“...No one believed they would be saved. We knew the struggle was doomed, but it
showed the world there was resistance against the Nazis, that you could fight the Nazis...” -Marek Edelman.
At the height of World War II, the Nazis had taken over quite a few countries
including: some of France (the Rhineland), Austria, the Sudetenland, and Poland. By this time,
Adolf Hitler had forced many Jews into small areas of a city, called ghettos. There were ghettos
in Lodz, Krakow, Lublin, and Warsaw. The ghetto in Warsaw, Poland, was the largest of all of the
ghettos created. Over 400,000 Jews were packed into an area only about 1.3 miles across. Plans for this ghetto started after Germany conquered Poland in 1939 (Karesh). A few years later, Hitler deported most of the Jews in this ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp. The remaining Jews were furious, and held an uprising. Although the Jews were defeated, they were strong and showed the Nazis that they could hold their own.
The Warsaw Ghetto uprising was sometimes called the Second Warsaw Uprising. It was
called this to distinguish it from the earlier Warsaw Uprising, where the Polish Home Army
resisted the German occupiers (Axelrod, Kingston). The Jews were very afraid when they found
out that they were being deported. One man, Adam Czerniakow (Jewish Council of Warsaw),
convinced Nazis to delay deportation but felt so guilty, he committed suicide before anything was done about it (Karesh).
The Jews had found out about this deportation and were appalled. They obviously didn't want to be killed, so on July 28, 1942 the 500 remaining Jews formed The Jewish Fighting Organization (Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, ZOB) and took control of the entire ghetto (Gutman). The ZOB was led by a 23-year-old man called Mordechai Anielewicz (Karesh). This group was formed to defend the Jews and stop the deportation. They wanted to show the Germans that the Jewish race was not weak, cowardly, or beaten down.
When news spread and the Germans got word of the ZOB, they immediately went to Warsaw to stop them. Three thousand German troops commanded by SS Brigadier General Jürgen Stroop, including 2,600 SS troops and soldiers and police, headed to attack the ghetto with tanks and armored trucks (Gutman). Although the Nazis were coming for them, the Jews did not back down. They were determined to fight, hold their own, and defeat their enemy. They hurried and gathered supplies that included twenty large machine guns, 98 small guns, 844 submachine guns, 1,386 rifles, and 2,665 handguns (Axelrod, Kingston). As they prepared, help arrived. Since the Polish were under German control, they too did not like the Nazis. The uprising was commanded by the Home Army General, Antoni Chrusciel and about 37,600 Polish insurgents, most of whom were Polish Home Army troops, teamed up with the Jews (Axelrod, Kingston). In total, there were about 38,100 Poles/Jews going against 5,600 troops of Germans/SS.
On April 19,...