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1945: Liberation and Rebuilding
 pg. 628 
Pierre Laval, the former collaborationist premier of Vichy France, testifies at the trial of Marshal Philippe Pétain (seated, right), who was charged with high treason. Pétain was convicted and sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted by General Charles de Gaulle to exile on the island of Yeu. Two months later it was Laval's turn to stand before the court, in a hasty trial in which no defense witnesses were called and at which he was speedily convicted. Although Laval pleaded his innocence, he was executed on October 9, 1945.
Photo: AP/Wide World
In August 1945 the leadership of the Zionist movement held the World Zionist Conference in London. In the first row, from left to right, are Yitzhak Zuckerman, Haika Grossman, Emil Sommerstein, and an unidentified man. In the second row are Abba Hillel Silver, Moshe Sharett, and Nahum Goldmann. Third row: Moshe Sneh, Itzhak Gruenbaum, and an unidentified man. Participants at the conference protested Britain's refusal to permit more Jews to immigrate to Palestine. In Palestine, the impatience of the Jewish population led to an increase in violent attacks upon the British.
Photo: Yad Vashem
Primo Levi

The writings of Primo Levi, an Italian Jew who survived the Holocaust, comprise one of the most articulate analyses of life in Nazi concentration camps.

Born in Turin, Italy, and trained as a chemist, Levi fled to the mountains when the Italian government of Pietro Badoglio surrendered to the Allies in 1943, prompting the Germans to occupy much of the country. After being captured by a Fascist militia, Levi was imprisoned in the Fossoli, Italy, transit camp and then sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in February 1944.

The ten months that Levi spent in Birkenau provide the context for his memoir, Survival in Auschwitz: The Nazi Assault on Humanity. This poignant book describes the notorious death camp as a "biological and social experiment of gigantic dimensions."

Levi's suicide in 1987 serves as a painful reminder of the long-term impact of the Holocaust.
Photo: see thumbnail sheet

 July 30, 1945: The administration of Germany is assumed by the Allied Control Council; See October 10, 1945.
 July 31, 1945: French collaborationist politician Pierre Laval is arrested in Austria; See October 9, 1945.
 August 1945: The 22nd World Zionist Congress demands immediate admission of 100,000 Jewish refugees to Eretz-Israel. Britain refuses, prompting violent revolts by the Jewish underground in Palestine, carried out by Hagana, Palmah, Lohame Herut Israel (Stern Gang), and Irgun Zva'i Leumi (IZL; National Military Organization).
1945: Liberation and Rebuilding
 pg. 628 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.