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July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
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Remembering The Warsaw Ghetto

This week the Jewish world commemorated Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, on the anniversary of the fall of the Warsaw Ghetto. A quick search on the Internet showed nearly 10,000 sites with information on the uprising by Jewish resistance fighters who fought valiantly against the Germans in Warsaw. The websites cover a wide range of material including pictures, maps, diagrams and memoirs. Also hidden among the historically correct sights are pages dedicated to Holocaust denial; they are written by people who beyond all evidentiary proof still say the Holocaust perpetrated by the Germans against the Jews during World War II is a myth.


When studying the events of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising it is always best to go to the original sources. There have been many books and movies produced about the uprising, but although based on facts, stories such as “The Pianist,” the story of a musician who survived the war within the confines of the Ghetto, are brought into question as soon as even one small incident is changed for dramatic reasons.


There is a book that tells the story without any literary license and cannot be in dispute. The Stroop Report, is a facsimile edition and translation of the official German report on the day-to-day battle and destruction of the Ghetto. In the Stroop Report we see the forces used by the Germans, as well as the casualties suffered and those inflicted. It gives a blow-by-blow account of each action.


The report is very precise in its information, listing the number of troops assigned to each operation the dates and even times – hourly reports from the men in the field with time stamps. At the end of the report it lists every German soldier and foreign fighter by name, rank and unit that was killed or wounded in the various actions against the Jews. The reports were sent to the German SS general and general of the police, Friedrich William Krueger.


In the final report of May 23, 1943, Stroop, The German commander of Warsaw, said that “Of the total 56,065 Jews apprehended, about 7,000 were destroyed [murdered] directly in the course of the Grand Operation in the Jewish quarter, 6,929 were destroyed via transport to T II [Treblinka II], making a total of Jews destroyed 13,929. In addition to this figure an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 Jews were destroyed in explosions and fires.


The Germans also destroyed 631 bunkers and listed a variety of captured arms including rifles, grenades, home-made bombs and incendiary devices.The report goes onto say that the bombs and incendiary devices were “immediately put to use against the bandits.”


Listed among the booty was “about nine million zloty large amounts of foreign money including 9,200 gold dollars, and a large amount of Jewely (rings, necklaces, watches etc.)


The last notation of the report states, “There are only eight buildings remaining in the Ghetto area being used for administration purposes, and the destroyed buildings would be a profitable source of brick and crushed rock.


The report shows how thorough the Germans were in the destruction of the Jewish community of Warsaw and in their own words how they hunted down every Jew no matter the age or fighting ability, how they counted every stone from which they could make a profit. These pages written in their own hand are proof against all those who would deny the Holocaust.


Another source of the pure truth is the Ringelblum Archives. These archives are a collection of documents hidden during the battles for the Ghetto. They are comprised of German order posters, death notices, accounts written by the Jewish commanders, and even school report cards. The archives show from the side of the Jews how the German attack was fought off, not only with arms but with life. They include reports of a theater group, musical recitals and civility in the face of inhumanity. Dr. Emanuel Ringleblum, who was in charge of gathering the material, wrote before his death that the purpose of this archive is to “Scream the Truth at the World” and deny the lie that the Holocaust never happened.

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September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

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In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

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Growing up in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century, I, along with most people, know very little about the First World War. The little that I did know was about the trench warfare in France and Belgium. The Eastern Front was barely, if ever, mentioned and usually stated that it ended with the Russian Revolution and overthrowing the Czar.

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