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Anne Frank at 11 years of age, two years before going into hiding. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1940.
Jewish women and children from Subcarpathian Rus who have been selected for death at Auschwitz-Birkenau, walk toward the gas chambers. May 1944.
On July 14, 1933, the Nazi dictatorship enacted the Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases. Individuals who were subject to the law were those men and women who “suffered” from any of nine conditions listed in the law: hereditary feeblemindedness, schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorder, hereditary epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea (a rare and fatal degenerative disease), hereditary blindness, hereditary deafness, severe physical deformity, and chronic alcoholism.
Gerda D., a shopworker, was one of an estimated 400,000 Germans who were forcibly sterilized. She was sterilized after a disputed diagnosis of schizophrenia. Later, Nazi authorities forbade Gerda to marry because of the sterilization.
Emmi G., a 16-year-old housemaid diagnosed as schizophrenic. She was sterilized and sent to the Meseritz-Obrawalde euthanasia center where she was killed with an overdose of tranquilizers on December 7, 1942. Place and date uncertain.
Jewish women at forced labor in a sewing workshop in the Lodz ghetto. Lodz, Poland, between 1940 and 1944.
View of barracks in the women's camp in the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center in German-occupied Poland, 1944.
Women prisoners pull dumpcars filled with stones in the camp quarry. Plaszow camp, Poland, 1944.
Hildegard Kusserow, a Jehovah's Witness, was imprisoned for four years in several concentration camps including Ravensbrück. Germany, date uncertain.
Jewish women sort confiscated clothing in the Lodz ghetto. Photograph taken by Mendel Grossman between 1941 and 1944.
Mendel Grossman photograph collection
Prewar photo of Ala Gertner. Bedzin, Poland, 1930s.
After being deported to Auschwitz, Ala Gertner took fate into her own hands. Upon arrival, she was assigned to forced labor at a nearby armaments factory. After learning that they were going to be killed, Gertner, along with fellow female prisoners, began smuggling gunpowder and explosives from the factory with plans to destroy one of the crematoriums. During the uprising in October 1944, the prisoners killed three guards, blew up Crematorium 4, and destroyed the adjacent gas chamber.The guards crushed the revolt and killed almost all of the prisoners involved in the rebellion. The Jewish women, including Gertner, who had smuggled the explosives into the camp were publicly hanged in early January 1945.
Haika Grosman, one of the organizers of the Bialystok ghetto underground and participant in the Bialystok ghetto revolt. Poland, 1945.
Jewish women and children deported from Hungary, separated from the men, line up for selection. Auschwitz camp, Poland, May 1944.