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1944: Desperate Acts
 pg. 514 
In English and Hebrew, this poster appeals to readers for donations to rescue Jews from Nazi-controlled Europe. Published by the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the poster urged people to help Jews flee death and find sanctuary in the United States. Knowing that millions were threatened, HIAS worked with other organizations in frantic efforts to arrange ocean passage for as many Jews as possible. HIAS activists were particularly interested in safe passage for Jewish children, and continued that crusade after the war as advocates for Jews in European DP camps. HIAS was part of a larger relief and immigration organization, HICEM, which had been founded in 1927.
Photo: American Jewish Historical Society
With the inflated title of Reichgesundheitsführer (Reich Health Leader), Leonardo Conti led the Nazi health program. In that role, he ordered the murder of adult mental patients. To inspire other physicians to follow his lead, Conti gave the first lethal injections himself. An early member of the Nazi Party, Conti founded the Ärztebund (National Socialist Physicians' League) before Hitler named him the nation's chief physician in 1939. Captured at the end of the war and held for trial in Nuremberg, he chose suicide rather than answer for the thousands of "mercy killings" he had ordered.
Photo: SYddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst
Gisi Fleischmann

Sent in a train car listed as "Rückkehr unerwünscht," ("Return Not Desired"), Zionist activist Gisi Fleischmann numbered among the last Jews transported to Auschwitz. She who had saved so many lives could not save her own.

Working in Bratislava, Slovakia, Fleischmann headed the Aliya (immigration section) of the Jewish Center, arranging for Jewish emigration to Palestine. As a leader of the "Working Group," she saved lives by bribing Nazi officials with private funds raised in the United States. When deportations ceased in Slovakia in October 1942, Fleischmann helped develop the "Europa Plan," to barter Jews for goods needed by the Germans, while also continuing to run an underground railroad to rescue Polish Jews who were fleeing the ghettos.

Even as the SS closed the net around her in Bratislava, Fleischmann continued her rescue work, refusing the possibility of a hiding place. She was gassed on October 18, 1944.

 March 4, 1944: Four Jewish women discovered in the "Aryan" section of Warsaw are murdered by Germans. Also killed are 80 non-Jewish Poles. The bodies of the dead, as well as people who are still living, are torched.
 March 5, 1944: Max Jacob, 60, a baptized Catholic forced to wear the Yellow Star, dies at Drancy, France, of bronchial pneumonia while awaiting deportation. Jacob, a godson of Pablo Picasso, was a noted poet.
 March 7, 1944: Polish historian and Warsaw Ghetto archivist Emanuel Ringelblum is among 38 Jews captured by the Gestapo in a bunker in the "Aryan" section of Warsaw. Ringelblum and his family are tortured and killed.
1944: Desperate Acts
 pg. 514 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.