The next stage of development is between the 16 November 1940 and the 22 July 1943, the start of mass deportation.

It has been calculated that at its peak the population of the ghetto was 550,000 people of that only 27,000 were gainfully employed.

The rationale of the Ghettoisation of the Jewish population is that of "Gradual extermination". Hans Frank, stated in August of 1942 that; "It is not necessary to dwell on the fact that we are sentencing 1.2 million Jews to death. That much is clear. And if the Jews do not die of starvation, it will be necessary to step up anti - Jewish measures, and let us hope that that too will come to pass.".

In 1941 over 43,000 Jews died in the Warsaw Ghetto, that is 10 percent of the population. If this could be sustained for ten years then you would have an, "Indirect extermination", as it is the ghetto population stabilised.




Germans 2613 each day
Poles 699 each day
Jews 184 each day



Over 15 percent of the population "survived" on only the minimum ration, smuggling accounted for over 80 percent of the food available in the Ghetto. In May 1941 it is estimated 50 percent of the population were literally starving to death, 30 percent were starving "nominally", 15 percent did not have enough to eat and 10,000 lived well.

Ludwig Fischer the Warsaw district governor stated his policy as, "The Jews will die from hunger and destitution and a cemetery will remain of the Jewish question."

The Judenrat was responsible for all essential affairs, the distribution of food, the allocation of apartments, work, public services, conscripts for labour camps, collection of taxes, etc. In effect the Judenrat ran the Ghetto for the Nazis and policed the Ghetto for the Nazis with the Jewish police.

At first Jewish industry was not permitted but with time it was allowed, Adler, states that; "as a rule, Jewish industry operated clandestinely and therefore avoided any planning. It totally ignored German plans and did not submit to them. Moreover to its great fortune, the masses of German troops were in urgent need of various supplies and equipment. Thus with the support of the German authorities, there sprouted up plans to manufacture brushes, mattresses, beds, clothing, furs, shoes.".

As the Judenrat was responsible of conscription to "labour camps" it decided not to alienate, "men of means and influence... at the expense of its weakest and poorest members."

The Judenrat expanded with an estimated 6,000 employees and 530 with the Kehillah.

The Jewish Police, "Order authority" or "Ordnungsdienst" was formed of well educated and upper class young Jewish men, headed by Jewish ex-polish army offices and lawyers.

These men were originally volunteers, with little prospect of employment, the Judenrat offered them immunity from deportation to labour camps and the "perks" of the job. In December of 1941 it had 1,000 full time police and many more volunteers. The police directed traffic, supervised rubbish collection and cleaning snow, dirt etc. preventing "crime", keeping an eye on people and operating a court. The main task of the police was to control smuggling. The head of the police was Bernard Zundelewicz, he controlled what was a relatively independent organisation, supervised by the "Blue Police" or "Polish Police.".

In the period of mass deportation the police were to become the only channel of communication with the Nazis. The Jewish police were to become the most abhorred institutions in the ghetto in the period of mass deportation. There arm bands, caps, shiny high boots and rudder clubs identified them as traitors. Still the Jewish police only beat people they did not execute them.

In June of 1941 the Ghetto prison was established for Jewish "criminals", in May 1942 it had 1,300 detainees of that 500 were children.

Another "Police" institution, "13" took it’s name from it’s address in leszno Street. It was headed by Ludz Gurewajeh, a Gestapo agent and sanctioned by the Nazis, "The office to combat Usury and Profiteering in the Jewish Quarter". The 300 to 400 of 13 wore, polished boots, caps, green arm bands and epaulettes.

It was a classic "fifth column", every Tuesday Gurewajeh produced a report on the, Judenrat and the Jewish self help organisation. Gurewajeh supported the Agudath Israel party and the Hassidic Rabbis, "fatalism". The 13 was closed down in July 1941 and was absorbed within the "regular" Ghetto police. The Ghetto police then totalled 2,000 - 2,200.

Another organisation that was to be established at this time was, Z.T.O.S. as a "self help" organisation. It was a semi-legal organisation set up by the illegal, Socialist / Zionist youth movements as part of an organised political underground. Its origin was in the Jewish National Council and the co-ordinating committee, it is this organisation that was to become the backbone of armed resistance.

Between September 1939 and July 1942, it is estimated that there were over one hundred thousand deaths of starvation.

Daily Life in the ghetto was driven by the notion of survival, "if we can live today". The overcrowding, the beggars that faded with time, the corpses covered with newspapers, the stench of death.

