Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa

The Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (in Spanish: Jewish Fighting Organization; Yiddish : ידישע קאמף ארגאניזאציע), also known by its acronym ZOB , was one of the main resistance movements Jew in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II , it was essential In leading the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto (the other Jewish fighting organization in the ghetto were the ŻZW fighters ). The organization participated in other resistance activities, including the Warsaw Uprising .

Scion of Jewish youth groups

Flag of the ŻOB.

The seeds of ŻOB were planted on 22 of July of 1942 , when the Nazis issued a decree concerning the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto: All Jewish people living in Warsaw, regardless of age and sex, [be] resettled (Repopulated) in the East . Thus began the mass deportations of the Jews , which lasted until September 12 , 1942 . Altogether deported about 300,000 Jews, many of whom were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp . The deportations and their subsequent genocide diminished the Jewish community of Warsaw (which originally consisted of 500,000 individuals and was one of the most prosperous in Poland ) to 55,000-60,000 inhabitants.

The Jewish youth groups , which were the main instrument in the formation of the ŻOB, had anticipated the Third Reich’s German intentions to annihilate the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto and began to change their position from an educational and cultural focus , to self- defense and The eventual armed struggle .

The older generation naively believed what German reports (whose euphemisms concealed the intention of extermination) naively, but the youth groups took these reports seriously and had no illusions about the real intentions of the Nazis. A document, published three months before the commencement of the deportations, by the Hashomer Hatzair group stated: We know that Hitler’s system of murder, killing and robbery constantly leads to a deadlock and total destruction of the Jews .

Because of their ability to see the situation objectively, a significant number of left-wing Zionist youth groups such as Hashomer Hatzair proposed the creation of a self-defense organization at a Warsaw meeting with Jewish leaders in March 1942. The offer was Rejected in principle by the Bund ( non-Zionist Communist Jewish movement ) which believed that a fighting organization would fail without the support of the Polish resistance groups refusing to provide any assistance to such an organization. The other leaders of the Judeenrat (council of Jewish leaders) rejected the notion of armed resistance arguing that there was no evidence of a threat of deportation. They further indicated that any armed resistance would provoke the Germans to take collective reprisals against the Jewish community.


The underground political factions met secretly on July 23, 1942, but were unable to reach consensus . On July 28, 1942, representatives of the Zionist organizations Hashomer Hatzair , Habonim Dror and Bnei Akiva met separately from the political parties and established the ŻOB. Icchak Cukierman , one of the ŻOB leaders, described the conditions surrounding the creation of this organization: At that meeting [the youth groups] we decided to establish the Jewish fighting organization. Just ourselves without the [political] parties and the support of the Judenraat .

The ŻOB representatives were dispatched to the ” Ario ” side of Warsaw , in an effort to procure ties and establish connections with Polish anti-fascist resistance groups such as Armia Krajowa (AK), which was able to aid in Jewish armed struggle. With few exceptions, ŻOB for the time being could not assure itself of obtaining any firearm and the groups of Poles were reluctant to lose their little resources that they had giving them to the inexperienced Jews. General Rowecki, commander of the AK, reported the following: Jews of all kinds of groups … are asking for help from us as if our deposits were full . The question of AK’s assistance to ŻOB was no more in depth – and not in favor of ŻOB – by the fact that ŻOB was a leftist group, with many condolences to the Soviet Union . The AK believed the Soviet Union and groups Communists were their obstacles and the following enemies of Polish independence after the Nazis , so the leftist orientation of the constituent groups ŻOB hurt their cause in the eyes of many people of AK.

The ŻOB began to publish the propaganda that called for the Jews to take up arms and not to be annihilated. A letter from the ŻOB dated four months after the end of the deportations demanded that every Jew should go to the [deportation] train for his transfer to the concentration and extermination camps. The letter was closed with stern resolution: Now our motto must be: let every one be clever and die like a man! Let us not be slaughtered like sheep to the slaughter!

Despite a serious lack of weapons, ŻOB was able to seriously injure the head of the Jewish police (a Nazi collaborator). The Jews who lived in the Warsaw ghetto looked at the Jewish police, who were Jews but supervised by the Germans, with contempt and repugnance, calling them traitors and murderers in the service of Nazism. The ŻOB considered them collaborators and published decrees proclaiming that they would execute to any person who helped to the Nazis.

