On today in 1943, Waffen SS attacks Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto.
Shortly following German invasion of Poland, in September 1939, nearly 400,000 Polish Jews have already been confined to a 3.5-square-mile location that typically housed about 250,000. The “ghetto” was sealed off with a 10-foot-higher wall. Anyone caught leaving was shot on sight. As if this weren’t undesirable enough, the Nazis strictly controlled the number of meals that has been brought in to the ghetto, forcing Jews to reside in on a plate of soup each day. By July 1942, about 80,000 Jews had died.
On July 22, 1942, Heinrich Himmler ordered that Jews be “resettled” to extermination camps, such as for example Treblinka. Two months later, a lot more than 300,000 Jews have been delivered to the gas chambers. Less than 2 yrs immediately after the internment in the ghetto, only 60,000 Jews remained. But those that survived formed a Jewish Fighting Organization, referred to as ZOB, which were able to smuggle in weapons from anti-Nazi Poles. Armed, that they had been in a posture to resist additional deportations by attacking Germans from rooftops, cellars, and attics. A severe winter and a shortage of trains also prevented the SS from deporting a lot more Jews to death camps.
But spring brought Nazi retaliation. On April 19, 1943, Passover, Himmler sent greater than 2,000 Waffen SS soldiers to combat the Jewish resistance. German tanks, howitzers, machine guns, and flamethrowers have been met with Jewish pistols, rifles, homemade grenades, and Molotov cocktails. The Jews have been able to fight the German assault for 28 days. Finally, SS General Jurgen Stroop set the entire ghetto block, now reduced to a location 1,000 yards by 300 yards, burning and blew up the synagogue. By May, 56,065 Jews have been dead. It is estimated that the Germans lost 300, with 1,000 wounded.