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1943 January The Russians begin the bombardment of Stalingrad with 7,000 pieces of artillery and a devastating air assault.
1943 January More than 10,000 Jews from Holland, Belgium, Berlin, and Theresienstadt are deported to Auschwitz. The last Dutch transport in January contains 869 invalids and children; all are gassed on arrival (Atlas)
1943 January 2 Marshal Antonescu meets with Hitler and reconciles their differences concerning the Romanian failures and the disaster at Stalingrad.
1943 January 3 A Jewish resistance group in Czestochowa (P) kills 25 Germans. The SS shoots 250 old people and children in reprisal. (Atlas)
1943 January 7 President Roosevelt delivers his State of the Union message saying, "...I do believe the year of 1943 will give the United Nations a very substantial advance along the roads that lead to Berlin and Rome and Tokyo." (Freedman)
1943 January 14-26 Roosevelt and Churchill meet for the Conference at Casablanca, on the Moroccan coast. Stalin, refuses to attend, claiming that he was promised a European second front by the spring of 1942. The Allies demand the "unconditional surrender" of Germany.
1943 January 18 The German siege of Leningrad is broken by the Russians.
1943 January 18 Professor C. Schneider places his first requests for the killing of patients at his research ward in Wiesloch before the Reich Commission for the Registration of Severe Disorders in Childhood. (Science)
1943 January 18 The Jewish underground in Warsaw resists a new wave of deportations. In four days, 6,000 Jews are deported and 1,000 killed in the streets. So fierceis the Jewish resistance and street fighting that deportations are suspended until April 19. (Atlas)
1943 January 19 Mihai Antonrscu, Romanian Foreign Minister, asks Mussolini to take the lead of a Latin League and to start negotiations with the Allies.
1943 January 30 The first daylight bombing on Berlin by a group British Mosquito bombers is timed to disrupt the celebration of Hitler's tenth anniversary in power.
1943 January 30 Hitler promotes General Paulus to Field Marshal.
1943 January 30 The Russians locate Paulus' Headquarters in southern Stalingrad and begin to surround it.
1943 January 31 Field Marshal von Paulus surrenders himself and the southern pocket of Germans in Stalingrad. General Strecker's group continues to hold out.
(Note: Paulus is the first German Field Marshal in history to surrender to the enemy.)
1943 February Goebbels makes an impassioned speech preaching what he calls "total war."
1943 February Han Bernd Gisevius, German vice-consul in Zurich and a senior Abwehr (military intelligence) agent, makes contact with Allen Dulles through Gero von Gaevernitz, a naturalized American citizen who has become Dulles right-hand man and chief advisor on German politics. Gisevius cautions Dulles that the American legation's codes are not secure, thereby earning Dulles's gratitude. Gisevius and his Abwehr associate Eduard Waetjen continue to supply Dulles with information until the end of the war. (Silence)
1943 February 1-15 Emissaries of Mihai Antonescu in Bern, Switzerland, make contact with the West through Papal Nuncio Bernardini and in Bucharest through the Turkish Ambassador.
1943 February 2 The last German forces in Stalingrad surrender and the Battle of Stalingrad comes to an end. Of approximately 280,000 Germans originally surrounded in the city, 90,000 are taken prisoner. About 40,000 wounded have been evacuated. The Soviets later claim to have removed 147,000 German corpses from the city for reburial. (Fewer than 5,000 of prisoners-of-war live to return to Germany, the last in 1955.)
1943 February 7 Lt. General Dwight Eisenhower is appointed commander of North African operations.
1943 February 11 1,000 Jews from France, including several hundred children and old people are transported to Auschwitz. All the children are gassed on arrival and only 10 of the others will survive the war. (Atlas)
1943 February 14 The Battle of Kasserine. Rommel makes a sudden strike at the American lines in Tunisia, driving 59 miles through U.S. positions at Kasserine Pass.
1943 February 17 Hitler flies to Manstein's headquarters at Zaporozhye on the Eastern Front. He stays there until February 19 when he agrees to Manstein's plan for a counterattack.
1943 February 19 Leaders of the "White Rose" resistance group are arrested and tortured in Berlin.
1943 February 22 Rommel's drive at Kasserine loses momentum and he pulls back.
1943 February 24 Rommel is appointed commander of Army Group Afrika, and the Germans pull back to the Eastern Dorsale, leaving numerous booby traps behind.
1943 February 27 During the course of deporting the last German Jews, the Gestapo in Berlin seizes 6,000 Christian "non-Aryan" men married to "Aryan" women. Then something unexpected and unparalleled happens: their "Aryan" wives follow their husbands to the place of temporary detention and stand for several hours screaming and howling for their men. With the secrecy of the whole machinery of destruction threatened, the Gestapo yields and the "non-Aryan" husbands are released. (Andreas-Friedrich; Lewy)
1943 February 27 The SS puts into operation the "Factory Action," deporting more than 10,000 Jewish factory workers in Germany to the east. Only a few survive. (Atlas)
1943 President Roosevelt appoints Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., as under secretary of state and charges him with the task of reorganizing the U.S. State Department.
