They took part in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising stand as an inspiration to each of us today, to .

“I wish my wife to be remembered, Gele Sekstein. She has worked during the war years with children as an educator and teacher…,” the director of a ghetto school, Israel Lichtenstein, wrote. “Both of us get ready to meet and receive death. I wish my little daughter to be remembered. Margalit is 20 months old today. In intelligence she equals children of three or four years. I don’t boast.”

There was limited outside support to the Ghetto uprising although Polish opposition units such as the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) and the People’s Guard (the Polish Communist Gwardia Ludowa) attack German sentinel positions which were near the Warsaw ghetto walls, and also tried to smuggle ammunitions and other weapons into the ghetto. They also circulated information and help appeals to the Jews through radio transmissions to allies. Although there were also wider alienation and restrictions to the polish community, the National Security Corps from the Armia Krajowa (AK) unit fought along with the Jewish insurgents inside the ghetto, under Henryk Iwanski’s command. Iwanski’s effort is one of the many widely known rescue actions undertaken by various Polish resistance groups in trying to help the Jews (Apfelbaum 201-202). In another instance during the first day of the revolt in 19th April 1943, three units from the AK used anti-tank mines in trying to contravene the ghetto walls under Captain Jozef Pszenny’s command. Despite the joint Polish and Jewish resistance efforts, the German forces quelled these insurgency actions which proved to be insufficient against the German forces who daily committed large number of forces to the uprising. However, the Polish community was deeply inspired by the Warsaw ghetto events which led to the establishment of more Polish resistance groups (Apfelbaum 203-204).

Ringelblum’s comprehensive recording of life in the Warsaw ghetto survived the Holocaust even though its creator did not. In September 1946, the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland, with the help of survivors from the ghetto, unearthed the cache of ten metal boxes. Four years later, construction workers stumbled across the two milk cans.

Life in teh Ghettos, n.d., United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, accessed 7 August 2013,

The Uprising inspired Jews throughout Poland. Many Jewish leaders who survived the liquidation continued underground work outside the ghetto. They hid other Jews, forged necessary documents and were active in the in other parts of Warsaw and surrounding area.

Life within the ghetto - The Holocaust Explained Website

It took the Germans twenty-seven days to put down the uprising, after some very heavy fighting. The German general in his report stated that his troops had killed 6,065 Jewish fighters during the battle. After the uprising was already over, had the Great Synagogue on Tłomackie Square (outside the ghetto) destroyed as a celebration of German victory and a symbol that the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw was no longer.

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The population of the ghetto reached 380,000 people by the end of 1940, about 30% of the population of Warsaw. However, the size of the Ghetto was only about 2.4% of the size of the city. The Germans closed off the Ghetto from the outside world, building a wall around it by November 16, 1940. During the next year and a half, Jews from smaller cities and villages were brought into the Warsaw Ghetto, while diseases (especially ) and starvation kept the inhabitants at about the same number. Average food rations in 1941 for Jews in Warsaw were limited to 253 kcal, and 669 kcal for Poles, as opposed to 2,613 kcal for Germans. On July 22, 1942, of the Warsaw Ghetto inhabitants began. During the next fifty-two days (until September 12, 1942) about 300,000 people were transported by freight train to the . The were ordered to escort the ghetto inhabitants to the train station. They were spared from the deportations until September 1942 in return for their cooperation, but afterwards shared their fate with families and relatives. On January 18, 1943, a group of Ghetto militants led by the right leaning , including some members of the left leaning rose up in a first Warsaw uprising. Both organizations resisted, with arms, German attempts for additional deportations to Auschwitz and Treblinka. The final destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto came four months later after the crushing of one of the most heroic and tragic battles of the war, the 1943 .

All private property and – crucial to Jewish economic life – private businesses were nationalized; political activity was delegalized and thousands of people were jailed, many of whom were later executed. Zionism, which was designated by the Soviets as counter-revolutionary was also forbidden. In just one day all Polish and Jewish media were shut down and replaced by the new Soviet press, which conducted political propaganda attacking religion including the Jewish faith. Synagogues and churches were not yet closed but heavily taxed. The Soviet ruble of little value was immediately equalized to the much higher Polish zloty and by the end of 1939, zloty was abolished. Most economic activity became subject to central planning and the NKVD restrictions. Since the Jewish communities tended to rely more on commerce and small scale businesses, the confiscations of property affected them to a greater degree than the general populace. The Soviet rule resulted in near collapse of the local economy, characterized by insufficient wages and general shortage of goods and materials. The Jews, like other inhabitants of the region, saw a fall in their living standards.

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Despite these hardships, the Jewish community attempted to maintain some semblance of normalcy, establishing new schools; libraries; social organizations that attempted to feed, clothe and care for the ill; and even an underground symphony orchestra. As in other ghettoes—and later concentration camps—life in the ghetto was administered by a judenrat, or council of elders, installed by Nazi officials and often complicit in collaborating with their occupiers. In July 1942, the leaders of the Warsaw judenrat were informed of a new Nazi policy that would remove thousands of Jews from the ghetto for resettlement in the East. Unaware that the policy, officially known as Grossaktion Warsaw, would actually send these Jews to the newly completed Treblinka death camp, judenrat officials began compiling a list of names for the first transports. That summer, word began to seep back to the ghetto of the Nazi’s true intentions, Adam Czerniaków, the head of the judenrat, committed suicide. The Nazis chose July 23, a Jewish holiday commemorating the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, as the start of the mass deportations—and by September 21 (Yom Kippur) between 250,000 and 300,000 Jews had met their deaths in Treblinka or been sent to forced labor camps, leaving fewer than 60,000 Jews in the ghetto.

The Warsaw ghetto uprising - Jewish fighters resisted the German attempt to liquidate …

Although this paper on conveys a small part of Warsaw ghetto events, this thesis reveals the atrocious cruelty and excruciating conditions that the Jews were subjected to, and reveals the unity and endurance of both the Jews and polish communities in trying to fight oppression. Although the event says alot more on the Jew-Polish relationship, the ghetto tested both Jewish and Polish hearts and minds as a fairly small number of Poles endangered their lives in order to save the Jews and quite in deed, some died in this quest. However, it also shows fellow Jews ‘turned at each other’ in such circumstances due to suspicion of being collaborators with the enemy. Generally, the far-most outcome from the Warsaw ghetto revealed that under genocidal conditions, the worst exemplified such a small part of the total.