Return to home1939 Jan 4,
Hermann Goering appointed Reinhard Heydrich as head of Jewish
1939 Jan 17, The Reich issued
an order forbidding Jews to practice as dentists, veterinarians and
1939 Jan 20, Hitler proclaimed
to German parliament his intention to exterminate all European Jews.
1939 Jan 22, A Nazi order
erased the old officer caste, tying the army directly to the Party.
1939 Feb 14, The Reich launched
the battleship Bismarck.
1939 Feb 24, Hungary signed an
anti-Communist pact with Italy, Germany and Japan.
1939 Mar 15, Germany occupied
Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia. Slovakia became independent
(Voruta #27-28, Jul 1996, p.2)(WSJ, 12/12/96,
p.A13)(HN, 3/15/98)(MC, 3/15/02)
1939 Mar 16, Germany occupied
the rest Czechoslovakia.
1939 Mar 18, The U.S. raised
the duties on German imports by 25 percent.
1939 Mar 21, Nazi Germany
demanded Gdansk (Danzig) from Poland.
1939 Mar 21, Ghandi called on
the world to disarm, thinking that Hitler would follow.
1939 Mar 22, Germany marched
into Klaipeda (Memel), Lithuania. The Lithuanian warship Prezidentas
Smetona was left without a harbor. The ship soon settled at Latvia’s
port of Liepaja. In December Ltn. P. Labanauskas was named captain.
In 1940 Soviet occupiers called for the ship to raise the Soviet
flag, but Captain Labanauskas sailed the ship out of Soviet
territory. The ship was later handed over to the Soviet Baltic
fleet. On Jan 11, 1945, it hit a mine and sank off the coast of
(Voruta #27-28, Jul 1996,
1939 Mar 31, Britain and France
agreed to support Poland if Germany threatened to invade. Seven
French islands were annexed by Japan.
1939 Mar, In Slovakia Germany
set up a puppet regime. The Jewish community was estimated to number
70,000 at the start of the war. Fewer than 10,000 survived the war.
(SFC, 6/28/97, p.A11)
1939 Apr 5, Membership in
Hitler Youth became obligatory.
1939 Apr 16, Stalin requested a
British, French and Russian anti-Nazi pact.
1939 Apr 18, Franz von Papen
became German ambassador in Turkey.
1939 Apr 20, The Kehlsteinhous,
aka the Eagle’s Nest, a mountaintop teahouse located in the
Kehlstein mountains near Berchtesgaden, was given to Adolf Hitler as
a 50th birthday present.
(SSFC, 8/6/06, p.G4)
1939 Apr 28, Hitler claimed the
German-Polish non-attack treaty to be still in effect.
1939 May 7, Germany and Italy
announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin
1939 May 13, The SS St Louis
departed Hamburg with some 937 passengers including over 900 Jewish
refugees. They sought refuge in Cuba, but only 22 were allowed to
disembark there. No country in the Americas would take them. It
returned to Germany where a number of the Jews were later murdered.
[see Jun 4]
1939 May 22, The foreign
ministers of Germany and Italy, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Galeazzo
Ciano, signed a "Pact of Steel" committing Germany and Italy to a
military alliance forming the Axis powers.
(HN, 5/22/99)(AP, 5/22/07)
1939 May 23, Hitler proclaimed
he wants to move into Poland.
1939 May, The Ravensbruck
concentration camp opened in northern Germany. It was primarily set
up for women. Between 1939 and 1945, over 130,000 female prisoners
passed through the Ravensbrück camp system; only 40,000 survived.
1939 Jun 4, During what became
known as the "Voyage of the Damned," the SS St. Louis, carrying 907
Jewish refugees from Germany, was turned away from the Florida
coast. Also denied permission to dock in Canada and Cuba, the ship
eventually returned to Europe. The passengers were divided among
England, France, Belgium and Holland and a number of the refugees
later died in Nazi concentration camps. By 2003 efforts to track
their fates identified 935 out of the 937 passengers. Some 260 ended
in Nazi killing centers.
(AP, 6/4/99)(SFC, 10/4/99, p.D3)(SSFC, 12/7/03,
Par p.5)(Econ, 6/24/06, p.44)
1939 Jun 16-1939 Jun 20, Jewish
refugees, whose quest for freedom in the Americas was denied, began
to disembark the SS St. Louis back in Europe. Holland took 181,
France received 224, 228 went to Great Britain, and 214 went to
Belgium. [see May 13 and June 4]
1939 Jun 28, Richard
Meinertzhagen (1877-1967, a British army colonel, met with Adolf
Hitler to plead on behalf of the Jews in Germany. He later claimed
to have smuggled a pistol into the chancellery but lost his nerve
and failed to shoot Hitler. In 2007 Brian Garfield authored “The
(WSJ, 2/10/07, p.P9)
1939 Jul 3, Ernst Heinkel
demonstrated an 800-kph rocket plane to Hitler.
1939 Jul 6, Nazis closed the
last Jewish enterprises.
1939 Aug 23, German Foreign
Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Commissar for Foreign
Affairs Vyacheslav M. Molotov signed a Treaty of Non-Aggression, the
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact freeing Hitler to invade Poland and Stalin
to invade Finland. Secret protocols, made public years later, were
added that assigned Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Bessarabia to be
within the Soviet sphere of influence. Poland was partitioned along
the rivers Narev, Vistula and San. Germany retained Lithuania
enlarged by the inclusion of Vilnius. Just days after the signing,
Germany invaded Poland, and by the end of September, both powers had
claimed sections of Poland.
(WP, 6/29/96, p.A16)(AP, 8/23/97) (HNPD,
1939 Aug 27, Nazi Germany
demanded Danzig and Polish corridor.
1939 Aug 27, The world's first
jet-propelled plane, the Heinkel He-178, made its first flight at
Marienehe, north Germany. Hans von Ohain’s aircraft became the first
jet-powered airplane to fly. It remained airborne for 7 minutes.
Erich Warsitz made the 1st jet-propelled flight.
(SFC, 8/10/96, p.A20)(Reuters, 8/28/01)(MC,
1939 Sep, 1, At 4:40 a.m.,
World War II began. The Germans attacked Poland with their strategy
of Blitzkrieg, or lightning war. The war started at dawn with salvos
from the cruiser Schleswig-Holstein at the Polish garrison in
Gdansk. In 1989 Donald Cameron Watt authored “How War Came."
(WSJ, 4/26/95, p.A-16)(AP, 9/1/97)(WSJ, 1/14/07,
1939 Sep 1, Hitler ordered the
extermination of mentally ill.
1939 Sep 1, US Sen. William
Borah of Idaho said 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler,
all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call
this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been
repeatedly discredited by history." In 2008 Pres. Bush quoted these
words in a speech to the Israeli Knesset.
1939 Sep 1, A transport train
carrying 250 children from Czechoslovakia disappeared as Germany
invaded Poland. It was the last transport organized by English
stockbroker Nicholas Winton (1909-2015).
(Econ, 7/11/15, p.82)
1939 Sep 3, British envoy Sir
Neville Henderson delivered Britain’s final ultimatum to the Reich’s
(DrEE, 10/26/96, p.4)
1939 Sep 3, Britain and France
declared war on Germany, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland.
After Germany ignored Great Britain's ultimatum to stop the invasion
of Poland, Great Britain declares war on Germany, marking the
beginning of World War II in Europe. France follows 6 hours later
quickly joined by Australia, NZ, South Africa & Canada.
(AP, 9/3/97)(HN, 9/3/98)(MC, 9/3/01)
1939 Sep 3, The British
passenger ship Athenia was sunk by a German submarine in the
Atlantic, with 30 Americans among those killed. American Secretary
of State Cordell Hull warns Americans to avoid travel to Europe
unless absolutely necessary.
1939 Sep 4, German troops
stormed into Danzig (Gdansk).
1939 Sep 4, The Nazis marched
into Czestochowa, Poland, two days after they invaded Poland.
1939 Sep 4, The Polish ghetto
of Mir was exterminated.
1939 Sep 5, In Czestochowa,
Poland, approximately 150 Jews were shot dead by the Germans. The
day was remembered as “Bloody Monday."
1939 Sep 6, The 1st WW II
German air attack on Great Britain took place.
1939 Sep 6, The Union of South
Africa declared war on Germany.
1939 Sep 8, Gen. Von
Reichenau's panzer division reached the suburbs of Warsaw.
1939 Sep 9, Nazi army reached
1939 Sep 10, Canada declared
war on Nazi Germany.
1939 Sep 14, British fleet sank
the German U-39 U-boat.
1939 Sep 17, The German U-29
sank the British aircraft carrier Courageous, 519 died.
1939 Sep 19, Lord Haw-Haw
became the radio host of Reichsrundfunk Berlin.
1939 Sep 19, Wehrmacht (German
regular army) murdered 100 Jews in Lukov, Poland.
1939 Sep 20, After sinking
trawlers off the northern Hebrides, German U-27 was located and sunk
by destroyers "Fortune" and "Forester."
1939 Sep 21, Reinhard Heydrich
met in Berlin to discuss final solution of Jews.
1939 Sep 25, German Luftwaffe
struck Warsaw with fire bombs.
1939 Sep 25, Andorra and
Germany finally signed an official treaty ending WW I. The 1919
Versailles Peace Treaty failed to include Andorra.
1939 Sep 27, Germany occupied
Warsaw. Poland surrendered after 19 days of resistance to invading
forces from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Poland had endured a
brutal 3 day bombing campaign by the German Luftwaffe.
(AP, 9/27/97)(HN, 9/27/98)
1939 Sep 28, The Boundary and
Friendship Treaty between the USSR and Germany was supplemented by
secret protocols to amend the secret protocols of Aug 23. Among
other things Lithuania was reassigned to the Soviet sphere of
influence. Poland’s partition line was moved eastwards from the
Vistula line to the line of the Bug. Germany kept a small part of
south-west Lithuania, the Uznemune region. A separate Soviet mutual
defense pact was signed with Estonia that allowed 25,000 Soviet
troops to be stationed there.
(DrEE, 9/28/96, p.3)(DrEE, 10/26/96, p.4)(DrEE,
10/26/96, p.4)(AP, 9/28/97)
1939 Sep 29, Germany and the
Soviet Union reached an agreement on the division of Poland. [see
1939 Sep 30, The French Army
was called back into France from its invasion of Germany. The
attack, code named Operation Saar, only penetrated five miles.
1939 Sep 30, Germany and Russia
agreed to partition Poland. [see Sep 28,29]
1939 Sep, 41 U-boats were sunk
1939 Oct 4, Last Polish troops
surrendered to German Wehrmacht.
1939 Oct 6, In an address to
the Reichstag, Adolf Hitler denied having any intention of war
against France and Britain.
1939 Oct 6, Hitler announced
plans to resolve "The Jewish problem."
1939 Oct 8, Germany annexed
1939 Oct 14, The German U-47,
commanded by Kapitan Gunther Prien, sank the British battleship HMS
Royal Oak at Scapa Flow, Scotland, and 833 people were killed. This
prompted Churchill to order the creation of concrete barriers at the
eastern entrance of Scapa Flow.
1939 Oct 19, Reichsmarshal
Hermann Goering began plundering art treasures throughout Nazi
1939 Oct 24, Nazis required
Jews to wear star of David.
1939 Oct 28, Anti-German
demonstrations and strikes took place in Czechoslovakia.
1939 Oct 28, A Spitfire shot
down a German Heinkel-111 over Scotland.
1939 Oct 30, German U boat
failed in an attack of English battleship Nelson with Winston
Churchill, Dudley Pound and Charles Forbes aboard.
1939 Oct 30, USSR and Germany
agreed on partitioning Poland. Hitler deported Jews.
1939 Oct 31, 27 U boats were
sunk this month (135,000 ton).
1939 Nov 1, 1st jet plane, a
Heinkel He 178, was demonstrated to German Air Ministry.
1939 Nov 8, There was a failed
assassination attempt on Hitler in Burgerbraukeller, Munich.
1939 Nov 9, In the
Venlo-incident, German Abwehr killed 2 English agents.
1939 Nov 15, Nazis began their
mass murder of Warsaw Jews.
1939 Nov 16, German U-boat
torpedoed the tanker Sliedrecht near Ireland.
1939 Nov 17, German U-boat
torpedoed a passenger ship.
1939 Nov 24, In Czechoslovakia,
the Gestapo executed 120 students who were accused of anti-Nazi
1939 Nov 25, Nazis reported
four British ships sunk in the North Sea, but London denied the
1939 Dec 1, Reichsfuhrer-SS
Heinrich Himmler ordered the deportation of Polish Jews.
1939 Dec 13, In the Battle at
La Plata 3 British cruisers fought the German "pocket battleship,"
Graf Spee, which took refuge in Montevideo, Uruguay. The following
day, the badly damaged ship left port, deliberately ran aground in
the bay, where the officers led the crew in scuttling and exploding
the Graf Spee. Two days later, the commander of the German warship
committed suicide in his Buenos Aires hotel room. Today, at low
tide, water commuters between Buenos Aires and Montevideo can see
part of the superstructure breaking the surface. [see Dec 13]
1939 Dec 17, In the Battle of
River Plate near Montevideo, Uruguay, the British trapped the German
pocket battleship Graf Spee. German Captain Langsdorf sank his ship
believing that resistance was hopeless. [see Dec 17]
(AP, 12/17/97)(HN, 12/17/98)
1939 Dec 19, The British
destroyer HMS Hyperion sighted the German liner Columbus about 400
miles off the coast of Virginia. The still neutral American heavy
cruiser Tuscaloosa was also in the area, and silently observed the
two ships. Rather than surrender the ship, her crew scuttled her,
and she burned and sank. Her passengers and crew, 567 men and nine
women, were taken aboard Tuscaloosa as rescued seamen, not as
prisoners of war as they would have been had the British picked them
up. Tuscaloosa took all personnel to New York City. A year later 512
members of the crew were settled on Angel Island in SF Bay. After
the end of war many returned to Germany.
(SSFC, 1/18/15, DB p.46)
1939 Dec 20, Hans Langsdorff,
German captain of the Graf Spee, committed suicide.
1939 Dec 21, Heinrich Himmler
and Reinhard Heydrich named Adolf Eichmann leader of "Referat IV B,"
the group in charge of transport of Jews for Final Solution.
1939 Dec 22, 99 died in 2nd
train wreck at Friedrichshafen, Germany.
1939 Dec 22, 125 died in train
wreck at Magdeburg, Germany.
1939 Berthold Brecht wrote his
play "Mother Courage and Her Children." It was set during the Thirty
Years War (1618-1648) between the German Catholics and Swedish
(WSJ, 1/24/97, p.A13)(WSJ, 10/23/01, p.A24)
1939 Christopher Isherwood
wrote "Goodbye to Berlin." It included a story about a singer called
Sally Bowles that became the basis for the 1951 play "I Am a
Camera," the 1955 film "I Am a Camera," the 1966 musical play
"Caberet" and the 1972 musical film "Cabaret." His Berlin books also
included "The Last of Mr. Norris," and "I Am a Camera." In 1998
Norman Page published "Auden and Isherwood: The Berlin Years."
(WSJ, 3/23/98, p.A20)(SFEC, 9/27/98, BR p.8)
1939 Gen. Kurt von
Hammerstein-Equord implored Hitler to visit the French front where
he planned to kill Hitler and form a new government, but Hitler
refused the offer.
(SFC, 2/5/00, p.A19)
1939 By this time Heinrich
Himmler’s Ahnenerbe, an organization dedicated to studying the Aryan
roots for purposes of propaganda, included 137 scholars and
scientists plus 82 members of support staff. In 2006 Heather Pringle
authored “The Master Plan," an account of the Ahnenerbe.
(WSJ, 2/9/06, p.D8)
1939 Two Germany scholars
unearthed a cache of mammoth ivory fragments in a cave. The pieces
were fitted together after 3 decades and were found to form a 30 cm.
high figure with human legs, an arm and the head of a lion. The Der
Lowenmensch figure had been carved some 40 thousand years earlier.
(Econ, 2/2/13, p.71)
1939-1945 In 2015 Nicholas Stargardt authored “The
German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945."
(Econ, 9/26/15, p.86)
1939-1945 Heinrich Mohn and his associates used
the war to transform Bertelsmann from a German provincial publisher
of religious texts into the largest supplier of war literature to
(WSJ, 12/23/02, p.A6)
1939-1945 During WW II some 5-15,000 homosexual
men were sent to prison camps and marked for special treatment with
a pink triangle on their uniforms. The majority died in the camps.
(SFEC, 6/29/97, p.A18)
1939-1945 During WW II the Germans and Ukrainians
used Transdniestria as a killing field to purge Europe of some
(SSFC, 2/12/06, p.E2)
1939-1945 Ball bearing, aircraft and oil
production factories share top billing on the Allied bombing
planners’ hit list. Ball bearings were vital to keep the German
military machinery running, and Schweinfurt factories produced more
than 40 percent of the country’s needs. The German aviation industry
alone consumed an average of 2.4 million bearings per month.
1940 Jan 10, German planes
attacked 12 ships off the British coast; three sank and 35 were
1940 Jan 16, Hitler canceled an
attack in the West due to bad weather and the capture of German
attack plans in Belgium.
1940 Jan 25, Nazis established
a Jewish ghetto in Lodz, Poland.
1940 Jan 26, Nazis forbade
Polish Jews to travel on trains.
1940 Feb 12, The USSR signed a
trade treaty with Germany to aid against the British blockade.
1940 Feb 15, Hitler ordered
that all British merchant ships would be considered warships.
1940 Feb 20, Christoph
Eschenbach, pianist, conductor, was born in Breslau, Germany.
1940 Feb 21, The Germans began
construction of a concentration camp at Auschwitz. Hans Munch was an
SS doctor at the camp and later reported his experiences there in
detail for the 1998 TV documentary "People’s Century."
(HN, 2/21/98)(WSJ, 6/8/98, p.A21)
1940 Feb 22, German air force
sank 2 German destroyers killing 578.
1940 Mar 1, U.S. envoy, Sumner
Welles met with Hitler in Berlin.
1940 Mar 3, A Nazi air raid
killed 108 on a British liner in the English Channel.
1940 Mar 9, Britain freed
captured Italian coal ships on the eve of German Foreign Minister,
Ribbentrop's visit to Rome.
1940 Mar 15, Reichsmarshal
Herman Goering said 100-200 church bells are enough for Germany and
smelted the rest.
1940 Mar 16, Germany launched
an air raid on British fleet base at Scapa Flow.
1940 Mar 16, In San Francisco
fourteen crewmen of the scuttled German liner Columbus, sailed for
the Fatherland aboard the Italian motorship Rialto. A 2nd group soon
followed. Both ships were boarded by the British in Gibraltar and
the Germans were sent to a French prison camp. 451 others remained
quartered on Angel Island.
(SSFC, 3/15/15, p.42)(SFC, 6/11/16, p.C2)
1940 Mar 18, Adolf Hitler and
Benito Mussolini held a meeting at the Brenner Pass across the Alps
during which the Italian dictator agreed to join in Germany's war
against France and Britain.