1943 March Himmler speaks of a future SS state: "At the Peace Conference, the world will be apprised of the resurrection of the old province of Burgundy, formerly the land of the arts and sciences, which France has reduced to the role of a mere appendage preserved in spirits of wine. The sovereign State of Burgundy with its own army, its own laws and currency and postal system, will be the model SS State. It will be comprised of French Switzerland, Picardy, Champagne, the Franche-Comte, the Hainaut and Luxembourg. The official language, naturally, will be German. The National-Socialist Party will have no jurisdiction over it. It will be governed by the SS alone, and the world will be astonished by and full of admiration for this State in which the ideals of the SS will be embodied." (Pauwels)
1943 March After a visit by Himmler, Treblinka adopts cremation to dispose of the victims bodies. Some 700,000 bodies are unearthed by mechanical excavators and cremated, while simultaneously, bodies from the gas chambers are disposed of in the same manner. Teams of Jewish prisoners transferred the corpses on stretchers to huge steel grids, called "roasters" by the Germans, that could hold as many as 3,000 stacked-up bodies. These 100-foot-wide grids were constructed of a half-dozen railroad rails, resting on three rows of 28-inch-high concrete posts. Brushwood was placed underneath the grid to serve as kindling. (Apparatus)
1943 March During March, five trains leave Holland for Sobibor, one train leaves Paris for Auschwitz, and two trains leave Paris for Majdanek. (Atlas)
1943 March 3-4 Japanese troop transports and their naval escorts carrying reinforcements to Lae and Salamaua are attacked by U.S. B-24Liberators and B-17 Flying Fortresses. All of the transports and four destroyers are sunk, killing more than 3,500 Japanese soldiers and sailors. Only 5 aircraft are lost.
1943 March 9 Himmler specifies, in a decree, that only physicians trained in anthropology should carry out selection for killing, and supervise the killings themselves, in extermination camps. (Science)
1943 March 9 Rommel leaves North Africa and will never return. On his way home he meets with Mussolini in Rome and Hitler in East Prussia, but is unable to convince either of them to withdraw from Africa.
1943 March 10 The SS demands the deportation of all 49,000 Bugarian Jews to Poland. The Bulgarian people, the King, the Parliament, the intellectuals and even the farmers, who were said to be ready to lie down on the railway tracks to prevent the deportations. (Atlas)
1943 March 13 The first crematorium goes into operation at Birkenau (Auschwitz II). Prominent guests come from Berlin to witness the "special inaugural" program: the gassing and cremation of Jews from Kracow. The additional crematoriums are completed during the following three months. The four killing centers contain a total of six gas chambers and fourteen ovens for cremating up to 8,000 corpses a day. (Apparatus)
1943 March 13 Two explosive packets disguised as brandy bottles are put aboard Hitler's private plane in an unsuccessful, yet undiscovered, assassination attempt by officers in the anti-Hitler resistence. (Children)
1943 March 15 More than 2,800 Jews are deported during the first deportations from Salonica. They are told they will be "resettled" in Poland. (Atlas)
1943 March 17 Hofmann, head of the RuSHA, submits a proposal to Himmler for the "final solution" of the question of part-Jews prepared by his subordinate Professor B. K. Schultz: "It is proposed that: quarter-Jews should not be included in the same category as persons of German blood without exception, but that they should first undergo a racial classification. Every quarter-Jew in whom Jewish racial characteristics are clearly prominent, as judged from external appearances, should be treated in the same way as half-Jews (i.e.as Jews)". (Science)
1943 March 17 The Bulgarian Parliament votes unanimously against the deportation of Bulgarian Jews, and none are deported to gas chambers from Bulgaria itself. The country's Jewish population actually increased during the war, from 48,565 in 1934 to 49,172 in 1945. (Atlas)
1943 March 18 General Patton's II U.S. Corps takes Gafsa and pushes toward El Guettar.
1943 March 20 Hitler leaves Wolf's Lair on doctor's orders and recuperates at Obersalzberg.
1943 March 20 Montgomery attacks the defensive Mareth Line.
1943 March 23 The Germans halt Patton's American advance near El Guettar.
1943 March 23 Dr. Ritter reports to the DFG: "Registration of Gypsies and part-Gypsies has been completed roughly as planned in the Old Reich (prewar Germany) and in the Ostmark (prewar Austria) despite all the difficulties engendered by the war... The number of cases clarified from the race-biological point of view is 21,498 at the present time." (Science)
1943 March 23 SS-statistician Dr. Korherr sends the report, which Himmler had requested, on the final solution of the Jewish question to his secretary. The report states that, up to 1 January 1943, 2.4 million Jews had been "evacuated to the East", that is to say, "had received special treatment" (i.e. deportation to extermination camps). (Science)
1943 March 25 The last of 4,000 Jews from the Marseilles area are transported to Sobibor. All but 15 are gassed and only 5 survive the war. (Atlas)
1943 March 28 Professor Fischer begins an article in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung with the sentence: "It is a rare and special good fortune for a theoretical science to flourish at a time when the prevailing ideology welcomes it, and its findings can immediately serve the policy of the state." (Science)
1943 March 29 A German decree orders that all Dutch Gypsies are to be deported to Auschwitz. (Atlas)
1943 April Mass killings in Galicia continue, as do deportations to Auschwitz and Treblinka; nine transports from Salonica, four from Holland, and one each from Belgium and France. (Atlas)
