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1942: The "Final Solution"
 pg. 318 
Prominent Soviet Jews, at the behest of their government, established the Jewish Antifascist Committee in April 1942. Its function was to rally Western Jews behind the Soviet Union's effort to resist the Nazi invasion. Pictured here, at a rally held in New York City's Polo Grounds, are writer Itzik Fefer (center) and the committee chairman, Shlomo Mikhoels (right). The Jewish Antifascist Committee also attempted to document the experience of Soviet Jewry during the Holocaust, but Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin thwarted these efforts, eventually disbanding the committee in 1948.
Photo: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
A group of Gypsy (Sinti and Roma) prisoners awaits orders from the Germans at the Belzec death camp in Poland. The Nazis began construction of an extermination center at Belzec in November 1941. Hundreds, perhaps several thousand, Gypsies would eventually be gassed there.
Photo: Archives of Mechanical Documentation / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Looted Art

As the German armies swept through Europe, they plundered the property of those they murdered. Hitler's stated intention was to "extract from these territories everything that is possible to extract."

Consequently, the Nazis shamelessly looted Europe's cultural treasures. Hermann Göring, one of the biggest looters, scoured museums and private collections of wealthy deported Jews for works by famous masters. In his villa, he proudly displayed stolen masterpieces by Titian, Raphael, Rubens, and Rembrandt. Hitler's interest in Europe's art stemmed from his plan to turn Linz, the Austrian city of his youth, into the world's cultural capital. He envisioned displaying the world's greatest art treasures, such as the confiscated Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, in the world's biggest museum.

The pillaging of art reached astronomical proportions. Throughout Europe, the Nazis acquired more than 100,000 works. In France alone they appropriated almost 22,000 objects (including 5281 paintings) from 1940 to 1944, bringing them to Germany in 29 shipments that involved 137 freight cars. After the war, Allied officials attempted to return the treasures, a process complicated by the deaths of former Jewish owners. Some pieces are still unclaimed, and legal intervention continues to grapple with disputed ownership claims.
Photo: Yad Vashem

 May 1942: A slave-labor camp opens at Maly Trostinets, Belorussia.
 May 1942: In Holland, a collaborationist auxiliary police unit, Vrijwillige Hulp-Politie (Volunteer Auxiliary Police), is established. It is charged with the roundup of Dutch Jews for deportation to the East.
 May 1942: Communist Jews in Paris initiate organized armed resistance to the Nazi occupiers.
 May 1942: The Bund (Jewish Labor Organization of Poland) appeals to the Polish government-in-exile in London to persuade the Allied governments to warn the German government about the consequences of the murder of the Polish Jews. The Bund's appeal contains detailed information concerning the systematic mass murder of Jews. It reports that 700,000 Polish Jews have already been executed.
1942: The "Final Solution"
 pg. 318 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.