Warsaw Ghetto

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Although by no means unique in the German‐occupied eastern territories during World War II, this was the largest and best‐known of all the Jewish ghettos during this period, and remains a terrible symbol of the unspeakable atrocities committed against the Jewish population. After the entry into Warsaw of the forces of Nazi Germany in September 1939, the Germans quickly sealed off the Jewish quarters. Hunger, filth, and squalor reigned, and the ghetto almost burst at the seams, as altogether 400,000 Jews from all over occupied Poland were sent there. Matters deteriorated sharply after the Wannsee Conference of 1941 (see concentration camps). An increasing number of Jews were transported from the ghetto straight into the gas chambers of the Nazi extermination camps. By July 1942, up to 12,000 Jews per day were sent to die in the gas chambers of the Treblinka concentration camp. The attempt by the SS to deport the remaining inhabitants and dissolve the ghetto on 19 April 1943 led to the desperate resistance of a force of about 1,100 badly armed Jews. This was squashed by 16 May 1943. 12,000 Jews were killed during the fighting itself, mostly through German arson attacks and executions. After the uprising, 7,000 Jews were gassed in extermination camps, while 30,000 were shot there. In all, over 300,000 Jews of the ghetto were murdered.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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