1943 April 3 The German defenders continue to hold off attacksby Patton's troops around El Guettar.
1943 April 4 Eisenhower's U.S. First Army joins Montgomery's Eighth Army near Gafsa.
1943 April 5 Pastor Dietrich Bonhöffer (Bonhoeffer) is arrested by the Gestapo, charged with subverting the German armed forces and imprisoned. (See May 1942)
1943 April 5 Montgomery attacks the Wadi Akarit Line.
1943 April 7 The annihilation of the Warsaw ghetto begins and will continue until June 16.
1943 April 7 Chelmno (Kulmhof) extermination camp discontinues its activities. Attempts are made to eliminate all traces of mass murder. (Days)
1943 April 7 In Tunisia, Count Claus von Stauffenberg's automobile drives into a minefield, seriously wounding him. Stauffenberg loses his left eye, his right hand, part of his arm, and several fingers on his left hand.
1943 April 7-11 Hitler and Mussolini meet at Salzburg and decide to continue holding on in North Africa.
1943 April 12 The Germans announce the discovery of a group of mass graves in the Katyn Forest containing the bodies of 4,100 Polish officers, murdered by the Soviets.
1943 April 14 The slave labor camp at Siedlce near Sobibor is "liquidated." (Atlas)
1943 April 16 The Polish government in exile in London asks for a Red Cross investigation of the mass murders in the Katyn Forest.
1943 April 18 The Soviets make an announcement on the murders in the Katyn Forest, claiming that the Germans have concocted the entire story.
1943 April 18 Admiral Yamamato is killed when his airplane is intercepted and shot down by American P-38 fighters over Bougainville.
1943 April 19 The remaining population of the Warsaw ghetto rises up against the Germans when the ghetto is attacked by a heavily armed force of more than 2,000 German soldiers,Lithuanian militia members, Polish policemen and fire fighters. The Jews, numbering about 60,000, armed only with a few pistols, rifles, machineguns, and homemade weapons, put up a heroic fight, and force the Germans out of the ghetto altogether.
1943 April 19 Within a few hours the Germans return, and begin systematically burning down the Warsaw ghetto, street by street, while at the same time killing or driving out with smoke and hand grenades the Jews who continue to fight from the bunkers and sewers. (Atlas)
1943 April 19 U.S. and British delegates at the Bermuda Conference fail to produce plans for savingvictims of the Nazis.
1943 April 20 Himmler promises to crush Jewish resistence in the Warsaw ghetto as a birthday present to Hitler.
1943 April 23 The SS begins an all-out operation to eliminate the remaining Jews still hiding in the Warsaw ghetto. Resistance continues for three more weeks. (See May 8 and May 16)
1943 April 23 Anglo-U.S. Headquarters is set up in London to plan the invasion of Europe.
1943 May The Catholic bishops of Holland forbid the collaboration of Catholic policemen in the hunting down of Jews in their country, even at the cost of losing their own jobs. (Lewy)
1943 May 7 Both Tunis and Bizerte fall to the Allies.
1943 May 8 The Germans reach the Jewish underground headquarters in the Warsaw ghetto. Mordecai Anielewicz, the underground leader, and 100 of his fighters die in the battle. (Atlas)
1943 May 12 Churchill visits Roosevelt in Washington to discuss problems of a second front in western Europe to take pressure off the Soviets and break the Axis states.
1943 May 13 The vaunted Afrika Korps surrenders. German resistance in Tunisia collapses and the war in Africa comes to an end. 250,000 Axis soldiers are captured in the last few days, half of them German.
1943 May 16 The German commander of Warsaw, Gen. Juergen Stroop, reports to his superiors that "the former Jewish quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence." According to Stroop's figures, 56,000 Jews have been burned alive, shot as they emerged from burning buildings, or deported to Treblinka.
(As may as 15,000 Jews escaped to the "Aryan" part of Warsaw. Some were captured, but most, sheltered by the Poles, survived the war.) (Atlas)
1943 May 18 The village of Szarajowka in eastern Poland is encircled by the Germans. Young men are shot on the spot. The women and children are herded into buildings and stables, which are then set on fire. Only a few escape. (Apparatus)
