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1945: Liberation and Rebuilding
 pg. 612 
The death marches undertaken in earnest from concentration camps in 1944 and 1945 left behind pathetic trails of victims--people who died, were murdered, and, sometimes, hastily buried. This grave site near Namerring, Germany, was exhumed by American GIs.
Photo: Drew University Center for Holocaust Study
The charred remains of Joseph Goebbels testify to his fanatical devotion to Hitler. Goebbels's wife, Magda, shared his fanaticism, declaring that their children were "too good for the life that will come after us." On May 1, 1945, she requested an SS doctor to give fatal injections of morphine to her six children, Helga, Hilde, Helmut, Holde, Hedde, and Heide. Goebbels and his wife then poisoned themselves with cyanide. Subordinates later burned the couple's bodies.
Photo: Suddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst
Charlotte Delbo

Released from the Ravensbrück, Germany, concentration camp on April 23, 1945, Charlotte Delbo translated her experience into a literature of witness.

When the Germans invaded her native France, Delbo was far away, on tour with a theater company in Brazil. When she returned to her homeland, she joined her husband, Georges Dudach, in the Resistance. Dudach was arrested in March 1942 and shot that May. Delbo was sent to Auschwitz and Ravensbrück. While imprisoned at the former, Delbo wrote that she and the other women there were "larvae" whose blankets were "shrouds."

After the war Delbo returned to France, giving powerful voice to the lives of those who had perished. Of her day of freedom from Ravensbrück, she wrote: "I know why the flowers, the sky, the sun were beautiful, and human voices deeply moving. The earth was beautiful in having been found again." Yet for Delbo, the earth as she had known it could never be found again. For her, it was impossible to return "from a world beyond knowledge."

 April 28, 1945: The SS works with the Red Cross to safely transport 150 Jewish women from the concentration camp at Ravensbrück, Germany, to neutral Sweden. On the way, five of the women are killed during an Allied air raid.
 April 28, 1945: Deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is captured and executed by Italian partisans at Dongo, Italy; See April 29, 1945.
 April 28, 1945: Heinrich Müller, Gestapo chief from 1934 to 1945, is seen for the last time, in Hitler's bunker.
 April 29, 1945: Hitler designates Admiral Karl Dönitz to succeed him as Führer and Reich president. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels is named Reich chancellor.
1945: Liberation and Rebuilding
 pg. 612 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.