The Warsaw Ghetto

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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, or to possess gold or jewellery. Furthermore, 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 reasons. 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 continue 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 having been 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 had 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.*


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this pulled my heart strings... SO SAD POOR PEOPLES!!

Reply Feb 4th, 2020
United States

I love this article

Reply Sep 19th, 2019
United States

that is so sad .I don`t want to belive it but it`s true

Reply Sep 19th, 2019

its so sad

Reply Jul 7th, 2019

I want an example about life in the ghetto

Reply Feb 2nd, 2019
Mary Welch
United States

May I suggest the book "The Warsaw ghetto" by Sir Alistair Cooke.

Reply Jun 19th, 2019

i suggest milkweed by jerry spinelli

Reply Dec 18th, 2019
United States

The man in the photo with the mustache was my uncle, Bernard Ryzak.

Reply Dec 26th, 2018

That is so cool!

Reply Jan 9th, 2019
Jay G
United States

Please read "Tunnel, Smuggle and Collect: A Holocaust Boy." The author of this true story donates all royalties to Holocaust education. 100%

Reply Nov 10th, 2018

helpful for a school project

Reply Oct 25th, 2018
United States

not helpful

Reply Apr 26th, 2018
Not saying

Very useful for my school project. Thanks!!!

Reply Mar 12th, 2018
United States


Reply Feb 13th, 2018

its just unfair what they are doing to the Jews

Reply Feb 2nd, 2018

What they were*

Reply Aug 22nd, 2018
The pope

It is old but it is beautiful, and its colors they are fine It was worn at Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne. My father wore it as a youth in bygone days of yore, And on the 12th I love to wear the sash my father wore.

Reply Oct 9th, 2017
Mr. Patton

Ewan and Chris come straight to my office before break!

Reply Sep 19th, 2017
United Kingdom

loved it

Reply Jun 21st, 2017
United Kingdom

Helpful a lot. Thank you.

Reply Jun 19th, 2017
Ben Dover

Very helpful, thank you.

Reply May 30th, 2017
bob stone

it was awesome

Reply May 3rd, 2017

great useful evidence

Reply Feb 27th, 2017
United States


Reply Feb 22nd, 2017
United Kingdom

Paul shut up

Reply Jan 27th, 2017
United Kingdom

Good very helpful

Reply Jan 27th, 2017
collin hart
United States

This was awful & pathetic

Reply Jan 25th, 2017
United Kingdom

Really very helpful! Thank you!!!!

Reply Jan 18th, 2017
United States

Helped with my research on wasrsawa ghetto ✌️

Reply Jan 10th, 2017
Xavier cuevas
United States

w2 was crazy

Reply Dec 14th, 2016
United Kingdom

helped me on my religious homework thx

Reply Dec 6th, 2016
United States

Thank you for sharing this.

Reply Nov 8th, 2016

Very great for my school project. Thank you a lot!

Reply Sep 26th, 2016
United States

Very helpful

Reply Jun 8th, 2016
dno hunter
United States

thank you so much really helped me on my school work. i might be German but i would never do any of these things and i just hate what my ancestors did. but thank you for creating this website website creator.

Reply May 16th, 2016

where/when did they get their food rations?

Reply Apr 24th, 2016
Briah D
United States

Da best, tots amaze, it was GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD, really helped me. The best article thingy EVER!!!!!!!!

Reply Apr 21st, 2016

Good it helped me

Reply Apr 21st, 2016
bob stone

it helped me on my research project

Reply May 3rd, 2017

it was a good review paper I made about warsaw ghetto because of all this great information

Reply Apr 12th, 2016
United Kingdom

Really good info for my report and a great insight on what actually happened in the Warsaw ghettos

Reply Mar 31st, 2016
United States

very helpful

Reply Mar 19th, 2016
United States

very helpful for me to find quotes for my journal, that is for school.

Reply Mar 17th, 2016
United States

This helped me with my paper for class as well. Interesting facts about the horrible things the Nazis did.

Reply Feb 19th, 2016
United States

This helped alot for the paper I am doing for a class. I hate the horrible things the Nazis did to the Jews. It makes me sick to my stomach

Reply Feb 1st, 2016
United Kingdom

It helped me a lot.

Reply Jan 28th, 2016
United States

good for a essay that I am writing

Reply Dec 7th, 2015
United States

Just another article referencing the fact that most of the people who experienced this, whether they lived or died, had no political motives and had to pay the ultimate price for the narrow-minded whims of those in power. Until we eliminate borders and boundaries and restrictions caused by intolerance of different kinds of people we can never ensure ourselves that history would not repeat itself.