1943 May 24 German Admiral Doenitz orders his U-boats to leave the Atlantic.
1943 May 24 SS 2nd Lieutenant Max Täubner, commanding officer of a supplies workshop platoon and an officer in Kommandostab RF-SS, is tried for conducting unauthorized massacres of Jews in Russia. Täubner is sentenced to a total of ten years imprisonment, expelled from the SS, and declared unfit for service. (see June 1, 1943 and January 16, 1945) (Days)
1943 May 30 SS Dr. Josef Mengele reports for duty at Auschwitz. Mengele has been persuaded to ask for this position by Professor Otmar von Verschuer, one of Europe's most eminent geneticists and a pioneer in hereditary biology at the Frankfurt University Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Purity. Verschuer's institute agreed to fund Mengele's experiments if Mengele in return would send his results and specimens to the institute "for further study." (Mengele)
(Mengele was a former assistant to Professor von Verschuer and a visiting scientist in Verschuer's Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology in Berlin-Dahlem. Mengele's first act at Auschwitz was to send those Gypsies who are suspected of suffering from typhoid to the gas chambers.) (Science)
1943 June Hitler arranges a secret conference with the Russians at Kirovograd, 200 miles behind the German lines. RIbbentrop, representing Hitler, offers to end the war on condition that Germany would retain the Ukraine and all territory west of the Dneiper River. Molotov, representing Stalin, replies that they will never settle for anything short of their old, prewar frontier. (Payne)
1943 June The Germans deliberately leak information about the Kirovograd Conference to the Allies. Stalin immediately breaks off the negotiations and calls Molotov back to Moscow. Neither the Russians nor the Germans will officially admit that this meeting ever took place. (Payne)
1943 June The new crematoriums at Auschwitz have a total capacity of 4,756 persons a day. (Science)
1943 June Professor C. Schneider's research ward at Wiesloch is closed due to problems caused by the war. (Science)
1943 June Deportations of Jews from Holland and France continue throughout the month. (Atlas)
1943 June The last 600 workers who had remained at Belzec to complete the digging up and burning of corpses are transferred to Sobibor and shot. (Apparatus)
1943 June 1 The cases against four men in SS 2nd Lieutenant Max Täubner's workshop platoon who were party to his unauthorized execution of Jews in Russia are dismissed on the grounds that they were following the orders of and under the responsibilityof Täubner and "therefore their own culpability might be described as slight." (Days)
1943 June 2 Pope Pius XII tells the Sacred College of Cardinals that he has given special attention to the plight of those who were still being harassed because of their nationality and descent, and who, without personal guilt, were subjected to measures that spelled destruction. Much had been done for the unfortunates, the Pope said, that could not yet be described. Every public statement had had to be carefully weighed "in the interest of those suffering so that their situation would not inadvertently be made still more difficult and unbearable." Unfortunately, he added, the Church's pleas for compassion and the observance of the elementary norms of humanity had encountered doors "which no key was able to open." (AB Munich; Lewy)
1943 June 5 The Germans deport 1,266 Jewish children under the age of 16 from Holland to Sobibor. All are gassed on arrival. (Atlas)
1943 June 7 Professor Clauberg, a gynaecologist from Königsberg, writes to Himmler that the method which he has been developing in Auschwitz for large-scale sterilization of women is "as good as ready". "I can now see the answer to the question you put to me almost a year ago about how long it would take to sterilize 1000 women in this way. An appropriately trained doctor could most probably sterilize several hundred, although perhaps not 1000, in a day." (Science)
1943 June 21 On Himmler's orders, doctors at Auschwitz select 73 Jewish men and 30 Jewish women who are then sent to the camp at Natzweiler in Alsace. There they are measured, weighed and gassed. Their corpses are then transported to the Anatomical Institute at Strasbourg where they are stripped of flesh for the institute's collection of Jewish skulls and skeletons. (see November 6, 1942, October 15,1944) (Atlas)
1943 June 21 U.S. Marines land at New Georgia in the Solomons.
1943 June 26 Bishop Preysing sends word to the other bishops by messenger that the divorce decree has again been postponed. He asks the other bishops to each write letters to all government ministries inquiring in strong language about the whereabouts of the deportees, demanding pastoral care for the "non-Aryan" Christians and threatening a public protest. "Beyond this," he says, "one should speak clearly about the outrages inflicted upon the Jews in general." (DA Limburg; Lewy)
1943 Summer Round-the-clock bombing of German cities by the Allies steadily mounts until all Germany is subjected to massive air raids. As the effectiveness of the U.S. fighter escorts increases, the Luftwaffe becomes less and less able to counter the air attacks.
1943 July 1 Mihai Antonescu, in Rome, again asks Mussolini to begin immediate negotiation with the Allies.
1943 July 5-15 Operation Citadel - The Battle of Kursk beomes the largest tank battle of all time. Hitler intends to break up the Kursk salient with an overwhelming mass of armor, allowing his forces to sweep up behind Moscow, capturing it from the rear. The Russians learn of the plan in advance and quickly set up a trap.
1943 July 9/10 The British and Americans launch Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. The British 8th Army lands at Cape Passero and then advances up the eastern coast. The U.S. Seventh Army, led by General George S. Patton wins a beachhead at Gela. General Omar Bradley's II Corps and General Lucian K. Truscott's task force cut through the center of the island and sweep up the western coast.
1943 July 12 At Kursk, the Soviets, favored by a seemingly endless supply of troops and tanks, move in fresh tank divisions and the advantage swingsto the Russians. Manstein, having lost 70,000 men, half his tanks, and 1,000 aircraft, is forced to withdraw.
1943 July 17 Hitler tells his top generals at the Wolf's Lair that "barbaric measures" are needed to save Italy. Only by terrifying the Italian population into blind obedience, he says, can they stiffen Italian resistance.
1943 July 19 Hitler and Mussolini meet at Feltre, a small hill town north of Venice.
1943 July 22 The U.S. Seventh Army takes Palermo, Sicily.
1943 July 24-25 The Allies begin a devastating series of combined air raids on largely civilan targets in Hamburg. The British alone deploy 780 planes and drop 2,300 tons of bombs on the first night.
