A Polish Academic Information Center Exhibit         
Warsaw: Life and Death in the Ghetto which the Germans established there during WWII

April 19, 1943. On orders from Himmler to destroy the ghetto, the Nazi march into the ghetto in force. They are allowed to proceed until they are in an exposed position where they can be met by effective cross-fire. Numerous Nazis are killed, the rest retreat. In the first days of fighting, the scene is repeated a number of times in different parts of the ghetto and some German tanks are set ablaze and are destroyed. Arrayed on one side are the 600-800 fighters of the Jewish Fighting Organization commanded by Mordecai Anielewicz and the 400 members of the Jewish Military Association commanded by David Apfelbaum and Paweł Frenkel. Between them they possess, 9 machine guns, 22 submachine guns, 40 rifles, plus pistols, grenades and Molotov Cocktails. The Nazi force is estimated at 5000. It includes artillery which systematically pulverizes the positions of the Jewish defenders while keeping out of the range of their weapons. Then the Nazis resort to aerial bombing and to setting the buildings of the ghetto on fire. The unequal but heroic battle continues, the defenders taking refuge in bunkers to emerge from the ruins and attack the Nazis form the rear. The Germans use poison gas in their attacks on the bunkers. Eventually, they find and destroy 631 of these. Any fighter captured is summarily executed, the civilian population flashed out from bunkers is marched off to the Umschlagplatz and entrained.


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