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The Final Solution: 1941-1945
"It is good that we are preceded by an aura of terror for our plans to exterminate Jewry." Adolf Hitler (to Heydrich and Himmler) October 25, 1941.

An SS trooper takes aim at a Jewish mother and child.
CL:We Have Not Forgotten. 1939-1945 (Warsaw. 1961)
In the spring of 1941, the Nazis were poised to invade the western Soviet Union--home for 5 million Jews. The opportunity to carry out the "Final Solution"-- total elimination of European Jewish life and culture --was now within reach. By the summer of that year the decision to kill the Jews was implemented. By 1945, six million Jews were dead through mass executions, starvation, slave labor, and in extermination camps. Political dissidents, members of the resistance, Soviet prisoners of war, Gypsies, and homosexuals were also caught in the Nazis' murderous net. Millions of ordinary citizens were conscripted as laborers for the German war effort. The priority target, however, was the Jewish population of Europe. It was targeted for total annihilation. The Wannsee Conference
The plan for the total annihilation of European Jewry was formalized at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin on January 20, 1942. The one-day conference was convened to discuss the administrative policies for implementing the "Final Solution."

At the conference, Reinhard Heydrich made it clear that the "Final Solution" would involve shipment and death for all Jews incapable of slave labor. The remainder would be worked to death.

1941-1945 ASHES OF DEATH

1941 Jan. 21-26 Iron Guard (Rumanian fascist organization) butchers hundreds of Rumanian Jews March Adolf Eichmann appointed head of Gestapo department for Jewish affairs April Germany occupies Greece and Yugoslavia June 22 Germany invades the Soviet Union June-Dec. Nazi Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squad) conducts mass murder of Jews in German-occupied Soviet territory July 31 Heydrich appointed by Goering to implement the "Final Solution" Sept. 1 German Jews required to wear yellow Star of David with the word "Jude" Sept. 28-29 Massacre of 34,000 Jews at Babi Yar-- outside Kiev Oct . Establishment of Auschwitz II (Birkenau) for the extermination of Jews. Gypsies, Poles, Russians, and others were also murdered at the camp Dec. 7 Japanese attack Pearl Harbor Dec. 8 Chelmno extermination camp begins operation--340,000 Jews, 20,000 Poles and Czechs killed by April 1943.

Dying man in liberated Bergen-Belsen, 1945. CL:NARA

Jews executed in a Rumanian town, left hanging in the market place, guarded by a German soldier. CL.Yad Vashem

1942 Jan. 20 Wannsee Conference in Berlin Heydrich outlines official plan to murder Europe's Jews March 17 Extermination begins in Belzec; by end of 1942, 600,000 Jews murdered May Extermination by gas begins in Sobibor killing center; by Oct. 1943, 250,000 Jews murdered June Jewish partisan unit established in the forests of Belorussia and the Baltic States Summer Deportation of Jews to killing centers from Belgium, Croatia, France, Holland, Poland. Armed resistance by Jews in ghettos of Kletzk, Kremenets, Lachwa, Mir, Tuchin, Weisweiz Winter Deportation of Jews from Germany, Greece and Norway to killing centers. Jewish partisan movement organized in forests near Lublin 1943 Jan. German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad March Liquidation of Cracow ghetto April Warsaw ghetto revolt begins as Germans attempt to liquidate 70,000 inhabitants. Jewish underground fights Nazis until early June June Himmler orders the liquidation of all the ghettos in Poland and the Soviet Union Summer Armed resistance by Jews in Czestochowa, Lvov, Bedzin, Bialystok and Tarnow ghettos Fall Liquidation of large ghettos in Minsk, Vilna, Riga Oct. 14 Armed revolt in Sobibor extermination camp 1944 March 19 Germany occupies Hungary May 15 Nazis begin deporting Hungarian Jews; by June 27 - 380,000 sent to Auschwitz June 6 Allied invasion at Normandy Spring/ Summer Red Army repels Nazi forces July 20 Group of German officers attempts to assassinate Hitler July 24 Russians liberate Maidanek killing center Oct. 7 Revolt by inmates at Auschwitz; one crematorium blown up Nov. 8 Beginning of death march of approximately 40,000 Jews from Budapest to Austria Nov. Last Jews deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz

The liberation of Dachau. C:BPK

1945 Jan. 17 Evacuation of Auschwitz; beginning of death march Jan. 25 Beginning of death march for inmates of Stutthof April 6-10 Death march of inmates of Buchenwald April 30 Hitler commits suicide May 8 Germany surrenders: end of third Reich

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