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1941: Mass Murder
 pg. 230 
The main gate at the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Germany coldly greeted the camp's new inhabitants. Gross-Rosen, which had been a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen, became an independent camp on May 1, 1941. The living and working conditions at the camp, which was near a granite quarry, were particularly brutal. Inmates performed hard labor in the quarry, building the camp's facilities. Jewish prisoners were completely isolated from one another. Each Jewish prisoner was restricted to his own block and denied medical attention.
Photo: Archiwum Akt Nowych / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
In May 1941 the German occupation authority in France deported thousands of Jewish men from Paris to a prison camp at Pithiviers. The wretched conditions at the camp strained the relief efforts of French organizations and compelled many Jewish women to protest the arrests of their husbands and sons. Remarkably, their demonstrations outside the gates of the camp earned them the right to visit their menfolk.
Photo: Federation Nationale des Desportes et Internes Resistants / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive

Originally a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen (Germany), Gross-Rosen became an independent concentration camp in 1941 and remained operational until February 1945. The camp was located near granite quarries in Lower Silesia, and inmates performed backbreaking work in the SS-owned quarry. Sick and emaciated prisoners were sent to the killing centers that were parts of the Nazi "euthanasia" program. Of the 125,000 prisoners who passed through the camp, 40,000 lost their lives.

Jews made up the largest proportion of victims. Many nationalities were represented, and the camp housed women as well as men. As the numbers of prisoners grew, the SS created numerous forced-labor subcamps. There, Jews slaved in mines, steel mills, and armament factories of German industrial giant Krupp--or in I.G. Farben chemical plants set up to produce poison gas. Some toiled on the construction of Hitler's underground headquarters. The hard labor involved in digging subterranean passages, combined with inadequate hygiene, led to exceptionally high mortality rates.

Many women worked in textile factories or in the aircraft industry. Others, assigned to excavate antitank ditches, suffered terribly. One young woman recalled having to dig in freezing weather while standing in deep snow. Many were barefoot because they had not been given shoes, causing feet and legs to freeze. If they attempted to wrap themselves with blankets, they were whipped by the guards.
Photo: Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes in Poland/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive

 May 10, 1941: Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess makes an unauthorized solo flight from Augsburg, Germany, to Scotland, where he intends to meet with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and negotiate an end to the Anglo-German war. He is captured and imprisoned; See November 18, 1945.
 May 11, 1941: Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto are observed tickling a corpse as they play.
 May 14, 1941: About 4000 Jews are deported from Paris, most to a camp at Pithiviers, France.
 May 15, 1941: Polish Jews who have traveled by sealed train from the Biala Podlaska Jewish POW camp to Konskowola are murdered after the train's Nazi overseers discover that four of the POWs have escaped.
1941: Mass Murder
 pg. 230 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.