The Warsaw ghetto uprising took place in Warsaw, Poland and was a conflict between the german nazis and the polish jews. Shortly after the german invasion of Poland more than 400,000 Jews in Warsaw, the capital, were confined to an area of the city that was little more than 1 square mile. The ghetto was sealed off with barbed wire and armed guards and anyone that was seen leaving was shot, clearly the conditions were grueling. About 55,000 to 60,000 Jews remained in the Warsaw ghetto, and small groups of them united and came together to create small self defense groups such as Jewish Combat Organization, or ZOB, which managed to smuggle in a limited supply of weapons from anti-Nazi Poles. In the uprising an estimated amount of 7,000 jews were perished and about the 50,000 jews were sent to extermination or labor camps meanwhile the germans lost about several hundred men.
On jan 18 1943 the germans gathered up about 7,000 jews and sent them to an extermination camp in treblinka, they then killed 600 more in Warsaw and on that same day an uprising began. At the start small jewish organizations such as the jewish Fighting organization had about only 600 volunteers and the jewish military association had about 400 which a significantly smaller amount compared to the german nazis. They only had 10 handguns as well showing how weak they were, howeevery they still believed it was better to die fighting that standings, since they faced the fact that they were going to die both ways. Later on, on april 19 1943 Himmler sent in SS forces and their collaborators with tanks and heavy artillery to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto, hundreds of resistance fighters that were armed with a small cache of weapons fought the germans back who largely outnumbered them,the germans continued to destroy the ghetto, by razing the ghetto buildings, block by block, as well as destroying the bunkers that many jews were residing and hiding in. By may 16th the ghetto was heavily under Nazi control and as a symbolic cruel act the germans blew up the Warsaw’s greatest Synagogue, which is a house of worship for the jews.
Stroop however wanted to make a symbolic act as previously mentioned so he officially reported that the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw “no longer exists.” then Himmler ordered a celebratory event: which was blowing up the synagogue that was built in 1877. There were many survivors who lived to tell the story and that were scared by this event such as an old woman named Vladka.
This woman belonged to the youth movement of the Bund ( the jewish socialist party). She was active in the warsaw ghetto underground and was a member of the jewish fighting organization (ZOB). In December 1942, she was smuggled out to the Aryan, Polish side of Warsaw to try to obtain arms and to find hiding places for children and adults. She tells her story in an interview where she was asked about the day of the explosion and the transcript of the interview is as followed”While being there at night, I saw the flames of the ghetto. And I saw also certain pictures which were seared in my mind. Some Jews running from one place to the other and also seeing some Jews jumping from buildings, but I was observing this from a window and I couldn’t do anything.
And then flames burst into the ghetto. The Germans couldn’t take over the streets, they start putting block after block on fire. They start burning the ghettos…the buildings, and this was the uprising which we.
..the small group on the Aryan side, we tried to get through. We tried to communicate. We decided even to go into the into the ghetto to be with them but it was, everything was in vain. We didn’t have any communication. We saw only tanks coming in, tanks going out, or some ambulances going in and we’re listening to the shooting and in that time it was…they…we have to let the outside know what is going on.