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Manhole cover from the Miła Street neighborhood in the former Warsaw ghetto

Object | Accession Number: 1990.293.1 b

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    Manhole cover from the Miła Street neighborhood in the former Warsaw ghetto


    Brief Narrative
    Metal sewer manhole cover from the Miła Street neighborhood of the Warsaw ghetto in Poland. Before World War II, Warsaw was home to the second largest Jewish community in the world and a major center of Jewish life and culture, as well as the capital and largest city in Poland. Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the city was occupied by German soldiers and a ghetto was quickly established on October 12, 1940. The population of the 1.3 square mile ghetto swelled to 400,000 as Jews from surrounding areas were forced to move in. The food allotments issued in the ghetto were not enough to feed the population, necessitating the creation of a smuggling network that used, among other avenues, the sewers to bring in food and medicine. In the summer of 1942, approximately 265,000 Jews were taken from the ghetto to Treblinka killing center where they were murdered, and another 35,000 Jews were killed inside the ghetto. In January 1943, Schutzstaffel (SS) and police units returned to take the Jews to forced labor camps. However the remaining inhabitants were able to resist and the Germans were forced to pull out. In April, 1943, the SS and police force returned to liquidate the ghetto. Many prisoners resisted in what came to be known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, while others used the sewers to hide and escape. By May 16, the Germans had crushed the uprising and left the ghetto in ruins. When the city was liberated in 1945, only 11,500 Jews were left in the city.
    use:  approximately 1940 October 12-1943 May 16
    use: Warsaw (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Warsaw City Authority

    Physical Details

    Tools and Equipment
    Object Type
    Manhole covers (lcsh)
    Manhole covers.
    Physical Description
    Circular, manhole cover with two perpendicular metal bars that divide the center wooden portion of the cover into four quadrants. The center is surrounded by two metal rings with square shaped, raised ridges. There is approximately 1” of empty space between the rings and they are connected by square metal pieces at eight evenly spaced points. The surface has some slight surface rust. The wood is cracked and blackened.
    overall: Height: 5.000 inches (12.7 cm) | Diameter: 21.500 inches (54.61 cm)
    overall : metal, wood

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The manhole cover and housing were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1990 by the Warsaw City Authority.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-14 07:08:01
    This page:

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