Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
In September 1939, after the German invasion of Poland, more than 400,000 Jews of Warsaw were restrained in Warsaw Ghetto within the area of 1 square mile, enclosed with barbed wire and armed guards. Jews were not allowed to leave the limited area. Food and water delivery were controlled by the Nazi. Starvation and diseases rapidly spread over the Warsaw Ghetto.
Between 23 July and 21 September 1942, operation with code-name Grossaktion Warschau took place. Nearly 10,000 Jews were murdered, and nearly 300,000 Jews were deported to the extermination camp Treblinka and forced-labor camps.
On July 28, 1942 some underground organizations in Warsaw created the Jewish Combat Organization – an armed self-defense unit. In January 1943 they ambushed Nazi soldiers, and the deportations were cancelled for the next few months.
In April 1943, when Heinrich Himmler sent the troops armed with tanks and heavy artillery to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto, the uprising had begun. There were several hundreds of resistance fighters, commanded by Mordechaj Anielewicz and Paweł Frenkiel.
They were armed with pistols, home-made grenades, few rifles and automatic weapons. The opposing German forced outnumbered them in weapons and manpower. On the first day of fighting, the resistance forces stunned the Germans and killed 12 soldiers.
From the third day, German soldiers began to raze the ghetto building by building to force the Jewish resistance fighters out of their hiding. The Warsaw ghetto uprising lasted until 16 May, 1943. On that day, as a symbolic act, the Great Synagogue of Warsaw was demolished.
During Warsaw ghetto uprising nearly 7,000 Jews were killed and 50,000 were sent to extermination camps. German forces lost a total of 110 soldiers killed and wounded. The Warsaw ghetto uprising was the first urban uprising in Nazi-occupied Europe, and inspired other uprisings and revolts in ghettos and extermination camps.