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the Final Solution & the Massacres of the Jews

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Author Topic: the Final Solution & the Massacres of the Jews  (Read 904 times)
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« on: February 09, 2007, 10:38:48 pm »

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, was a Jewish armed resistance against Nazi Germany attempt to liquidate the remains of the Warsaw Ghetto in occupied Poland during World War II. The main struggle lasted from April 19, 1943 to May 16 that year and was finally crushed by SS-Gruppenführer (then Brigadeführer) Jürgen Stroop. The significant precursor to the main uprising was an armed civilian action launched against the Germans on January 18, 1943. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is not to be confused with the Warsaw Uprising which took place more than a year later (see more details below).

Starting in 1940, the Nazis began concentrating Poland's over 3 million Jews in a number of massively overcrowded ghettos in various Polish cities. The largest of these, the Warsaw Ghetto, held 380,000 people in a densely-packed area in the middle of the city. Thousands of Jews were killed by disease or starvation before the Nazis began massive deportations of the Jews of the ghetto to the Treblinka death camp. In the 52 days before September 12, 1942 about 300,000 Ghetto residents were sent to the extermination camps and killed. At the start of the deportations, members of the Jewish underground met, but decided not to resist, believing that the Jews were really being sent to work camps rather than their death. By the end of 1942, it was clear that the deportations were instead to death camps, and many of the remaining 40,000-50,000 Jews decided to resist. Of those, approximately 750 to 1,000, including children, actually fought.[1]

The fight

SS men burning housesOn January 18, 1943, the first instance of armed resistance occurred when the Germans started the second expulsion of the Jews. The Jewish fighters achieved noteworthy success. The expulsion stopped after four days and the ŻOB and ŻZW resistance organizations took control of the Ghetto, building dozens of fighting posts and operating against Jewish collaborators.

As the frustrated Germans diverted additional resources to end the standoff, during the next three months all inhabitants of the Ghetto prepared for what they realized would be a final struggle. Hundreds of bunkers were dug under the houses (including 618 air raid bunkers), most connected through the sewage system and linked up with the central water supply and electricity, and in some cases featuring camouflaged air supplies and tunnels leading to safer areas of Warsaw. The Germans eventually committed 821 Waffen SS troops and 363 Polish police as part of their 2,054 soldiers fighting in the Ghetto.[2]

Support from outside the Ghetto was limited, but Polish units from Armia Krajowa (AK) and Gwardia Ludowa sporadically attacked German sentry units near the ghetto walls and attempted to smuggle weapons and ammunition inside. One Polish unit from AK, namely KB under the command of Henryk Iwański, even fought inside the Ghetto together with ŻZW. The AK tried twice to blow up the Ghetto Wall, but without much success.

The victimsThe final battle started on the eve of Passover, April 19, 1943. Jewish partisans shot and threw grenades at German and allied patrols from alleyways, sewers, house windows, and even burning buildings. The Nazis responded by shelling the houses block by block and rounding up or killing any Jew they could capture. Significant resistance ended on April 23, and the uprising ended on May 16. Nevertheless, sporadic shooting could be heard in the area of the Ghetto throughout the summer of 1943.

Aftermath and Death Toll

During the fighting approximately 7,000 of the Jewish residents were killed. An additional 6,000 were burnt alive or gassed in bunkers. The remaining 50,000 people were sent to German death camps, mostly to Treblinka extermination camp.
Approximately 300 Germans and collaborators were killed in the fighting.

After the uprising, the Ghetto became the place where Polish prisoners and hostages were executed by Germans. Most of the houses were levelled to the ground. Later the KL Warschau concentration camp was founded in the area of the Ghetto. During the later Warsaw uprising in 1944, Polish Home Army battalion "Zośka" was able to save 380 Jewish concentration camp prisoners from the Gęsiówka and Pawiak prisons, most of whom immediately joined the AK.

A man jumping out of a window of a burning house during the fights; German soldiers nick-named such people ParachutistsThe final report of Jürgen Stroop on May 13, 1943, stated:

180 Jews, bandits, and subhumans were destroyed. The former Jewish quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence. The large-scale action was terminated at 2015 hours by blowing up the Warsaw Synagogue.
Total number of Jews dealt with 56,065, including both Jews caught and Jews whose extermination can be proved.[3]
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