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1944: Desperate Acts
 pg. 510 
British troops arrive on the beach of Anzio, Italy, on January 22, 1944. After absorbing fierce German resistance at Anzio, Monte Cassino, and the fortified Gustav Line, Allied forces pressed northward. Rome fell on June 4 and Florence was taken in mid-August. In an intriguing twist, August also marked the beginning of the Italian campaign against Germany, its erstwhile--and now irreversibly imperiled--ally. The Allied drive into Italy and the June 6 Allied cross-Channel assault on Normandy, France, were the beginning of the end of the Third Reich.
Photo: SYddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst
Those who did not die from Nazi medical experimentation often carried the effects with them forever. This woman, imprisoned during the war in the Ravensbrück, Germany, concentration camp, shows the results of an operation to remove the calf muscle of her right leg. Part of a project led by Dr. Karl Gebhardt, the experimenters even amputated limbs of prisoners for the supposed benefit of injured soldiers. Almost half of the 24 women who endured these particular experiments died.
Photo: Ministere des Anciens Combattants / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
The Village That Cared

During the winter of 1940-41, Magda Trocmé answered a knock at her door. There stood a frightened woman who identified herself as a German Jew. She had heard that help might be found in Le Chambon. Magda Trocmé said, "Come in."

Le Chambon is a mountain village in south-central France. Many of the villagers were descendants of Huguenots, who had fled to the high plateau so they could practice their Protestant Christianity without fear of punishment. The residents' long-standing distrust of authority and tradition of listening to Christian conscience inspired them to help the Jews.

Five thousand persecuted Jews found refuge in Le Chambon, but the village's response did not take place overnight. The seeds of the people's bravery and selflessness had been growing for years because André Trocmé, the community's Protestant minister, had preached Christianity's basic lessons: peace, understanding, and love. His was a message of nonviolence, but a nonviolence that rejected inaction and deplored injustice. The people of Le Chambon responded.

Though hiding Jews was a crime punishable by death, the people of Le Chambon opened their doors. "None of us thought that we were heroes," Magda Trocmé said. "We were just people trying to do our best."
Photo: Peter Feigl

 January 18, 1944: Three hundred Jews hiding in forests near Buczacz, Ukraine, are surrounded by Nazi tanks and killed.
 January 20, 1944: 1155 Jews are deported from the Drancy, France, transit camp to Auschwitz.
 January 22, 1944: Under pressure, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt creates the War Refugee Board.
 January 25, 1944: Hans Frank, governor-general of Occupied Poland, notes in his diary that approximately 100,000 Jews remain in the region under his control, down by 3,400,000 from the end of 1941.
1944: Desperate Acts
 pg. 510 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.