1940 Mar 20, The British RAF
conducted an all-night air raid on the Nazi airbase at Sylt,
1940 Mar 27, Himmler ordered
the building of Auschwitz concentration camp. [see Feb 21]
1940 Apr 8, German battle
cruisers sank British aircraft carrier Glorious.
1940 Apr 9, The Nazi army
invaded and occupied Denmark and Norway. German forces landed along
the Norwegian coast and made a paratrooper assault on Oslo and
(WSJ, 4/29/96, p.C-1)(SFEC, 1/26/97, p.A14)(AP,
4/9/97)(ON, 11/05, p.3)
1940 Apr 10, The HMS Hunter, a
British destroyer, went down with 110 men in the fist Battle of
Narvik as the Royal Navy tried to keep German forces from
overrunning a strategic Norwegian port. Germany lost 4 destroyers in
the battle. In 2008 a Norwegian minehunter found the wreck
1940 Apr 13, In the 2nd battle
of Narvik, 8 German destroyers were destroyed.
1940 Apr 28, Rudolf Hoess
became commandant of concentration camp Auschwitz.
1940 Apr, The Germans sealed
the Jewish ghetto in Lodz, Poland, with barbed wire. Lodz at this
time had some 231,000 Jews, about one-third of the city’s
population. Some 45,000 Jews from other parts of Nazi-occupied
Europe were forced into the ghetto as well as some 5,000 Gypsies.
Many died under forced labor and horrific conditions. Those
remaining were killed in August, 1944.
(SSFC, 8/30/09, p.A17)
1940 May 1, 140 Palestinian
Jews died as German planes bombed their ship.
1940 May 8, German commandos in
Dutch uniforms crossed the Dutch border to hold bridges for the
advancing German army.
1940 May 10, German forces
began a blitzkrieg of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg,
skirting France's "impenetrable" Maginot Line. Belgium was invaded
by Germany and maintained resistance for 18 days.
(WSJ, 8/1/95, p.A-8)(WSJ, 4/29/96, p.C-1)(HN,
1940 May 12, The Nazi blitz
conquest of France began with the crossing at the Muese River.
(SC, internet, 5/12/97)(HN, 5/12/98)
1940 May 14, The Netherlands
(Holland) surrendered to Nazi Germany after the bombing of Rotterdam
that left 600-900 dead.
(HN, 5/14/98)(MC, 5/14/02)
1940 May 14, German
breakthrough at Sedan, France.
1940 May 15, German troops
occupied Amsterdam. Gen Winkelman surrendered.
1940 May 15, German armor
division moved into Northern France.
1940 May 16, Jacques
Goudstikker, Dutch art dealer, fell on a staircase of the SS
Bodegraven as the ship was refused entry at Dover. He died from a
broken neck. His inventory in Amsterdam totaled some 1,400 works,
which Reichsmarschall Herman Goring, Hitler’s 2nd in command, soon
(WSJ, 7/2/08, p.D7)
1940 May 17, The Nazis occupied
Brussels, Belgium, during World War II.
1940 May 18, German forces
under Field Marshal Georg von Kuchler (1881-1968) occupied Antwerp,
1940 May 21, Nazis surrounded
the British Army at Dunkirk. British and French forces staged a
counterattack near Arras, but failed to clear a path to Le Havre.
(HN, 5/21/98)(ON, 8/12, p.2)
1940 May 21, British tank
forces attacked General Erwin Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division at Arras,
slowing his blitzkrieg of France.
1940 May 24, Hitler ordered a
halt to his forces converging on Dunkirk and the British, who were
backed to the sea. This event and the next 4 days were described in
the 1999 book: "Five Days in London, May 1940" by John Lukacs.
(WSJ, 11/8/99, p.A48)
1940 May 24, Hitler affirmed
Gen. von Rundstedt's "Stopbevel."
1940 May 24, German tanks
reached Atrecht, France.
1940 May 25, German troops
conquered Boulogne and captured Calais.
(SC, 5/25/02)(ON, 8/12, p.2)
1940 May 26, Operation Dynamo
was launched for the evacuation of British, French and Belgian
soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk in northern France. The German
Luftwaffe launched a bombing campaign on the harbor of Dunkirk. The
new British Spitfire fighters helped provide air cover. The
operation continued to June 4.
(ON, 3/07, p.2)(AP, 5/26/97)(ON, 8/12, p.2)
1940 May 28, During World War
II, the Belgian army surrendered to invading German forces.
(AP, 5/28/97)(HN, 5/28/98)
1940 May 28, During the
evacuation at Dunkirk a Germany torpedo boat sank the HMS Wakeful
sending over 700 men to their deaths. A Germany submarine hit the
destroyer HMS Grafton killing 35 army officers. Other British
destroyers mistook the British drifter Comfort for an enemy torpedo
boat and killed all but 5 men aboard. The Queen of the Channel was
hit by Germany bombs. Most of the 950 soldiers on board were
transferred to a rescue ship before the ferry went down.
(ON, 8/12, p.3)
1940 May 29, Germans captured
Ostend and Ypres in Belgium and Lille in France.
1940 May 29, The German air
force launched massive attacks on the harbor at Dunkirk. A British
destroyer and 6 of the biggest merchant ships in the harbor were
(ON, 8/12, p.4)
1940 May-1944 Dec, In Austria
approximately 30,000 physically and mentally disabled were killed at
Hartheim Castle by gassing and lethal injection as part of the T-4
Euthanasia Program, named after the infamous Berlin address
"Tiergartenstrasse 4." The castle was regularly visited by the
psychiatrists Karl Brandt, Professor of Psychiatry at Würzburg
University, and Werner Heyde.
1940 Jun 1, German air attacks
at Dunkirk sank 31 vessels and damaged 11. The HMS Worcester limped
back to Dover with 340 dead and 400 wounded. By midnight 64,429 men
were landed safely in England.
(ON, 8/12, p.4)
1940 Jun 3, The German
Luftwaffe hit Paris with 1,100 bombs.
1940 Jun 4, German forces
1940 Jun 4, The Allied military
evacuation of 300,000 troops from Dunkirk, France, ended. Operation
Dynamo counted 235 vessels lost as well as 177 aircraft in combat at
Dunkirk and the English Channel. French defenders surrendered. Some
30-40,000 French troops became prisoners of war.
(AP, 6/4/97)(HN, 6/4/98)(ON, 8/12, p.4)
1940 Jun 5, The Battle of
France began during World War II. Germany attacked French forces
along the Somme line.
(HN, 6/5/99)(AP, 6/5/07)
1940 Jun 9, Norway surrendered
to the Nazis during World War II, effective at midnight.
1940 Jun 11, The German
invasion of France was under way and the British had been forced to
abandon their defense of northwestern France and Belgium at Dunkirk.
(WSJ, 4/29/96, p.C-1)
1940 June 14. The Nazis opened
their concentration camp at Auschwitz. In German-occupied Poland the
first inmates arrived at the Auschwitz concentration camp. They were
all Polish political prisoners.
(SF E&C, 1/15/1995, A-10)(AP, 6/14/97)(AP,
1940 Jun 15, The French
fortress of Verdun was captured by Germans.
1940 Jun 17, France asked
Germany for terms of surrender in World War II. Marshal Henri Petain
replaced Paul Reynaud, who chose to resign over surrender, as prime
minister and announced his intention to sign an armistice with the
Nazis. In 2000 Ernest R. May authored "Strange Victory," an account
of the French defeat.
(AP, 6/17/97)(WSJ, 9/14/00, p.A24)(MC, 6/17/02)
1940 Jun 19, German 7th Armour
division under gen-maj Rommel occupied Cherbourg.
1940 Jun 21, German occupiers
disbanded the Dutch States-General, Council of State.
1940 Jun 22, During World War
II, Adolf Hitler gained a stunning victory as France was forced to
sign an armistice eight days after German forces overran Paris.
France and Germany signed an armistice at Compiegne, on terms
dictated by the Nazis. Alsace again became part of Germany.
(AP, 6/22/97)(HN, 6/22/98)(SFEC, 1/31/99, p.T4)
1940 Jun 25, Adolf Hitler
viewed the Eiffel tower and tomb of Napoleon in Paris.
1940 Jun, Hitler confided to
Mussolini his plan to ship Jews to Madagascar.
(WSJ, 3/23/04, p.D8)
1940 Jun, The Germans began to
loot the artwork of Paris and more than 70,000 residences were
plundered. A lot of artwork was sold to the Emil Buhrle Foundation
in Switzerland, the largest buyer of confiscated French art. The
story is told by Hector Feliciano in his 1997 book: "The Lost
Museum." The best book on the fate of European art in WW II was
reported to be "The Rape of Europa" by Lynn Nicholas.
(SFEC, 7/6/97, BR p.7)
1940 Jul 9, German Evangelist
Church protested against euthanasia programs.
1940 Jul 10, During World War
II, the 114-day Battle of Britain began as Nazi forces began
attacking southern England by air. By October 31, Britain managed to
repel the Luftwaffe, which suffered heavy losses. Reginald Mitchell
(1895-1937), the designer of the Spitfire, and Sydney Camm, the
designer of the Hurricane, were both saviors. Both fighters were
necessary to win the battle. The R.A.F.’s Fighter Command began the
Battle of Britain with about 650 Hurricanes and Spitfires, and lost
over 900 of same during the course of the battle; enormous
production of replacements made good the losses to such an extent
that at times during the battle, Fighter Command had over 900
operational Hurricanes and Spitfires. In his book "The Air War
1939-1945," Richard J. Overy wrote, ". . . the Spitfire took two and
a half times the man hours that it took to produce a Hurricane
fighter." In overall performance the Spitfire was slightly better
than the Hurricane, but the above production figures give some clue
to the Hurricane’s importance. Re the Luftwaffe heavy bomber: The
Luftwaffe had a couple of four-engine bombers, the Heinkel He-177
and the Focke Wulf FW-200, but neither were produced in large
numbers, and neither were in the same league as the American B-17,
B-24, or B-29, or the British Lancaster. Hitler was fascinated by
high-tech "super weapons" and attempted to produce them at the
expense of more worthwhile, conventional ones. This was a guy who,
when nearly everyone else knew Germany was finished, wanted to build
a 1,500-ton tank and a long-range rocket to attack the United
(AP, 7/10/97)(ON, 3/07, p.2)(ExH, 3/23/98)
1940 Jul 10-1940 Oct 31, The
Battle of Britain in July-October of 1940 was an earth-shakingly
decisive campaign (not just a battle). Hermann Goering’s Luftwaffe
gathered over 2,500 combat planes for a bombing campaign that would
be a prelude to "Operation Sea Lion" (an invasion of Britain).
British Air Marshall Hugh C. Dowding’s Royal Air Force’s Fighter
Command could muster about 650 decent fighters (Hurricanes and
Spitfires). The Luftwaffe came perilously close to wearing down the
R.A.F., but at about that time, a German bomber accidentally dropped
bombs on London, Churchill bombed Berlin, and Hitler switched the
Luftwaffe’s attack from the R.A.F. to London, giving the R.A.F. a
breather. The Luftwaffe’s bombers carried too small a bomb load for
a strategic bombing campaign and were inadequately armed to defend
themselves against R.A.F. fighters. The Luftwaffe’s Me-109 fighter
lacked the range to provide sufficient escort for the bombers, which
were massacred by Hurricanes and Spitfires. The Germans knew that
the British radar installations existed, and did launch some attacks
upon them, but never realized how vital radar truly was in directing
R.A.F. fighters to intercept raiding aircraft. In 1969 the film
“Battle of Britain" starred Laurence Olivier as Hugh C. Dowding. In
2010 James Holland authored “The Battle of Britain: Five Months That
(ExC, JWL, 3/20/98)(WSJ, 1/9/09, p.W10)(Econ,
1940 Jul 14, A force of German
Ju-88 bombers attacked Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.
1940 Jul 19, Hitler ordered
Great Britain to surrender.
1940 Jul 23, German bombers
began the "Blitz," the all-night air raids on London.
1940 Aug 8, The German
Luftwaffe attacked Great Britain for the first time, beginning the
Battle of Britain.
1940 Aug 11, 38 German
aircrafts were shot down over England.
1940 Aug 12, Luftwaffe bombed
British radar stations and lost 31 aircraft.
1940 Aug 13, Der Adler Tag
(Eagle Day) was the name given to the day the German Luftwaffe
launched an all-out offensive against the Royal Air Force and the
British aircraft industry in southern England. With this action,
Adolf Hitler hoped to knock out any aerial resistance to his planned
invasion of the British Isles. RAF fighter pilots successfully held
off the numerically superior Luftwaffe, in spite of the loss of 415
pilots out of a force of 1,500.
1940 Aug 15, In the
largest–scale raids in the history of aerial warfare, hundreds of
Germany planes struck against London and its suburbs. Hitler’s
planned Operation Sea Lion was to have commenced on this day.
However it was cancelled on Aug 17 following heavy German air raid
losses. In 2008 Michael Korda authored “With Wings Like Eagles: A
History of the Battle of Britain."
(WSJ, 1/9/09, p.W10)
1940 Aug 16, 45 German
aircrafts were shot down over England.
1940 Aug 18, 71 German aircraft
were shot down above England.
1940 Aug 23, German Luftwaffe
began night bombing on London.
1940 Aug 24, Luftwaffe bombed
1940 Aug 25, The 1st (British)
night bombing of Germany was over Berlin.
1940 Sep 3, In Germany the SS
banned Free Masons, Rotary & Red Cross.
1940 Sep 7, Nazi Germany began
its initial blitz on London during the World War II Battle of
Britain. The German Luftwaffe blitzed London for the 1st of 57
consecutive nights. Nazi Germany launched the aerial bombing of
London that Adolf Hitler believed would soften Britain for an
invasion. The invasion, "Operation Sea Lion," never materialized.
The Luftwaffe lost 41 bombers over England. The blitz only
strengthened Britain's resistance. The defense of London was for the
Royal Air Force what Churchill called "their finest hour."
(AP, 9/7/97)(HN, 9/7/98)
1940 Sep 9, 28 German aircraft
were shot down above England.
1940 Sep 13, Buckingham Palace
was hit by German bombs causing superficial damage.
1940 Sep 15, The tide turned in
Battle of Britain in WW II. A reported 185 German planes were shot
down by Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots, forcing Nazi leader Adolf
Hitler to abandon his invasion plans.
1940 Sep 16, The Luftwaffe
bombed the Bristol Aeroplane Company.
1940 Sep 17, Nazis deprived
Jews of possessions.
1940 Sep 19, A Nazi decree
forbade gentile woman to work in Jewish homes.
1940 Sep 24, Luftwaffe bombed
the Spitfire factory in Southampton. [see Sep 25]
1940 Sep 25, German High
Commissioner in Norway set up the Vidikun Quisling government.
1940 Sep 25, Luftwaffe bombed
the Spitfire factory in Southampton. [see Sep 24]
1940 Sep 27, 55 German
aircrafts were shot down above England.
1940 Sep 27, Nazi-Germany,
Italy and Japan signed a formal alliance called Tripartite Pact, a
10 year military and economic alliance strengthening the Axis
1940 Sep, 59 U-boats were sunk
1940 Oct 4, Adolf Hitler and
Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps, where the
Nazi leader sought Italy's help in fighting the British.
1940 Oct 4, 12 German aircrafts
were shot down above England.
1940 Oct 8, German troops
1940 Oct 15-16, London's
Waterloo Station was bombed by Germans. The bombing continued on
London for 2 days and killed 400 people.
1940 Oct 16, The Warsaw Ghetto
was formed by Nazi SS troops.
1940 Oct 20, German troops
reached the approaches to Moscow.
1940 Oct 24, Hitler met Marshal
1940 Oct 24, Protestant
churches [in Germany?] protested against the dismissal of Jewish
1940 Oct 25, German troops
captured Kharkov and launched a new drive toward Moscow.
1940 Oct 25, Hitler visited
Mussolini in Florence.
(SFC, 10/29/97, p.A23)
1940 Oct 28, A meeting between
Hitler and Mussolini took place in Florence.
1940 Oct 31, 63 U boats were
sunk this month (325,000 ton).
1940 Oct 31, In the Battle of
Britain, the German and British duel for control of English Channel,
1940 Nov 14, During World War
II, German planes destroyed most of the English town of Coventry.
1940 Nov 19, A German air raid
on Birmingham failed.
1940 Nov, The Nazi Bielfield
memorandum argued for the seizure of Belgian and French Congo,
Equatorial French Africa and a large portion of French West Africa;
naval bases were earmarked for Dakar, Conakry and the Canary
Islands, while Madagascar was reserved as a ‘dumping-ground’ for
Jews. This vast area was to be exploited for its natural resources,
upon which Germany’s European empire would be built.
1940 Dec 6, The Gestapo
arrested Helen Ernst, German resistance fighter and poster artist.
1940 Dec 13, Hitler issued
preparations for Operation Martita, the German invasion of Greece.
1940 Dec 18, Hitler dictated
Directive No. 21 to crush Russia in a quick campaign. Adolf Hitler
signed a secret directive ordering preparations for a Nazi invasion
of the Soviet Union. Operation "Barbarossa" was launched in June
(SFC, 10/29/97, p.A23)(AP, 12/18/97)
1940 Dec 29, During World War
II, Germany began dropping incendiary bombs on London.
1940 Richard Strauss composed
the opera "Die Liebe der Danae." The libretto by Joseph Gregor was
based on a scenario by Hugo von Hoffmanstahl and conflated two
stories, the love affair of Jupiter and Danae and the story of King
(WSJ, 1/31/00, p.A42)
1940 Gen’l. Eduard Dietl led a
surprise capture of Narvik, the Norwegian Atlantic ice-free port.
(SFC, 3/19/97, p.A12,14)
1940 After the Nazi invasion
most of Denmark’s police were killed.
(SFEC, 1/26/97, p.A14)
1940 From Greece the occupying
Germans started transporting the 50,000 Jews of Thessaloniki to
(WSJ, 4/29/97, p.A20)
1940 In Poland "the Nazis
packed 450,000 human beings into 75 square blocks of the Warsaw
ghetto, then walled it off and left them to starve."
(SFC, 7/10/97, p.A7)
1940-1941 A secret Nazi program, code-named T4,
killed an estimated 70,000 disabled or mentally ill adults in
specially established death camps during this period.
(SFC, 10/7/06, p.A9)
1940-1941 German paratroopers were decimated in
the battle for Crete.
(SFC, 10/29/97, p.A23)
1940-1944 Germany occupied France. In 1998 Ian
Ousby published "Occupation: The Ordeal of France 1940-1944." In
2009 Frederic Spotts authored “The Shameful Peace: How French
Artists and Intellectuals Survived the Nazi Occupation." In 2009
Charles glass authored “American in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi
Occupation 1940-1944." In 2010 Alan Riding authored “And the Show
Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied France."
(SFEC, 8/16/98, Par p.8)(WSJ, 1/3/09, p.W6)(Econ,
5/2/09, p.84)(Econ, 11/20/10, p.96)
1940-1945 In 2006 the 2002 German book “The Fire:
The Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945" by Jorg Friedrich (b.1944), was
made available in English.