During the deportations, the Nazis had succeeded in capturing a number of important ŻOB officials, leaving the organization in a chaotic state. Stabilization came when other groups of Zionist youth such as Gordonia and Hanoar Hatzioni joined the ŻOB. The most critical event of consolidating ŻOB came when Bund non-Zionists, communists and a number of political parties gathered together under the banner of ŻOB with Mordechaj Anielewicz (the former chief of Hashomer Hatzair ) as the new leader.

The ŻOB immediately attempted to execute any individual who had collaborated with the Nazis during the deportations. Among these individuals was Dr. Alfred Nossig , a revered man in the community who had become a reporter for the Nazis. Although the executions were motivated by revenge, they had the side effect of silencing any individual who had collaborated with the Germans.

Resistance to the second deportation

The 18 of January of 1943 , the Nazis began a second wave of deportations. The first Jews the Germans sent included a number of ŻOB fighters who had intentionally dragged themselves into the deported column. Led by Mordechaj Anielewicz they waited for the appropriate signal, then they walked in formation and fought against the Nazis at the point of pistols. The column was dispersed and news of the ŻOB action spread rapidly throughout the ghetto. During this small deportation, the Nazis deported only about 5,000 to 6,000 Jews, who were later killed.

The deportations lasted four days during which the Germans resolved other acts of ŻOB resistance. When they left the ghetto on 22 of January 1943, the remaining Jews regarded it as a victory, however, Israel Gutman , a member of the ZOB who subsequently became one of the principal authors of the Jewish Warsaw wrote: [was] Known by the majority of the Jews that the Germans had set out to liquidate the whole ghetto by means of the deportations of January . However, Gutman concludes that the deportations [of January] … had a decisive influence in the last months of the ghetto.

Final Deportation and Uprising

Main article: Uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto

Until that time the popularity of the youth movements in the ghetto was not too great, since people in general relied on the elders leaders of the Judenrat . However, when early in 1943 council leader Adam Czerniaków committed suicide (for refusing to give a list to the Nazis containing the thousands of names of children to be deported and massacred), the Jews of Warsaw lost all hope , So they inevitably succeeded in discovering in youth organizations, such as ŻOB and ŻZW, a new way of dealing with genocide: armed rebellion.

The final deportation began on the eve of Passover , 19 as April as 1943 . The streets of the ghetto were empty; Most of the remaining 30,000 Jews were hiding in carefully prepared bunkers including their headquarters located at Ulica Mila 18 , many of which had no electricity and running water, however they offered no escape routes.

When German soldiers marched into the ghetto, they received fierce armed resistance from fighters attacking from open windows in unoccupied apartments. Advocates of guerrilla warfare used in the ghetto had the strategic advantage not only of surprise, but also of being able to look down on their enemies. This advantage was lost when the Germans systematically began to burn all the buildings of the ghetto, which forced the fighters to leave their positions and to seek refuge in the underground bunkers. The fires above consumed much of the oxygen available underground, turning the bunkers into death traps that smothered those who fought in them. One by one the positions of the resistance were falling without the Jews ceasing to fight until the last man. Mordechaj Anielewicz, the last fighter, who thought for a moment to escape, decided to stay with his companions until he died in the Mila 18 bunker. It took the Nazis two weeks to quell the uprising, the same time it took them to occupy all of Poland for almost four years.

On the 16 of maypole of 1943 , the Nazi General Jürgen Stroop , who had been in charge of the final deportation, officially declared what he called the Grossaktion (the end of the Jewish rebellion). To celebrate what was done, the great synagogue of Warsaw was blown up. The ghetto was destroyed and the revolt was suppressed.


Even after the destruction of the ghetto, a small number of Jews could still be found in underground bunkers, on both sides of the ghetto wall. In fact, during the later months of the ghetto about 20,000 Jews fled to the Aryan side. Some Jews who escaped the final destruction of the ghetto, including members and leaders Kazik Ratajzer , Zivia Lubetkin , Icchak Cukierman and Marek Edelman of the youth group, would participate in the Warsaw uprising in 1944 against the Nazis.

While many members and leaders of youth groups died in the Warsaw ghetto, the youth movements they initiated themselves are still alive and prosperous all over the world. One can still find the Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim Dror groups of Zionist leftist youth in countries like Argentina , Australia , Chile , Israel , Italy , Uruguay , Mexico , South Africa , the United Kingdom and the United States , always remembering the courage of Those rebels. The right-wing group Betar of youth (which had participated in the ghetto rebellion with the ŻZW) also enjoys great fame in the Jewish people, especially in Western Europe and the United States, while Bnei Akiva is the Zionist youth movement Religious world, with other branches in many countries.