The Warsaw Ghetto
In September 1939 the Germans took control of Poland and Warsaw after a three week siege. There was no love lost between the Germans and the Poles and it soon became clear that the Nazis, considering themselves a 'Master Race', valued Polish life at next to nothing. As was later demonstrated, on an unprecedented scale, this was one step up from the value they put on Jewish life.
As early as November 1939 in Warsaw the first decrees intended to denigrate the Jewish people were issued by the Nazis - the most notable of which was that all Jews over the age of twelve years were forced to identify themselves by wearing a Star of David on their sleeve. These first measures were just the start of a long process however, and with more edicts issued every month it wasn't long before the Jews were reduced to the status of slaves and chattel. They were forbidden to work in either key industries or government institutions, to bake bread, to earn more than 500 zloty a month, to travel by train or trolley-bus, to leave the city limits without special permits, to possess gold or jewellery, plus all Jewish shops and enterprises had also to be marked with the Star of David. In addition to these official oppressions, Jews were summarily humiliated, beaten or even executed for little or spurious reason. In short they lived their lives in a state of constant fear.
Plans for a Jewish ghetto had in fact existed since the beginning of the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, but in October 1940 they finally began to take form. A small district South West of the Old Town, in the centre of the city, was chosen and 113,000 Poles were evacuated to make way for Warsaw's 400,000 Jews. Thirty percent of the city's population were now living in an area that constituted less than three square miles, or 2.4 % of the capital. In November that area was closed off by a formidable wall, topped with barbed wire.
Life in the ghetto started off tough and quickly got worse. At first some semblance of normal life presided: cafes were still open, newspapers published (newspapers from 'the outside' were forbidden), school lessons took place and people strived to continual a normal existence as best as they could. Those who had managed to hold on to any of their wealth in particular were able to live in a small degree of comfort. Smuggling food into the ghetto was common, either by bribing guards at the gates, or carrying it in via underground canals - whilst poorer people would send their children over to the 'Aryan side' to steal what they could. The official food ration of around 200 calories a day per person was less than 10 percent of the ration for Germans (and about 25% of the ration for Poles).
As more and more Jews were brought in from the neighbouring towns and villages, conditions became yet more cramped. Money for bribes was drying out (and was only ever the privilege of a few) and the poor people of the ghetto, skeletal and wretched, began starving en masse. In addition to death by starvation a typhoid epic, caused by the poor sanitary conditions, broke out; meaning that by April 1941 the mortality rate in the ghetto was a staggering six thousand people per month. Funeral carts would come and collect the bodies every morning, between 4-5am; mostly the corpses were dumped naked on the streets - the families were forced to strip their relatives in order to sell the clothes.
Whilst the Jews in the ghetto were dying, they weren't dying quickly enough as far as Berlin was concerned. Hitler's original plans to ship all European Jews to Africa were proved impractical, and so it was that the chilling 'Final Solution' was decided upon, early in 1942. Between July and September of that year 300,000 ghetto Jews were transported to the Treblinka Extermination Camp, in the Nazis first mass deportation effort. At first few believed, including the Jews themselves, that the rumours of these death camps were real - preferring to believe that they being sent to hard labour camps. Eventually the evidence that was fed back (by escapees from the camps and by various secret agents and journalists) became irrefutable. The 60,000 remaining occupants of the ghetto had no choice but to confront the awful truth.
When the Nazis prepared to organise a second deportation to Treblinka in 1943 the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began.
* Several survivors of the ghetto are still alive today. And out of respect to all the internees of the ghetto, we kindly ask that reviewers write only essential comments. Thank you.
This article on the Warsaw Ghetto is meant to be an informative introduction to Warsaw's history for travellers, and is not meant to be used for academic research. Please do not use it for any academic papers, but instead refer to published academic works and textbooks.*
Rob C from United Kingdom Reply
This helped me with my history HW, thanks.
Harmony from United Kingdom Reply
An incredibly handy website that is really educational but throws a new perspective on life in the ghetto. Thank you!