(Econ, 12/2/06, p.85)
1940-1945 Turkey supplied Germany and the Allies
with chromite ore, an essential metal for stainless steel.
(SFEC, 6/21/98, p.A13)
1941 Jan 10, The Soviets and
the Germans agreed on the East European borders and the exchange of
1941 Jan 11, Adolf Hitler
ordered forces to be prepared to enter North Africa to assist the
Italian effort, marking the establishment of the Afrika Korps.
1941 Jan 11, Emanuel Lasker
(b.1868), German mathematician and chess player, died. In 1927 he
authored “Lasker’s Manual of Chess."
1941 Jan 20, Hitler met with
Mussolini and offered aid in Albania and Greece.
1941 Feb 10, Iceland was
attacked by German planes.
1941 Feb 11, Lt-Gen Erwin
Rommel arrived in Tripoli.
1941 Feb 14, German Afrika
Korps landed in Tripoli, Libya.
1941 Feb 17, The SS Gairsoppa
was torpedoed by a German U-boat. The British ship was carrying some
219 tons of silver when it sank in the North Atlantic some 300 miles
(490 km) off the Irish coast. Of the 85 people on board, only one
survived. In 2011 Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration confirmed
the identity and location of the ship. In 2012 Odyssey Marine
Exploration said it had succeeded in removing about 43% of the
1941 Feb 19, Nazi police were
attacked and driven away from Koco, Amsterdam by young Jews. Nazis
raided Amsterdam and rounded up 429 young Jews for deportation.
1941 Feb 20, The 1st transport
of Jews to concentration camps left Plotsk, Poland.
1941 Feb 20, Nazis ordered
Polish Jews barred from using public transportation.
1941 Feb 22, IG Farben started
building Buna-Werke in the Auschwitz extermination camp.
1941 Feb 27, Jewish musicians
came together in Berlin and performed Gustav Mahler’s Second
Symphony. In 2001 Martin Goldsmith authored "The Inextinguishable
Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany."
(SSFC, 4/8/01, BR p.5)
1941 Mar 1, Bulgaria joined
the Axis as the Nazis occupy Sofia.
(WUD, 1944, p.1683)(HN, 3/1/98)
1941 Mar 1, Himmler inspected
the Auschwitz concentration camp.
1941 Mar 3, Netherlands
NSB-leader Mussert visited Göring in Berlin.
1941 Mar 4, Serbian Prince Paul
1941 Mar 7, Gunther Prien,
German U-boat commander and war hero (U-47), died in battle.
1941 Mar 13, Hitler issued an
edict calling for an invasion of the USSR
1941 Mar 20, Nazi
German-Yugoslav pact was drawn.
1941 Mar 24, German troops
occupied El Agheila, Libya.
1941 Mar 27, Hitler signed
Directive 27 for an assault on Yugoslavia.
1941 Mar 30, The U.S. seized
Italian, German and Danish ships in 16 ports.
1941 Mar 30, The German Afrika
Korps under General Erwin Rommel began its first offensive against
British forces in Libya.
1941 Mar 31, Germany began a
counter offensive in North Africa.
1941 Apr 1, Nazi's forbade Jews
access to cafes in Paris.
1941 Apr 3, Churchill warned
Stalin of German invasion.
1941 Apr 5, German commandos
secured docks along the Danube River in preparation for Germany's
invasion of the Balkans.
1941 Apr 6, German Foreign
Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop gave orders for the attack on
Yugoslavia to roll forward. Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to bomb
Belgrade prior to the final drive into the capital. From August 6 to
10, more than 500 bombing sorties were flown against Belgrade,
inflicting more than 17,500 fatalities. Most of the government
officials fled, and the Yugoslav army began to collapse. German
Luftwaffe Marshall Alexander Lohr commanded a surprise air attack on
Belgrade and 17,000 died. Lohr was later tried and executed for the
p.A10)(WSJ, 5/20/99, p.A21)
1941 Apr 6, German troops
invaded Yugoslavia and Greece. Italian and Albanian forces attacked
and jointly occupied Yugoslavia. Germany, with support of Italy and
other allies defeated Greece and Yugoslavia.
(WUD, 1944, p.1683)(SFC, 4/5/97, p.A20)(www,
1941 Apr 9, In Czestochowa,
Poland, a ghetto for Jews was created. By the end of WW II some
45,000 of Czestochowa's Jews were murdered by the Germans, almost
the entire Jewish community living there.
1941 Apr 11, Germany bombers
blitzed Coventry, England.
1941 Apr 11, The Jewish Weekly
newspaper was taken control by Nazis.
1941 Apr 12, Alain Le Ray
(1910-2006), a leader in the French Resistance, become the first to
escape from the infamous Colditz prison in Germany. Le Ray had been
captured in June 1940. The Nazis had touted the jail as escape
proof, and his exploits were recounted in the 1976 book "Premiere a
Colditz" ("First in Colditz").
1941 Apr 12, Vichy-France's
head of government Admiral Dalan consulted with Hitler.
1941 Apr 13, There was a heavy
German assault on Tobruk.
1941 Apr 14, The 1st massive
German raid in Paris rounded up 3,600 Jews.
1941 Apr 17, Yugoslavia
surrendered to Germany ending 11 days of futile resistance against
the invading German Wehrmacht. More than 300,000 Yugoslav officers
and soldiers were taken prisoner. Italian and Albanian forces
attacked and jointly occupied Yugoslavia.
(SFC, 4/5/97, p.A20)(AP, 4/17/97)(MC, 4/17/02)
1941 Apr 19, B. Brecht's 1939
play "Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Mother Courage and her
Children)," premiered in Zurich.
1941 Apr 20, 100 German bombers
1941 Apr 21, Greece surrendered
to Nazi Germany.
1941 Apr 27, The Greek army
capitulated to the Germans. Greece and the Greek islands were
secured by Hitler.
(SFC, 10/29/97, p.A23)(HN, 4/27/98)
1941 May 1, A German assault
took place on Tobruk.
1941 May 2, Martin Bormann
succeeded Rudolf Hess as Hitler's deputy.
1941 May 3, There was a German
air raid on Liverpool.
1941 May 3, Pierre Seel (17)
was arrested in Alsace-Lorraine by the German Gestapo and tortured
for 10 days for his homosexuality. In 1994 he authored the memoir
“I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual."
(SFC, 12/2/05, p.B5)
1941 May 9, The German
submarine U-110 was captured at sea by the Royal Navy, revealing
considerable Enigma material. Enigma was the German machine used to
encrypt messages during World War II.
(HN, 5/9/99)(HNQ, 8/30/00)
1941 May 10, Rudolf Hess
(d.93), a deputy of Adolf Hitler, parachuted into Scotland to see
the Duke of Hamilton on what he claimed was a peace mission. Hess
ended up serving a life sentence at Spandau prison until 1987, when
he apparently committed suicide.
(AP, 5/10/97)(ON, 4/02, p.7)
1941 May 11, The 1st
Messerschmidt 109F was shot down above England.
1941 May 13, Martin Bormann was
named head of Nazi Party Chancellery in Germany.
1941 May 15, All preparations
for the German attack against Russia in Operation Barbarossa were to
(SFC, 10/29/97, p.A23)
1941 May 15, Nazi occupiers in
Netherlands forbade Jewish music.
1941 May 16, The last great
German air attack on Great Britain was at Birmingham.
1941 May 19, German occupiers
in Holland forbade bicycle taxis.
1941 May 19, The new 823.5-foot
Nazi battleship Bismarck left Gdynia, Poland, under the command of
Commander Gunther Lutjens.
1941 May 20, Germany invaded
Crete by air.
1941 May 24, The German
battleship Bismarck sank the British dreadnought HMS Hood in the
North Atlantic. 1416 died with only three survivors.
(AP, 5/24/97)(HN, 5/24/99)(ON, 10/09, p.2)
1941 May 26, Ark Royal airplane
sighted the German battleship Bismarck.
1941 May 26, German occupiers
began youth labor.
1941 May 27, The German
battleship Bismarck was sunk off France by British naval and air
forces with a loss of more than 2,100 lives. British ships rescued 4
officers and 106 of the crew. A German fishing vessel was reported
to have rescued another 100 men.
5/27/07)(ON, 10/09, p.5)
1941 Jun 1, Germany banned all
1941 Jun 1, The German Army
completed the capture of Crete as the Allied evacuation ended.
1941 Jun 3, German occupiers
stamped "J" on Jewish passports.
1941 Jun 4, Wilhelm II von
Hohenzollern (b.1859), the last German emperor (1888-1918), died in
1941 Jun 18, Turkey signed a
peace treaty with Nazi Germany.
1941 Jun 22, German troops
invaded Russia and thereby violated the 1939 Russo-German
non-aggression pact. Under the codename Barbarossa, Germany invaded
the Soviet Union, the largest invasion of another country in
history. In 2005 Constantine Pleshakov authored “Stalin’s Folly,"
and David E. Murphy authored "What Stalin Knew." Both provide
accounts of the invasion and Stalin’s refusal to acknowledge warning
(AP, 6/22/97)(HN, 6/22/98)(WSJ, 6/22/05, p.D12)
1941 Jun 24, The entire Jewish
male population of Gorzhdy, Lithuania, was exterminated.
1941 Jun 24, Germans advanced
into Russia and took Vilnius, Brest-Litovsk and Kaunas.
1941 Jun 25, Germans invaded
Dubno, Poland, and encouraged the Ukrainians to do whatever they
want to 12,000 Jews living there.
1941 Jun 28, German and
Romanian soldiers killed 11,000 Jews in Kishinev.
1941 Jun 28, German troops
occupied Galicia, Poland.
1941 Jun 29, Nazi divisions in
a surprise assault made sweeping advances toward Leningrad, Moscow,
and Kiev. Joseph Stalin had ignored warnings that Hitler would
betray the 1939 Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact. Over 500,000 square
miles of Russian territory were taken in the first two months of the
1941 Jun, In the northeastern
city of Iasi, Romania, up to 12,000 people are believed to have died
as Romanian and German soldiers swept from house to house to killing
Jews. Those who did not die were systematically beaten, put in
cattle wagons in stifling heat and taken to a small town, where what
happened to them would be concealed. Of the 120 people on the train,
just 24 survived. In 2010 a mass grave was found containing the
bodies of an estimated 100 Jews killed by Romanian troops in a
forest near the town of Popricani, about 350 km northeast of
Bucharest. It contained the bodies of men, women and children who
were shot in 1941.
(AP, 6/14/03)(AP, 11/5/10)
1941 Jul 5, German troops
reached the Dnieper River in the Soviet Union.
1941 Jul 6, German planes
attacked the SS Devon off the east coast of England. Reginald
Earnshaw (14) died in the attack after serving for several months.
In 2010 he was hailed as the youngest known British service casualty
in World War II.
1941 Jul 8, Twenty B-17s flew
in their first mission with the Royal Air Force over Wilhelmshaven,
1941 Jul 12, Moscow was bombed
by the German Luftwaffe for the first time.
1941 Jul 18, SS troops drowned
40 Jews in Dvina River in Belorussia.
1941 Jul 21, Himmler ordered
the building of the Majdanek concentration camp. The camp was built
in eastern Poland as a principal site to exterminate Jews. It
contained 7 gas chambers.
(SFC, 3/5/98, p.A14)(MC, 7/21/02)
1941 Jul 24, Nazis massacred
the entire Jewish population of Grodz, Lithuania.
1941 Jul 27, The German army
1941 Jul, The 16,000 sq. mile
area of the Ukraine named Transnistria was granted by Hitler to the
Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu for Romania’s participation in the
war against the soviet Union. Jews from Bessarabia, Bukovina and
were Moldova were transferred here and many thousands were murdered
from 1941-1944 by the Romanian Gendarmeric, the Einsatrzgruppe D,
Ukrainian police and Sonderkommando R.
(WSJ, 7/30/97, p.A15)
1941 Aug 1, Luftwaffe bombed
the German 23rd division.
1941 Aug 2, German 11th Army
surrounded 20 Russian divisions at Uman.
1941 Aug 5, The German army
completed taking 410,000 Russian prisoners in Uman and Smolensk
pockets in the Soviet Union.
1941 Aug 11, Soviet bombers
raided Berlin but caused little damage.
1941 Aug 12, French Marshal
Henri Philippe Petain announced full French collaboration with Nazi
1941 Aug 13, A prototype of the
GEE or AMES Type 7000 British radio navigation system was lost on a
raid over Hanover, Germany. GEE was devised by Robert Dippy and
developed at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at
Swanage. Dippy later went to the United States where he worked on
the development of the LORAN system. Loran, long-range navigation,
later fell out of favor with the development of satellite-based
1941 Aug 14, Josef Jakobs,
German spy, was executed in Tower of London.
1941 Aug 19, The final German
assault on Tallinn began.
1941 Aug 20, Adolf Hitler
authorized the development of the V-2 missile.
1941 Aug 21-Sep 26, The Soviet
Union's greatest defeat in WWII occurred during the encirclement of
the Ukrainian city of Kiev. The Germans took some 665,000 Soviet
1941 Aug 22, Nazi troops
1941 Aug 25, German troops
conquered Novgorod, Leningrad.
1941 Aug 27, The Soviet armada
began to move out of Tallinn. By the next day 5 ships were sunk by
German bombers and Soviet ships began to encounter minefields set by
the Kriegsmarine and Finnish Navy. The Soviets succeeded in
evacuating 165 ships, 28,000 passengers and 66,000 tons of equipment
1941 Aug 28, The German U-boat
U-570 was captured by the British and renamed Graph.
1941 Aug 29, The German
Einsatzkommando in Russia killed 1,469 Jewish children.
1941 Aug 30, The World War II
siege of Leningrad began as Nazi forces took Mga.
1941 Aug, In Germany public
protests curtailed the Nazi euthanasia program that had already
gassed some 70,000 mentally handicapped German adults and children.
(WSJ, 3/23/04, p.D8)
1941 Aug, 23 German U-boats
were sunk this month (80,000 ton).
1941 Sep 1, Jews living in
Germany were required to wear a yellow Star of David. [see Oct 24,
1941 Sep 3, Nazis made the 1st
use of Zyclon-B gas in Auschwitz on Russian prisoners of war.
1941 Sep 4, German submarine
U-652 fired at the U.S. destroyer Greer off Iceland, beginning an
undeclared shooting war.
1941 Sep 6, Jews over the age
of 6 in German-occupied areas were ordered to wear yellow Stars of
(AP, 9/6/97)(HN, 9/6/98)
1941 Sep 8, The 900-day Siege
of Leningrad by German forces began during World War II. The Siege
of Leningrad, 400 miles northwest of Moscow, took place with Germany
spread along a 2,000 mile front. It led to the death of at least one
million Russians from starvation and disease. Leningrad was renamed
back to St. Petersburg in 1991. In 2011 Anna Reid authored
“Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II."
(WSJ, 2/21/96, p.A-15)(AP, 9/8/06)(Econ, 8/27/11,
1941 Sep 12, The US ship Busko
captured the 1st German ship in WW II.
1941 Sep 15, Nazis killed 800
Jewish women at Shkudvil, Lithuania.
1941 Sep 19, German army
1941 Sep 19, The Nazi's forced
all German Jews from the age of 6 to wear the Star of David.
1941 Sep 21, The German Army
cut off the Crimean Peninsula from the rest of the Soviet Union.
1941 Sep 23, Germans staged an
air raid on the Russian naval base at Kronstadt. The battleship
1941 Sep 24, There was a bomb
explosion in German headquarters in Hotel Continental in Kiev.
1941 Sep 26, In Ukraine some
33,761 Jews of Kiev were killed over 3 days before Yom Kippur in the
ravine at Babi Yar by the Nazis. Over the next 2 years some 100-200
thousand more people, mostly Jews, were killed at the site.
(SFC, 10/29/96, p.A6)(SFC, 6/25/01, p.A8)(SFC,
6/26/01, p.A8)(MC, 9/26/01)
1941 Sep 29, In Ukraine some
33,711 Jews of Kiev were killed over 2 days before Yom Kippur in the
ravine at Babi Yar by the Nazis. Henrich Himmler had sent four
strike squads to exterminate Soviet Jewish civilians and other
"undesirables." Over the next 2 years some 100-200 thousand more
people, mostly Jews, were killed at the site.
(SFC, 10/29/96, p.A6)(HN, 9/29/00)(SFC, 6/25/01,
p.A8)(SFC, 6/26/01, p.A8)(AP, 11/16/07)
1941 Sep 30, In Ukraine 33,771
Jews were killed in a two-day Nazi operation at Babi Yar ravine near
Kiev [see Sep 29]. Einsatzgruppe C was responsible for the shooting
of nearly 34,000 at Babi Yar.
1941 Sep, 53 U-boats sunk this
1941 Oct 2, Operation Typhoon,
a German all-out drive against Moscow, began in earnest. In 2006
Rodric Braithwaite authored “Moscow 1941: A City and Its People at
10/2/97)(http://www.bartcop.com/arc4110.htm)(Econ, 9/23/06, p.95)
1941 Oct 2, 6 Paris synagogues
were bombed by Gestapo. [see Oct 3]
1941 Oct 3, Adolf Hitler
declared in a speech in Berlin that Russia is "broken" and would
"never rise again."
1941 Oct 3, Nazi's blew up 6
synagogues in Paris. [see Oct 2]
1941 Oct 3, All elderly Jewish
men of Kerenchug Ukraine, were killed by SS.
1941 Oct 6, German troops
renewed their offensive against Moscow.
1941 Oct 8, Construction began
on the Birkenau extermination camp.
1941 Oct 10, German U-boat
torpedoes hit the US destroyer Kearney.
1941 Oct 10, Soviet troops
halted the German advance on Moscow.
1941 Oct 12, Russian government
moved from Moscow to Volga as Nazis closed in on Moscow.
1941 Oct 13, Nazis killed
11,000 Jewish children and old people.
1941 Oct 15, The 1st mass
deportation of German Jews to Eastern Europe.
1941 Oct 16, Germany advanced
within 60 miles of Moscow.
1941 Oct 17, The U.S. destroyer
Kearney was damaged by a German U-boat torpedo off Iceland; 11
people were killed.
1941 Oct 20, Nazi occupiers
murdered 500 inhabitants of Kragujevac, Serbia.
1941 Oct 21, The 19-day Battle
of Bryansk ended. The city was subjected to heavy artillery and air
bombardment and large parts of it was destroyed. After some fierce
fighting the Soviet Third Army at Vyazma surrendered to German
forces on Oct 14 and the Thirty-Second at Bryansk surrendered on Oct
1941 Oct 24, Adolph Hitler met
with Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, and Reinhard Heydrich, the
man in charge of the forthcoming genocide program, and pronounced:
"It’s not a bad idea, by the way, that public rumor attributes to us
a plan to exterminate the Jews."
(WSJ, 4/12/00, p.A26)
1941 Oct 25, Germany attacked
1941 Oct 31, The US Navy
destroyer "Reuben James" was torpedoed by a German U-boat off
Iceland, killing 115, even though the United States had not yet
entered World War II.
