The Ghettos

By Luke Horak

The Beginning

Ghettos used to just be a way to isolate a race from society. However, Nazis also used them as the preliminary step in the annihilation of Jews.

Life in the Ghettos

  • Life was unbearable. Multiple families would be forced to share a single apartment and plumbing often broke.
  • Diseases rapidly spread through the homes and lack of food did not help at all. Tens of thousands of people died in the Ghettos alone.
  • Some Jews would even kill themselves to end their hopeless lives.
  • Many orphaned children froze to death in winter. A lot of children would smuggle food and clothes for their families at a great risk. Smugglers who were caught were severely punished.

Types of Ghettos

There were 5 different types of camps. In addition to Ghettos there were Transit camps, Labor camps, Concentration camps and Death camps.
  1. Transit camps: Similar to Ghettos. They were holding camps where Jews were kept until they were sent off to either Labor, Concentration or Death camps.
  2. Labor camps: Camps where Jews were forced to do hard labor day and night. Often without water or food for hours
  3. Concentration Camps: These Camps were similar to Labor camps, but it was more common for prisoners to be executed at a Concentration camp.
  4. Death camps: These were camps where Mass Murder was almost the only thing planned.

Interesting Facts

  • Throughout the Holocaust, around 2 million Jews were held in Ghettos, Transit, Concentration, Labor and Death camps.
  • In total, the Nazis established 365 ghettos in Poland, the Soviet Union, the Baltic States, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Hungary between 1939 and 1945.
  • In Warsaw, the largest Ghetto, there were about 400,000 Jews held their at a time.
  • There were devices the Nazis used called "Gas Showers/Chambers" where a large group of up to 200 Jews could be killed at once. Jews were told they would receive a shower yet when they arrived in the "Showers" an Acid called Zyklon B would come out from holes in the ceiling and everyone in the chamber would be dead in a matter of seconds.

The Final Solution

Liquidation of the Ghettos began in 1942, when Nazis began to implement "The Final Solution to the Jewish Question." Massive Deportations of Jews to Death or Concentration camps continued until the summer of 1944. By then almost all the Ghettos had been destroyed.

Connection to Night

In the book you are going to read soon, "Night," the main character is a 14 year old named Elie Wiesel. He lived in a Ghetto since birth and the life I describe above was his reality for a large portion of his life.


Goldwater, Jo Ann. "The Holocaust: Ghettos." Ghettos Iin the Holocaust. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 1993. Web. 09 Jan. 2014. <>.

"Holocaust Timeline: The Ghettos." Holocaust Timeline: The Ghettos. Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 2005. Web. 08 Jan. 2014. <>.

Narodowej, Instytut Pamieci. "Life in the Ghettos." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 2005. Web. 09 Jan. 2014. <>.