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1941: Mass Murder
 pg. 220 
Many citizens of France felt that Marshal Philippe Pétain had betrayed his people when he became the leader of Vichy, the new puppet government that collaborated with the Nazis. This poster reflects Pétain's desperate pleas to win the support of his people. It states: "People of France, you have not been sold out, betrayed, or abandoned. Have confidence in me!"
Photo: TAL/Archive France/Archive Photos
Throughout 1941 the Nazis moved thousands of Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto, which would become Europe's largest. Jews from the surrounding towns and countryside were forcibly moved into Warsaw in order to concentrate the "threat" they represented. As a result, Warsaw's Jewish population, which stood at around 340,000 for the entire city at the start of the war, spiraled to 445,000, all within the confines of the ghetto, by March 1941.
Photo: Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz
Reinhard Heydrich

On July 31, 1941, Hermann Göring empowered SS Major General Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA), to prepare "a total solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe." This document did not specify what the "solution" would be, but it commissioned Heydrich to handle "the Jewish question" in ways that went beyond "emigration and evacuation." Seizing his opportunity, Heydrich helped orchestrate the murders of millions of Jews.

Joining the Nazi Party and the SS in 1931, Heydrich caught the attention of SS leader Heinrich Himmler, rose rapidly through the ranks, and was appointed head of RSHA in 1939. Working closely with Himmler, he ordered the ghettoization of Polish Jews, organized mass deportations, and directed Einsatzgruppen activities in Eastern Europe. On January 20, 1942, Heydrich convened the Wannsee Conference. At this meeting he led top Nazi officials in coordinating plans for the "Final Solution," which had already begun in the latter half of 1941.

Ambushed by Czech Resistance fighters near Prague, Heydrich died on June 4, 1942. The Germans took revenge by razing the Czech village of Lidice and killing all of its male inhabitants.
Photo: SYddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst

 February 25, 1941: Tens of thousands of Dutch citizens participate in a general strike in order to protest the deportation of Jews from their country--the only such strike in Europe in reaction to the first deportation of Jews.
 March 1941: Hitler's war plans lead him to instruct his generals to conduct an "unmerciful" and "unrelenting" war against the Soviet Union.
 March 1941: In Frankfurt, Germany, a pseudo-scholarly conference discusses the "problem" of European Jewry.
 March 1941: Adolf Eichmann, head of the Gestapo section for Jewish affairs, lays plans to restrict Jewish emigration from Europe.
1941: Mass Murder
 pg. 220 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.