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Warsaw Ghetto – World History – Free PDF Download

 

BACKGROUND

  • Shortly after the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, more than 400,000 Jews in Warsaw, the capital city, were confined to an area of the city that was little more than 1 square mile.
  • In November 1940, this Jewish ghetto was sealed off by brick walls, barbed wire and armed guards, and anyone caught leaving was shot on sight. The Nazis controlled the amount of food that was brought into the ghetto, and disease and starvation killed thousands each month.
  • Similar Jewish ghettos were established in cities throughout Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe during World War II. The Warsaw ghetto was the largest in Poland.

GHETTO

  • By the end of the September campaign the number of Jews in and around the capital increased dramatically with thousands of refugees escaping the Polish-German front, often on foot.
  • In less than a year, the number of refugees in Warsaw exceeded 90,000.On October 12, 1939, the General Government was established by Adolf Hitler in the occupied area of central Poland.
  • On October 26, the Jews were mobilized as forced laborers to clear bomb damage and perform other hard labor.

GHETTO

  • On January 26, 1940, the Jews were banned from holding communal prayers due to “the risk of spreading epidemics.“
  • Food stamps were introduced by the German authorities, and measures were stepped up to liquidate all Jewish communities in the vicinity of Warsaw intensified. The Jewish population of the capital reached 359,827 before the end of the year.
  • On October 16, 1940, the creation of the ghetto covering the area of 307 hectares (3.07 km2) was announced.The population of the ghetto was 450,000 initially. Before the Holocaust began the number of Jews imprisoned there was between 375,000 and 400,000.

GHETTO

  • The Germans closed the Warsaw Ghetto to the outside world on November 15, 1940.The wall around it was 3 m (9.8 ft) high and topped with barbed wire.
  • An average daily food ration in 1941 for Jews in Warsaw was limited to 184 calories, compared to 699 calories allowed for the Poles and 2,613 calories for the Germans.
  • Foodstuffs were smuggled often by children alone who crossed the Ghetto wall any way possible by the hundreds.Smuggling was often the only source of subsistence for the Ghetto inhabitants, who would otherwise have died of starvation.

GHETTO

  • The stripped victims were suffocated to death in batches of 200 with the use of monoxide gas. In September 1942, new gas chambers were built, which could kill as many as 3,000 people in just 2 hours. Civilians were forbidden to approach the camp area.
  • In October 1942 the Jewish Combat Organization (ŻOB) was formed and tasked with opposing further deportations.
  • By the end of 1942, it was clear that the deportations were to their deaths.

GHETTO

  • Approximately 100,000 Ghetto inmates had already died of hunger-related diseases and starvation before the mass deportations started in the summer of 1942.
  • Earlier that year, during the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, the Final Solution was set in motion. It was a secretive plan to mass-murder Jewish inhabitants of the General Government.
  • The extermination of Jews by means of poisonous gases was carried out at Treblinka II under the auspices of Operation Reinhard.About 254,000 Warsaw Ghetto inmates were sent to Treblinka.

UPRISINGS

  • Some 265,000 Jews had been deported from the Warsaw ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp, while more than 20,000 others were sent to a forced-labor camp or killed during the deportation process.
  • An estimated 55,000 to 60,000 Jews remained in the Warsaw ghetto, and small groups of these survivors formed underground self-defense units such as the Jewish Combat Organization, or ZOB, which managed to smuggle in a limited supply of weapons from anti-Nazi Poles.
  • On January 18, 1943, when the Nazis entered the ghetto to prepare a group for transfer to a camp, a ZOB unit ambushed them.

UPRISINGS

  • On April 19, 1943, Himmler sent in SS forces and their collaborators with tanks and heavy artillery to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto.
  • Several hundred resistance fighters, armed with a small cache of weapons, managed to fight the Germans, who far outnumbered them in terms of manpower and weapons, for nearly a month.
  • By May 16, the ghetto was firmly under Nazi control, and on that day, in a symbolic act, the Germans blew up Warsaw’s Great Synagogue.An estimated 7,000 Jews perished during the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

 

 

 

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