1941 Oct 31, 13 U boats were
sunk this month (62,000 ton).
1941 Oct, British, USSR and
other allied forces invaded Iran to break up the Iran-Nazi alliance.
Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, left the country
under disguise with the Italian delegation and relocated to Germany.
(SSFC, 1/8/06, p.D8)
1941 Oct-1941 Nov, Nazi doctor
Aribert Heim, dubbed "Dr. Death," worked at the Mauthausen
concentration camp near Linz, Austria, as camp doctor. Heim fled
Germany in 1962.
1941 Nov 2, German troops
Nov 6, Einsatz death groups killed some 18
thousand Jews of Rovno, Ukraine. “Einsatzgruppen" were special
soldiers who followed the fighting forces and “cleaned up" the area.
1941 Nov 7,
British air attacks hit Berlin, Mannheim and Ruhrgebied.
1941 Nov 12, Germany's drive to
take Moscow halted.
1941 Nov 13, A German U-boat,
the U-81 torpedoed Great Britain's premier aircraft carrier, the HMS
Ark Royal. The ship sank the next day.
1941 Nov 15, The German final
attack on Moscow began. They advanced to within 25 miles of the
center of Moscow.
(SFC, 10/29/97, p.A23)
1941 Nov 17, German Luftwaffe
general and World War I fighter-ace Ernst Udet committed suicide.
The Nazi government told the public that he died in a flying
1941 Nov 19, The ship HMAS
Sydney was sunk off the west coast of Australia in a battle with the
German raider Kormoran, with the loss of all 645 on board. The
Kormoran also sank, but 318 of the German vessel's crew of 397 were
rescued. The 9,500 ton Kormoran had been disguised as a Dutch
merchant ship when it opened fire on the Sydney. The government
banned all media from reporting the news for 12 days as it scrambled
to explain what happened. In March, 2008, the wrecks of the Kormoran
and the Sydney were found. In 2009 a military inquiry said Navy
Capt. Joseph Burnett made "errors of judgment" in the tragedy.
(AFP, 8/10/07)(AP, 3/16/08)(Reuters, 4/8/08)(AP,
1941 Nov 22, British cruiser
Devonshire sank the German sub Atlantis.
1941 Nov 23, German troops
conquered Klin, NW of Moscow.
1941 Nov 24, "Life
Certificates" were issued to some Jews of Vilna. The rest were
1941 Nov 24, Indian infantry
attacked German tanks at Sidi Omar.
1941 Nov 27, USSR began a
counter offensive, causing Germans to retreat.
1941 Nov 28, German troops
1941 Nov, Some 4,000 who
remained in Gomel, Belarus, were shot by the Nazis. Most of the
40,000 who had lived there had managed to escape before the Nazis
1941 Nov, Nazis in the Ukraine
set up a concentration camp near the village of Gvozdavka-1, near
Odessa, and killed about 5,000 Jews. Their mass grave was found in
1941 Nov, In Germany Amin
al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, met with Adolf Hitler and
reportedly urged Hitler to exterminate Jews.
(SFC, 10/22/15, p.A2)
1941 Dec 3, Hitler viewed
1941 Dec 4, Nazi ordinances
placed the Jews of Poland outside protection of courts.
1941 Dec 4, Operation Taifun
(Typhoon), which was launched by the German armies on October 2,
1941 as a prelude to taking Moscow, was halted because of freezing
temperatures and lack of serviceable aircraft. Temperatures near
Moscow fell to 40 degrees below zero the breech-blocks of German
rifles froze solid. The engines of their vehicles would not start.
The Soviets began a counter-attack with 17 armies and their T-34
tanks that included 25 Siberian divisions and the Nazis were forced
to retreat in panic.
(SFC, 10/29/97, p.A23)(HN, 12/4/98)
1941 Dec 5, Russian offensive
in Moscow drove out the Nazi army.
1941 Dec 7, The 8 month German
siege of Tobruk ended.
1941 Dec 8, The Nazi Chelmno
extermination camp opened in Poland.
(WUD, 1994 p.252)(MC, 12/8/01)
1941 Dec 8, Russians took
Krijukovo back from Germany.
1941 Dec 9, Hitler ordered US
1941 Dec 9, China declared war
on Japan, Germany and Italy.
1941 Dec 11, The US declared
war on Germany and Italy. Germany and Italy declared war on the
United States; the U.S. responded in kind.
(WUD, 1944, p.1683)(TL, 1988, p.112)(AP,
1941 Dec 12, German occupying
army searched house to house in Paris looking for Jews.
1941 Dec 13, U-81 torpedoed the
British aircraft carrier Ark Royal.
1941 Dec 14, German Field
Marshal Wilhelm Keitel ordered the construction of defensive
positions along the European coastline.
1941 Dec 17, German troops led
by Rommel began to retreat in North Africa.
1941 Dec 18, German submarine
1941 Dec 19, Hitler took
complete command of German Army.
1941 Sigmar Polke, artist, was
(WSJ, 4/7/99, p.A20)
1941 Luise Rinser (d.2002)
authored "The Glass Rings." Nazis blocked a 2nd edition and arrested
her in 1944 for high treason. In 1946 she published "A Woman’s
(SFC, 3/19/02, p.A20)
1941 Pelham Graham (PG)
Wodehouse (1881-1975), English-US writer, made 5 radio broadcasts
from Nazi Germany. This kept him out of England for the last 34
years of his life.
(Econ, 11/20/04, p.87)
1941 Germany invaded Yugoslavia
and Ante Pavelic led a pro-Nazi dictatorship that controlled
newly-independent Croatia. Alojzije Stepinac, archbishop of Zagreb,
initially embraced the Pavelic government.
(SFEC, 10/4/98, p.A22)
1941 The amber room in St.
Petersburg was dismantled by German officers and shipped to
Konigsburg for safekeeping. The Allied bombing in 1945 was thought
to have destroyed the work.
(SFC, 3/22/97, p.A16)
1941 Nazi documents from this
year showed that the Einsatzgruppe, a Nazi-run Serbian police unit,
executed 11,164 people, mostly Serbian Jewish men, suspected
communists and Gypsies [see 1942]. The unit was allegedly run by
Peter Egner, who emigrated to the US in 1960, and received
citizenship in 1966. In 2009 Serbian authorities sought his
extradition. In 2010 Serbia issued an international warrant for the
arrest of Egner (88), who has denied the accusations.
(AP, 4/14/09)(AP, 4/2/10)(AP, 11/26/10)
1941-1945 In Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, the
German SS ran Jewish ghetto as a holding station for Jews on their
way to death camps.
(SFC, 10/24/97, p.A11)
1941-1945 Some 1600-2000 German soldiers were
killed in Montenegro in clashes with Yugoslav communist partisans
1941-1945 Sweden maintained neutrality during the
war but allowed German troops to cross its territory to invade the
Soviet Union. It also allowed 250,000 German troops to use the
railroad system to travel between occupied Norway and Germany. The
Swedish navy provided escort service for German military supply
ships and Swedish industry helped make up for German losses in their
ball-bearing industry due to Allied bombing raids.
(SFEC, 6/21/98, p.A13)
1942 Jan 5, 55 German tanks
1942 Jan 20, Top Nazis met at
Grossen-Wannsee, outside Berlin, and there formulated the infamous
"Final Solution" to the Jewish question. Chaired by SS General
Reinhard Heydrich, the one-day conference was designed to address
the Nazi efforts at removing the Jews. The 15 top-ranking men of the
German Reich agreed upon a blueprint for the extermination of
Europe’s Jews. Their "final solution" called for exterminating
Europe's Jews. Until this time, the plan had been to deport all Jews
to the island of Madagascar off Africa, but by 1942 this plan was
rejected in favor of transporting Jews to the east where the
able-bodied would become slave laborers for the Reich. SS chief
Heinrich Himmler would be in charge. Those unfit to work would be,
the conference minutes noted, "appropriately dealt with." This
phrase was left unexplained, but there was no doubt of its sinister
meaning. After approving genocide as Nazi policy, the conference
attendees adjourned for lunch. The minutes were taken by Adolf
Eichmann. In 2004 Christopher R. Browning authored "The Origins of
the Final Solution."
(AP, 1/20/98)(WSJ, 4/28/97, p.A17)(HNPD,
1/20/99)(WSJ, 3/23/04, p.D8)(AP, 1/20/12)
1942 Jan 21, In North Africa,
German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel launched a drive to push the
1942 Jan 29, German and Italian
troops took Benghazi in North Africa.
1942 Jan, The high Nazi
bureaucracy received word of the decision to exterminate all Jews at
the Wannsee Villa Conference.
(WSJ, 12/31/96, p.5)
1942 Feb 11, The German
battleships Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and Prinz Eugen began their famed
channel dash from the French port of Brest. Their journey took them
through the English Channel on their way back to Germany.
1942 Feb 12, 3 German battle
cruisers escaped via Channel to Brest, N. Germany.
1942 Feb 13, Hitler's invasion
of England was cancelled.
1942 Feb 16, German submarines
attacked an Aruba oil refinery and sank the tanker Pedernales.
(MC, 2/16/02)(SSFC, 11/10/02, p.C11)
1942 Feb 24, The Voice of
America went on the air for the first time with broadcasts in
German. The US State Dept. made William Winter (d.1999) its first
Voice of America three months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
(AP, 2/24/98)(SFC, 11/9/99, p.A23)(MC, 2/24/02)
1942 Feb 26, German battle
cruiser Gneisenau was deactivated by bomb.
1942 Feb 26, Werner Heisenberg
informed Nazis about uranium project "Wunderwaffen."
1942 Feb 27, British Commandos
raided a German radar station at Bruneval on the French coast. The
warrior spies of the Abwehr, Germany's intelligence agency, were the
1942 Feb 27, The 1st transport
of French Jews left to Nazi Germany.
1942 Feb 28, The German
submarine U-578 torpedoed and sank the US destroyer Jacob Jones off
the New Jersey coast. Only 11 of some 102 crew members survived.
1942 Feb, The first transport
of Jews arrived at Auschwitz, Poland, and the adjoining Birkenau
camp. Dr. Josef Mengele (d.1979), the "angel of death," worked at
Auschwitz and fled secretly to Sao Paolo, Brazil, after the war.
Rudolf Hoess was the last commander of Auschwitz and kept a diary
that was used in the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann.
(SF E&C, 1/15/1995, A-10)(SFC, 4/8/97,
p.A10)(WSJ, 4/28/97, p.A17)
1942 Mar 17, The Nazis began
deporting Jews to the Belsen camp.
1942 Mar 17, Belzec
Concentration Camp opened. 30,000 Lublin Polish Jews were
1942 Mar 20-22, There was a
major German assault on Malta.
(MC, 3/20/02)(MC, 3/21/02)(MC, 3/22/02)
1942 Mar 25-26, The 1st 700
Jews from Polish Lvov-district reached concentration camp Belzec.
The Germans began sending Jews to Auschwitz in Poland.
(HN, 3/25/98)(MC, 3/25/02)(SS, 3/26/02)
1942 Mar 26, A German offensive
took place in North-Africa under Colonel-General Rommel.
1942 Mar 27-28, Allies raided
the Nazi submarine base at St. Nazaire, France.
(HN, 3/27/98)(MC, 3/27/02)
1942 Mar 28, British naval
forces continued the raid on the Nazi-occupied French port of St.
Nazaire. British Bomber Command launched an attack on the German
city of Lubeck with 234 RAF bombers.
(AP, 3/28/97)(HN, 3/28/98)(MC, 3/28/02)
1942 Mar 28, A British ship,
the HMS Capbeltown, a Lend-Lease American destroyer, which was
specifically rammed into a German occupied dry-dock in France,
exploded, knocking the area out of action for the German battleship
1942 Mar 29, German submarine
1942 Mar 30, SS murdered 200
inmates of Trawniki labor camp.
1942 Apr 7, There was a heavy
German assault on Malta.
1942 Apr 14, Destroyer Roper
sank German U-85 of US east coast.
1942 Apr 20, Heavy German
assault on Malta.
1942 Apr 20, The battle for
Moscow ended. It officially lasted from September 30, 1941, to April
20, 1942, but in reality spanned more than those 203 days of
unremitting mass murder, and marked the first time that Hitler's
armies failed to triumph with their Blitzkrieg tactics. In 2007
Andrew Nagorski authored “The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and
the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World
(WSJ, 1/11/08, p.W6)
1942 Apr 23, A 4-day allied
bombing of Rostock began.
1942 Apr 23, Luftwaffe bombed
1942 Apr, A stenographic record
of Hitler’s conferences with his generals from this time until Apr,
1945, was published in 2003 as: "Hitler and His Generals." It was
edited by Helmut Heiber and David M. Glantz."
(WSJ, 2/5/03, p.D10)
1942 Apr, In Germany the
Gestapo closed the Grosse Hamburgerstrasse School, the last Jewish
school operating in Berlin. A film was made in 1996 of surviving
pupils reuniting at the site.
(WSJ, 5/30/97, p.A16)
1942 May 3, The Luftwaffe
1942 May 3, Nazis executed 72
in reprisal in Sachsenhausen, Netherlands. Johan H. Westerveld,
lt.-Col, leader Order Service, was among the executed.
1942 May 7, A Nazi decree
ordered all Jewish pregnant women of Kovno Ghetto executed.
1942 May 8, German summer
offensive opened in Crimea.
1942 May 12, A Nazi U-boat sank
an American cargo ship at mouth of Mississippi River.
1942 May 12, The Soviet Army
launched its first major offensive of the war and took Kharkov in
the eastern Ukraine from the German army.
1942 May 17, Dutch SS vowed
loyalty to Hitler.
1942 May 26, Tank battle at Bir
Hakeim: African corps vs. British army.
1942 May 27, German General
Erwin Rommel began a major offensive in Libya with his Afrika Korps.
1942 May 27, Nazi overlord and
SS general Reinhard Heydrich was killed in Prague by Czech
commandos, who had parachuted into Czechoslovakia and ambushed his
car. Hitler promptly ordered the deaths of 10,000 residents of
Lidice, near Prague. Heydrich died of his wounds a week later. The
commandos had been sheltered in Lidice and as a result the entire
population was either executed or driven out. This has become a
hallmark of Nazi brutality. Heydrich was the man charged with "The
Final Solution of the Jewish Problem." Heydrich was responsible for
the development of an espionage system outside Germany. As an SS
general he was the first administrator of the concentration camps
and the program to eliminate Jews from Europe.
(HNQ, 10/20/99)(MC, 5/27/02)
1942 May 28, Jean F. van Royen,
German secretary PTT (camp Amersfoort), died.
1942 May 29, The German Army
completed its encirclement of the Kharkov region of the Soviet
Union. The Red Army had lost over 250,000 men including many
1942 May 30, The Royal
Air Force under RAF Commander Arthur Harris launched the first 1,000
plane raid over Germany. 1,047 RAF bombers bombed Cologne.
1942 May 30, Reichsfuhrer
Heinrich Himmler arrived in Prague.
1942 May 31, Luftwaffe bombed
1942 Jun 9, German-Neth press
reported that 3 million Dutch were sent to East-Europe.
1942 Jun 10, German
Gestapo massacred 173 male residents of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, in
retaliation for the killing of SS Gen Reinhard Heydrich. All
together, 340 people died in the Nazi reprisal (192 men, 60 women
and 88 children). The death toll resulting from the effort to avenge
the death of Heydrich is estimated at 1,300. This count includes
relatives of the partisans, their supporters, Czech elites suspected
of disloyalty and random victims like those from Lidice.
1942 Jun 13, 1st V-2 rocket
launch from Peenemunde, Germany, reached 1.3 km.
1942 Jun 13, Four men landed on
a Long Island beach from a German submarine with plans to sabotage
NYC’s water system and industrial sites across the Northeastern US.
[see Jun 27]
(SFC, 11/30/01, p.A1)
1942 Jun 20, Adolf Eichmann
proclaimed the deportation of Dutch Jews.
1942 Jun 21, German General
Erwin Rommel captured the port city of Tobruk in North Africa.
1942 Jun 24, The German Africa
Corps occupied Egypt.
1942 Jun 25, Some 1,000 British
Royal Air Force bombers raided Bremen, Germany, during World War II.
1942 Jun 27, The FBI announced
the capture of eight Nazi saboteurs who had been put ashore from 2
submarines, one off New York’s Long Island and the other off of
Florida. The men were tried by a military court and 6 were secretly
executed in a DC jail. Ernest Burger and George Dasch were sentenced
to 30 years in prison for their help in revealing the plot. They
were pardoned in 1948 by Pres. Truman.
(AP, 6/27/97)(SFC, 11/30/01, p.A18)
1942 Jun 28, German troops
launched “Operation Blue," an offensive to seize Soviet oil fields
in the Caucasus and the city of Stalingrad.
(HN, 6/28/98)(WSJ, 1/14/07, p.P8)
1942 Jun 30, Col-gen Von
Paulus' 6th Army stormed into the Ukraine.
1942 Jun, By this month 100,000
people of the Nazi imposed Warsaw ghetto had died due to disease or
(SFC, 7/10/97, p.A7)
1942 Jun, Four men waded ashore
on a Florida beach wearing nothing but bathing trunks and German
army hats. In 2011 declassified British intelligence files described
how the men were part of Nazi sabotage teams sent to the US to
undermine the American war effort (See June 13 and June 27).
1942 Jul 1, German troops
captured Sevastopol, Crimea, in the Soviet Union.
1942 Jul 4, 1st American
bombing mission over enemy-occupied Europe (WW II). US air offensive
against nazi-Germany began.
1942 Jul 10, Himmler ordered
the sterilization of all Jewish woman in Ravensbruck Camp.
1942 Jul 13, 5,000 Jews of
Rovno, Polish Ukraine, were executed by Nazis.
1942 Jul 13, SS shot 1,500 Jews
in Josefov, Poland.
1942 Jul 15, A group of 19
merchant ships were being escorted by the US Navy and Coast Guard
from Norfolk, Va., to Key West, Fla., to deliver cargo for the war
effort. En route Convoy KS-520 was attacked by the German U-576 off
of Cape Hatteras near North Carolina. The German submarine damaged
two ships and sank Bluefields. In retaliation, a US naval aircraft
bombed the U-576. The two ships sank to the ocean floor 30 miles off
the cape. All 45 members of U-576 were lost. Wreckage of the two
ships was found on Aug 30, 2014.
1942 Jul 18, The German
Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe, the first jet-propelled aircraft to
fly in combat, made its first flight. Walter Nowotny was a rising
your star in the Luftwaffe, chosen by Hitler to be the point man to
lead the new jet fighter under the tutelage of General of Fighters
Adolf Galland who was assigned to prove the airplane in battle. The
Axis hopes were dashed when Nowotny was attacked by American pilots
during landing and crashed. Col. Edward R. "Buddy" Haydon was one of
those American pilots.
1942 Jul 19, German U-boats
were withdrawn from positions off the U.S. Atlantic coast due to
effective American anti-submarine countermeasures.
