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Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

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Published by: Bea Jam on Apr 27, 2012
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 AUGUST 2011
“Without the help of the Poles
we couldn’t have started the uprising.” 
Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the ghetto revolt
Germans Create a Ghetto in Warsaw: Jews and Poles Are Forcibly Relocated.…Creation of the Ghetto Condemned by the Polish Underground.Conditions in the Ghetto; Polish Attitudes and Assistance.The Great Deportation in Summer 1942 and Its Aftermath:Jewish Attitudes Begin to Change43The Warsaw Ghetto Revolt: An Overview8The Jewish Resistance Movement and Polish Assistance9 An Assessment of Polish Help..132 The Polish Underground Transmits News about the Holocaust to the West..143 Assistance Provided by the Catholic Clergy..145 Reaction of the Polish Population..151Rescue of Jews in Warsaw..16Risks Faced by Jews on the AryanSide..17Chronicle of Death: Poles Who Died Saving Jews..19Poles and Others: In the Realm of Unfair Comparisons..20Gratitude and Ingratitude..22Select Bibliography..22
Excerpts from Władysław Bartoszewski’s
The Blood Shed Unites Us..
230 Roman Gerlach’s Review of Yitzhak Zuckerman’s Memoir A Surplus of Memory..247 Kobi Ben-Simhon’s Article “World of our (god)fathers,” Ha’aretz, November 2, 2004..260 Preliminary Report on the NBC Miniseries Uprising..26Critique of the NBC Miniseries Uprising..271
This collection of materials consists mainly of citations from various authors whose names are set out in bold at the outset of the respective passages. The portions that are italicized are theeditor’s comments and notes. Sources are provided in the footnotes. The Polish Educational Foundation in North America, Toronto.
Germans Create a Ghetto in WarsawJews and Poles Are Forcibly Relocated
 Polish-Jewish relations did not take a dramatic turn for the worse after the German invasion. The suffering of the Jews aroused compassion and solidarity among many Poles, who themselves experienced Germanbrutality on a daily basis.
Wehrmacht General Johannes von Blaskowitz, in a report to General Walther von Brauchitsch,Commander-in-Chief of the German Army:
[February 6, 1940]: The acts of violence carried out in public against Jews are arousing in religious Poles [literally, “inthe Polish population, which is fundamentally pious (or God-fearing)”] not only the deepest disgust but also a greatsense of pity for the Jewish population.
Chaim Kaplan, a Jewish educator from Warsaw, made the following entries in his wartime diary:
[November 1, 1939]: The conqueror wanted to open the law courts. The dean of lawyers, Jan Nowodworski, in peaceful days a well-known anti-Semite, was called up and two requests were made of him: to insert an Aryan clause in the judicial code, and second, to take a loyalty oath to the Führer. Nowodworski did not agree to either, on the grounds that they were both against the Polish Constitution.[December 5, 1939]: At last the Poles have begun to understand that the hatred of the Jew which theconqueror spreads among them is an opiate, an intoxicating drink to blind them and turn their attentionaway from the real enemy. We thought that the “Jewish badge” would provide the local population with asource of mockery and ridicule—but we were wrong. There is no attitude of disrespect nor of making muchof another’s dishonor. Just the opposite. They show that they commiserate with us in our humiliation. Theysit silent in the street cars, and in private conversation they even express words of condolence andencouragement. “Better times will come!”[February 1, 1940]: But the oppressed and degraded Polish public, immersed in deepest depression under the influence of the national catastrophe, has not been particularly sensitive to this [pervasive anti-Semitic] propaganda [which is being spread by the Germans]. It senses that the conquerors are its eternal enemy, andthat they are not fighting the Jews for Poland’s sake. Common suffering has drawn all hearts closer, and the barbaric persecutions of the Jews have even aroused feelings of sympathy toward them. Tacitly,wordlessly, the two former rivals sense that they are brothers in misfortune; that they have a commonenemy who wishes to bring destruction upon both at the same time.[May 9, 1940]: Yet not a single Pole will register voluntarily [to work in Germany]. The conquerors areenraged and infuriated. … in order to avoid forcible capture in broad daylight and transportation to theReich, many Poles adorn themselves with the “Ribbon of Disgrace” (
) and masquerade asJews to make sure of not being seized for forced labor.
