On This Day, March 26, 1943 – Nazis Begin Mass Transportation of Jews to Auschwitz
1942 – The Nazis began mass transportation of Jews to Auschwitz in Poland.
People were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau by trains, from all over Nazi-occupied Europe. They were generally sent in freight cars or cattle trucks. Often they travelled for days without toilet facilities and with nothing to eat or drink.
Originally, the railway cars arrived at the old ramp of Birkenau, 1 km southeast of the entrance gate. From May 1944 they continued into Auschwitz II (Birkenau / Brzezinka) itself, along a specially constructed spur. The majority of the people, sent in these transports, were murdered in gas chambers directly on arrival. Their names never appeared in the camp records, so that it is very difficult to determine precisely how many perished from these transports.
Those the SS deemed fit for work were not murdered immediately but were used as slave labourers. They were given striped prison clothing and a prisoner number. From 1943, most prisoners (though never Germans, unless they were Jewish) were tattooed with their numbers, generally on the left forearm. In all, more than 400,000 people, members of all national and ethnic groups, were allocated numbers. Of these, about one half died. Few lived longer than six months: they died from starvation, disease, the rigours of hard labour, beatings, torture, and summary execution – by shooting, hanging or gassing.
Between March and June 1943, four very large gas chambers with adjacent crematoria were activated at Birkenau (Crematorium “II”, “III”, “IV” and “V”). Crematoria II and III were identical, with undressing rooms and gas chambers beneath ground level. Crematoria IV and V were also of identical construction, but with undressing, gassing and cremation carried out at ground level. Their principal victims were Jews, transported to Auschwitz from all over Europe. The pace of the murders reached an apogee in the summer of 1944, when more than 400,000 Jews were transported from Hungary, over a period of two months. Most of the deportees (especially the elderly, babies and children) were gassed immediately upon arrival, following selection by doctors, such as Mengele and Thilo.
1780 – The British Gazette and Sunday Monitor was published for the first time. It was the first Sunday newspaper in Britain.
1793 – The Holy Roman Emperor formally declared war on France.
1804 – The U.S. Congress ordered the removal of Native Americans east of the Mississippi to Louisiana.
1804 – The Louisiana Purchase was divided into the District of Louisiana and the Territory of Orleans.
1885 – Eastman Kodak (Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co.) produced the first commercial motion picture film in Rochester, NY.
1898 – In South Africa, the world’s first game reserve, the Sabi Game reserve, was designated.
1909 – Russian troops invaded Persia to support Muhammad Ali as shah in place of the constitutional government.
1910 – The U.S. Congress passed an amendment to the 1907 Immigration Act that barred criminals, paupers, anarchists and carriers of disease from settling in the U.S.
1937 – Spinach growers in Crystal City, TX, erected a statue of Popeye.
1938 – Herman Goering warned all Jews to leave Austria.
1945 – The battle of Iwo Jima ended.
1953 – Dr. Jonas Salk announced a new vaccine that would prevent poliomyelitis.
1972 – The Los Angeles Lakers broke a National Basketball Association (NBA) record by winning 69 of their 82 games.
1973 – Women were allowed on the floor of the London Stock Exchange for the first time.
1975 – The film “Tommy” premiered in London. The movie was based on the rock opera by The Who.
1982 – Ground breaking ceremonies were held in Washington, DC, for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
1989 – The first free elections took place in the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin was elected president.
1995 – Seven of the 15 European Union states abolished border controls.
1997 – The 39 bodies of Heaven’s Gate members are found in a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. The group had committed suicide thinking that they would be picked up by a spaceship following behind the comet Hale-Bopp.
1998 – In the U.S., the Federal government endorses new HIV test that yields instant results.
1999 – In Michigan, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder for giving a terminally ill man a lethal injection and putting it all on videotape on September 17, 1998 for “60 Minutes.”
2000 – In Russia, acting President Vladimir Putin was elected president outright. He won a sufficient number of votes to avoid a runoff election.
Source: On-This-Day.com; death camps.org