The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (in German : Aufstand im Warschauer Ghetto , Polish : Powstanie w getcie warszawskim ; Yiddish : אויפֿשטאַנד אין וואַרשעווער געטאָ) was the revolt of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto when German troops began the second mass deportation to Concentration camps andextermination during World War II . It occurred between April 19 and 16 of maypole of 1943 and was led by Mordechai Anielewicz , 3 member of the Jewish youth movement Hashomer Hatzair , was finally crushed by the troops of the SS under the command of General Jürgen Stroop . An attack had already been launched against the German occupiers on 18 January , where Polish Jews left very well.
Once Germany invaded Poland , the Jewish population throughout the country began to suffer attacks daily. In 1940 , the Polish Jewish population, about 3 million, began to be relocated to small sections of Polish cities, called ghettos . In the Warsaw ghetto , the largest of them, about 380,000 Jews, or 30 per cent of the city’s population, lived in a territory occupying 2.4 per cent of the area. 3 Even before the Nazis began transporting thousands of Jews to the concentration camp of Treblinka , the Jews had already started dying en masse due to epidemics and starvation.
At the start of this deportation, leaders of the Jewish resistance commanded not to fight, believing that the Jews were sent to a labor camp, rather than a death camp. At the end of the year, the absence of news of the deportees and the rumors that filtered among the German soldiers convinced the remaining Jews of the harsh reality, and when they heard that new deportations were coming, they decided to fight. However, of the nearly 60,000 Jews remaining in the ghetto, less than a thousand had combat experience, and the vast majority of the population did not participate in armed resistance.
On January 9, 1943, the SS chief, Heinrich Himmler , ordered a resumption of the deportations of the ghetto. The Jews learn of this order and begin to take action on it.
Start of the Survey
On January 18 , German ghetto authorities attempted to deport the remaining Jewish population, but the underground Jewish organizations Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (ŻOB) and Żydowski Związek Wojskowy (ŻZW) expelled the oppressors and seized control of the ghetto. Surveillance posts were set up at every corner, and every Jew accused of collaborating with the Germans was executed, including members of the Jewish police. 4 The rebels did not have many weapons, most had pistols and revolvers , and had dozens of rifles old and a machine gun . They had many homemade explosives, as well as grenades provided by Armia Krajowa , the Polish Territorial Army.
Four days after the fighting began, the Germans withdraw from the ghetto and immediately requested reinforcements to regain control of the ghetto. For their part, Jews began digging hundreds of bunkers , including 618 anti-aircraft shelters. These underground shelters were camouflaged, and communicated with each other through the drain; Also had electricity and water. Meanwhile, the Germans gathered about 2,054 soldiers and 36 officers around the ghetto, including 821 grenadiers of the Waffen-SS . Some 363 members of the Polish Blue Police collaborator were also ordered to surround the ghetto. They gathered tanks , armored vehicles, gas guns, flamethrowers and artillery for the eventual assault.
The Polish resistance saw an opportunity to act in the uprising and began trying to pass guns inside the ghetto. Between 19 and 23 April the Territorial Army and the Communist People’s Guard attempted to enter the ghetto from various parts, without success. A Polish brigade, under Henryk Iwański, even penetrated the ghetto and managed to establish a link with the Jewish resistance, helping a few escape. The Polish resistance also transmitted radio messages informing the allied powers of the desperate situation inside the ghetto of Warsaw. Despite Polish and Jewish efforts to maintain resistance, it was increasingly evident that when the Germans attacked with all their might, the ghetto would fall.
The German counterattack
On the night of Passover , the 19 of April of 1943 , Jewish insurgents threw Molotov cocktails and hand grenades when German soldiers began to move toward the ghetto. Two French tanks – captured by Germany – were destroyed by the ZOB and ZZW men. The SS soldiers then began to burn the houses one by one, to demolish basements and drains, and to murder every Jew they captured.
Four days later, the organized struggle ended. Since then, the Jews hid in the shelters they had built, although hundreds were captured. Many committed suicide, and some women detonated grenades that they had hidden under their clothes when they were being detained.
