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The Warsaw Ghetto

Thehe first of the mass murders in Warsaw took place when the Nazis shot 53 Jews in the house at 9 Nalewki Street. The Jews were arrested and shot by the Gestapo when on November 13 a Jewish thief, Pinchas Jankel Zylberberg, shot a Polish policeman who sought to arrest him. Among the executed Jewish victims were boys of 12 and 13-years-old. The Germans later justified the execution on the principle of collective responsibility which they introduced all over Poland.

Chlodna street - ghetto bridge
Inn mid-1940 Warsaw Jews, and those deported from many places throughout Western Europe, found themselves enclosed behind the walls of the ghetto. Its population reached one half of a million people who vegetated under terrible conditions suffering from hunger and disease. Mass deportations to the death camp in Treblinka were initiated during the summer of 1942. The first sign of armed resistance flared up in January of 1943 (around 60,000 people still lived in the Ghetto at that time) when the Nazis began their annihilation of the Ghetto; it forced the enemy into retreat and a temporary abandonment of their aim. Another attempt at extermination commenced on April 19th of the same year and resulted in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Umschlagplatz in Warsaw - deportation Fightersighters of the Jewish Combat Organization, under the command of Mordechaj Anielewicz, together with those of the Jewish Military Union, had a well developed network of bunkers and fortifications. Over 2,000 heavily armed soldiers of the Wehrmacht and SS assailed the fighters. The Polish Underground actively supported the Ghetto Uprising; it supplied arms and organized military actions. On May 8th, after an admirable defense, the bunker at Mila 18 Street fell, and the staff of the Jewish Combat Organization, together with their commander all gave up their lives. The uprising fell by mid-May, but sporadic fighting continued well into the middle of July. A portion of those insurgents who survived were evacuated by the Polish Resistance to the "Arian" side via sewers. The figures quoted in General Stroop's report speak of 56,065 captured Jews of which 7,000 were summarily executed while the remainder were deported to Treblinka. Nazis put the figure of fighters killed in action at 5,565. The Polish underground press estimated enemy loses at 400 killed and 1,000 wounded. The waves caused by the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising were felt in other ghettos - Bialystok, Czestochowa, Bedzin, and Cracow - where similar actions, though smaller in scale, were triggered off.

The Warsaw Ghetto in 1945
The Warsaw Ghetto after destruction (only the Catholic church survived...)