Home Contact Us
Index Purchase Info
About Site About Us
Appendices Credits
Further Reading Links
Special Features
By Keyword:

Page Number:
Click on an image to see a larger, more detailed picture.
1944: Desperate Acts
 pg. 545 

As Allied troops pushed toward Germany, they encountered Nazi concentration camps and liberated their prisoners. The Soviets first discovered atrocities at Majdanek, near Lublin, Poland, on July 23, 1944, while U.S. troops first witnessed the Holocaust at Ohrdruf, Germany, on April 4, 1945.
On November 9, 1942, 4000 Jews from Lublin, Poland, were the first to die in Majdanek's gas chambers. Like Auschwitz, Majdanek's death factory made use of the pesticide Zyklon B to murder its victims. Here, in 1944, a pair of the camp's personnel holds canisters of the crystals, which could turn into a deadly gas at room temperature. These two Germans would later be executed for the crimes they committed at the camp.
Photo: Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Although many people in Germany and Occupied Europe knew what was happening to the Jews, the Nazis made an effort to conceal their crimes. Outsiders, for example, were discouraged from going near the camps, and it was almost impossible to visit one. This sign at Majdanek, written in both German and Polish, reads: "Attention! Camp grounds. Stop! No photography! You will be shot without warning!"
Photo: Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
 July 25, 1944: Thirty-one faked postcards from deportees arrive at the Lódz (Poland) Ghetto. The writers claim to have been happily resettled, when in reality they have been gassed at Chelmno.
 July 25, 1944: Hitler names Joseph Goebbels Reich minister for total war.
 July 25, 1944: Lord Walter Moyne, chief British official in the Middle East, finally approves British military training for Jewish Palestinians who are being sent on suicide missions into Occupied Europe. He writes: "The scheme would remove from Palestine a number of active and resourceful Jews.... The chances of many of them returning in the future to give trouble in Palestine seem slight."
 July 27, 1944: Siauliai, Lithuania, is liberated by the Red Army, 12 days after German deportations of 7000 local Jews and the murder of 100 left behind.
 July 27, 1944: Dvinsk, Latvia, is liberated by the Soviet Union.
 July 27, 1944: The Wehrmacht retreats from Lvov, Ukraine. Only a few of the city's Jews, many of them hiding in sewers, have lived through the German occupation.
1944: Desperate Acts
 pg. 545 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.