Many Jewish people were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War. The German authorities established them in 1940 and imprisoned more than 450,000 Jews. Here are 9 grizzly facts about the Warsaw Ghetto.
After the first wave of deportations from the ghetto that occurred in 1942, the prisoners in the ghetto vowed to take arms against the Nazis. Adolf Hitler ordered the deportation of all prisoners in the ghetto to Nazi death camps. This resulted in the deportation of 2 million Jews, and 300,000 of these were from Warsaw Ghetto. People from Warsaw Ghetto watched in horror as their loved ones were taken away by the Nazis.
Two main groups, known as the Jewish Combat Organisation (ZOB) and the Jewish Military Union (ZZW), comprised the resistance in the ghetto. The two groups were unable to form a coalition effectively due to the tension between them. However, after the first wave of deportations, the ZOB and ZZW figured that they had to set their differences aside if they want to have a chance against the Nazis.
In January of 1943, they were able to fight off the Nazis from deporting them.
The uprising of the Jews in the Ghetto officially began on the 19th of April and lasted almost a month (until the 16th of May). Despite being outnumbered by great numbers, the Jews had forced the Nazis to abandon their three – day plan of complete liquidation of the ghetto. The Jews held their ground for nearly a month before they were overwhelmed. Jews that were not killed during battle were either executed by the Nazis or sent to death camps.
Although the uprising did not prevail against the Nazis, it inspired many others. For example, when the Jews that were captured in Treblinka heard about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, they planned their own uprising, setting flames to their death camps In addition, they killed over 40 Nazi guards and 300 escaped. However, only 70 of them survive as the rest were hunted down by the Nazis.
It is estimated that 100,000 people died as a result of disease or starvation in the ghetto. Starvation also usually led to disease, as the food was scarce. It was determined that each Jew would only need 186 calories a day.
Children were mainly responsible for smuggling items and food, as they were believed to escape more easily through small holes or tunnels.
The German authorities built a wall across all sides of the Ghetto to prevent the smuggling of food (via fixed wires and broken glasses placed on top of walls).
A Polish social worker named Irena Sendlerowa was responsible for saving over 2,500 lives of Jewish children and babies from extermination camps.
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