1943 July 25 Mussolini is kidnapped and arrested by King Victor Emmanuel. Pietro Badoglio becomes Italian Prime Minister and soon begins negotiating an armistice with the Allies.
1943 July 26 Mussolini is abandoned by most Italians; only his Black Shirts remain loyal. Hitler quickly issues orders to locate and rescue his friend. (See September 12)
1943 July 27-28 The RAF drops thousands of pounds of incendiary bombs of Hamburg, creating a "firestorm" for the first time. A firestorm occurs when the fires in a given area become so intense that they devour all oxygen nearby, creating hurricane force winds a they suck more oxygen in, feeding the fires and moving them along at great speed. (Three-quarters of Hamburg is burned to the ground. 50,000 German civilians are killed and 800,000 left homeless.)
1943 July 29-30 Allied bombers again hit Hamburg by day and night.
1943 August More than 2,000 Jews are deported from Holland to Auschwitz. Slave labor camps in the General Government are "liquidated," and their inmates murdered. (Atlas)
1943 August At Sobibor, members of the corpse-burning squad dig a tunnel, but come out in the minefield. All 150 members of the squad are executed. (Atlas)
1943 August 1 More than 175 American B-24 Liberators) bomb the Ploesti oilfields in Romania, a 2,400-mile round trip from Libya. This low-level attack severely damages the major oil center of Hitler's Europe, but the U.S. Ninth Air Force loses 54 planes during the raid. A year later, Ploesti will again be targeted and knocked out in a savage three-day assault. 2,277 American airmen and 270 planes are lost.
1943 August 2 During a Jewish uprising at Treblinka, many of the camp's 850 workers manage to break out and enjoy a brief taste of freedom before German reinforcements are brought in. Only about 100 escape the dragnet. Fewer still survive the war. (Apparatus)
1943 August 2-3 Hundreds of Allied bombers once again bomb Hamburg.
1943 August 4 The Soviets recapture Orel.
1943 August 4 The Allies bomb Peenemunde, the German rocket laboratory and test site in the Baltic. (Silence)
1943 August 5 The British Eighth Army, reinforced by Canadians, takes Catania, Sicily.
1943 August 7 The last trainload of Jews from Salonica leaves for Auschwitz, where more than 43,000 of Salonica's 56,000 Jew have already been murdered. (Atlas)
1943 August 11-24 Roosevelt and Churchill approve the decision to establish a second front in France at an Allied conference (Quadrant) held in Quebec with Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King. Specific plans are made for an Allied landing at Normandy on May 1, 1944. Churchill accepts that the Supreme Commander of the invasion should be American.
1943 August 16 A Jewish revolt at Bialystok is crushed by the Germans with tanks and artillery (to August 23). (Atlas)
1943 August 17 The Americans capture Messina ending the Sicilian campaign.
1943 August 18 The DFG (the German Association for Scientific Research) approves Professor von Verschuer's application for a grant for the study of "specific proteins." (See March 20, 1944) (Science)
1943 August 19 Treblinka receives its last trainload of deportees, a transport from the Bialystok ghetto. (Apparatus)
1943 August 19 A joint pastoral letter from the German bishops reminds the faithful that the killing of innocents is wrong even if done by the authorities and allegedly for the common good, as in the case of "men of foreign races and descent." The bishops call for love of "those innocent humans who are not of our people and blood," and of "the resettled." (Neither the word "Jew" nor "non-Aryan" is used.)
1943 August 20 Approximately 3,000 Jews at Glebokie resist being taken out to the woods, and are massacred in a single day. A few escape and start a small partisan group. (Atlas)
1943 August 23 The Russians capture Kharkov.
1943 August 23 The Allies launch the heaviest Allied air raid to date against Berlin. Large parts of the Friedrichstrasse and Wilhelmstrasse are destroyed, including several ministries, hotels, despartment stores and other landmarks. (Silence).
1943 August 25 The Allies again bomb the German rocket laboratory on Peenemunde, setting back production by two months. Eduard Schulte passed along damage reports to Allen Dulles in Switzerland. (Silence)
1943 August 25 U.S. forces overrun New Georgia in the Solomons.
1943 August 28 Danish resistance to the German occupation undermines continued German cooperation and the Danish-German Agreement is abolished. Martial Law is declared. The SS hopes to use this opportunity to deport all 7,200 of Denmark's Jews. (Atlas)
1943 September Danish sea captains and fishermen, on the eve of the Jewish deportations, ferry 5,919 Jews, 1,301 part-Jews, and 686 Christians married to Jews to safety in Sweden (See October 1). (Atlas)
1943 September 2 At Treblinka, a group of 13 Jewish slave laborers kill their SS guard with a crowbar while working outside the camp. Their leader, 18-year-old Seweryn Klajnman, puts on the guard's uniform, and then "marches off" his fellow prisoners. All escape their pursuers and evade capture. (Atlas)
1943 September 3 Operation Avalanche - The British 8th Army invades Italy at the toe of the "boot."
1943 September 3 In Algiers, the Badoglio regime of Italy secretly signs an armistice with the Anglo-American forces. Italian capitulation is not announced until September 8th.