Irene Nielsen from United States Reply
Did you have any contact or knowledge of the work done by Irena Sendler? Beyond the book Life in a Jar, can you share important experiences of rescue? Thank you. Gratefully, Irene
liz from United States Reply
Work on spelling please :)
Jasmine from United Kingdom Reply
This helped me on my English project as well. Thanks
Lily from United States Reply
This helped me on my literature assignment, thanks.
Resh from United States Reply
This just makes me sick to the stomache and just curl in a ball and cry for all the people who went through this. The information of this article helped me understand more about World War II so thank you.
A. Derrin from Germany Reply
The " Final Solution " should have been the " First Solution "
James from United Kingdom Reply
This article helped me with my history assignment, thanks a lot.
Sophia from United States Reply
wow thanks helped me a lot now i can finish my paper:)
Shen from United States Reply
Decent article, it provided a good deal of information.
Anushka from United Kingdom Reply
I love this article! It has helped me a lot with my history assignment. Thanks to whowever wrote it
Jesse from United States Reply
This was not helpful!! I found no info that related to how warsaw was like back then.
selina from Germany Reply
this was not helpful i found no info that related to how warsaw was like back then.
Charlene from United Kingdom Reply
Hans from Germany Reply
That is so terrible what they did
Nick from Australia Reply
Wow! This has so much information! This has really helped with my humanities assignment! Thanks a lot!
stanley userbot from New Zealand Reply
this was very handy helped a lot
andrea from France Reply
this is good info thank you
shahn from United Kingdom Reply
So helpful, thankyou so much, had a massive essay to do as well! :))))
brooke from United States Reply
this is a good article
from United States Reply
*~* from United States Reply
As stated before, accuracy helps, 184 calories and not 200 calories for rations. Despite this, it is very informative, and it's free information, of course people are using it for academic research!
jsvkjvksdbgjsdjvbd from United States Reply
ths helped for my 500 ward report a lot
from United States Reply
Paola Oporto from United States Reply
What in trying to find is how some eventually saved themselves and how they fought agsints the gremans
tammy tambe from United States Reply
this site help alot with my paper!! thanks:)
madi14 from United States Reply
This is tots a 10 it helped me a lot with my research paper thank you so much to who ever wrote this your amazing trust me best site for the warsaw ghetto especially when you have to write 5,000 word research essay!!!!!
Mel from United Kingdom Reply
Really helpful summary! Thankyou!!!!
Michael W. from United Kingdom Reply
I believe the daily diet limit in the Warsaw Ghetto was set at only 184 calories per day, by the Nazis. Accuracy helps us to recognize evil again; like the upcoming 20% cut in the overall spending on Disability Living Allowance, (DLA), benefits in the UK, its like the Nazi's T4 program all over again!
Zachary Brown from United States Reply
Great thank you for the info
Keeryanda uracil from United States Reply
i Think it really sucked and it smells like egg salad!!
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Hannah Miller from United States Reply
This is a very good article! Thanks so much, it helped me a lot with the ten page report i have to do on this topic!!!
from United States Reply
i will do it for school work if i want
from United States Reply
it was bad but good
Jaime from United States Reply
this article was fantastic and has very good information! I am working on a project for school and this gave me lost of information! Since I have to do a 3 page paper!
me from United States Reply
it was a good article thingy and im working on a project for school and it helped
from United States Reply
may all the nazis souls burn for eternity
hannah from United Kingdom Reply
it is really bad i cant believe they did that
amiellla from United States Reply
Why do you say you rather we not use it for research? What makes it unsuitable for research?
samantha from United States Reply
it was very goooooood!
ana from Mexico Reply
that was so awful and stupid
Hailey Willis from United States Reply
This helped me A LOT with my school powerpoint! Great job to who ever wrote it! :)
lila from United Kingdom Reply
thanks for the help with my homework
jack from United Kingdom Reply
lots of intresting facts
blah from Brazil Reply
squishers from Albania Reply
Great help.Very useful and reliable information!
