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1943: Death and Resistance
 pg. 484 
The Jewish Agency, established by the League of Nations in the 1920s, published material on the "Massacre of a People" in the Jewish Frontier in October 1943. The Jewish Agency brought orphans to Palestine, advocated bombing railways leading to Auschwitz, and urged the Allies to save Jews from concentration camps.
Photo: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
A Swiss volunteer named Abbe Gross (left) reaches through a barbed-wire fence surrounding the Gurs transit camp to share a cigarette with a prisoner. Located in the Pyrenées region of France, Gurs was a makeshift detention center that held thousands of Jews before they were deported to Auschwitz. Flimsy shelters, dirt roads that turned to mud when it rained, and starvation rations made for extremely unpleasant conditions for those imprisoned at Gurs.
Photo: Hanna Meyer-Moses / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Sexual Abuse in Camps

Sexual abuse in the camps took many forms. Barbaric medical experiments conducted by Nazi doctors robbed men and women of their sexual organs. At Auschwitz, women spared from the gas chambers upon arrival were forced to parade their nakedness in the showers before leering SS guards, who delighted in poking their breasts.

Within the camps, rumors abounded that attractive young women were forced into brothels. At Buchenwald, some political prisoners, known for their ethical and religious principles, were compelled by the SS to visit the camp brothel, populated by non-Jewish "volunteers" from the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women. Irma Grese, the sadistic SS supervisor at Auschwitz-Birkenau, was rumored to have had homosexual relations with prisoners whom she then sent to the gas chambers. To save their lives, starving women at Birkenau sometimes bartered sex for food from male prisoners.

While Nazi racial ideology prohibited relations between Jews and "Aryans," there were some instances of rape. The Nazis, though, were not the only ones who committed sexual abuse. Buchenwald survivors report that Polish and Russian boys, some as young as 12, were forced into homosexual acts by sexually rapacious prisoners. Victims of sexual abuse have largely kept silent, leaving this aspect of camp life shrouded in ambiguity.

 Autumn 1943: Jews in Wlodawa, Poland, attack the Turno Estate, a onetime Jewish farm that has since fallen into German hands. The Jews set the buildings on the estate ablaze. A Jew named Yankel, who has lived in a hole in the floor of the estate's barn for about a year, dies just hours after being taken to safety by the attack-ing Jews.
 October 1943: The Jewish ghetto at Chernovtsy, Romania, is liquidated.
 October 1943: SS chief Heinrich Himmler delivers a speech at a "Final Solution" conference.
 October 1943: Just before their murders, several Jewish women use their bare hands to attack SS troops at Auschwitz.
1943: Death and Resistance
 pg. 484 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.