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auschwitz: inside the nazi state
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Timeline: 1943

Key

Auschwitz Related

February

Police in Munich destroy the White Rose movement, an anti-Nazi group formed by university students that called for ending the war and overthrowing Hitler. The leaders of the group are arrested and executed.

April

April-May: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. After deportations of some 300,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto during 1942, only about 55,000 remain there. A resistance group, the Jewish Fighting Organization (known by its Polish acronym: ZOB), takes control of the ghetto and calls on Jews to fight deportation. When called by the Nazis to report in January, they fight back.

Members of the Jewish resistance captured during the Warsaw ghetto uprising

Members of the Jewish resistance captured during the Warsaw ghetto uprising

Although some five thousand Jews are killed, the Germans retreat from the ghetto. After fortifying themselves, the ghetto Jews wait for the next battle, which occurs during Passover and comes to be called the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. At 6am on April 19, some two thousand German troops enter the ghetto but are repulsed within 90 minutes by ZOB fighters with homemade weapons. The Germans cut off gas, water, and electricity to the ghetto. Street fighting continues between Germans and Jews for a few days before General Jurgen Stroop orders that the ghetto be burned. By April 22 the burning is under way. Still Jewish fighters resist for another month, hiding in ghetto sewers, which become a route of escape to the Polish side of Warsaw for some Jews. In the end, the ghetto is in ruins and emptied of its inhabitants. Thousands of Jews are dead after the uprising, but not without inflicting damage on the Germans. The remainder of the Jews are deported to Treblinka.

The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp opens. It holds Jews who will be exchanged for Germans being held by Allies.

May

The Nazis declare that Berlin is free of Jews.

The Allies win in North Africa, driving out the Axis powers.

At a conference in New York, The Jewish Agency for Palestine, a group promoting a Jewish state in Palestine, condemns Nazi atrocities against European Jews as well as British limits on Jewish immigration to Palestine.

Dr. Josef Mengele arrives at Auschwitz, where he conducts brutal medical experiments on prisoners.

July

Allied forces invade Sicily.

The Allies win in North Africa, driving out the Axis powers.

Mussolini is removed from power in Italy and arrested. A military dictatorship replaces the Fascist regime.

Soviet forces defeat Germans in the last major German offensive in the USSR.

August

Prisoners at Treblinka revolt against their guards. About 150 escape into the nearby forest, but only about 12 avoid recapture by German pursuers.

September

September - October: German diplomat Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz and Werner Best, German ruler of Denmark, meet about Nazi plans for rounding up Danish Jews, which the Danes had so far resisted. Best alerts Danish leaders. Upon receiving warning, Danes help many Jews escape.

September 3: Allies invade southern Italy, and the Italian government surrenders to the Allies soon thereafter. Germany occupies Italy and disarms the Italian Army.

October

October-November: In Egypt, the British army defeats Axis forces in the Battle of El Alamein.

Fall: Rudolf Höss is removed from Auschwitz as commandant due to corruption at the camp.

For the first time, Jewish prisoners from Auschwitz are transferred to the Buna-Monowitz subcamp to work for IG Farben.

About three hundred prisoners escape from the Sobibor extermination camp.

The first Jews from Rome are deported to Auschwitz.

October 4: Himmler speaks at Posen, Poland, about the murder of Jews. He praises the SS, citing their honesty, character, and commitment to duty, ignoring their involvement in numerous corrupt schemes.

November

In their Moscow Declaration, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin condemn Nazi atrocities in Europe and promise to prosecute Nazi perpetrators.

Germans order the Italian Jews to be rounded up in concentration camps.

Protests in Bulgaria prevent deportation of Jews. Romania also refuses to deport more Jews.

The Nazis close the Sobibor, Treblinka, and Belzec extermination camps, the main camps involved in the effort to exterminate the 2.2 million Jews in the General Government of Poland. By November 1943 more than two million Jews have been killed at the camps and the operation is considered complete.

Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin meet at Teheran to discuss postwar plans for Europe.

The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration is established to provide economic assistance to European nations and aid refugees in countries liberated from the Axis powers.