Reply Oct 3rd, 2015
Rob C
United Kingdom

This helped me with my history HW, thanks.

Reply Jun 3rd, 2015
United Kingdom

An incredibly handy website that is really educational but throws a new perspective on life in the ghetto. Thank you!

Reply May 31st, 2015
Irene Nielsen
United States

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

Reply Apr 16th, 2015
United States

Work on spelling please :)

Reply Apr 14th, 2015
United Kingdom

This helped me on my English project as well. Thanks

Reply Apr 8th, 2015
United States

This helped me on my literature assignment, thanks.

Reply Apr 1st, 2015
United States

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.

Reply Feb 13th, 2015
A. Derrin

The " Final Solution " should have been the " First Solution "

Reply Jan 30th, 2015
United Kingdom

A Derrin, you are a horrible human being please do not leave comments like this again

Reply Jul 22nd, 2015
United Kingdom

This article helped me with my history assignment, thanks a lot.

Reply Jan 24th, 2015
United States

wow thanks helped me a lot now i can finish my paper:)

Reply Nov 21st, 2014
United States

Decent article, it provided a good deal of information.

Reply Nov 18th, 2014
United Kingdom

I love this article! It has helped me a lot with my history assignment. Thanks to whowever wrote it

Reply Jun 2nd, 2014
United States

This was not helpful!! I found no info that related to how warsaw was like back then.

Reply Apr 28th, 2014

this was not helpful i found no info that related to how warsaw was like back then.

Reply Jan 30th, 2014
United Kingdom


Reply Jan 20th, 2014

That is so terrible what they did

Reply Nov 8th, 2013

Wow! This has so much information! This has really helped with my humanities assignment! Thanks a lot!

Reply Sep 18th, 2013
stanley userbot
New Zealand

this was very handy helped a lot

Reply Jul 31st, 2013

this is good info thank you

Reply May 21st, 2013
United Kingdom

So helpful, thankyou so much, had a massive essay to do as well! :))))

Reply Apr 30th, 2013
United States

this is a good article

Reply Apr 11th, 2013
United States

Great information!

Reply Apr 10th, 2013
United States

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!

Reply Apr 9th, 2013
United States

ths helped for my 500 ward report a lot

Reply Apr 9th, 2013
United States

Extremely helpful

Reply Apr 7th, 2013
Paola Oporto
United States

What in trying to find is how some eventually saved themselves and how they fought agsints the gremans

Reply Apr 5th, 2013
tammy tambe
United States

this site help alot with my paper!! thanks:)

Reply Mar 27th, 2013
United States

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!!!!!

Reply Mar 14th, 2013
United Kingdom

Really helpful summary! Thankyou!!!!

Reply Mar 14th, 2013
Michael W.
United Kingdom

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!

Reply Mar 11th, 2013
Zachary Brown
United States

Great thank you for the info

Reply Mar 8th, 2013
Keeryanda uracil
United States

i Think it really sucked and it smells like egg salad!!

Reply Mar 5th, 2013
United States


Reply Feb 28th, 2013
Hannah Miller
United States

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!!!

Reply Feb 26th, 2013
United States

i will do it for school work if i want

Reply Feb 20th, 2013
United States

it was bad but good

Reply Feb 20th, 2013
United States

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!

Reply Feb 19th, 2013
United States

it was a good article thingy and im working on a project for school and it helped

Reply Feb 13th, 2013
United States

may all the nazis souls burn for eternity

Reply Feb 14th, 2013
United Kingdom

it is really bad i cant believe they did that

Reply Jan 25th, 2013
United States

Why do you say you rather we not use it for research? What makes it unsuitable for research?

Reply Jan 21st, 2013
United States

it was very goooooood!

Reply Jan 18th, 2013

that was so awful and stupid

Reply Jan 17th, 2013
Hailey Willis
United States

This helped me A LOT with my school powerpoint! Great job to who ever wrote it! :)

Reply Jan 17th, 2013
United Kingdom

thanks for the help with my homework

Reply Jan 16th, 2013
United Kingdom

lots of intresting facts

Reply Dec 29th, 2012

da best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply Dec 1st, 2012

Great help.Very useful and reliable information!

Reply Nov 30th, 2012

Sounds alot like the gaza ghetto the Zionist created and seem to like

Reply Nov 24th, 2012
United States

couldnt find the mortality rate

Reply Nov 24th, 2012
Freddie McDonald

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.

Reply Nov 16th, 2012

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