Jul 22, Nazi’s began their transport of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto
to the death at Treblinka.
1942 Jul 23, A 2nd
Treblinka Camp opened for the extermination of European Jews, as the
evacuation of the Warsaw ghetto began. Nearly 750,000 people died in
the gas chambers of Treblinka.
1942 Jul 24, The Soviet city of
Rostov was captured by German troops.
1942 Jul 26, RAF bombed
1942 Jul 27, The advance of
German army was halted in the first battle of El Alamein, Egypt.
1942 Jul 30, The US
passenger-freighter Robert E. Lee with 268 passengers was sunk by
the German U-166 submarine. 15 crew members and 10 passengers died.
In 2001 wreckage of the U-166 was found in the Gulf of Mexico and it
appeared that it was sunk by Coast Guard PC-566 right after the
attack. U-166 had 52 crew members. [see Aug 1, 1942]
(SFC, 6/9/01, p.A5)
1942 Jul 30, German SS
einsatzgruppen death battalions killed 25,000 Jews in Minsk,
1942 Jul 31, The German SS
gassed some 1,000 Jews in Minsk, Belorussia.
1942 Jul, Hitler made his
fateful decision to split the armies engaged in the offensive and to
occupy the city of Stalingrad with the weaker of the 2 groups.
(WSJ, 1/14/07, p.P8)
1942 Aug 1, Ensign Henry C.
White, while flying a J4F Widgeon plane, sank U-166 as it approaches
the Mississippi River, the first U-boat sunk by the U.S. Coast
Guard. In the summer of 1942, German submarines put saboteurs ashore
on American beaches. [see Jul 30, 1942]
(HN, 8/1/98)(SFC, 6/9/01, p.A5)
1942 Aug 4, The 1st train with
Jews departed Mechelen, Belgium, to Auschwitz.
1942 Aug 6, Goering proclaimed
occupied areas "thoroughly empty to plunder."
1942 Aug 6, The Soviet city of
Voronezh fell to the German army.
1942 Aug 7, Transport 16
departed with French Jews to Nazi-Germany.
1942 Aug 8, Six convicted Nazi
saboteurs who had landed in the United States were executed in
Washington, D.C. Two others received life imprisonment.
1942 Aug 8, Gerhart Riegner
(d.2001 at 90), World Jewish Congress official in Geneva, cabled the
US vice consul to describe Hitler’s plan to deport an estimated 4
million Jews to Eastern Europe and to annihilate them.
(SFC, 12/4/01, p.A19)
1942 Aug 9, Carmelite nun
Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, whose given name was Edith Stein
(b.1891), was executed by the Nazis at Auschwitz for her Jewish
heritage. A Roman Catholic convert from Judaism, Stein was an
educator, nun, philosopher and spiritual writer and is generally
regarded as a modern saint and martyr. Born in Germany on October
12, 1891, she joined the Carmelites in 1934 and wrote a number of
important philosophical and spiritual works, including "Finite and
Eternal Being." With Hitler's 1942 order for the arrest of all
non-Aryan Catholics, Stein was seized and shipped to the
concentration camp at Auschwitz where she died in the gas chamber
with her sister Rosa. A woman of singular intelligence and learning,
she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness
and profound spirituality. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II at
Cologne on May 1, 1987. She was made a saint in 1998.
(HNQ, 10/6/98)(SFC, 10/12/98, p.A1)
1942 Aug 11, The German
submarine U-73 attacked a Malta bound British convoy and sank the
HMS Eagle, one of the world's first aircraft carriers.
1942 Aug 11, Slovakian-born
Adolf Burger (1917-2016) was arrested after he was caught producing
fake baptism certificates for Jews to help them escape
transportation to Nazi death camps. In 1944 at the Sachsenhausen
concentration camp in Germany, Burger became one of 139 inmates who
were put to work forging British pound notes, a top secret plan to
destabilize Britain known as "Operation Bernhard." Burger described
his experiences in "The Commando of Counterfeiters," a 1983 memoir.
The film "The Counterfeiters" went on to win the Oscar for best
foreign film in 2008.
(AP, 12/8/16)(AFP, 12/8/16)
1942 Aug 19, About 5,000
Canadian and 2,000 British soldiers launched a disastrous raid
against the Germans at Dieppe, France. Over 3,600 men perished in
this battle. The information gathered from this landing was
considered valuable for planning the successful Allied landings in
Northern Africa, Sicily, and Normandy, France. Brit. Col. Pat
Porteous (d.2000) received a Victoria Cross for his valor in the
attack which was aimed at gaining experience for the later D-Day
(AP, 8/19/97)(HN, 8/19/98)(SFC, 10/16/00,
1942 Aug 19, Gen. Paulus
ordered the German 6th Army to conquer Stalingrad.
1942 Aug 23, German forces
began an assault on the major Soviet industrial city of Stalingrad.
From Aug. to Feb. 1943, The Battle of Stalingrad, 600 miles
southeast of Moscow, was fought and ended with the encirclement and
destruction of the German 6th Army Group. Stalingrad has since been
renamed to Volgograd. In 1998 Antony Beevor published "Stalingrad:
The Fateful Siege." The German in charge was Gen’l. Friedrich
Paulus. 600 Luftwaffe bombers killed some 40,000 people in the first
week of fighting.
(WSJ, 2/21/96, p.A-15)(WSJ, 7/8/98, p.A13)(HN,
1942 Aug 25, German SS began
transporting Jews of Maastricht, Neth.
1942 Aug 27, Cuba declared war
on Germany, Japan and Italy.
1942 Aug 31, The British army
under General Bernard Law Montgomery defeated Field Marshal Erwin
Rommel's Afrika Korps in the Battle of Alam Halfa in Egypt.
1942 Sep 2, German troops
1942 Sep 5, British & US
bombed Le Havre & Bremen.
1942 Sep 7, The Red Army pushed
back the German line northwest of Stalingrad. The Krummer Lauf
allowed German infantry and motorized artillery units to actually
fire around corners.
1942 Sep 30, The German SS
exterminated some 3,500 Jews in Zelov Lodz, Poland, in 6 week
1942 Sep, 98 U-boats sunk this
1942 Sep, In Theresienstadt,
Czechoslovakia, some 50,000 Jews were held by the German SS in
crowded conditions and half the inmates died that year from disease.
(SFC, 10/24/97, p.A11)
1942 Oct 1, The German Army
ground to a complete halt within the city of Stalingrad.
1942 Oct 3, In Germany the
rocket-development team of Werner von Braun conducted the 1st
successful test flight of an A-4/V-2 missile from the Peenemünde
test site. It flew perfectly over a 118-mile course to an altitude
of 53 miles (85 km). The 13-ton, 46-foot long V2 rocket was the
world’s 1st long-range ballistic missile.
(HN, 10/3/98)(AM, 5/01, p.63)(WSJ, 2/21/09, p.A5)
1942 Oct 7, A single salvo
Katyusha rocket destroyed a Nazi battalion in Stalingrad.
1942 Oct 18, Hitler orders
allied commandos to be killed.
1942 Oct 23, During World War
II, Britain launched a major offensive against Axis forces at El
Alamein in Egypt.
1942 Oct 25, Field marshal
Erwin Rommel returned to North-Africa.
1942 Oct 29, Nazis murdered
some 16,000 Jews in Pinsk, Soviet Union.
1942 Oct 31, 94 U boats were
sunk this month (619,000 ton).
1942 Oct 31, The 9th day in
battle at El Alamein (Egypt).
1942 Oct, By this month some
300,000 occupants of the Warsaw ghetto had been shipped off to the
Nazi gas chambers at Treblinka, Poland.
(SFC, 7/10/97, p.A7)
1942 Nov 4, The 13th day of
battle at El Alamein: Axis Africa corps retreated from El Alamein in
North Africa in a major victory for British forces commanded by
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
1942 Nov 5, Nazis raided on
Greek Jews in Paris.
1942 Nov 8, Hitler proclaimed
the fall of Stalingrad from Munich beer hall.
1942 Nov 9, Transport #44
departed with French Jews to Nazi Germany.
1942 Nov 11, 745 French Jews
were deported to Auschwitz.
1942 Nov 11, Germany completed
its occupation of France.
1942 Nov 19, During World War
II, Russian forces launched their winter offensive against the
Germans along the Don front. Soviet forces took the offensive at
(AP, 11/19/97)(HN, 11/19/98)
1942 Nov 20, Hitler named field
marshal Erich von Manstein to command.
1942 Nov 22, Gen-major Rodin's
26th Panzer corps recaptured Ostrov. Hitler ordered Rommel's Africa
Korps to fight to last man.
1942 Nov 22, Soviet troops
completed the encirclement of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad.
1942 Nov 23, Gen. Von Paulus
asked Hitler's permission to surrender at Stalingrad. The German 4th
and 6th Army were surrounded at Stalingrad.
1942 Nov 24, Field marshal
Erich von Manstein arrived in Starobelsk.
1942 Nov, German troops arrived
in Tunisia. The nation was home to some 100,000 Jews at the time.
The Germans imposed anti-Semitic policies that included fines,
forcing Jews to wear Star of David badges and confiscating property.
More than 5,000 Jews were sent to forced labor camps, where 46 are
known to have died. About 160 Tunisian Jews in France were sent to
European death camps.
1942 Nov, A Royal Air Force
bomber and 2 gliders, carrying 34 British commandos, crash landed in
Norway. This was part of Operation Freshman, which planned a raid on
the heavy-water plant at Vemork. The survivors were captured by
German soldiers and executed by the Gestapo.
(ON, 4/07, p.2)
1942 Dec 5, Arthur
Seyss-Inquart ordered students in Nazi Germany to work.
1942 Dec 18, Hitler met with
Mussolini and Pierre Laval.
1942 Dec 28, Ober Kommando
Wehrmacht ordered strategic flights out of the Caucasus.
1942 Richard Strauss wrote his
final opera "Capriccio" with a libretto by Clemens Krauss. In the
work a poet and composer declare their love for a countess who will
decide the "words vs. music" debate.
(WSJ, 1/21/98, p.A20)
1942 In Germany artifacts of
the German Baroque were taken from the Green Vault in Dresden to
Fortress Konigstein. In 1958 the Soviets returned the lot to
(Econ, 9/16/06, p.95)
1942 Nazi documents of this
year showed that the Einsatzgruppe, a Nazi-run Serbian police unit,
killed 6,280 Serbian Jewish women and children who were held as
prisoners at Semlin Camp. In two months, those women and children
allegedly were taken from a camp and forced into a specially
designed van, in which they were gassed with carbon monoxide. The
unit was allegedly run by Peter Egner, who emigrated to the US in
1960, and received citizenship in 1966 [see 1941]. In 2010 Serbia
issued an international warrant for the arrest of Egner (88), who
has denied the accusations.
(AP, 4/14/09)(AP, 4/2/10)(AP, 11/26/10)
1942 Alice Sommer Herz (39) of
Prague and her son were sent to the Nazi camp at Theresienstadt. It
was established by the Gestapo in the fortress and garrison city of
Terezin, Czechoslovakia. In 2011 a new documentary about Alice
Sommer Herz was made public. In 2010 Alice, the world's oldest
Holocaust survivor, was about to celebrate her 107th birthday.
"Music is God," she said.
1942 Emil von Stauss (65),
chief of Deutsche Bank, died. He was a friend of Hitler and helped
finance the Nazi war machine. He had acquired a 9% stake in the
Wertheim retail chain in a forced sale.
(WSJ, 3/29/02, p.A8)
1942 Nazis forced Greece to
make an interest-free loan of 568 million Reichsmark (7.1 billion
euros or $7.7 billion). The Economist put the loan at 476 million
(AP, 3/22/15)(Econ., 3/21/15, p.44)
1942 The Jewish community paid
some 1.9 billion drachmas, around 50 million euros ($55 million)
today, as ransom to German occupying authorities in Greece in return
for 10,000 Jewish men being held as slave laborers. The men were
released only to be sent to concentration camps the following year.
1942-1944 SS Captain Bruno Melmer was in charge of
valuables stolen from Nazi victims. Gold objects were turned over to
the Reichsbank, which sent it to the Degussa smelting company for
processing into gold bars.
(SFC, 5/26/98, p.A6)
1942-1944 Gen’l. Eduard Dietl (d.1944) led the
20th mountain army and was later found to be responsible for the
slaughter of hundreds of prisoners in northern Europe.
(SFC, 3/19/97, p.A14)
1942-1945 Victor Klemperer (b.1881), a professor
in Dresden, in 2000 authored part 2 of his diaries that covered this
period: "I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1942-1945."
His first volume went up to 1941 and was published in 1998.
(WSJ, 3/22/00, p.A20)
1943 Jan 9, Soviet planes
dropped leaflets on the surrounded Germans in Stalingrad requesting
their surrender with humane terms. The Germans refused.
1943 Jan 10, Russian offensive
began against German 6th and 4th Armies near Stalingrad.
1943 Jan 11, The Soviet Red
Army encircled Stalingrad.
1943 Jan 13, The Canadian
corvette Ville de Quebec rammed the German U-224 submarine, which
sank in the Mediterranean Sea with 57 of its crew. German Lt. Wolf
Danckworth was the only survivor. Years later Danckworth established
contact with Canadian sailor Frank Arsenault, who was on the Ville
de Quebec when it rammed the sub, and the two became good friends.
(SFC, 12/25/10, p.C1)
1943 Jan 18, The Soviets
announced they'd broken the long Nazi siege of Leningrad. It was
another year before the siege was fully lifted.
1943 Jan 18, Jews in Warsaw
Ghetto began an uprising against the Nazis. [see Apr 19, 1943]
1943 Jan 21, A Nazi daylight
air raid killed 34 in a London school.
1943 Jan 24, Hitler ordered
Nazi troops at Stalingrad to fight to death.
1943 Jan 25, The last German
airfield in Stalingrad was captured by the Red Army.
1943 Jan 27, Some 50 bombers
struck Wilhelmshaven and Emden in the first all-American air raid
against Germany during World War II.
(AP, 1/27/98)(HN, 1/27/99)
1943 Jan 30, Field marshal
Friedrich von Paulus surrendered himself and his staff to Red Army
troops in Stalingrad.
1943 Jan 31, The Battle
of Stalingrad ended as small groups of German soldiers of the Sixth
Army under Gen Friedrich von Paulus surrendered to the victorious
Red Army forces.
(HN, 1/31/99)(MC, 1/31/02)
1943 Jan 31, Chile broke
contact with Germany and Japan.
1943 Feb 2, The remainder of
Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major
World War II victory for the Soviets. 23 generals, 2,000 officers,
and at least 130,000 German troops surrendered. This was later
considered as the turning point of WW II.
(AP, 2/2/97)(HN, 2/2/99)(WSJ, 3/28/03, p.A1)
1943 Feb 11, Transport # 47
departed with French Jews to Nazi Germany.
1943 Feb 13, There was a German
assault on Sidi Bou Zid, Tunisia, as Gen. Eisenhower visited the
1943 Feb 14, A German offensive
was made through the de Faid pass in Tunisia.
1943 Feb 14, David Hilbert
(b.1862), German mathematician, died. He is considered the father of
1943 Feb 15, The Germans broke
the U.S. lines at the Fanid-Sened Sector in Tunisia.
1943 Feb 16, Withdrawing Africa
Corps reached the Mareth-line in North Africa.
1943 Feb 16, Sign on Munich
facade: "Out with Hitler! Long live freedom!" was posted by the
"White Rose" student group. They were caught on 2/18 and beheaded on
1943 Feb 16, The Red army
1943 Feb 18, Munich resistance
group "White Rose" was captured by Nazis.
1943 Feb 18, Rommel took three
towns in Tunisia, North Africa. The intercepted communications of an
American in Cairo provided a secret ear for the Desert Fox.
1943 Feb 19, German tanks under
brig. general Buelowius attacked Kasserine Pass, Tunisia.
1943 Feb 20, German troops of
the Afrika Korps broke through the Kasserine Pass, defeating U.S.
1943 Feb 21, German tanks and
two infantry battalions broke the Allied line and took Kasserine
Pass in North Africa.
1943 Feb 22, In Germany
Christoph Probst (22), Hans (24) and Sophie Scholl (21), student
members of the Die Weisse Rose (White Rose) resistance, were
executed by the Nazis.
1943 Feb 23, German troops
pulled back through the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia.
1943 Feb 26, U.S. Flying
Fortresses and Liberators pounded the Reich docks and U-boat lairs
1943 Feb 26, The German assault
moved to Beja, North Tunisia.
1943 Feb 28, In Operation
Gunnerside Norwegian commandos flown in from Britain bombed the Nazi
heavy water plant near Rjukan. The raid was later depicted in the
1965 film "The Heroes of Telemark." The 9 commandos included Claus
Helberg (d.2003) and Knut Haukelid (d.1994).
(SFC, 3/14/03, p.A27)(ON, 4/07, p.4)
1943 Feb, German women
demonstrated outside a Berlin community center where their Jewish
husbands and children had been rounded up for deportation to
Auschwitz. 1,200 men and children were released a week later and
survived the war. It was the only public protest by Germans against
Nazi persecution of the Jews.
(SFC, 9/10/98, p.C2)
1943 cFeb, German dictator
Adolf Hitler had a pet German Shepherd named Blondi. The dog was
given to Hitler by Martin Borman in an attempt to cheer up the
downcast dictator after the defeat at Stalingrad. High-ranking Nazi
Albert Speer claimed Blondi meant more to Hitler than any human
1943 Mar 1, The British RAF
conducted strategic bombing raids on all European railway lines.
From 1939 to 1945, R.A.F. pilots and air crews waged war on Germany
from inside Hitler's Reich.
1943 Mar 2, The center of
Berlin was bombed by the RAF. Some 900 tons of bombs were dropped in
a half hour.
1943 Mar 2, Sea battle in
Bismarck Sea ended with victory for US and Australia.
1943 Mar 2, 1st transport of
Jews from Westerbork, Netherlands, to Sobibor concentration camp.
1943 Mar 5, In desperation due
to war losses, fifteen and sixteen year olds are called up for
military service in the German army.
1943 Mar 5, RAF bombed Essen,
Germany. [see Mar 6]
1943 Mar 6, British RAF fliers
bombed Essen and the Krupp arms works in the Ruhr, Germany.
1943 Mar 6, Battle at Medenine,
North-Africa: Rommel's assault attack.
1943 Mar 8, 335 allied bombers
1943 Mar 10, Hitler called
Rommel back from Tunisia in North Africa. The intercepted
communications of an American in Cairo provided a secret ear for the
1943 Mar 13, There was a failed
assassination attempt on Hitler during the Smolensk-Rastenburg
1943 Mar 13, Germans closed the
Krakow ghetto in Poland.
1943 Mar 15, In Thessaloniki,
Greece, occupying German forces began founding up the first batch of
Jews in Eleftherias (Freedom) Square. By August 1943, 46,091 Jews
had been deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Of those, 1,950 survived.
1943 Mar 17, The German
occupation authority closed Lithuanian schools of higher education
and the Academy of Education.
