Here’s what’s going on in the world this week in 1943
- The second attempt on Hitler’s life in the space of eight days was made. Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff had been given the opportunity to escort Hitler through an exhibition of captured Soviet war equipment. Gersdorff expected Hitler to spend at least thirty minutes by his side and set a ten-minute fuse on a bomb, planning to kill both himself and Hitler. Instead, Hitler rushed through the viewing and left after two minutes. Gersdorff went into a restroom and defused the explosive.
- Deportation began of 4,000 Jews in the Nazi-occupied France. All but 15 were sent to gas chambers upon their arrival at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland, and only five of the 4,000 survived World War II. On the same day, deportation began of the Jews of the Yugoslavian (now Macedonian) city of Skopje, as 2,338 people were loaded onto freight cars for the week-long train trip to the Treblinka death camp. The first executions of Gypsies by the Nazi SS were carried out at the Auschwitz concentration camp, with 1,700 being sent to gas chambers after being diagnosed with typhus.
- The entire population of the Belarusian village of Khatyn was attacked by German soldiers of the 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS in retaliation for the killing of four Nazi officers. Only three children and one man survived.
- U.S. Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, submitted a proposed charter for a “world security association” to be set up by the world’s nations after the end of World War II. The proposal anticipated the United Nations that would be created in 1945.
- The British escort carrier Dasher was destroyed by an accidental explosion in the Firth of Clyde, killing 379 of the crew of 528 An investigation concluded that the cause had been a carelessly dropped cigarette that had ignited fuel from a leaking valve.
And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy in the ATS:
Monday 22nd March 1943
On duty. No 1 today. Out of action for fitting of new modification. Lovely day. Mum heard from Jim. Rob going on okay. Feel on top of the world.
Tuesday 23rd March 1943
Jolly good, in fact, smashing concert by “Stars in Battledress” Don Carlos, Alan Clare – got all their autographs after the show. ?? colder today. On night duty with Sgt E.
Wednesday 24th March 1943
Cold. Picked primroses in the afternoon. Went to the Savoy. Saw Whispering Ghosts and a Wallace Beery. Quite good. Went on to a dance at Stubbington. Met Marine – Vic. Came home with him. Quite nice.
Thursday 25th March 1943
On duty. No. 1 again. In the square. Gave Mr Palmer tuition. In the afternoon and evening Capt. Nicholls. Dance at night. Had a lovely time. Mac was here.
Friday 26th March 1943
Wonderful. Went up to see Capt. Vessey. Coming back down a truck pulled up and there was Sos! Lovely surprise. Hoping to see him tomorrow. On duty. D/S
Saturday 27th March 1943
In bed until 17.20 hrs. Laziness. Went to dance – big disappointment Smudger said Sos was only down for a day. Been posted. Had a good time at dance. Came home in car with ?? (end of Saturday appears on the following diary page)