June 1943

Jun

30

June 1943

The SS report that Galicia, Poland is judenfrei

There were also other immense difficulties during the Aktionen as the Jews tried to avoid evacuation by all possible means. They not only tried to escape, and concealed themselves in the most improbable places, drainage canals, chimneys, even in sewage pits, etc. They barricaded themselves in catacombs of passages, in cellars made into bunkers, in holes in the earth, in cunningly contrived hiding places, in attics and sheds, inside furniture, etc. As the number of Jews still remaining decreased their resistance became the greater. They used weapons of all types for their defense, and in particular those of Italian origin.

Jun

29

June 1943

A hot day for the SS sadists in Treblinka

Ivan is about twenty years old and looks like a giant healthy horse. He is pleased when he has an opportunity to let off his energy on the workers. From time to time he feels the urge to take a sharp knife, detain a worker who is running past and cut off his ear. The blood spurts, the worker screams, but he must keep running with his litter. Ivan waits calmly until the worker runs back and orders him to put the litter down. He then tells him to strip and go over to the pit, where he shoots him.

Jun

28

June 1943

A USAAF bomber crew waits for an Op.

They sip the at, tasteless beer. One of them says, “I saw a paper from home at the Red Cross in London.” It is quiet. The others look at him across their glasses. A mixed group of pilots and ATS girls at the other end of the pub have started a song. It is astonishing how many of the songs are American. “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home to,” they sing. And the beat of the song is subtly changed. It has become an English song. The waist gunner raises his voice to be heard over the singing. “It seems to me that we are afraid to announce our losses. It seems almost as if the War Department was afraid that the country couldn’t take it. I never saw anything the country couldn’t take.”

Jun

27

June 1943

The Commandos receive their orders

The announcement gave a keener edge to our sensibility. We knew the worst at last. This expedition was not the gigantic hoax which we had been almost tempted to believe it; it was not a fantasy but a reality, that rose upright through the spume of fear and expectation like a gaunt rock from the ocean bed.

Jun

26

June 1943

Cholera and Japanese savagery on the Railway of Death

A cholera death in the British camp today along with 3 others. Their state is pitiable but then, Oh Lord! hygiene is a menace to us who live alongside them. No. 2 rock clearing party left today at 0700 hours in darkness and no doubt will not be back until late tonight, poor devils. So the pace increases. Imagine those poor ill, exhausted wretches having to be got up, fed, issued with lunch rice and got away in black darkness after counts, etc. and to drag their way into camp again in the dark some fourteen hours hence.

Jun

25

June 1943

Guyanian navigator blasted into the sky over Holland

The German fired a long volley and a jet of tracer spat out towards us. Addison, from his tail turret, returned fire immediately. The fighter climbed a little and veered off to the right, bringing him into the field of fire of the mid-upper gunner, Sergeant Geoffrey Wallis, who immediately opened fire. Everything was happening very fast. All hell had broken loose.

Jun

24

June 1943

Australian Lancaster crew bale out over Belgium

We could see Wuppertal, ablaze, in front of us and still ten miles away. Dozens of searchlights speared skywards around the familiar box barrage of exploding anti-aircraft shells. Green and red target indicators confirmed the presence of our Pathfinder force. Heavy bombers were as thick as flies, thankfully all going in somewhat the same direction.

Jun

23

June 1943

A Soviet infantryman prepares for battle

We veterans explained to the greenhorns the particular weaknesses of Tigers, Ferdinands, Panthers, and so on. You should always act in pairs. The enemy tank must ride over you, over your trench, then one soldier fires at the accompanying infantrymen, while the other throws the bottle or grenade. Because of the intensive exercises involving tanks, we realized that very soon we’d be taking part in some heavy fighting between large armoured forces.

Jun

22

June 1943

Heroic rescue on burning HMNZS Achilles

The Achilles spent more than fourteen months in Portsmouth dockyard refitting and rearming. On 22 June 1943 a violent explosion occurred in one of her main fuel tanks, killing and injuring many dockyard hands and causing considerable structural damage to the ship. The tank had been emptied and cleaned in April and workmen were making moulds in the double-bottom fuel tank preparatory to erecting two bulkheads in the compartment.

Jun

21

June 1943

French resistance leader Jean Moulin captured

Jean Moulin restated the aims of Free France: “to prosecute the war; to restore freedom of expression to the French people; to re-establish republican freedoms in a state which incorporates social justice and which possesses a sense of greatness; to work with the Allies on establishing real international collaboration, both economic and social, in a world in which France has regained her prestige.”