1943 Mar 18, The Reich called
off its offensive in Caucasus.
1943 Mar 20, German U-384 was
bombed and sank.
1943 Mar 21, An assassination
attempt on Hitler failed.
1943 Mar 22, SS police chief
Rauter threatened to kill half Jewish children.
1943 Mar 23, Germans counter
attacked US lines in Tunisia.
1943 Mar, Britain hatched the
Doctor Project, a secret plan to assassinate German Field Marshall
Rommel. It was never executed.
(SFC, 10/27/99, p.C2)
1943 Apr 5, The British 8th
Army attacked the next blocking position of the retreating Axis
forces at Wadi Akarit.
1943 Apr 7, Adolf Hitler and
Benito Mussolini met for an Axis conference in Salzburg.
1943 Apr 7, Lt. Colonel Claus
von Stauffenberg was seriously wounded during allied air raid.
1943 Apr 13, Nazi's discovered
a mass grave of Polish officers near Katyn. [see Apr 13, 1990]
1943 Apr 17, SS lt. General
Jurgen Stoop arrived in Warsaw.
1943 Apr 19, Willy Graf, Kurt
Huber and Alexander Schmorell, German resistance fighters, were
1943 Apr 19, In Warsaw, Poland,
some 750 young Jews under Mordechai Anielewicz began their 1st urban
uprising against the Nazis. During World War II, tens of thousands
of Jews living in the Warsaw Ghetto began a valiant but futile
battle against Nazi forces. SS-Gen Jurgen Stroop led the destruction
of the ghetto of Warsaw: "The Warsaw Ghetto is no more!" he wrote
proudly to Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler. Stroop was hanged on
the site of the Warsaw ghetto after the war. Jacek Zlatka (Jack
Eisner, 1925-2003) smuggled arms for the revolt. Eisner made a
fortune in the import-export business after the war and in 1980
authored the autobiography "The Survivor."
(SFEC, 3/2/97, p.T11)(AP, 4/19/97)(HN,
4/19/97)(SSFC, 8/31/03, p.A29)
1943 Mar 20, The Allies
attacked Rommel's forces on the Mareth Line in North Africa.
1943 Apr 22, There was German
counter attack in North Tunisia.
1943 Apr 22, RAF shot down 14
German transport planes over Mediterranean Sea.
1943 Apr 28, German-Italian
forces launched a counter offensive in North-Africa.
1943 Apr 29, Internationally
prominent theologian Dietrich Bonhoffer was arrested by Nazis.
1943 Apr 30, Bergen-Belsen,
located near Hanover, formed as a POW camp.
(HNQ, 4/13/00)(MC, 4/30/02)
1943 Apr 30, Dutch struck
against forced labor in Nazi Germany's war industry.
1943 Apr 30, Etty Hillesum,
Dutch diarist, died in Auschwitz.
1943 May 1, A German plane sank
a boat loaded with Palestinian Jews bound for Malta.
1943 May 1, German forces were
deployed in the following places: Norway (200,000), France
(900,000), Africa (150,000), Balkans (80,000), Finland (180,000),
Eastern Europe (210,000), Caucasus (260,000), Russia (1,900,000).
(WSJ, 5/12/99, p.A23)
1943 May 9, The 5th German
Panzer army surrendered in Tunisia.
1943 May 11, Hermann Goering
division in Tunisia surrendered.
1943 May 12, The Axis forces in
Tunisia and all of North Africa surrendered.
(AP, 5/12/97)(HN, 5/12/98)
1943 May 15, Halifax bombers
1943 May 15, Warsaw ghetto
uprising ended in it's destruction by Nazi-SS troops.
1943 May 16, "Skipping bombs"
were used for the first and only time to breach three massive Ruhr
Valley dams--the Eder, the Mohne and the Sorpe--that supplied water
and hydroelectric power to Germany's vital armament factories. The
bombs were designed to bounce over anti-torpedo nets and explode at
the base of the dams. Despite only two months of training, Royal Air
Force Wing Commander Guy Gibson and his "Dambusters" breached the
Eder and the Mohne dams and damaged the Sorpe. While subsequent
flooding in the Ruhr Valley claimed 1,294 lives, German industrial
production was affected only briefly while the dams were repaired.
1943 May 16, German troops
destroyed the synagogue of Warsaw. Jewish resistance in the Warsaw
ghetto ended after 30 days of fighting.
1943 May 19, Berlin was
declared "Judenrien" (cleansed of Jews).
1943 May 23, Thomas Mann began
writing his novel Dr. Faustus.
1943 May 23-24, Some 826 Allied
bombers attacked Dortmund.
1943 May, German captors took
American POWs Capt. Donald B. Stewart and Lt. Col. John H. Van Vliet
Jr. to view mummified corpses of Polish officers massacred in the
Katyn forest. They used coded messages to report on the Soviet
guilt, but it was suppressed by the Roosevelt administration until a
report in 1952. Documents of their coded messages were made public
1943 Jun 1, A civilian flight
from Lisbon to London was shot down by the Germans during World War
II, killing all those aboard, including actor Leslie Howard.
1943 Jun 5, German occupiers
arrested Louvain University's chancellor.
1943 Jun 10, The Allies began
bombing Germany around the clock.
1943 Jun 23, RAF discovered and
bombed Werner von Braun's V1/V2-base in Peenemunde.
1943 Jun 24, Royal Air Force
Bombers hammered Muelheim, Germany in a drive to cripple the Ruhr
1943 Jun 29, Germany began
withdrawing U-boats from North Atlantic in anticipation of the
Allied invasion of Europe.
1943 Jul 5, The battle of
Kursk, the largest tank battle in history, began as German tanks
attacked the Soviet salient.
1943 Jul 6, In the 2nd day of
battle at Kursk some 25,000 Germans were killed.
1943 Jul 7, Adolf Hitler made
the V-2 missile program a top priority in armament planning.
1943 Jul 7, In the 3rd day of
battle at Kursk the Germans occupied Dubrova. Erich Hartmann shot 7
Russian aircraft at Kursk.
1943 Jul 8, The 4th day of
battle at Kursk: Gen Model used his last tank reserve.
1943 Jul 9, American and
British forces made an amphibious landing on Sicily. The 'man who
never was' pulled off one of the greatest deceptions in military
history--after his death. In April Britain’s Operation Mincemeat had
landed the dead body of an itinerant Welsh laborer, Glyndwr Michael,
disguised as a Major Martin, on the shore of Spain near Huelva.
False papers on the body led the Germans to believe the allies would
attack Greece and Sardinia rather than Sicily. The idea had been
originally devised in 1939 as one of 51 submitted by Lt. Commander
Ian Fleming. Operation Mincemeat was kept secret until 1953, the
same year that “Casino Royale," Fleming’s first James Bond novel was
(ON, 10/10, p.5)
1943 Jul 12, Pope Pius XII
received Baron von Weizsacker, the German ambassador.
1943 Jul 12, Russians beat
Nazis in a tank battle at Prochorowka. Some 12,000 died.
1943 Jul 13, Greatest tank
battle in history ended with Russia's defeat of Germany at Kursk.
Almost 6,000 tanks took part and 2,900 were lost by Germany.
1943 Jul 18, The U.S. Navy
airship K-74 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire from a German
1943 Jul 19, American planes
sank the German U-513 submarine off the coast of southern Brazil. In
2011 researchers from the Vale do Itajai University found the
submarine off the coast of Santa Catarina state.
1943 Jul 23, Battle of Kursk,
USSR, ended in Nazi defeat. 6,000 tanks took part.
1943 Jul 24-1943-Aug 2, The RAF
and American planes bombed Hamburg. Firestorms from the bombing left
at least 40,000 dead in the 1st 3 days. American B-17 Fortresses
flew 252 daylight sorties in the two days following the first of 4
RAF night raids. Sir Arthur Harris directed 4 major raids against
Hamburg in the space of ten nights, known as “Operation Gomorrah."
1943 Aug 1, Over 177 B-24
Liberator bombers attacked the German oil fields in Ploesti,
Romania, for a second time. Of 1,762 airmen on the mission, 532 were
killed, captured, interned or listed as missing in action. In 2007
Duane Schultz authored “Into the Fire: Ploesti" The Most Fateful
Mission of World War II.
(HN, 8/1/98)(WSJ, 11/13/07, p.D5)
1943 Aug 2, The 10-day allied
bombing of Hamburg, Germany, ended.
1943 Aug 2, In Poland at the
Nazi Treblinka concentration camp some 600 prisoners staged an
uprising and fled into the woods. Only 40 survived. In 1999 Ian
MacMillan authored "Village of a Million Spirits: A Novel of the
(SFEC, 8/22/99, BR p.5)
1943 Aug 9, Franz
Jaegerstaetter, an avowed conscientious objector, was executed
outside Berlin for treason after his request to be excused from
regular army service for religious reasons was denied. The married
father of four was posthumously exonerated in 1997 by a Berlin
court. In 2007 he was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church.
1943 Aug 10, Hitler watched the
lynching of allied pilots.
1943 Aug 16, Bulgarian czar
Boris III visited Adolf Hitler.
1943 Aug 17, A mass attack of
376 B-17s attacked the Messerschmitt Bf-109 factory at Regensburg,
Germany. 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss
rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England.
1943 Aug 18, The Royal Air
Force Bomber Command completed the first major strike against the
German missile development facility at Peenemunde.
1943 Aug 18, The Heinkel-111 of
Otto Skorzeny, Waffen SS commander, was shot down at Sardinia.
1943 Aug 18, Hans Jeschonnek,
German air force general, chief-staff, committed suicide.
1943 Sep 10, German troops
occupied Rome and took over the protection of Vatican City.
1943 Sep 12, German
paratroopers took Benito Mussolini from the hotel where he was being
held by Italian resistance forces. Waffen-SS troops under Otto
Skorzeny freed Mussolini at Gran Sasso in the Abruzzi Mountains.
(AP, 9/12/97)(MC, 9/12/01)
1943 Sep 13, Germans counter
attacked at Salerno.
1943 Sep 14, German troops
abandoned the Salerno front in Italy.
1943 Sep 18, Hitler ordered the
deportation of Danish Jews (unsuccessful).
1943 Sep 22, The Destroyer
Keppel sank U-229.
1943 Sep 24, German forces
executed 117 Italian officers on the Greek island of Cephalonia. The
massacre became the basis for the 1994 bestseller Captain Corelli's
Mandolin by British writer Louis de Bernieres. On Oct 18, 2013 an
Italian court handed a life sentence in absentia to former German
army corporal Alfred Stork (90) for his role in the execution.
1943 Sep 25, The Red Army
retook Smolensk from the Germans who were retreating to the Dnieper
River in the Soviet Union.
1943 Sep, Pope Pius XII offered
Vatican assets to ransom Jews from the Nazis and in Italy ran an
extensive network of hideouts for escaping Jews.
(WSJ, 4/25/97, p.A18)
1943 Sep, Jeannie Rousseau,
code name Amniarix, collected enough information on V-2 rockets from
German officers in France to send a detailed report to England.
Reginald Jones, chief of Britain's scientific intelligence, included
her text in his book "The Wizard War."
(SFC, 1/2/99, p.A10)
1943 Oct 1, Germans attacked
Jews in Denmark.
1943 Oct 4, German occupiers
forbade the flying of kites. Violation carried a 6 month jail
1943 Oct 6, Himmler ordered the
acceleration of "Final Solution."
1943 Oct 13, During World War
II, Italy declared war on Germany, its one-time Axis partner.
1943 Oct 14, US 8th Air Force
lost 60 B-17 bombers during assault on Schweinfurt.
1943 Oct 14, In Germany Rev.
Max Josef Metzger was sentenced to death for treason by Roland
Freisler, chief judge of the Nazi’s People’s Court. He had written a
letter to the British government that denounced the Nazis and called
for a German state based on Christian democratic and legal
principles. He was exonerated by a Berlin court in 1997
(SFC, 5/3/97, p.A10)
1943 Oct 14, Some 300 of 600
prisoners escaped from the Nazi’s Sobibor death camp in Poland.
Alexander Pechersky, a Russian officer of Jewish origin, roused his
fellow prisoners to rebellion. The event was later documented in the
book "Escape from Sobibor" by Richard Rashke (1982) and the film of
the same name with Alan Arkin. Josef Vallaster, an Austrian guard,
was among 11 SS officers and 11 Ukrainians killed in the escape.
Most of the escaped prisoners were killed as they fled. Only 50
prisoners survived the war. Vallaster had operated the motor that
funneled gas into Sobibor’s shower rooms. After the uprising at
Sobibor, the Nazis shut it down and leveled it to the ground,
replanting over it to cover their tracks.
(SFC, 7/11/03, p.A19)(SSFC, 2/17/08, p.A8)(AP,
1943 Oct 17, British Liberators
sank U-540 and U-631.
1943 Oct 28, The German U-220
1943 Oct 29, 3 Allied officers
escaped the German camp Stalag Luft 3.
1943 Oct, Germans demolished
the ghetto buildings of Minsk, known as the Yama, or Pit, in an
effort to find Jews in hiding. 2,000 remaining Jews were rounded up
and killed. More than 100,000 Jews were killed there from August
1943 Nov 3, William Reid (died
2001 at 79), RAF bomber pilot, flew his badly damaged Lancaster
bomber on a bombing mission to a ball-bearing factory in
Duesseldorf, Germany, and managed to return the crippled plane to
(SFC, 12/15/01, p.A25)
1943 Nov 3, SS and police units
shot at least 6,000 Jewish inmates of the Trawniki and Dorohucza
1943 Nov 3-1943 Nov 4, In
Poland the 2-day "Operation Harvest" at the Majdanek concentration
camp executed men, women and children. Nazi officer Alfons
Goetzfried later admitted to having personally shot 500 people. Over
42,000 people, mostly Jews, were killed in the operation. In 1999
Alfons Goetzfrid (79) was convicted for assisting in the murders of
17,000 Jews at the camp. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
During the so-called "Mission Harvest Festival" massacres tens of
thousands of Jews in the district of Lublin were shot by Nazi
officers. Among them were members of Erich Steidtmann’s Hamburg
Polizeibataillon 101 company. In 2010 prosecutors reopened an
investigation on Steidtmann’s role in the massacre.
(SFC, 3/5/98, p.A14)(SFC, 5/21/99, p.D2)(AP,
1943 Nov 9, Bernhard
Lichtenberg (67), German clergyman and antifascist, died.
1943 Nov 16, One hundred and
forty American bombers flew from British bases to Vemork, Norway, to
destroy the Nazi heavy water facility near Rjukan, where production
had resumed despite a commando raid in February. Only 14 of some 700
bombs hit the plant killing 24 civilians. The bombing did not harm
the basement level where the heavy water was collected and stored.
(ON, 4/07, p.5)
1943 Nov 18, 444 British
bombers attacked Berlin.
1943 Nov 18, U-211 sank in the
1943 Nov 19, U-536 sank in
1943 Nov 20, U-538 sank in the
1943 Nov 22, RAF began bombing
1943 Nov 25, U-600 sank in the
1943 Nov 29, U-86 sank in the
1943 Nov, Michael Negele joined
the Death’s Head Battalion of the Waffen-SS. He later immigrated to
the US and withheld information on his wartime activities. In 1997 a
Missouri court acted to strip him of US citizenship.
(SFC, 9/3/97, p.A3)
1943 Nov, The 2-day Nazi
"Operation Harvest" at the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland
executed men, women and children. Nazi officer Alfons Goetzfried
later admitted to having personally shot 500 people. Over 42,000
people, mostly Jews, were killed in the operation. In 1999 Alfons
Goetzfrid (79) was convicted for assisting in the murders of 17,000
Jews at the camp. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
(SFC, 3/5/98, p.A14)(SFC, 5/21/99, p.D2)
Dec 2, The 1st RSHA (Reichsicherheitshauptamt, the central
SS-department) transport out of Vienna reached Birkenau camp
(Poland). One of the powers of the RSHA was the imposition of
"Protective Custody," which meant the deportation to a concentration
camp without trial or the possibility of appeal for the victims.
1943 Dec 2, Italy’s Bari harbor
was attacked by German bombers. They achieved a complete surprise
bombing shipping and personnel operating in support of the Allied
Italian campaign. 27 cargo and transport ships and a schooner were
sunk. The release of mustard gas from one of the wrecked cargo ships
added to the loss of life.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_raid_on_Bari)(Econ, 9/14/13, p.20)
1943 Dec 12, The German Army
launched Operation Winter Tempest, the relief of the Sixth Army
trapped in Stalingrad. The attempt to relieve Stalingrad fell short
due to stubborn Soviet resistance and the Germans' indecision within
the besieged city.
1943 Dec 16, The German
battleship Scharnhorst sank off Norway following an Allied attack
led by the British battleship Duke of York. Only 36 of the 1,900
crew survived. Researchers found the wreck in 2000. [see Dec 26]
(SFC, 10/4/00, p.A12)
1943 Dec 20, Soviet forces
halted a German army trying to relieve the besieged city of
1943 Dec 26, Count Claus von
Stauffenberg tried in vain to plant a bomb in Hitler’s headquarters.
1943 Dec 26, The 32,000-ton
German battleship, Scharnhorst was sunk by British ships in an
Arctic fight. [see Dec 16]
1943 The German propaganda film
"Titanic" was produced.
(SFC, 1/2/98, p.C15)
1943 In Norway Operation
Gunnerside destroyed the Nazi heavy water plant near Rjukan. The
raid was later depicted in the 1965 film "The Heroes of Telemark."
The 9 commandos included Claus Helberg (d.2003).
(SFC, 3/14/03, p.A27)
1943 Karlrobert Kreiten, a
piano virtuoso, was executed by the Nazis after a neighbor denounced
him for offhand remarks about Hitler.
(SFC, 11/28/97, p.B8)
1944 Jan 11, Crakow-Plaszow
Concentration Camp was established.
1944 Jan 13, Three Reich plane
plants were wrecked; 64 U.S. aircraft were lost in an air attack in
1944 Jan 15, The U.S. Fifth
Army successfully broke the German Winter Line in Italy with the
capture of Mount Trocchio.
1944 Jan 20, RAF dropped 2300
1-ton bombs on Berlin.
1944 Jan 21, Some 649 British
bombers attacked Magdeburg.
1944 Jan 21, Some 447 German
bombers attacked London.
1944 Jan 27, The Soviet Union
announced the end of the deadly German siege of Leningrad, which had
lasted 880 days with 600,000 killed.
(AP, 1/27/98)(MC, 1/27/02)
1944 Jan 28, 683 British
bombers attacked Berlin.
1944 Jan 28, U-271 & U-571
sank off Ireland.
1944 Jan 31, U-592 sank off
1944 Feb 2, The Germans stopped
an Allied attack at Anzio, Italy.
1944 Feb 7, The Germans
launched a [counteroffensive] second attack against the Allied
beachhead at Anzio, Italy. They hoped to push the Allies back into
(AP, 2/7/97)(HN, 2/7/99)
1944 Feb 9, U-734 and U-238
sank off Ireland.
