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1942: The "Final Solution"
 pg. 306 
This empty pit is about to receive the bodies of 5000 Jews of Minsk, Belorussia. They were slaughtered in March 1942 by Germans and Ukrainians. The pit was dug within the Minsk Ghetto on Ratomskaya Street.
Photo: Spielberg Archive / Yad Vashem
One hundred thousand ghettoized Jews lived in Minsk, Belorussia, when mass shootings began in the city in 1941. In 1942 the Germans brought in gas vans, although the shootings continued as well. On March 2 the ghetto's nursery (or orphanage) was liquidated; the children were buried alive as SS officers tossed them candy. On March 31 the Germans raided the ghetto in an attempt to arrest Resistance leaders. As a result, much of the ghetto, including the synagogue pictured here, burned.
Photo: YIVO / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Albert Speer

As Reich minister for armaments and war production from 1942 to 1945, Albert Speer was an extremely important man within the Third Reich. His personal friendship with Hitler and his exceptional organizational skills propelled him from an assistant architect to a highly influential insider within the Nazi regime.

Hitler, who fancied himself a student of architecture, became Speer's personal mentor after witnessing his flair for visual pageantry. Speer perfected the Nazi style of public parades and Party rallies that characterized Hitler's regime. The megalomaniac passions of the two men were realized in the design plans for Berlin and Nuremberg, where the power and durability of the Third Reich were to be etched in stone.

Speer's managerial talents produced near-miracles for the German war machine. As minister of armaments, Speer kept the Army supplied in spite of massive Allied bombing. Unscrupulous in his use of slave labor, Speer is credited with prolonging the war for at least two years.

Speer parted company with Hitler in 1945 when he refused der Führer 's order to destroy German industries. At the Nuremberg Trials, Speer professed to accept responsibility for his actions and was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. He was released in 1966. While in prison, Speer wrote his widely read book, Inside the Third Reich. He died in 1981
Photo: Ullstein Bilderdienst 2 17 999 99 35 - 16

 February 19, 1942: Jews at the Dvinsk, Latvia, concentration camp are forced to witness the execution of a Jewish woman who exchanged a piece of cloth with a non-Jewish inmate for a box of flour.
 February 22, 1942: Ten thousand Jews are deported from the Lódz (Poland) Ghetto to the Chelmno extermination camp, where they are gassed.
 February 24, 1942: The ship SS Struma, flying a neutral Panamanian flag and carrying Jewish refugees fleeing from Romania, is sunk in the Black Sea after Britain pressures Turkey to turn the ship back from Istanbul. More than 700 Jewish passengers attempting to save their lives by reaching Palestine are drowned. Only one passenger survives; See March 5, 1942.
1942: The "Final Solution"
 pg. 306 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.