Warsaw Ghetto

Shea Friedges, Hour 3

Background Information

Before WWII, Warsaw, Poland (the capital of Poland) was a large center of Jewish life. In fact, approximately 30% of the city's population was Jewish before the war. Unfortunately, after the German invasion of Poland, it became a large ghetto in which Jewish persons were forced to live. This horrible mandatory living space for the Jews operated from October 12th, 1940 to May of 1943.

(The picture to the right shows part of the wall surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto, built by the Nazis, and enclosing Jews within.

The picture below is the Nazi-appointed administer of the Warsaw Ghetto council of Jews, Adam Czerniakow.)

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During World War Two

At the start of WWII, Jewish citizens were forced out of their homes and into enclosed cities that were made specifically to contain the Jewish population. This prosecution and harsh treatment was a part of Hitler's "Final Solution."

(This picture shows SS officers standing at attention for their superiors.)

Living Conditions

The food ration for the average Warsaw Jew was only 184 calories, compared to the average 2,613 for Germans. In addition to the lack of nutrition, there was over-crowding to deal with. There were over 400,000 Jews crammed into the area of 1.3 square miles. Many families shared their living space with one or two other families. All of this crowding inevitably led to disease. Over 100,000 of the ghetto's residents died of diseases, starvation, or random killings before the Nazis even started mass deportation of Jews to death camps.

(This picture shows a young man starving on the streets due to the lack of proper nutrition provided.)

First Stop on a Horrific Journey

Though many died in this ghetto, for many more it was only the first stop on their way to many more horrors. Over 300,000 Jew were deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to concentration and extermination camps.

(The picture shows a memorial plaque for the Warsaw Ghettos that says: "Along this path of suffering and death over 300,000 Jews were driven in 1942-1943 from the Warsaw Ghetto to the gas chambers of Nazi concentration camps.)

Poor Treatment Leads to an Uprising

All of the poor treatment and hatred of the Jews within this ghetto eventually led the Jews to rise up against the SS officer that treated them so poorly. The uprising began on April 19th, 1943 and lasted until the 16th of May, 1943. Unfortunately for the residents of the Warsaw Ghetto, the victory of this revolt went to the Germans.

(The picture here shows the Jewish residents being rounded up by SS officers after the revolt and the dectuction caused by it in the background.)