPERATION YIFTACH (Safed, Eretz Israel)
Was launched with the Palmach's infiltrating a platoon into Safed thus reinforcing the Jewish positions. Eventually the goal of the operation was to capture the northern Galilee. By May 17th, most of the Galilee from Rosh Pina to Acre were in Jewish hands.
1948 April 23, HAIFA CAPTURED (Eretz Israel)
By the Haganah. Although loudspeakers called on the Arabs to stay, they fled in mass, urged to do so by leaders of the Arab High Command. Many of these leaders believed that the upcoming war would be helped by masses of Arab refugees whose presence would encourage them to join in the attack. The refugees were promised that they would only be away for a short time and would be able to return when the attacking armies "drive the Jews into the sea". They were also promised compensation for their property.
1948 April 28, IRGUN ATTACKED HAIFA (Eretz Israel)
After its initial success at capturing the Menasiya quarter, the British prevented the Irgun from continuing. At the same time the Haganah began Operation Chometz (unleavened bread) to take the areas around the city.
1948 May 10, SAFED (Eretz Israel)
After a difficult battle with house to house fighting, and the use of the Davidka, the Palmach succeeded in taking the city and the Metzudah ("fortress"). The Arab population fled. This enabled the Jewish Forces to take control of a continuous area in eastern and Upper Galilee.
1948 May 11, GOLDA MEIR (Meyerson)(Jordan)
Met with King Abdullah of Jordan in an effort to prevent war. Golda Meir went on to serve as Israel's foreign minister and it's fourth prime minister (1969-1974).
1948 May 12, HAGANAH HEADQUARTERS (Tel Aviv, Eretz Israel)
Arab notables from Jaffa signed a surrender agreement.
1948 May 12, KIBBUTZ KFAR ETZION (Gush Etzion, Eretz Israel)
Fell to Arab irregular forces and the Jordan legion. Most of the wounded were killed when one of the Arabs threw a grenade into the bunker where they were being kept. Two days later the last three settlements in the Gush were forced to surrender.
1948 May 14, (5 Iyar 5708) YOM HA'ATZMAUT (Israel Independence Day)
On this day David Ben Gurion declared the founding of the State of Israel. It is celebrated annually on its Hebrew date, and is preceded by Yom Hazikaron, Israel's National Memorial Day.