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1942: The "Final Solution"
 pg. 338 
Radio correspondent William L. Shirer conveyed to millions of Americans the news of France's capitulation to Germany in June 1940. A perceptive observer of Nazism, and later the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Shirer was one of the earliest voices to warn Americans of Hitler's demonic intentions. In December 1942 he joined other Americans of German descent in signing a Christmas declaration denouncing the "cold-blooded extermination of the Jews" and urging Germans to overthrow Hitler and his government.
Photo: University of Southern California / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
These seven Poles were hanged by the German military in Plaszów for the crime of railway sabotage. The Germans liked to hang those who defied them, as a deterrent to the local population.
Photo: DOW / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Jewish Responses

Jews reacted to the Holocaust in a variety of ways. Some, fearing for their lives and the safety of their families, collaborated under duress with the Germans, serving in the ghettos' Jewish councils or as Jewish police. Some American Jews, in the face of critical levels of antisemitism in the U.S., were too afraid to put political pressure on their government. Other Jews refused to face the devastating realities of the "Final Solution."

European Jews, however, fell into a spectrum that ran from adherence to their Judaism at all costs to guerrilla warfare against the murderers. Disgusted with God's apparent silence, some Jews rejected their religious beliefs. Rabbi Irving Greenberg argued after the war that debate about the nature of God is ridiculous in the presence of a burning child; the only appropriate behavior is to jump in and pull the child out of the fire. Rabbi Emil Fackenheim discovered a new commandment: to survive as a Jew. Rabbi Yitzhak Nissenbaum in the Warsaw Ghetto admonished Jews to do their utmost to save their own lives.

In the ghettos, before the machine guns of the SS and Einsatzgruppen, and before and in the gas chambers themselves, Jews made personal decisions. Some went to their deaths stoically, others defiantly, still others confident in the unalterable tenets of their faith.
Photo: Central Zionist Archives / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive

 July 19, 1942: The Family Hostage Law is announced in Occupied France. Under its provisions, fugitive "terrorists" who do not surrender to German authorities can expect their male relatives to be killed, female relatives sent to work camps, and children sent to special schools for political reeducation.
 July 20, 1942: Germans murder 1000 Jews at Kleck, Belorussia; 400 flee into forests. Two from the latter group, Moshe Fish and Leva Gilchik (from nearby Kopyl), will form a partisan group; See January 1943.
 July 20-21, 1942: Jews are deported from Kowale Panskie, Poland, to the Chelmno death camp.
1942: The "Final Solution"
 pg. 338 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.