1 Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, and Volker Reiss,
‘Those Were the Days’: The Holocaust through the Eyes of the Perpetrators and Bystanders
(London: Hamish Hamilton, 1991), 4; Jeremy Noakes and GeoffreyPridham, eds.,
 Nazism 1919–1945: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts,
vol. II:
 Foreign Policy, War and Racial Extermination
(New York: Schocken, 1988), 939.2 Abraham I. Katsh, ed.,
Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan
(New York: Macmillan;London: Collier-Macmillan; London: Collier-Macmillan, 1965), 62, 82, 114, 150. In March 1941, Kaplanagain notes that in order to avoid round-ups and arrests, “many Poles escaped secretly and illegally fromthe Aryan quarter and came to live for a while in the Jewish ghetto. They even wrapped the ‘badge of shame’ on their right arms to disguise their origins.” Ibid., 254. (There is more later on Kaplan’s evolutionfrom the pronounced anti-Polish sentiments expressed in the entries made in the early months of the war.)Historian Philip Friedman notes that, while Christians in some Western European countries wore Stars of David to show solidarity with persecuted Jews, Poles in the Resistance trying to escape the Nazisdiscovered an ally in the Jewish badge, and that a “brisk trade” developed where Poles bought or borrowed2
The German invasion brought about conflicts within the Jewish community itself. Jewish shopkeepershoarded their merchandise in the expectation of profiting as prices skyrocketed due to shortages. As Irena Bakowska recalls,
Grunia Achlomov Dobrejcer, who had a philanthropic nature, and made a habit of lending money withoutinterest to several neighbourhood merchants. … My grandmother’s modest, short-term loans had helpedthem to survive. But on 2 September [1939], when my grandmother went to buy her daily bread rolls, thestorekeeper—a poor woman who had borrowed money from her for years—now seemed to barelyrecognize her, and refused to sell her anything. Perhaps the storekeeper was ashamed to charge her the new,inflationary price, for she sent my grandmother away with no bread. … Then [my mother] went to the storeherself, put a large sum of money on the counter, and returned home with the fresh rolls for mygrandmother .
U.S.-style racial segregation was unknown in Poland, hence when the Germans decided to create a ghettoin Warsaw in October 1940, the Jews and Poles had to be physically separated. Throughout occupied  Poland several hundred thousand Poles were displaced from their homes as a direct consequence of theGerman-ordered resettlement of Jews into ghettos.
Martin Gilbert, British historian:
Of the 400,000 Jews of Warsaw, more than 250,000 lived in the predominantly Jewish district. Theremaining 150,000 lived throughout the city, some Jews in almost every street and suburb. On 3 October 1940, at the start of the Jewish New Year, the German Governor of Warsaw, Ludwig Fischer, announcedthat all Jews living outside the predominantly Jewish district would have to leave their homes and to moveto the Jewish area. Whatever belongings could be moved by hand, or on carts, could go with them. The rest —the heavy furniture, the furnishings, the stock and equipment from shops and businesses—had to beabandoned.Warsaw was to be divided into three ‘quarters’: one for Germans, one for Poles, and one for Jews. … Morethan a hundred thousand Poles, living in the area designated for the Jews, were likewise ordered to move, tothe ‘Polish quarter’. They too would lose their houses and their livelihoods. On October 12, the second Dayof Atonement of the war, a day of fasting and of prayer, German loudspeakers announced that the move of Poles and Jews into their special quarters must be completed by the end of the month. ‘Black melancholyreigned in our courtyard,’ Ringelblum noted. ‘The mistress of the house’—a Pole—’had been living theresome thirty-seven years, and now she has to leave her furniture behind. Thousands of Christian businessesare going to be ruined.’ … Both Poles and Jews obeyed the fierce decree.
Chaim Kaplan, chronicler of the Warsaw ghetto, on the creation of the ghetto:
… all the Aryans (read Poles) living in the streets within the walls must move to the Aryan quarter. To acertain extent the edict has hurt the Poles more than the Jews, for the Poles are ordered to move not onlyfrom the ghetto, but from the German quarter as well. Nazism wants to separate everyone … badges from Jews. He also cites an entry from Emanuel Ringelblum’s diary for May 8, 1940: “Everywherethe Germans are rounding up Poles. Jews are screened to make certain they are not camouflaged Poles. ...I’ve heard that during the raid Jews of Aryan appearance were ordered to speak Yiddish to identifythemselves.” See Philip Friedman,
Their Brothers’ Keepers
(New York: Holocaust Library, 1978), 37. It isworth noting that Jews did not rush to assist endangered Poles or to manifest their solidarity with themwhen such opportunities arose: “The price of armbands soared, as the demand increased”—they were notgiven out for free. See Gary A. Keins,
 A Journey Through the Valley of Perdition
([United States]: n.p.,1985), 62.3 Irena Bakowska,
 Not All Was Lost: A Young Woman’s Memoir, 1939–1946 
(Kingston, Ontario: Karijan,1998), 12–13.4 Martin Gilbert,
The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy
(Glasgow: William Collins, 1986), 127–30.3

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