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1941: Mass Murder
 pg. 223 
This was the official identification card, issued by the Kraków district of the Generalgouvernement, of Cyrla Rosenzweig. She survived the war as one of the famous "Schindler Jews." Oskar Schindler saved over 1000 Jews from the death camps by employing them in his munitions factory and using his influence to stave off efforts to deport them.
Photo: Janka Rosenzweig / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Jews of the Lublin (Poland) Ghetto wait their turn to draw water from a well. The winter months exacted a heavy toll on the malnourished and diseased Jewish population. The arrival of summer in 1941 was accompanied by a typhus epidemic. Efforts to control the disease were hampered by the overcrowded conditions, widespread starvation, and the absolute lack of medical supplies.
Photo: Wide World Photo
The Commissar Order

In Adolf Hitler's view, the invasion of the Soviet Union was not merely a military operation. It held the key to Lebensraum (Living space)--and provided an opportunity to destroy the evils of communism. Hitler regarded the Soviet offensive, therefore, as an epic "battle between two opposing ideologies."

In a forceful speech to his top generals in March 1941, Hitler outlined his plan for the conduct of the campaign. Aiming for the complete eradication of communism, he exhorted his generals not to treat the Russian Army according to the rules of civilized warfare. He especially targeted the "Bolshevik commissars" and Communist intelligentsia.

The so-called "Commissar Order" (issued in June in a secret directive to the German Army) established the rules for the treatment of political commissars attached to Red Army units. Reasoning that political commissars constituted a "danger to security, embodied the spirit of resistance," and had "originated barbaric, Asiatic fighting methods," the directive ordered that they be summarily executed upon capture.

 March 22, 1941: Vichy France leader Marshal Philippe Pétain authorizes the construction of a Trans-Sahara railway, with labor to be performed by internees composed of Jews, Czechs, Poles, and Spanish Republican soldiers.
 March 25, 1941: Yugoslavia joins the Axis countries.
 March 26, 1941: The German High Army Command gives approval to RSHA and Reinhard Heydrich on the tasks of the Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet Union.
 March 29, 1941: In France, the antisemitic Commissariat Général aux Questions Juives (General Commission on Jewish Affairs) is established.
 Spring 1941: Hungarian troops and German civilians randomly murder 250 Jews and 250 Serbs in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.
 Spring 1941: Two Jewish brothers in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, operate a secret Resistance radio.
 Spring 1941: Many Yugoslavian Jews join anti-Nazi partisans led by Josip Broz (Tito).
1941: Mass Murder
 pg. 223 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.