1943 September 8 Italy officially surrenders to the Allied Powers.
1943 September 9 The American Fifth Army lands at Salerno, south of Naples. General Mark Clark's assault force of the 36th and 45th Infantry divisions and a ranger force, reinforced by the 82nd Airborne and the 3rd Infantry divisions. Clark loses the element of surprise and his advance is stopped at the beachhead.
1943 September 9 A circular letter concerning receipt of fees for racial "expert reports" states: "In the financial year 1942, 2,340.50 RM were received by the Kaiser Wilhelm Institue of Anthropology." (Assuming an average fee of 50 RM, approximately 50 "expert reports" were drawn up, each of them determining whether the Jew concerned was to live or to die. (Science)
1943 September 12 Mussolini is rescued by SS commandos under Otto Skorzeny at Gran Sasso, Italy, and after visiting with Hitler becomes head of a puppet government in northern Italy.
1943 September 13 General Chiang Kai-shek is elected President of the Chinese Republic by the Central Excecutive committee and also confirmed as Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese army. (Freedman)
1943 September 15 After six days of savage, armored attacks, General Clark's forces break out of Salerno.
1943 September 16 General Clark's forces join up with the British 8th Army advancing northward from southern Italy.
1943 September 16 More than 37,000 Italian Jews come under Nazi rule. Some escape to Switzerland. Several thousand find refuge in Catholic homes. (Atlas)
1943 September 22 The Soviet army recaptures Poltava.
1943 September 23 Hitler meets with Ion Antonescu and asks him not to receive an anti-Mussolini Italian envoy, and to dismiss Mihai Antonescu. Marshal Antonescu refuses to comply.
1943 September 23 The Vilna ghetto is liquidated by the Germans.
1943 September 23 Ernst von Weizsäcker, the new German Ambassador at the Vatican, reports to Berlin that Secretary of State Maglione regards the fate of Europe as dependent upon "the victorious resistance of Germany at the Russian front." If the German armies collapse there, the only possible bulwark against Bolshevism will fall and European civilization will be lost. (Lewy)
1943 September 25 The Soviets recapture Smolensk.
1943 September 30 A work unit of 325 Jews and Soviet prisoners, who were being forced, in chains, to dig up burn victims of the massacre at Babi Yar, near Kiev, revolt when they too are about to be killed. Only 14 survive the revolt. (Atlas)
1943 October 1 The Germans begin rounding up Danish Jews and are able to find 500 in the entire country. All were sent to Theresienstadt; 423 survived the war.
1943 October 1 The Allies capture Naples.
1943 October 4 Himmler summons his SS generals to Posen and informs them of the systematic murder of the Jews; in effect making accomplices of them all. "This is a page of glory in our history that has never been written," he tells them, "and is never to be written."
1943 October 6 Himmler tells a group of Gauleiters and Reichsleiters that " The Jews must disappear from the face of the earth," and that even the children must die so that they can never grow-up to seek revenge.
1943 October 10 The provincial administrator of the Regensburg area reports that the joint pastoral letter from the bishops on August 19 castigating the killing of innocents has not had any lasting effect. He writes: "The population pays scant attention to such involved pronouncements burdened with stipulations." (Lewy)
1943 October 11 The last train of deportees to be gassed at Sobibor arrives at the camp. (Apparatus)
1943 October 13 Italy declares war on Germany.
1943 October 14 A Jewish uprising, planned by Alexander Pechersky, a Soviet officer and also a Jew, together with other prisoners, breaks out at Sobibor. Eleven or twelve SS men, and about a dozen Ukrainian guards, are killed. Of the 600 Jews in the camp, 200 are shot or blown up in the minefields while escaping. 400 escape, of whom about 100 are later captured and killed. Others join Soviet partisan groups and are killed fighting; others die of typhus, and some are killed by hostile Poles. Only 30 are known to have survived the war, including Perchersky. (Atlas)
1943 October 14 Ernst Junger, in Paris, writes in his diary: "In the evening a visit from Bogo (Frederick Hielscher)." (As a precaution Junger referred to all important personages by a pseudonym. "Bogo" was Frederick Hielscher; "Kniebolo", Hitler.) "At a time when strong personalities are so scarce, although he is one of the people I have thought a lot about, I do not seem able to form an opinion about him. I thought once that he would make his mark in the history of our time as one of those people who are little known but are exceptionally intelligent. I think now he will play a more important role. Most of the young intellectuals of the generation which has grown up since the last war have come under his influence, and often have been through his school... He confirmed a suspicion I have had for a long time, that he has founded a Church. He has now gone beyond dogma, and is mainly concerned with liturgy. He has shown me a series of songs and festivities to celebrate the "pagan year", involving a whole system of gods, and colors and animals, food, and stones and plants. I noticed that the "consecration of light" would take place on February 2nd."
