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Holocaust Ghettos Essay

1209 words - 5 pages

Holocaust Ghettos

Holocaust ghettos; these are the over looked places where the Jews, in Nazi controlled lands, awaited their future.

"The Nazis revived the medieval ghetto in creating their compulsory
"Jewish Quarter" (Wohnbezirk). The ghetto was a section of a city
where all Jews from the surrounding areas were forced to reside.
Surrounded by barbed wire or walls, the ghettos were often sealed so
that people were prevented from leaving or entering. Established
mostly in Eastern Europe ), the ghettos were characterized by
overcrowding, starvation and forced labor. All were eventually
destroyed as the Jews were deported to death camps."
(http://www.wiesenthal.com/resourse/gloss.htm#24 )

In these neighborhoods, Jews lived in limbo while they were between home and concentration or extermination camps. What happened in these ghettos? How were these neighborhoods blocked off? Did the inhabitants even try to resist? Was there a sense of community in the ghettos or was it every individual for himself? What happened to the people in the ghettos? How did people survive the ghettos?

In these holocaust ghettos, there were thousands of people confined in a compact space. The most famous of these ghettos, the Warsaw Ghetto, "had confined nearly 400,000 Jews in a three and a half square mile area of Warsaw which normally housed about 160,000 (History place 1)." Since most people who controlled the governments did not like the Jews, not enough food got into the ghetto. The Jews were made to survived on a bowl of soup or less a day.

Due to the horrible conditions in the ghettos hundreds died every day. Some died of starvation, others died from disease, but many others died of "ghetto disease". Ghetto disease was a syndrome caused by loss of hope and exhaustion. An example of this is:

In the evening I had to prepare food and cook
supper, which exhausted me totally. In
politics there's absolutely nothing new. Again
out of impatience I feel myself beginning to
fall into melancholy. There is really no way
out of this for us (Sierakowiak 2).

A week later the author of this quote, Dawid Sierakowiak, died of "ghetto disease".

These neighborhoods were blocked off from the rest of the cities with barbed wire. In some places, the fences were a combination of brick and wire that rose up to eleven feet high. If anyone tried to cross the fences or communicate with anyone on the other side of the fence, they were shot on sight. The only people allowed to pass through the fences were Jews with work permits or non-Jewish citizens aligned
with the Nazi party.

Due to these horrendous circumstances, resistance forces began to form in the ghettos. These forces, such as the Jewish Combat Organization and the Jewish...

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