Knowing that the end of the uprising was approaching, the civil population crowded into the ghetto gates, mostly out of curiosity, because anti-Semitism and fear of the Nazis had drowned any sympathy for the Jewish cause. The ghetto continued to be devastated daily, and General Jürgen Stroop reports in his diary as “entire families are thrown out of the windows of the burning buildings.” On May 6 he recorded the capture of 1,500 Jews and killed 365 combatants, whom he described as bandits .
Because of the guerrilla tactics used by the Jews, the Germans stopped attacking at night. The Jewish and Polish insurgents took advantage of the situation to try to break the siege around the ghetto, but failed. For May 8, there were 20 days of continuous fighting. At this point, the ghetto buildings were steaming ruins, and in their cellars were hidden the survivors, who shared the shelter with the corpses of the fallen, which in turn were devoured by the rats. That same day, the Germans took the headquarters of the ZOB, being immediately executed all that were there. Mordechai Anielewicz and his girlfriend committed suicide before the arrival of the Germans; 3 so did most of the leaders. Another leader, Marek Edelman , managed to escape thanks to a truck of the Armia Krajowa, who was waiting camouflaged in a sewer to the outside of the ghetto. The Germans decided that it was time to end the fighting and burned the ghetto, the survivors hid in the sewers, suffering an atrocious hunger and thirst. When they could not commit suicide due to lack of ammunition, they asked their comrades to kill them. To prevent the fire from passing through the ghetto, the Warsaw firefighters were deployed outside.
On May 16 , Stroop said the battle was over and the synagogue street Tlomacka was demolished as a symbol of the end of Jewish life in Warsaw. The Polish collaborators initiated the persecution of the survivors of the ghetto, and they gave a name to it: ” the hunting of the Jew “. However, many managed to escape, living hidden until the uprising of 1944 , in which the German forces also triumphed.
In all, some 7,000 Jews were killed in the attack German . Another 6,000 were burned or suffocated in the bunkers they had built. The rest, about 40 000, were sent to extermination camps, mainly to Treblinka . 3 In the report of 13 as maypole as 1943 , Jürgen Stroop said:
180 Jews, bandits and subhumans have been annihilated. The Jewish sector of Warsaw no longer exists. The large – scale operations ended at 20:15 to blow up the synagogue in Warsaw. The total number of Jews with which they acted was: 56 065, including captured Jews and Jews whose extermination can be tested.
Most of the buildings in the ghetto were swept to the ground. On the site the Warsaw concentration camp was established, officially Konzentrationslager Warschau , which was used to enclose Poles and also worked as a field squad. The exact date of foundation is controversial, since thanks to a letter of Heinrich Himmler it is known that a field of this type worked in the ghetto or its surroundings before the Jewish uprising.
During the Warsaw uprising , Armia Krajowa released some 380 Jews from the ghetto, who were in the German jail located on Gęsia Street, now renamed Anielewicz , in honor of the ZOB commander. Many of these Jews immediately joined the Armia Krajowa, as did a few Jews who had been subsisting in the sewers of Warsaw since the previous year.
ŻOB leaders, Icchak Cukierman and Zivia Lubetkin , survived the extermination of the ghetto and years later testified in the trial against Adolf Eichmann in Israel. Both died in that country.
The uprising of the ghetto is recreated in the film The Pianist (2002), where the protagonist Władysław Szpilman , played by the actor Adrien Brody , escapes the ghetto at the beginning of the uprising, and can observe from a nearby house how his comrades are executed, and also in the film Uprising – Uprising in the ghetto (TV) ( Uprising ) (2001) by Jon Avnet , starring Leelee Sobieski , David Schwimmer , Hank Azaria , Donald Sutherland , Jon Voight and Cary Elwes , which focuses on the Deportations to Treblinka and in the armed struggle of the Jews of the ghetto.
- Back to top↑ Katz, 1970: 86
- Back to top↑ Katz, Alfred (1970). Poland’s Ghettos at War. New York: Twayne Publishers, pp. 85. In English.
- ↑ Jump to:a b c d «70 years of the Warsaw Ghetto: the uprising of the boys» . Clarín . March 19, 2013 . Retrieved on April 19, 2013 .
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