Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
- Pages: 9
- Word count: 2071
- Category: German
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Raid on Warsaw was one of the German’s urban attack in Europe during the Second world war. German air force attacked the city from 1st of September while the ground force will enter Warsaw barely a week later. The over 1.3 million population of Warsaw resists the German invasion, with about 350 000 Jews actively participating in the resistances against German invasion. until the end of September. Some people collaborated with Germans. This paper will present a research of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, what brought it, how events occurred chronologically and what the results were. The key issues featuring here are the issue of German demand to all Jews in Warsaw to register for free labor, hardships faced by Jews in the ghetto, resistance forces within the ghetto, how German’s invaded, the deportation to the camp of death at Treblinka, the actual uprising and the destruction of the ghetto.
Before the actual uprising occurred, a number of events occurred. This began in 1939 specifically in September 1st when German air force attacked the key city of Poland which is the Warsaw. After two days, the previous government of Warsaw under the party central committee left while Hitler’s regime, the Nazis, took over. A sad event took place in the following November when in reaction to the beating of a German police man by a Jewish tenant, about fifty three Jews faced death through gun shots.
In 1940, a radio station was developed and implemented by Polish underground and during that years Easter season, most youth conducted a 40 days pogroms and several beatings were done in streets. On the 15th of November, a ban on Jewish liberties was exerted where no one was allowed to enter or leave the Jewish side of the ghetto and any one who would go against this order would face a definite death or arrest. Barbed wire to surround the Ghetto wall was erected to control or simply enforce this order .
The following year (1941) in from January to March, there occurred about five major banishments of Jews. As a result, a resistance group of the Jews by the name Zufundt group agreed with one voice and one soul to fight for their liberties , even if it would cost their death (Edelman, 103). In the same month, a manhunt was conducted in the whole of the ghetto for places where people were gathering for deportation and also for non- deportees. On the 12th day of February 1941, about 17 Jews who were trying to cross to the Aryan side of ghetto were executed and this brought much alarm to about seven hundred people who were already in German jails for committing a similar offence When the Nazi Soviet War began in the summer time of 1941, the boundaries drawn for the ghetto Jews were redrawn to include the Soviet side and this led to many Jews fleeing from Poland to seek refuge in the Soviet side. The news of Mass exterminations taking place in far areas like Ukraine, in White Russia and in Bialystok reached Warsaw but many people could not believe it in its full scope.
A group of youth was organised in the ghetto and this group would be the major source of recruits for the resistance groups called the young Zionist Resistance. Several social workers were arrested in the ghetto and executed on on the 17th of April (Michael, 138).
In 1942, the number of deportations increased so much and this led to joint meeting of all resistance groups in the ghetto and they agreed that they needed to use arms to resist Germans. When one of the leading newspaper in the ghetto reported that the violence occurring in the ghetto were only isolated and therefore recommended a low profile, the Guardian and the Hechalutz resistance groups which were major and were to join to form a stronger force during the uprising now differed and this was a warning of some impending doom. Most campaigns among the youth were carried in most part of April to encourage them to join the training for armed resistance. Huge cargo of ammunitions and weaponry such as rifles, rifles and hand grenades were transported to the ghetto while some smuggling of arms, although at smaller volumes were done from some Socialist groups in Poland who were sympathetic.
The night of 18th April is crucial to the Warsaw ghetto because from this night, more action and even personal violence, raids and shootings is done to Jews mostly in the night. As a result, over 1000 Jews perished. In May, about 110 Jews who were arrested for crossing to the other side of Ghetto (Warsaw) were mercilessly put in gas trucks and all died. Massive deportation followed up to July and this saw some Gypsies also deported. Several thousands were deported to death camps. July also saw the arresting and killing of many doctors working in Gzyste hospital on 20th while on 22nd, deportation of unproductive Jews was done. A meeting of Labor, Hechalutz and HaShomer once again called for armed resistance which most Jews rebelled against because according to them, it would lead to even more deaths and retaliation. When in the following day (23rd) the head of the Judenrat refuses adhere to the order to deport and kill the ghetto children, he is killed and the order is effected in his absence. When a resistance member called Zygmundt follows a deportation train to Aryan side in July, he sadly discovers that these trains were heading to death camp of Treblinka. This triggers the ordering of another arm shipment which arrives in December.
In the January of 1943, Himmler personally visited the Warsaw ghetto and ordered for deportation of 8000 (Gutman, 49). In response, Anielewicz ordered for a resistance. On that 18th the Z.O.B which was a fighting organization of Jews began resisting against German forces in Mila which led to death of about 100 Germans. The strikes of Germans led to loss of close to 80 % of Z.O.B members and they retreated back to reorganize themselves. The ZOB first killed all their fellow Jews who were collaborating with Germans in the Warsaw ghetto. A battle was began in February at Hallman’s Joinery factory. By march, the Germans did not secure the confidence of ghetto people ans most people changed their attitudes towards the ZOB and they started making generous contributions and taxes to support the ZOB activities. The 27 day old Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began at around two a.m.
