Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Marks 71st Remembrance Anniversary

Earlier this year, the Jewish community in Poland and Warsaw’s local residents gathered together to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against its German occupiers during World War Two.

As part of the celebration, wreaths were laid by officials. It was then accompanied by a prayer session at the monument to the Ghetto heroes that stood up and fought against Nazi occupation and subsequent extermination. Next, the group took a walk to the former Umschlag Platz, the place where the inhabitants of the ghettos were forcefully loaded into cattle wagons and taken to Treblinka camp where they were subsequently gassed to death in 1943.

The Warsaw Ghetto uprising in Poland began when the residents of the city could no longer watch Nazi Germany soldiers as they forcefully remove Jewish people from their home and place them in a ghetto that was fenced with barbwire and armed with SS guards. They captured residents were subsequently transferred to concentration camps during the Second World War. It was the situation that led to the Jewish resistance fighters’ rebel against their Nazi occupiers, the ITV News reports.

Even though the Warsaw ghetto covered an area of less than two square miles, around 500,000 people were squeezed into it and made to live in unacceptable situations that took the lives of thousands of people every month. Many of the Ghetto inhabitants died as a result of contracting diseases or hunger from lack of food.

It was in July 1942 that the German soldiers started relocating about 6,000 Jews to Treblinka concentration camp every day. While these Jews where met to be killed in gas rooms, the Nazi’s lied to the ghetto’s residents by guaranteeing them the people being transferred were actually taken to camps where they could work. Before the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the Nazi’s relocated Jews irrespective of their age and gender, to the camp.

Before long, the ghetto residents started hearing the news that their relatives and friends were actually not sent to work sites – but to camps where they were meant to be killed. The shocking news that they were all going to die resulted to the formation of an underground resistance group known as the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB in polish: Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa). The group were able to acquire limited arms at a very high cost and it was the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The uprising battle and Nazi concentration camps took the lives of about half a million of Warsaw’s Jews residents.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE