On this day: October 1944

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust's educational series On This Day in History provides summaries of historical events as the anniversaries fall on the current calendar. Be sure to follow along on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates and further information like photos, maps, and videos.

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© Anne Frank Stichting

Early-Mid October

Anne Frank has been imprisoned at Auschwitz since arriving on September 6th. She has not seen her father, Otto, since they were separated during the selection process upon arrival at the camp. However, she has remained with her sister, Margot, and her mother, Edith

Disease is rampant at Auschwitz. Before long, Anne’s skin becomes badly infected by scabies. The Frank sisters are moved into an infirmary, which is in a state of constant darkness and infested with rats and mice. Edith Frank stops eating, saving every morsel of food for her daughters and passing her rations to them through a hole she made at the bottom of the infirmary wall.

The Russians are approaching. Large groups of prisoners are assigned for relocation to other camps The Frank women are slated to join a transport to a labor camp but Anne is prohibited because she has scabies. Her mother and sister opt to stay with her. 

Meanwhile, Fritz Pfeffer, the man with whom Anne shared a room in the Secret Annex for nearly two years prior to their discovery and arrest, is deported to Neuengamme concentration camp in Germany. He will die there on December 20th. 

7 October

Members of the Sonderkommando at Crematorium IV in Auschwitz-Birkenau launch their long-planned revolt against the SS. For months, a group of five women on work detail have been smuggling gun powder from the camp-complex munitions factory to the underground resitance movement of camp prisoners. They plan to blow-up the gas chambers and crematoria to which prisoners themselves are assigned to remove bodies. Click here to learn more about this revolt and what happened in the days that followed.

30 October

The last selection takes place at Auschwitz. Edith is selected for the gas chamber while Anne and Margot are selected for deportation to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

A witness, Rose de Winter-Levy, recalls: 

Then it was the turn of both girls...and there they stood for that moment, naked and bald. Anne looked straight at us with her innocent eyes, and then they were gone. We weren’t able to see what happened to them next. We heard Mrs. Frank cry out: 'The children! Oh God...

Edith escapes with a friend to another section of the camp, where she remains through the winter. She will not see her daughters again. She will die of starvation at Auschwitz on January 6th, 1945 before the camp is liberated 20 days later and 10 days before her 45th birthday.


Sources and Related Links

Anne Frank Timeline

The fate of the women in the Secret Annex

The fate of the men from the Secret Annex

Animated Map: Auschwitz

Map: Europe 1943-1944, Auschwitz Indicated

Personal Histories: Auschwitz

Photographs of Auschwitz

Prisoner Revolt at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Auschwitz: Chronology