Lorraine from Canada Reply
Sounds alot like the gaza ghetto the Zionist created and seem to like
murph from United States Reply
couldnt find the mortality rate
Freddie McDonald from Australia Reply
Although there is basically nothing left of the Warsaw Ghetto wall,you can still sense the horror in that place,especially at such places as Ul Próżna and the sites of Pawiak prison and the Umschlagplatz Monument at ul.Stawki.
good from United States Reply
very sad it helped with my school project
Katie from France Reply
it is very sad and it never should never have happened this helped with my school project
v. boutch from United States Reply
we should never forget these atrocities
Rhiannon Haworth from United Kingdom Reply
While the article was good, and it provided lots of useful information. However you did not mention the author of the picture, it's date or where the picture was taken.
C from United Kingdom Reply
good review nothing about the jobs Jews had to do!!!
Rehash from United Kingdom Reply
it is so sad it made me cry
chloe from United Kingdom Reply
R.I.P to the people who lost their lives verry sad:(
chloe from United Kingdom Reply
really horrible what happend it shouled have not happend, and thanks this has really helped me with my homework :)
Reece Washington from United Kingdom Reply
very detailed, homework completed!! ;)
Noah Smith from United Kingdom Reply
I used this article as research for my school essay. Really helped, thanks a lot.
gracie angel from United States Reply
very helpful/sad info here.
unknown from United States Reply
really good! im doing a report on Warsaw ghetto and this really helped!
Suryaksh from United Kingdom Reply
its very very sad on what happened to the Jews. they did not deserve it at all :(
Mr. Sandusky from Niger Reply
I found it helpful in my writing of a research paper about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Nicole from United States Reply
. That is veey sad what they did to them they didnt deserve that , they was like any normal person . what happend if they did that to the people that was doing it to them they wouldnt like it , i just bet they wouldnt ! -sgan
Sarah from United States Reply
Thanks to Warsaw-Life team! This reeeeallly helped my note taking for a big research paper. It would help me in citing you if I knew the author of this article. Very informative, but some information was comparable to other websites and books I have read.
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Cole from Australia Reply
Who wrote this? its amazing but who wrote it?
Unknown from United States Reply
I think that this article was great,however I think that you coule have used a bit more detail to describe the ghettos. Great Work!
doglover from United States Reply
I liked it very much! I needed to do a report on jews in poland and this helped me A LOT! Thanks
Anna Thompson from United Kingdom Reply
Honestly, some parts were good and very factual, but I wanted to hear, in simple words yet excruciating detail, about what happened inside the ghetto. My homework remains unfinished!
Sumbal from India Reply
I no like this at all. Very boring. And why should not i use this academic purposes i can do what i want whenever i want.
rayven from United States Reply
This article was fine...!
christian2015 from United States Reply
this is really sad but more important is that if you were to die today would you go to heaven?we don't ever know when we are going to die, just like these people
Kimberr:) from United States Reply
Thought that it was very helpful and very detailed!
:(:) from Algeria Reply
i think it was a fantastic web-site! it gave me all the info i needed, and much much more! :)
lmfao loves it! from United States Reply
I'm working on my ghetto project in american studies,and I thought this website was very helpful!
:) (: :( ): from United States Reply
it's okay, but i mean, i already knew most of this stuff. Plus the question i wanted answered was not in this article. In fact none of my questions were answered. I would recommend it to people who don't know a whole lot about the holocaust, but it didn't help me at all. I really expected more from the other comments i read. NOT GOOD!!!!!!!!!! :( :( :( :( :( :(
Jenn from United States Reply
This was very good! great details! This really helped me for my project! I had to get info about the Warsaw Ghetto, and this was perfect.
Abigail Lee from United Kingdom Reply
This is a good informative piece of writing but it didn't give me all the answers i needed, i would suggest this for some consequences but this does not cover all the subjects on ghettos.
Olga Stephnovia Radchuk from Poland Reply
My biological father Stephen Radchuk died trying to fight for freedom for Poland, and my mom Olyssa died shortly after she was captured. How would i try to find my dads name on the ghetto wall in Warsaw Poland. Where can i find my dads name.
Joe from United Kingdom Reply
Could some one please do a citation MLA style for this article.