On the 19th of April 1943, when German troops entered the ghetto armed with tanks and tanks. After 15 minutes, Zob were already in battle stations on main streets of Mila and Zamenhofa, fully surrounding the central block of the ghetto. THE German Tanks and troops had entered the area that was occupied by ZOB by 7am that morning. Since they were few and with few weapons, they opened fire and used their explosives to back their limited force. Unfortunately, all the Nazi soldiers in that block were killed by their opponents. The following day (20th) about 100 more German soldiers were killed as they tried to enter a factory. The fight continues while more German troops called for embankment force (Edelman, 293).
On May 1st , the Germans retaliated against the ghetto forces and at the same time, an acute shortage of food and other necessities When reinforcement forces arrived, soldiers from Ukraine together with those from Germany took only two hours to surround the key stronghold areas of ZOB. Within these two hours, a battle that led to many deaths occurred. They burnt and bombed houses and major buildings. Women jumped out of building bitterly crying for their dear lives. On this 8th day of May, about 80 % of ZOB members were killed. The events and activities of that day included several bombings, many killings and many arresting. On May 10th, members of ZOB who remained escaped through sewer tunnels to Aryan side of the ghetto. Here, they encountered a resistance truck and they board it in broad daylight. Most of these escaping fighters joined partisans who lived in the region’s forests and they continued their resistance works from there. On May 17th, Germans dynamited the Jews Tlomackie Synagogue and all the patients in the Jewish hospital of Franciszkanska were shot by German soldiers. Between 16th and 18th of May, ZOB dynamited the factories and magazines owned by Germans because they did nor want to leave anything behind for the Germans.
In 1944, small uprisings were began again by the resistances in the forests who were mainly earlier members of ZOB. In the rest of the year, Germans continued to raze and blast the remaining features of the ghetto as a final clean up. People who had been imprisoned in Auschwitz were brought back to the ghetto to supply labor in clean up and brick reclamation from the fallen buildings, thus the Germans saved some ghetto lives. After the fighting, the Germans blasted the Tlomacki Synagogue in Warsaw as a mark to the end of the uprising. As the second world war comes to an end, about eighty percent of the buildings in Warsaw were left completely rumbled and a small camp was set up which remained even as the war ended (Anflick, 346).
The harsh conditions endured by the Jewish inhabitants of the ghetto
Life of the Jews in Warsaw ghetto was miserable and they faced harsh economic situations. They had very limited resources, high costs of commodities due to limited supply made them go without money, when the ghetto was fenced and movement in to and out was restricted, they ran without food and key supplies such as medicines and therefore most fell sick. They ended up dying and living destitute lifestyles. Those who joined in war were brutaly murdered while those tried to cross the restricted borders were killed or deported to the camps of death. Some who were caught were mercilessly put in gas tanks and chocked to death. Most German attacks and from the non Jew residents in the ghetto were conducted at night and saw many Jew housed set ablaze while people were physically beaten or shot to death (Michael, 96).
The courage and bravery it took to revolt
The Jews must have been very courageous because being about 350 000 out of over 1.3 million population of the ghetto who at a time started attacking them and revolting against Germans who were technically developed in terms of war equipment was a sign of fearlessness. At a time, the resistance forces in the ghetto meet and jointly vow to fight their rivals even if it costs them death (Gutman, 123).
Means by which the Jews were able to revolt.
First, the Jews train most youths on the use of arms in fights which they later use in revolting. They also get some assistance to revolt in form of firearms from Socialist groups. After discovering the deportation was meant not to supply labor in Germany but led to the camps of death, the Jews decide to fight against Germans and they manage to kill several by use of the arms and grenades. To fight, they unite to form the ZOB. The burning of German joinery shops and killing of Germans who intrude at the central ghetto block is also a form by which they revolt.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is a sad tale of the brutality of Germans as they tried to take over urban areas of Europe. The deportation was used but it is later discovered that people were taken to death camps. The Jews despite of being very few and combated by strong and equipped forces from Germany and Ukraine were very brave and would fight until they restore their basic freedoms of movement. The Tlomacki synagogue of the Jews is blasted to mark the end of the uprising which lasted for about 27 days.
Anflick, Charles. Teen Partisans and Resisters during Nazi Tyranny. New York; Rosen,1999.
Edelman,Marek. Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. NY; Rader Collection, 2001.
Gutman, Israel. Heroism of the Jews WW II. Tel Aviv; The IQHJP, 1995.
Michel, Henri. Unforgettable: Jews of the Holocaust. Jerusalem; Yad V., 1996.