1944 Feb 11, U-424 sank off
1944 Feb 15, 891 British
bombers attacked Berlin.
1944 Feb 19, The U.S. Eighth
Air Force and Royal Air Force began "Big Week," a series of heavy
bomber attacks against German aircraft production facilities.
1944 Feb 19, U-264 sank off
1944 Feb 20, During World War
II, U.S. bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers
in a series of attacks that became known as "Big Week."
1944 Feb 20, A time-bomb
planted by Norwegian commando Knut Haukelid sank the Lake Tinn ferry
Hydro, which carried heavy water canisters from the Vemork plant
destined for Germany. 12 German soldiers and 14 civilian passengers
drowned. Rescuers saved 23 Norwegians and 4 Germans.
(ON, 4/07, p.5)
1944 Mar 1, U-358 sank in
1944 Mar 4, A squadron of
American B-17 bombers hit Berlin for the first time during daylight
hours. Col. H. Griffin Mumford (d.2007) led a group 4-engine Flying
Fortresses over Berlin.
1944 Mar 6, US heavy bombers
hit Berlin during World War II.
1944 Mar 8, U.S. bombers
resumed bombing Berlin.
1944 Mar 15, Otto von Below
(86), German commandant (WW I), died.
1944 Mar 16, A US plane named
“God Bless Our Ship" was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Berlin and
crash-landed outside the city. Lt. George Lymburn (1924-2005) was
captured and sent to Stalag Luft 1, where he was liberated by
Russian soldiers in April, 1945.
(SFC, 4/13/05, p.B7)
1944 Mar 19, The German 352nd
Infantry Division deployed along the coast of France.
1944 Mar 19, Nazi German
soldiers occupied Hungary.
1944 Mar 22, Over 600 8th Air
Force bombers attacked Berlin.
1944 Mar 24, 76 Allied officers
escaped Stalag Luft 3. In 1949 Paul Brickall authored "The Great
Escape." The story of Jackson Barrett Mahon (d.1999 at 78), an
American fighter pilot, and the Allied POW escape from Stalag Luft
III in Germany during WW II. The 1963 film "The Great Escape"
starred Steve McQueen, was directed by John Sturges and was based on
the true story. In 1999 Arthur A. Durand published Stalag Luft III:
The Secret Story." When the Russian Army closed in tens of thousands
of POWs were marched 240 miles south to a new camp and thousands
died in the "Black March."
(TVM, 1975, p.222)(SFC, 8/11/99, p.C5)(SFC,
12/23/99, p.A27)(SFEC, 1/2/00, BR p.1)(SFC, 1/22/03,
1944 Mar 24, 811 British
bombers attacked Berlin.
1944 Mar 24, In occupied Rome,
the Nazis executed more than 300 civilians in reprisal for an attack
by Italian partisans the day before they killed 32  German
soldiers [policemen]. The Ardeatine Cave massacre near Rome, Italy,
took place. In retaliation to the systematic murder of Nazi officers
by the Italian underground, an SS officer ordered that 10 Italian
civilian men be shot for every Nazi officer killed. The age of the
civilians did not matter and so many teenagers and boys were among
the dead found in the caves. Argentina extradited former Nazi
officer, Erich Priebke, to Rome in 1995 to face trial for his role
in the Ardeatine Caves massacre.
(AP, 3/23/97)(WSJ, 10/3/95, p.A-21)(WSJ,
11/21/95, p.A-1)(HN, 3/24/98)
1944 Mar 26, 705 British
bombers attacked Essen.
1944 Mar 27, One-thousand Jews
left Drancy, France for the Auschwitz concentration camp.
1944 Mar 27, Thousands of Jews
were murdered in Kaunas, Lithuania. Forty Jewish policemen were shot
in the Riga, Latvia, ghetto by the Gestapo.
1944 Mar 30, 781 British
bombers attacked Nuremberg.
1944 Apr 3, British dive
bombers attacked the battle cruiser Tirpitz.
1944 Apr 5, In Lithuania 40
prisoners filed off their chains and fled through a narrow tunnel at
Paneriai. Jewish and Soviet prisoners had been brought to the Ponar
forest from Stutthof concentration camp. They were forced to dig up
mass graves, collect bodies and burn them. Guards quickly discovered
the prisoners and many were shot, but 11 prisoners managed to escape
to the forest, reach partisan forces and survive the war. In 2016 an
international research team pinpointed the location of the tunnel.
1944 Apr 6, German trucks
rolled up to the safehouse of Sabina Zlatin in Izieu-Ain, France,
and 44 children and 7 teachers including Mr. Zlatin were arrested.
The raid was ordered by Klaus Barbie, head of the German police in
(SFC, 9/24/96, p.B2)(MC, 4/6/02)
1944 Apr 13, Transport No. 71
departed with French Jews to Nazi Germany.
1944 Apr 14, 1st Jews
transported from Athens arrived at Auschwitz.
1944 Apr 16, Germany’s U-550
torpedoed the gasoline tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania, which had lagged
behind its protective convoy as it set out with 140,000 barrels of
gasoline for Great Britain. One of the tanker's three escorts, the
USS Joyce, saw it on sonar and severely damaged it by dropping depth
charges. The crew abandoned the submarine, but not before setting
off explosions to scuttle it in waters off Nantucket. On July 23,
2012, divers discovered the submarine.
1944 Apr 22, Hitler and
Mussolini met at Obersalzburg.
1944 Apr 24, British air force
bombers hammered a former Jesuit college housing the Bavarian
Academy of Science. Anton Spitaler (1910-2003), an Arabic scholar at
the academy, later lamented the loss of a unique photo archive of
ancient manuscripts of the Quran. His story however was a lie, and
the collection survived hidden in his hands.
(WSJ, 1/12/08, p.A1)
1944 Apr 28, Exercise "Tiger"
ended with 750 US soldiers dead in D-Day rehearsal after their
convoy ships were attacked by German torpedo boats.
1944 May 1, The Messerschmitt
Me 262 Sturmvogel, the 1st jet bomber, made its first flight.
(HN, 5/1/98)(MC, 5/1/02)
1944 May 6, The USS Buckley, a
destroyer escort, engaged and sank the German U-66. Hand to hand
fighting broke out after the Buckley, under Lt. Cmdr. Brent Maxwell
Abel (1916-2006), rammed the submarine. When the U-boat sank 36
German sailors were rescued and taken captive.
(SFC, 1/6/06, p.B7)
1944 May 7, There was a German
assault on Tito's hideout in Drvar, Bosnia.
1944 May 14, 91 German bombers
1944 May 14, Gens Rommel,
Speidel and von Stulpnagel plotted to assassinate Hitler.
1944 May 15, A partisan attack
on a movie theater killed 5 German soldiers in Genoa. 4 days later
SS Officer Friedrich Engel ordered the killing of 59 Italian
prisoners in reprisal. In 2002 Engel (93) was sentenced to 7 years
in prison for the order.
(SFC, 7/6/02, p.A14)(AP, 2/14/06)
1944 May 16, The 1st of over
180,000 Hungarian Jews reached Auschwitz.
1944 May 19, 240 gypsies were
transported to Auschwitz from Westerbork Neth.
1944 May 19, Friedrich Engel
(1909-2006), a Nazi SS officer, oversaw the massacre of 59 Italian
prisoners near Genoa. An Italian military court convicted Engel in
absentia in 1999 and sentenced him to life for war crimes connected
to a total of 246 deaths. In 2002 a German court convicted Engel of
59 counts of murder and handed him a suspended seven-year term.
1944 May-1944 Jun, Some 425,000
Jews from Hungary were brought to the Nazi-run Auschwitz
concentration camp in Poland. At least 300,000 were almost
immediately gassed to death. In 2014 German prosecutors charged
Oskar Groening (93) with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for
serving as as SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp during this
(SFC, 9/16/14, p.A2)
1944 May-1944 Oct, About 158
trainloads of victims were brought to the Nazi-run Auschwitz
concentration camp in Poland. In 2013 a German arest warrant accused
Johann Breyer (d.2014 at 89), a resident of Pennsylvania, of 158
counts of accessory to murder, one for each trainload of victims
brought to Auschwitz while he served as a guard there.
(SFC, 7/24/14, p.A8)
1944 Jun 2, Allied "shuttle
bombing" of Germany began, with bombers departing from Italy and
landing in the Soviet Union.
1944 Jun 3, Nazis pulled out of
1944 Jun 4, The U-505 became
the first enemy submarine captured by the U.S. Navy under Admiral
Dan Gallery. The keel for the U-505 was laid on June 12, 1940. It
launched from Hamburg the following year. During its career, the
U-505 gained the unwelcome but lucky distinction of being the most
heavily damaged U-boat to manage to return to port. Under the
command of Harald Lange, the boat was attacked by an American task
group led by the USS Guadalcanal. Crewmen from the destroyer escort
USS Pillsbury managed to capture the U-505 before the submariners
could in scuttle her. This represented the first time since 1815
that the US Navy captured an enemy warship on the high seas (the
capture remained a secret). After the war, Navy plans to scuttle the
U-boat in a gunnery exercise were themselves scrapped when the
president of Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry voiced
interest and a plan to use the entire submarine as part of an
exhibit. The U-505 was dedicated as a permanent exhibit and war
memorial at the museum on September 25, 1954. In 2005 a $35 million
project restored the ship and moved it to a specially constructed
(HN, 6/4/98)(HNQ, 3/29/01)(WSJ, 8/5/05, p.W2)
1944 Jun 6, On D-Day Brig.
General Norman "Dutch" Cota was the first American General to step
foot on Omaha Beach. Cota, assistant commander of the 29th Infantry
Division, heroically spurred his men to cross the beach under
withering German fire. He went on to lead his infantrymen across
France to the Siegfried Line and in the battle of Hurtgen Forest and
the Battle of the Bulge.
1944 Jun 6, Cherokee tribal
members communicated via radios in their native language on the
Normandy beaches. Some 6,603 Americans were killed along the coast
of France during the D-day invasion. A total of 9,758 Allied
soldiers died during the invasion. "D-Day" by Stephen Ambrose was
published in 1994.
(SFC, 6/4/98, p.A6)(SFEC, 6/6/99, p.A22)(SFC,
5/30/00, p.A2)(WSJ, 8/20/01, p.A1)
1944 Jun 6, The code name for
the beach used by the Canadians for the D-day invasion of Normandy
1944 Jun 6, By the end of D-Day
156,000 Allied soldiers had come ashore on the Normandy beaches with
losses of 2,500 men. By the end of the day, the Allies had
established a tenuous beachhead that would lead to an offensive that
pinned Adolf Hitler's Third Reich between two pincers--the Western
Allies and the already advancing Soviets--accelerating the end of
World War II. A million Allied troops, under the overall command of
General Dwight D. Eisenhower, moved onto five Normandy beachheads in
three weeks. Operations “Neptune" and “Overlord" put forces on the
beaches and supplies aimed at the liberation of Europe and the
conquest of Germany. Operation Overlord landed 400,000 Allied
American, British, and Canadian troops on the beaches of Normandy,
France. In addition, US and British airborne forces landed behind
the German lines and US Army Rangers scaled the cliffs at Pointe de
Hoc. More than 6,000 trucks of the Red Ball Express kept gasoline
and other vital supplies rolling in as American troops and tanks
pushed the Germans back toward their homeland.
(SDUT, 6/6/97, p.B9)(HN, 6/6/98)(HNPD,
6/6/99)(ON, 2/08, p.12)
1944 Jun 6, Gerrit John van de
Peat (41), artist, resistance fighter, was executed.
1944 Jun 6, Nazi troops
executed 96 prisoners by firing squad.
1944 Jun 7, Italian partisans
shot at least one German soldier in a radio transmitter unit that
included Matthias Defregger. Eventually, 17 men, ranging from 17 to
65, were shot in retaliation, and much of the village of Filetto di
Camarda was burned. Defregger later became a Bishop and faced
charges in 1969 for the murders. The charges were dropped in 1970.
1944 Jun 9, 99 inhabitants of
Tulle were hanged by the SS.
1944 Jun 10, German troops of
the armored SS Division "Das Reich", as they headed toward Normandy
to combat D-Day invasion forces, slaughtered 642 men, women and
children in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, France. In 1983 a
court in East Berlin convicted Heinz Barth (1921-2007), a former SS
officer, and sentenced him to life in prison. In addition to
involvement in the massacre, East German judges also found that
Barth volunteered to participate in an execution of 92 Czech
civilians in 1942. In 1997 his sentence was commuted to probation.
1944 Jun 10, In Greece
Waffen-SS troops of the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division
under the command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Lautenbach went door
to door and massacred Greek civilians as part of a 'retaliation
measure' for a partisan attack upon the unit. A total of 214 men,
women and children were killed in Distomo, a small village near
1944 Jun 13, Only one week
after the Normandy invasion, the first German V-1 buzz bomb, also
called the doodlebug (Fieseler Fi-103), was fired at London. The
first guided missile to be used in force, the V-1 was powered by a
pulse-jet engine and resembled a small aircraft. Only one of the
four missiles London saw that day caused any casualties, but a
steady stream of V-1s causing severe damage and casualties fell on
London in coming months. At times, nearly 100 bombs fell each day.
Many German buzz bombs never reached their targets because of
primitive guidance systems or because they were destroyed in flight
by anti-aircraft fire or intercepting Allied fighters.
(AP, 6/13/97)(HNQ, 6/13/98)(MC, 6/13/02)
1944 Jun 18, The U.S. First
Army broker through the German lines on the Cotentin Peninsula and
cut off the German held port of Cherbourg.
1944 Jun 20, Nazis began mass
extermination of Jews at Auschwitz.
1944 Jun 21, Very heavy bombing
took place on Berlin.
1944 Jun 25, British assault at
1944 Jun 26, German troops near
the Italian village of Falzano di Cortona herded 11 civilians into a
barn and blew it up. Gino Massetti (15) survived and in 2008
testified in the trial of former Wehrmacht Lt. Josef Scheungraber,
the company commander accused of ordering the reprisal killings and
four others after two German soldiers were killed. In 2009
Scheungraber (90) was convicted of 10 murders and jailed for life.
(AP, 10/7/08)(AFP, 8/11/09)
1944 Jun 27, During World War
II, American forces completed their capture of the French port of
Cherbourg from the Germans.
(AP, 6/27/97)(HN, 6/27/98)
1944 Jun 29, Rommel and von
Rundstedt traveled to Berchtesgaden to confer with Hitler.
1944 Jun 29, A Russian assault
battalion opened fire on German forces on the outskirts of Bobruisk,
Belarus. As many as half of the 10,000 German soldiers were killed.
In 1962 Nikolai Litvin, a Russian soldier present that day,
completed his memoir. It was finally published in 2007 under the
title "800 Days on the Eastern Front."
(WSJ, 6/30/07, p.P6)
1944 Jun 30, A US B-24H bomber
nicknamed "Miss Fortune," which was returning from a mission in
Germany to its base in Italy, flew into bad weather with 3 others
and were shot down by German gunners over western Hungary. The
remains of Staff Sgt. Martin F. Troy, the tail gunner on the “Miss
Fortune," were recovered in 2007.
1944 Jun, German soldiers in
the Hermann Goering division, named after the head of Adolf Hitler's
air force, shot and killed more than 200 civilians and destroyed
most of the homes in the Tuscan town of Civitella to avenge a deadly
attack by partisans. In 2008 Italy's Court of Cassation ordered
Berlin to pay a total of euro1 million (US$1.3 million) to nine
family members of victims of the massacre. Germany rejected the
1944 Jul 1, Over 2500 were
killed in London and SE England by German flying bombs.
1944 Jul 1, Count Claus von
Stauffenberg was promoted to colonel.
1944 Jul 4, Gestapo arrested
German Social Democrat Julius Leber.
1944 Jul 12, The Theresienstadt
Family camp disbanded and some 4,000 people were executed.
1944 Jul 14, SS men Heinrich
Boere and Jacobus Petrus Besteman shot and killed Dutch pharmacist
Fritz Hubert Ernst Bicknese at his home in Breda for suspected
activity in Nazi resistance. Boere was sentenced to death in
absentia by a Dutch court in 1949. This was later commuted to life
imprisonment. In 2009 Boere (88) was slated to stand trial for
murder in Germany for the execution-style killings of three Dutch
civilians during World War II. In 2010 a German court convicted
Boere (88) of murdering the three Dutch civilians. He was given the
maximum sentence of life in prison for the killings.
1944 Jul 15, Greenwich
Observatory was damaged by German V1 rocket.
1944 Jul 16, Soviet troops
occupy Vilna, Lithuania, in their drive towards Germany.
1944 Jul 18, British Mosquitos
attacked Cologne and Berlin.
1944 Jul 19, Some 1,200 8th Air
Force bombers bombed targets in SW Germany. Some 500 15th Air Force
Liberators (Flying Fortresses) bombed the Munich vicinity.
1944 Jul 19, Count Claus von
Stauffenberg visited a RC church in Berlin-Dahlem.
1944 Jul 19, Swedish diplomat
Raoul Wallenberg 1st met SS ober Sturmbannfuhrer Adolf Eichmann.
1944 Jul 20, A branch of the
German resistance led by Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg planted
a bomb underneath the table where Hitler was standing at Hitler’s
Rastenburg headquarters in East Prussia that wounded but did not
kill Hitler. This incited the Fuhrer to wipe out the Prussian
aristocracy. This is covered in Otto Friedrich’s book on the Moltke
family: "Blood and Iron." [see 1800, Helmuth and/or 1840, James von
Moltke] Carl Goerdeler, Mayor of Leipzig, was among those arrested
and executed for the plot.
(WSJ, 11/7/95, p.A-21)(AP, 7/20/97)(HN,
7/20/98)(SFEC, 3/28/99, p.A30)
"In fact, although many of the
conspirators were tortured, beheaded and strangled by piano wire
hung from meat hooks... Col. Stauffenburg and three of his fellow
officers were executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the
Benderblock around midnight of that fateful day." The 20th of July
Special Commission of the Third Reich was created after the July 20,
1944, assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler to find and expose
conspirators and other enemies of the regime. Some 400 investigators
employed all of the Gestapo-designed methods of torture against
enemies of the Nazis until the end of the war. Some 5,000 Germans
were executed in the months following the assassination attempt for
their part in the conspiracy or alleged sympathy with the
(WSJ, 11/29/95, p.A-15)(HNQ,
Ludwig and Kunrat
Hammerstein-Equord participated in the plot to kill Hitler and went
into hiding when the plot failed. 4 members of the family were taken
to concentration camps, but were later freed by the allies.
(SFC, 2/5/00, p.A19)
1944 Jul 20, A heavy storm
hampered a British offensive at Caen.
1944 Jul 20, US 15th Air Force
attacked Friedrichshafen and Memmingen. Flying Fortresses of US 8th
Air Force attacked Leipzig and Dessau.
1944 Jul 21, Von Kluge warned
Hitler of the impending collapse of front in Normandy.
1944 Jul 21, Henning von
Tresckow, Gen-Maj, "July 20th plotter", committed suicide.