Dont Worry Boutit from United States Reply
I mean the holocaust was awful we all know that you dont need to read some article to tell you that. Everything that the Nazis did to those people were just plain mean I dont understand why someone would do that. If they think they were true Christians they are completlly wrong, they would have never done that if they belived in Jesus like a true Christian. BUT THEY DONT. but anyway i just read this because i had to make a powerpoint on the holocaust in English since we're reading Night. (if you read all of this you have no life, im just procrastinating)
crystal from United States Reply
this didnt talk anything about the life in the ghetto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Biannca from United States Reply
pretty cool and informative :)
Felicia from United States Reply
This is a great article gave me a lot of answers to questions i had. Thanks for helping me with my homework. Also, I would just like to point out that not all christians hated jews. Nor do they today. As a christian, i would like to say that the bible says we are all equal, and all deserve the same rights. Those nazi's who said they were christians weren't probably real christians because somebody who TRULLY believes in God's word, would not carry through with the horrible deeds that they performed.
Elliot of PVMS from United States Reply
i think that what happen'd was horrible, i'm glad its over. and good article.
Joseph from United Kingdom Reply
Brilliant, very well written, very helpful. I didn't know Hitler had plans to ship the Jews to Africa! Learn something new every day.. Ignore these morons on the comments, I think you have done a great job. 10/10!
kkkk from United States Reply
Joe from Rockledge, Florida from United States Reply
Virtually no one alive today in the United States can imagine the horror and inhumanity that the Jews of Poland suffered during the second world war. It is a great benefit to humanity and particularly to those who still live in freedom to be aware of all that happens when a totalitarian regime controls people. Lest we forget, the very same fate that befell the Jews of Poland in 1939 - 1945 could happen anywhere - including Americaor the UK at any time in the future.
Bert from United Kingdom Reply
Fantastic review and really informative!!
I LOVE JUSTIN BIEBER from United States Reply
this is absolutely incredible thank you so much you have a true talent with information it helped me soo much! i defiantly recommend other people to read it :) xxo
asif gudhan from Bulgaria Reply
this helped me great deal saince i had to write a essay about the holocaust! thanks very much!
polina scimone from United States Reply
hey I loved the article. I am only 13 and hate to read thing that go on and on and on, but this article was great I wasn't bored at all like I would have been as usually. I was working on the project about it and I got and A+ the teacher asked where I got the info and I told her and she loved it also. I hope that you make more sighs like this, it was be great.
minnie from United Kingdom Reply
interesting and deatiled but brief at the same time! ;) Downfall: state the purpose of the ghettos
Nirvana (: from United Kingdom Reply
Thankyou so much, your information has helped me in my school work, I have to write a report based on what the ghetto's were like in warsaw and how they lived their lives. This has also made me realise all those people who lost their lives.. R.I.P!
from United States Reply
you should add information about Irena Sendler. she rescued 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto
Frederick Goldman from United States Reply
Great article. What people do not know is that Jews have been targets of terrorism since before the creation of the Catholic church and Christianity. It was christians that taught and practiced anti-semitism for over 1700 years and why Hitler targeted the Jews. Hitler was a devote roman catholic and all nazis have only been white, catholics, christian and heterosexuals. I was told by an old christian hyngarian man who witnessed this that it was supported by most European christians because they were afraid the Jews were going to take over control of Europe. Hitler didn't invent ghettos or concentration camps. The American christians did. They attempted to exterminate the American Indians and put many of them in concentration camps where they were murdered. They terrorized the blacks (slavery is a form of terrorism). During WW-II, the Americans were reluctant to enter the European war because the Germans were christians. Americans had no problem going to war with non white and non christian countries like Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan (did I miss any?). Even the cold war was a religious war against communism that was against religion. It was about christianity. Nazis did not die out, they just changed their uniforms, their M O and still target Jews, Blacks, Homosexuals, poor, gypsies, disabled, mentally ill, mentally retarded and all that are not white, christian and heterosexual. They jsut haven't built the concentration camps yet, though there is a sheriff in Arizona that is testing out a design for cheap concentration camps and is filling them with poor Mexicans.
david from United States Reply
if one wants to read an excellent book about the Warsaw experience, I recommend the book-'The Boy'. its about the famous foto of the boy with the hat on and he is holding his hands up like he is surrenduring to thet Nazis. its an excellent read about the people who may have known him as well as their experiences during the uprising.