- An apartment building razed by the SS burns during the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
1943 April 19 - 1943 May 16
- Warsaw, Poland
- Variant Locale
- Photo Credit
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Instytut Pamieci Narodowej
- Event History
- The Warsaw ghetto uprising (April 19--May 16, 1943) was the twenty day battle initiated by the Jewish fighting forces in Warsaw when German troops entered the ghetto to begin the final round of deportations. Having received advanced warning of the timing of the action, the entire population of the ghetto disappeared into prepared hiding places before the Germans arrived. Non-compliance with orders to assemble for deportation was accompanied by hit and run attacks on German units, which forced their temporary withdrawal from the ghetto. After several days of clashes with resistance fighters, the Germans resolved to burn down the ghetto and smoke the Jews out of their concealed bunkers. The Jewish resistance, led by Mordecai Anielewicz, held out until May 8, when its headquarters at Mila 18 was discovered and many of its leaders (including Anielewicz) killed. It was another week, however, before the Germans snuffed out the last pockets of resistance. Not having planned for an organized retreat from the ghetto, only a few dozen fighters were able to escape to the Aryan side of Warsaw. This, they accomplished by winding their way through the city's sewer system. Some 56,000 Jews, according to Stroop's report, were killed or captured during the ghetto revolt. Of those who were taken alive, 7,000 were deported to their immediate death in Treblinka. Another 22,000 were sent to Majdanek. Between 14,000 and 16,000 Jews went to the Poniatowa labor camp, and between 5,000 and 6,000 were sent to the Trawniki camp. The Warsaw Jews who were deported to Poniatowa and Trawniki were shot during the Erntefest action of November 3-4, 1943 that was intended to eliminate the remaining Jews in the Lublin district. The majority of those sent to Majdanek were also murdered in this action, but several thousand others, who had been transferred to other camps --including Auschwitz, Budzyn and Krasnik-- after their arrival in Majdanek, were spared. Some of these Jews, who were later evacuated toward the west, survived the war.