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1943: Death and Resistance
 pg. 431 
Resistance against the German invaders was especially strong in the Soviet Union, where the Nazis pursued barbarous occupation policies. These five Soviets were hanged in Kharkov. The signs around their necks read, "Punishment for blowing up mines." Such acts of sabotage played a role in the turning of the tide on the Eastern Front and the eventual defeat of the Third Reich.
Photo: Julius Schatz / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
In March 1943 4000 Jews from Bulgarian-controlled Thrace in Greece were rounded up and sent to their deaths at Treblinka. A week later another 7000 Jews from nearby Macedonia in Yugoslavia were shipped to a tobacco company, whose buildings were converted into a concentration camp (pictured). The Jews were kept there a few weeks, then sent to Treblinka. Few survived.
Photo: Central Zionist Archives / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
The Rosenstrasse Protest

One of the most effective acts of resistance against Nazi tyranny occurred in early 1943. Hundreds of male Jews married to gentile women were arrested and interned at the Rosenstrasse Jewish community center in the heart of old Berlin, but their wives' incessant demands for their release proved successful. This singular successful act of mass German protest against the deportation of German Jews raises a haunting question: What might have been achieved had more Germans acted in a similar manner?

The remarkable episode began when the last Jews remaining in Berlin were rounded up on February 27, 1943. Those married to German gentiles were brought to the Rosenstrasse facility. A "telephone chain" of interfaith couples spread the word on the whereabouts of their loved ones and, soon, anxious spouses arrived at Rosenstrasse. They demanded information about their husbands, brought them food, and insisted that the men be released.

Although the women were ordered to disperse and threatened with gunfire, they remained steadfast in their demands. The protest ended when Joseph Goebbels and others in the Nazi hierarchy grew fearful of domestic unrest, and released the Jewish men.

 February 22, 1943: Bulgaria signs an agreement with Germany to allow deportations of 20,000 Jews from the former Yugoslav region of Macedonia and former Greek region of Thrace, both now controlled by Bulgaria. About 11,000 Jews will actually be deported (in March).
 February 22, 1943: In Lyons, France, Italian military authorities order the local chief of police to nullify a German order for the deportation of several hundred Jews to the Auschwitz extermination camp.
 February 23, 1943: The 16th (Lithuanian) Division of the Red Army, which includes many Jews, attacks a superior German force in the Ukraine.
 February 24, 1943: A ghetto is established in Salonika, Greece.
 February 27, 1943: SS troops begin to round up Jewish factory workers in Berlin to be sent to camps and killing centers in the East.
 February 27-early March 1943: Those Jewish workers rounded up in Berlin who have Christian spouses are released after their spouses and children publicly protest their arrest at the Berlin Gestapo headquarters on Rosenstrasse. The release is ordered by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and later approved by Hitler himself, who seems to fear public disorder.
1943: Death and Resistance
 pg. 431 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.