Junger added: "I have noticed in Bogo a fundamental change that is characteristic of all our elite: he is throwing himself into metaphysics with all the enthusiasm of a mind brought up on rationalist lines. The same thing had struck me in the case of Spengler, and seems to be a propitious sign. It could be said, roughly, that while the nineteenth century was the century of reason, the twentieth is the century of cults, Kniebolo (Hitler) lives on them which accounts for the total incapacity of liberal-minded people to see even where he stands." (Strahlungen, Part Two of Junger's WWII Diary, 1949; Pauwels)
1943 October 15-16 The Nazis begin rounding up the Jews of Rome. (Prior to the arrests, the Jewish community was told by the Nazis that unless it could raise 50 kilograms of gold (equivalent to $56,000 U.S.) within 36 hours, 300 hostages would be taken. When it turned out the Jews could raise only 35 kilograms, the Chief Rabbi, Israel Zolli, asked for and received a loan from the Vatican treasury to cover the balance. The Pope approved the transaction.) (Hilberg)
1943 October 16 General Stahel, the German military commander of Rome, receives a letter signed by Bishop Hudal, head of the German Church in Rome. It says in part: "I would be very grateful if you would give an order to stop these arrests (of the Jews) in Rome and its vicinity right away; I fear that otherwise the Pope will have to make an open stand which will serve the anti-German propaganda as a weapon against us." (Hilberg; Lewy)
1943 October 18 More than 1,000 Roman Jews, more than two-thirds of them women and children, are shipped off to the killing center at Auschwitz. Only 14 men and one woman returned alive after the war. (7,000 of the 8,000 Roman Jews escaped capture by going into hiding. About 4,000 of them, with the knowledge and approval of the Pope, found refuge in the numerous monasteries and houses of religious orders in Rome. A few dozen were sheltered in the Vatican itself.) (Lewy)
(Within a month 8,360 Italian Jews had been deported to Auschwitz, where 7,749 are murdered.)(Atlas)
1943 October 19 Lublin SS-und Poliseifuehrer Odilo Globocnik announces the end of Aktion Reinhard and dissolution of the camps. Most SS personnel involved in Aktion Reinhard are transferred to the Adriatic coastal operation zone to fight the partisans and select and deport the Jews of that area. (Days)
1943 October 20 The United Nations (UN) War Crimes Commission is set up.
1943 October 25 Jesuit priest Alfred Delp, a member of the German resistance, tells a conference of priests at Munich that the silence of the Church on what is being done to the Poles and Jews and on the horrors committed in the concentration camps will threaten the acceptance of the Church by the new Germany that will arise after the downfall of the Nazi regime. (DA Passau; Lewy)
1943 October 28 Ambassador Weizsäcker reports: "Although under pressure from all sides, the Pope has not let himself be drawn into any demonstrative censure of the deportation of Jews from Rome. Although he must expect that his attitude will be criticized by our enemies and exploited by the Protestant and Anglo-Saxon countries in their propaganda against Catholicism, he has done everything he could in this delicate matter not to strain relations with the German government and German circles in Rome. As there is no reason to expect other German actions against the Jews of Rome, we can consider that a question so disturbing to German-Vatican relations has been liquidated." (PA Bonn; Poliakov; Lewy)
1943 November Hitler ceases issuing numbered war directives.
1943 November The trouble at Treblinka and Sobibor has so alarmed Himmler that in early November he orders the elimination of another potential source of insurrections. Some 42,000 Jews being kept alive as slave laborers at other kinds of camps in eastern Poland are shot. Thus Operation Reinhard comes to an end. During a nineteen month period, approximately 1.7 million people have died in the three "Reinhard" camps (Belsen, Treblinka, Sobibor), most of them in 1942. The ghettos have been practically eliminated, and scarcely any Jews remain in the Government General. The "new, and improved" gas chambers at Auschwitz will now be used to eliminate Jews from the rest of occupied Europe. (Apparatus)
1943 November Dr. Gertrud Luckner, an official of Caritas (the large Catholic philanthropic organization) in Freiburg, is arrested while trying to smuggle a sum of money to the few remaining Jews in Berlin. She had been helping Jews escape across the border into Switzerland for several years, and will spend the rest of the war in a concentration camp. (Lewy)
1943 November 3 At Majdanek, 18,000 prisoners are murdered in a single day of slaughter, called the "harvest festival" by the SS. (Atlas)
1943 November 6 The Russians retake Kiev.
1943 November 9 The 20th anniversary of the Munich Putsch. Hitler gives a speech at the Lowenbraukeller in Munich, which is recorded for a later radio broadcast. During the speech Hitler announced that the German people had inflicted such suffering and destruction on the peoples of Europe that they could expect no mercy in case of defeat. If Germany was defeated, he, Adolf Hitler, would not shed a single tear, even if all the cities of Germany were laid waste, and every German man, woman and child put to the sword. The German people would only have themselves to blame. The censors deleted this outburst, but a Turkish press official was there, who later passed it on to British intelligence. (Architect)
1943 November 11 At Theresienstadt, 300 prisoners die during an all-day roll call.
1943 November 15-6 Some 2,000 Jews arrive at Auschwitz from Holland. (Atlas)
1943 November 17 Cardinal Bertram writes to the Minister of the Interior and the RHSA that the bishops have received information that the "non-Aryans" evacuated from Germany are living in camps under inhuman conditions and that a large number had already succumbed. (DA Limburg; Lewy)
1943 November 18 After a lull in the bombings to Berlin, the Allies once again begin to inflict heavy damage. Nightly bombings become regular events. (Silence)
1943 November 20 A force of 5,000 U.S. Marines lands on Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. Fighting is ferocious and casualties high.