1944 Jul 22, German SS officer
Siegfried Assmuss, commander of a unit of the Ukrainian Self-Defense
Legion, was killed by partisans near Chlaniow, Poland.
1944 Jul 23, Bernard M. Cohen,
attorney, was killed at Belsen concentration camp.
1944 Jul 23, Helmuth J. von
Moltke, German earl (July 20th plotter), was executed.
1944 Jul 23, Soviet troops took
Lublin, Poland, as the German army retreated.
1944 Jul 23, A Ukrainian
Self-Defense unit, directed to "liquidate all the residents" of
Chlaniow, Poland, in a reprisal attack for the killing of German SS
officer Siegfried Assmuss, killed 44 people including women and
children. In 2013 Michael Karkoc (94), a retired Minnesota
carpenter, was named as commander of the Nazi SS-led unit in the
1944 Jul 25, Allied forces
begin the breakthrough of German lines in Normandy.
1944 Jul 25, The Messerschmitt
262 became the 1st jet fighter used in combat.
1944 Jul 29, Allied air force
bombed Germany for 6 hours.
1944 Jul, Operation Goodwood in
Normandy under Gen’l. Montgomery attempted to break through German
defenses. This part of the war is covered by Stephen E. Ambrose in
his 1997 book: "Citizen Soldiers," a sequel to his earlier "D-Day."
(WSJ, 12/22/97, p.A16)
1944 Aug 1-1944 Oct 2, The
Warsaw Uprising was fought. The Polish underground began an uprising
against the occupying German army, as the Red Army approaches
Warsaw. The revolt lasted two months before collapsing. US Air Force
Groups dropped medicine and food to the Polish freedom fighters
under heavy fire from German fighter planes. The supply planes were
also shot at by Soviet gunners. American dead were buried in the
military cemetery at Poltava, Ukraine. The uprising ended with the
Nazis killing 250,000 people. During the 63-day uprising the
insurgents, largely ill-armed teenagers, organized a postal service
to help city residents get information to relatives. Marek Edelman
(1909-2009) was among the commanders of the uprising and managed to
survive the war.
(Civilization, July-Aug, 1995, p. 23)(AP,
8/1/97)(HN, 8/1/98)(AP, 3/6/08)(Econ, 10/10/09, p.91)
1944 Aug 4, Nazi police
raided the secret annex of a building in Amsterdam and arrested
eight people, including 15-year-old Anne Frank, whose diary became a
famous account of the Holocaust. She died at the Bergen-Belsen
concentration camp in the spring of 1945, just weeks before the camp
was liberated. Miep Gies (1909-2010), secretary to Anne’s father
Otto, collected the scattered pages of Anne’s diary and returned
them to Otto Frank after the war.
(AP, 8/4/02)(Econ, 1/30/10, p.95)
1944 Aug 6, All 1,200 Jewish
death marchers from Lipcani, Moldavia, died by this date.
1944 Aug 6, The deportation of
70,000 Jews from Lodz. Poland, to Auschwitz began.
1944 Aug 7, July 20th Plot
trial under Nazi judge Roland Freisler began in Berlin.
1944 Aug 7, German forces
launched a major counter attack against U.S. forces near Mortain,
1944 Aug 8, Erwin von Witzleben
(62), German fieldmarshal, was hanged.
1944 Aug 16, US bombers of the
8th Air Force raided the oil refinery at Rositz, Germany. As of 2998
21 unexploded bombs were dug up at the site.
(WSJ, 11/24/08, p.A12)
1944 Aug 19, In an effort to
prevent a communist uprising in Paris, Charles DeGualle began
attacking German forces all around the city.
1944 Aug 20, United States and
British forces closed the pincers on the German 7th Army in the
Falaise-Argentan pocket in France.
(HN, 8/20/98)(MC, 8/20/02)
1944 Aug 22, Hitler ordered
Paris to be destroyed.
1944 Aug 22, In Bordeaux,
France, Heinz Stahlschmidt (d.2010 at 92), a junior officer in the
German navy, defied his superiors plans to blow up Bordeaux's port
by blowing up a munitions depot, rendering some 4,000 fuses useless
and saving the port. Heinz Stahlschmidt became a French citizen in
1947 under the name of Henri Salmide and a Knight of the French
Legion d’Honneur in September 2000.
1944 Aug 22, Last transport of
French Jews departed to Nazi Germany.
1944 Aug 23, German SS
engineers began placing explosive charges around the Eiffel Tower in
Paris. Adolf Hitler had decreed that Paris should be left a smoking
ruin, but Dietrich von Choltitz thought better of his Fuehrer’s
1944 Aug 23, Romanian PM Ion
Antonescu was dismissed by King Michael, paving the way for Romania
to abandon the Axis in favor of the Allies. King Michael organized a
coup against the pro-Nazi dictator, Marshal Ion Antonescu, but was
double-crossed by Joseph Stalin and betrayed by the Allies who ceded
the country to the Russians at the Yalta summit in 1945.
(SFC, 6/27/97, p.A16)(AP, 8/23/97)
1944 Aug 25, Paris, occupied
since June 1940, was liberated from German occupation by Free French
Forces under General Jacques LeClerc and his 2nd Tank division.
Although ordered by Adolf Hitler to leave Paris a smoldering ruin,
Paris' military governor Major General Dietrich von Cholitz lied to
his superiors and left the city's landmarks intact. Retreating
German troops massacred 124 of Maille's 500 residents then razed the
town, possibly in retaliation for Resistance action in the region.
(AP, 8/25/97)(HNPD, 8/25/98)(HN, 8/25/98)(AP,
1944 Aug 25, In France 11 US
planes were shot down when a squadron was overwhelmed in a dogfight
with 80 German fighters. 5 pilots survived and eluded capture. 2
pilots were captured. The remains of 3 missing were later recovered.
In 2008 the remains of Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Ray Packard were
identified and returned home.
(SSFC, 11/16/08, p.B8)
1944 Aug 27, 200 Halifax
bombers attack oil-installations in Hamburg.
1944 Aug 28, German forces in
Toulon and Marseilles, France, surrendered to the Allies.
1944 Aug 31, The British Eighth
Army penetrated the German Gothic Line in Italy.
1944 Aug, Messerschmidt,
Volkswagen AG and other companies met at a Strasbourg hotel to
discuss financing plans for the Fourth Reich.
(WSJ, 4/28/97, p.A17)
1944 Sep 5, Germany launched
its first V-2 missile at Paris, France.
1944 Sep 5, Flight Sgt.
Maximilian Volke, a German ace pilot, took off from a northern
Italian air base with three other fighters to intercept a group of
American bombers. He was shot down by gunners in one of the US
planes. His plane and remains were found in 2007.
1944 Sep 7, Nazi SS-General
Kurt ("Panzer") Meyer took Durnal, Belgium.
1944 Sep 8, Germany's V-2
offensive against England began.
1944 Sep 8, Erwin von Witzleben
(62), German field marshal, was hanged.
1944 Sep 12, During World War
II, U.S. Army troops entered Germany for the first time, near Trier.
1944 Sep 13, US 28th Infantry
division opened an assault on the Siegfried line, Westwall.
1944 Sep 15, British bombers
hit the German pocket battleship Tirpitz with Tallboy bombs.
1944 Sep 17, Infantry glider
troops of the 82nd Airborne Division entered Holland. British
[American] airborne troops parachuted into Holland to capture the
Arnhem bridge as part of Operation Market Garden. The plan called
for the airborne troops to be relieved by British troops, but they
were left stranded and eventually surrendered to the Germans. The
1974 book by Cornelius Ryan, "A Bridge Too Far," was based on this
operation and was made into the 1977 film.
(MT, Fall ‘96, p.8)(HN, 9/17/98)(HC, 12/12/01)
1944 Sep 19, The Luftwaffe
bombed Eindhoven: 200 killed.
1944 Sep 19, The 3-month battle
at Huertgen Forest on the Belgian-German border began. A 1998 HBO
film made a rough portrayal: "When Trumpets Fade."
1944 Sep 22, Aldert Klaas
Dijkema, a Dutch resistance fighter, was executed by the Nazi Waffen
SS shortly after he was captured. In 2012 Dutch-born Siert Bruins
(91) was charged with Dijkema’s murder. In 2014 a German court
dropped the case against Bruins ruling that there are too many gaps
in the evidence to deliver a verdict.
p.A2)(SFC, 9/3/13, p.A2)(AP, 1/8/14)
1944 Sep 22, Mark Linenthal
(1922-2010), navigator on a B-24 Liberator, was shot down on the way
back from bombing an aircraft factory in Munich. He was taken to
Stalag Luft I and remained there it was liberated by the Russians.
He later established himself as a Prof. of English at San Francisco
State Univ., where he published 2 books of poetry “Growing Light"
(1979) and “The Man I Am Watching" 1987).
(SSFC, 9/12/10, p.C1)
1944 Sep 27, Thousands of
British troops were killed as German forces rebuffed their massive
effort to capture the Arnhem Bridge across the Rhine River in
1944 Sep 28, At the Battle of
Arnhem the Germans defeated the British airborne in Netherlands.
1944 Sep 29-1944 Oct 5, Nazi
murders took place in Marzabotto, Italy, under SS-major Reder.
Retreating Nazi troops killed some 1,000 women, children and elderly
while allegedly pursuing resistance fighters. In 2002 German Pres.
Rau apologized for the massacre. In 2007 an Italian military
tribunal gave life sentences in absentia to 10 German former SS men
for massacring about 800 Italian villagers. They had laid waste to
the villages of Marzabotto, Grizzana and Vado di Monzuno near
Bologna, as the Germans retreated before Allied troops.
1944 Sep, Finland began
fighting Nazi Germany in the Lapland War and continued to April
1944 Sep-Jan, The battle at
Huertgen Forest on the Belgian-German border was fought. A 1998 HBO
film made a rough portrayal: "When Trumpets Fade."
(WSJ, 7/24/98, p.A15)
1944 Oct 1, The U.S. First Army
began the siege Aachen, Germany.
1944 Oct 2, Nazi troops crushed
the 2-month-old (63 days) Warsaw Uprising, during which a
quarter-million people were killed.
1944 Oct 3, German troops
evacuated Athens, Greece.
1944 Oct 7, Field marshal
Rommel got orders to return to Berlin.
1944 Oct 7, Jews several
hundred prisoners assigned to Crematorium IV at Auschwitz-Birkenau
rebelled after learning that they were going to be killed. During
the uprising, the prisoners killed three guards and blew up the
crematorium and adjacent gas chamber. The prisoners used explosives
smuggled into the camp by Jewish women who had been assigned to
forced labor in a nearby armaments factory. The Germans crushed the
revolt and killed almost all of the prisoners involved in the
rebellion. The Jewish women who had smuggled the explosives into the
camp were publicly hanged.
1944 Oct 12, German army
retreated from Athens.
1944 Oct 13, The US 1st army
entered Aachen, Germany.
(AP, 10/13/97)(MC, 10/13/01)
1944 Oct 14, German Field
Marshal Rommel (52), suspected of complicity in the July 20th plot
against Hitler, was visited at home by two of Hitler's staff and
given the choice of public trial or suicide by poison. He chose
suicide and it was announced that he died of wounds.
(AP, 10/14/97)(HN, 10/14/98)
1944 Oct 15, Hungary’s regent
Miklos Horthy announced in a radio broadcast that the German Reich
has lost the war and that he was negotiating with the Russians for
Hungarian self-determination. Nazi operatives kidnapped Horthy’s son
and forced him to abdicate and surrender to the Germans.
(ON, 10/20/11, p.2)
1994 Oct 16, German Chancellor
Helmut Kohl was elected to a fourth term.
1944 Oct 16, In Hungary the
Horthy government fell as Adolf Eichmann returned to Budapest and
immediately ordered the resumption of the Jewish deportation
program. Ferenc Szalasi (1897-1946) became the prime minister.
1944 Oct 20, US 1st army won
the battle of Aachen.
1944 Oct 21, During World War
II, U.S. troops captured the German city of Aachen.
Oct 28, The last Nazi transport of Jews to the gas chambers of
Auschwitz-Birkenau was sent from Theresienstadt.
Nov 7, Hannah Senesh (23), Jewish poet, was executed by Nazis in
Budapest. Hannah Szenes was tortured for several months by the
Gestapo before being executed by the Nazis because she was a member
of the Jewish underground.
1944 Nov 8, In Hungary Jews
under Nazi custody and the command of Adolf Eichmann began marches
of 120 miles to the Austrian border.
(ON, 10/20/11, p.3)
1944 Nov 11, Private Eddie
Slovik was convicted of desertion and sentenced to death for
refusing to join his unit in the European Theater of Operations.
1944 Nov 12, The RAF sank the
German battleship Tirpitz at Troms Fjord, Norway. Great Britain so
feared the Tripitz, that any hint of its use caused escort ships to
flee their convoys.
(HN, 11/12/98)(MC, 11/12/01)
Nov 24, Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the Auschwitz
and Birkenau crematoriums.
1944 Dec 2, General Patton’s
troops entered the Saar Valley and broke through the Siegfried line.
US 95th Infantry division occupied bridge at Saar.
(HN, 12/2/98)(MC, 12/2/01)
1944 Dec 3, US 5th Armour
division occupied Brandenburg, Hertzgenwald.
1944 Dec 10, The US 394th
Regiment’s Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon was ordered into
the village of Lanzareth, Belgium, to fill a gap between allied
divisions along the Western front. A German counteroffensive,
launched on Dec 16, sent through Lanzareth. The platoon surrendered
after running out of ammunition. All members survived imprisonment.
In 2004 Alex Kershaw authored “The Longest Winter: The Battle of the
Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon."
(WSJ, 12/7/04, p.D11)(SSFC, 1/2/05, p.E1)
1944 Dec 16, The Germans
mounted a major surprise counterattack in the Ardennes Forest in
Belgium. As the center of the Allied line fell back, it created a
bulge, leading to the name--the Battle of the Bulge. Hitler hoped to
cripple the advance Allies by breaking through their lines to
destroy fuel supplies and lines of communication. The striking force
(the Fifth and Sixth Panzer Armies) amounted to 24 divisions, 10 of
them armored. The German attack achieved total surprise, but slowed
by the end of December due to German supply problems and Allied
resistance. Between January 8-16, in the face of a fierce Allied
counteroffensive, the Germans finally withdrew. By January 21, the
Germans had been pushed back to their original line, having lost
some 120,000 men in the offensive. The Allies suffered 81,000
casualties including some 19,000 Americans killed. In 1997 Charles
B. MacDonald authored “A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the
Battle of the Bulge."
(AP, 12/16/97)(HN, 12/16/98)(HNQ, 7/11/01)(WSJ,
1944 Dec 17, The Germans
renewed their attack on the Belgian town of Losheimergraben against
the American Army during the Battle of the Bulge.
1944 Dec 19, American troops
began pulling back from the twin Belgian cities of Krinkelt and
Rocherath in front of the advancing German Army.
1944 Dec 20, In the Battle of
Bastogne the Nazis surrounded 101st Airborne.
1944 Dec 22, During the Battle
of the Bulge, the Germans demanded the surrender of American troops
at Bastogne, Belgium; Brigadier Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe
(1898-1975) reportedly replied: "Nuts!"
(AP, 12/22/97)(HN, 12/22/98)
1944 Dec 23, In Belgium a US
B-26 Marauder went down while on a mission to take out a critical
rail bridge over the Moselle in Eller, Germany. William Parker Cook
(27) and his 5-man crew were among ten planes and dozens of men lost
in the mission. In 2006 aviation researchers found the crash site
near Allmuthen, Belgium. DNA evidence identified Cook and two other
(SFC, 10/20/14, p.A1)
1944 Dec 24, Adolf Eichmann
fled Hungary to Austria as Soviet troops encircled Budapest. He left
orders for German forces to massacre all the Jews in Budapest.
German Gen. August Schmidthuber, assigned to oversee the mass
execution, cancelled the operation after receiving word from Swedish
diplomat Raoul Wallenberg that the impending carnage would mark him
as a war criminal.
(ON, 10/20/11, p.4)
1944 Dec 26, In the World War
II Battle of the Bulge, the embattled U.S. 101st Airborne Division
was relieved by units of the 4th Armored Division. The Battle of the
Bulge was the final major German counter-offensive of the war and
thrust deep into allied territory in N & E Belgium and
Luxembourg. US Gen Patton's tanks repulsed the Germans. Jimmy
Hendrix (19) captured 13 Germans in two 88-mm gun batteries and
rescued 3 Americans under enemy fire. Hendrix (d.2002 later awarded
the Medal of Honor.
(WUD, 1994, p.195)(SFC, 9/1/96, T3)(AP,
12/26/97)(MC, 12/26/01)(SFC, 11/21/02, p.A25)
1944 Dec, Carol Deutsch, Jewish
artist, perished in the Holocaust. Deutsch created illustrations of
the Bible while in hiding from the Nazis in Belgium. He was informed
upon, and died in the Buchenwald camp. After the war, his daughter
Ingrid discovered that the Nazis had confiscated their furniture and
valuables but had left behind a single item: a meticulously crafted
wooden box adorned with a Star of David and a seven-branched
menorah, containing a collection of 99 of the artist's illustrations
of biblical scenes.
1944 Hans Fallada (1893-1947),
German writer, was confined to a psychiatric prison after taken a
shot at his wife. In 2015 his prison diary was publiched as “A
Stranger in My Own Country: The 1944 Prison Diary."
1944 Theodore Adorno and Max
Horkheimer authored “Dialectic of Enlightenment," which examined the
culture that gave birth to Auschwitz. This became the founding text
of the post modern writers (pomos), later represented by
Jean-Francois Lyotard, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault and Jacques
(Econ, 12/23/06, p.106)
1944 A Germany general sent
French fashion designer Coco Chanel to Madrid to initiate talks
through the British Embassy in a plan code-named “Operation
Modelhut." A travel companion denounced her as an enemy agent and
the British ignored her.
(SSFC, 8/21/11, p.F5)
1944 Felix Nussbaum, an artist
from Osnabruck, died in Auschwitz. A museum in Osnabruck, designed
by Daniel Libeskind, was later named in his honor.
(WSJ, 10/8/98, p.A16)
1944 In Germany there was mass
murder at the Treblinka labor camp in Poland. In 1997 Polish guard
Bronislaw Hajda, a retired machinist in Chicago’s Schiller Park, was
convicted by a US federal judge for taking part in the mass murder.
(SFC, 4/11/97, p.A3)
1944 By this year 360,000 of
the 500,000 inmates of the Nazi Majdanek concentration camp in
eastern Poland had perished in the gas chambers or from brutal
treatment by the guards.
(SFC, 3/5/98, p.A14)
1944 - 1945 May, Nazi's kept some 2000 Danish policemen in custody.
Most of them in KZ-camps, brought to Neuengamme and from there to
places as Buchenwald and Stutthof in Germany. After Danish
negotiations with the Germans the Nazi's accepted their status as
prisoners of war and 1600 came to the POW-camp at Mühlberg. Around
100 Danish policemen died in the camps.