1943 November 22 More than 100 Jewish mental home patients are deported from Berlin to Auschwitz. (Atlas)
1943 November 24 President Roosevelt, enroute to the Tehran Conference in Iran, stops off at Cairo for a four-day conference with Chiang Kai-shek and Churchill. Churchill is said to have been surprised that Roosevelt treated China as if it had the full status of a great power. (Freedman)
1943 November 26 Tarawa is taken by the Marines. Only 17 Japanese and 129 Korean workers survive out of the original garrison of 5,000.
1943 November 28 - December 2 The Tehran Conference -- Churchill and Roosevelt meet with Stalin for the first time. During the deliberations, a date for the invasion of France, code-named Operation Overlord, is confirmed. Stalin agrees to launch a simultaneous attack on Germany's eastern front and is assured that a second invasion of France (from the Mediterranean), known as Operation Anvil, will also take place. Stalin reaffirms that the Soviets will join in the fight against Japan after Germany is defeated, but asserts that the USSR wants Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, and a year-round Pacific port on the mainland of Asia. The restoration of Iran is also discussed.
(Note: Roosevelt also agrees to most of Stalin's territorial demands in Europe and asks that the arrangements be kept secret until after the next presidential elections in the United States. In Ankara, Anthony Eden tells the Turkish foreign minister that the Soviets will be given a free hand in the Balkans after the war.) (Sturdza)
1943 December The Fifth Army advance in Italy is stopped at the Gustav Line based on Mt. Cassino. Despite heavy bombardment by air and artillery, the Germans doggedly hold their defenses.
1943 December 1 An Italian law is passed providing for the internment of all Jews in concentration camps and for the confiscation of their property. Occasional searches for Jews take place during the following months.
1943 December 2 The Tehran Conference comes to an end. Churchill and Roosevelt knowingly agree to hand over 120 million Europeans to Stalin and the Communistts.
1943 December 2 Eduard Schulte, the man who first warned the world about the systematic killing of the Jews, flees to Switzerland after being warned by Eduard Waetjen, an associate of Gisevius, that the Gestapo has ordered his arrest. (Silence)
1943 December 3 Roosevelt and Churchill hold a second Cairo Conference with the President of Turkey. (Freedman)
1943 December 3 The Luftwaffe bombs Allied merchant ships in the harbor at Bari, Italy. It is the worst Allied naval disaster of the war except for Pearl Harbor, and seriously delays Allied efforts to overrun Italy. During the attack, almost 100 tons of American poison gas accidentially escapes from the American merchant ship John Harvey, subjecting the entire population of Bari to the poison. The deaths of hundreds of Italian civilians becomes one of the best kept secrets of WWII. (Secrets)
1943 December 3 Units from X Corps reach the top of Monte Camino, and II Corps captures Monte Maggiore.
1943 December 5 Monte Camino is the site of heavy action as both sides fight for possession of the summit.
1943 December 5 Catholic Provost Bernhard Lichtenberg dies while in transport to Dachau concentration camp. He had been seized by the Gestapo immediately after his release from prison in October. (Lewy)
1943 December 6 The British 56th Division captures Monte Camino.
1943 December 7 The U.S. II and VI Corps attack Monte Sammucro and San Pietro, but German resistance is fierce.
1943 December 10 Eighth Army crosses the Moro River in strength.
1943 December 12 The U.S. 36th Infantry Division attacks Monte Lungo.
1943 December 15 The Allied II Corps renews the drive toward San Pietro and Monte Lungo.
1943 December 15-18 Some 5,000 Jews are transported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, almost all are gassed on arrival. (Atlas)
1943 December 17 The Germans begin withdrawing troops from San Pietro. Monte Sammucro is now in Allied hands.
1943 December 22 The 2nd Canadian Brigade fights a house to house battle against the German 1st Paratroop Division in Ortona, Italy.
1943 December 23 The 1st Canadian Division seizes most of Ortona.
1943 December 24 Washington and London announce that General Eisenhower will be the Supreme Allied Commander for the invasion of Europe, with British Air Marshal Tedder as his deputy.
1943 December 24 Secret negotiations begin in Stockholm between Marshal Antonescu's Romanian emissaries and the Soviet Embassy.
1943 December 25 Bishop Frings, in his Christmas sermon, again emphasizes that it is wrong to kill innocents just because they belong to another race, but again he fails to mention the word "Jew" or "non-Aryan." (Lewy)
1943 December 26 The German battlecruiser Scharnhorst is sunk in a gun duel with the British battleship Duke of York in the Arctic off Norway. Only 36 of her 2,000 man crew survive.
1943 December 28 Canadian troops complete the capture of Ortona.
1943 Robert Oppenheimer establishes the Los Alamos laboratory to build the U.S. atomic bomb.
1943 Ezra Pound is indicted and charged with treason for his support of Mussolini and the Fascist system of government.
1943 American war correspondent Ernie Pyle publishes "Here Is Your War," a collection of his front-line dispatches that are popular with both soldiers and civilians alike.