Death from starvation is a gradual process in which only 50 percent of the population is affected. The insanity of starvation drove some into becoming "snatchers", women would tie barred wire around themselves and around their bread to stop their rations from being snatched and swallowed on the spot by starving children, one women resulted to "cannibalism", still the Ghetto had no serious crimes.

Typhus did become an important issue, with 14,661 cases being reported before April 1941. It is assumed that this only represented 25 -30 percent of the total, some estimate up to 100,000 cases. In 1940, 10 percent of those infected died, in 1941, 20 percent of those infected died. There was no shortage of doctors, over 800 lived in the Ghetto, even more than on the Aryan side.

As the "New Elite" feed from the wounds of the dying, in Cafes, night-clubs, restaurants, buffets, the Ghettos Aristocracy of smugglers, thirteen police, certain members of the Judenrat were, "Dancing among the corpses", there were 61 such places in the Ghetto.

This is the period where the psychology of "resistance" in the general sense is first established, existence becomes a form of resistance.

Emmanual Ringelbaum attempts to provide a rationale for this situation; "One of the Questions that arouses much interest is the passivity of the Jewish masses who succumb to death with a sigh. Why do they all remain silent? why do fathers, mothers, all the children die without any protest? Why hasn’t the prospect that threatened the public a year ago [i.e. rampant theft and plunder, which incidentally motivated the building councils to purchase food for their impoverished tenants] come to pass? There are many answers to this question : the occupation regime has cast such a heavy shadow of dread that people are afraid to lift their heads for fear of mass terror in response to an outburst by the starving masses. And that is why some of those who are conscious and alert remain silent and passive and do not create an uproar in the Ghetto. there is also another reason : a goodly number of the poor who exercised initiative managed to get by somehow. The smuggling provides a means of subsistence for thousands of porters. The shops and the orders from the German authorities provide job opportunities for a substantial proportion of the labourers and craftsmen. A section of the active proletarian element engages in street Trade [the sale of bread brings in a profit of 25 pennies per Kilo] So there remains the passive and hopeless portion that goes to its death in silence."

The Jewish political underground in Poland was very diverse, it had a recent history of struggle, still at the outbreak of the war was thrown into a state of confusion.

Many of its principle leaders had left Poland, including the leaders of Sneh, General Zionists, Bund, Po’alei Zion’s, Mizrachi, Left Po’alei Zion, Agudat Israel, etc.

This crisis of leadership caused confusion and weakness, similar to that faced by the Polish underground and affected Polish-Jewish relations.

With the creation of "self-help" an attempt was made to develop a more cohesive, political underground with a united "underground council".

Ringlebaum explained the nature of the change in relations and co-operation among the various people charged with political tasks, "The war confronted Jewish public circles with crucial questions. It was imperative to abandon the pre-war political relationships and forge a united front from left to right: Hitler’s campaign against the Jewish population bore the stamp of annihilation. It was directed against all strata and classes of Jewish society. For Hitlerism, there was no difference between a Zionist and a Bundist; both were hated to the same degree. It wanted to destroy them all. Thus it was necessary to define the course of struggle for the Jewish public... The institution of consultation by all the parties across the political spectrum was not defined by name, but it became a permanent body whose opinion was solicited by the Judenrat, the Self-help, and more than once by the community as well."

In general the political underground had a negative attitude towards the Judenrat, but failed to take concrete action against the Judenrat, as had happened in other ghettos.

It seems that as the political parties participation in "self-help" and with "self-help’s" close association with the Judenrat, that this limited opposition.

The political parties also organised cultural events and food distribution and political debate but in effect provided no opposition to the Judenrat.

Indeed until the 18 April 1942, a night of slaughter in the Warsaw Ghetto whose target was the political underground, the work of clandestine went on almost with interference.

German indifference towards the underground led to a lack of vigilance. This was in sharp contrast to the Nazi activities against the Polish political parties. Yisreal Gutman concluded that, "All the political parties in the ghetto conducted activities that were practically semi-legal. Political publications sprouted like mushrooms after rain. If you publish your paper once a month, I’ll publish mine twice a month. If you print twice a month, I’ll print weekly; it finally reached the point where the bulletin of the parties was appearing twice a week. These publications were distributed openly, in full view of the people and the congregation. The political leaflets and communiqué’s used to be read in offices, factories and similar public places.

The Various parties used to hold their meetings practically in the open in public halls. They even had big public celebrations. At one such meeting, a speaker addressing an audience of 150 preached active resistance I myself was present at a celebration along with 500 young people who all belonged to the same party. The names of the authors of anonymous articles that appeared in the party newspapers were common Knowledge.

We had begun to debate and insult one another as in the good old pre-war days. We imagined that anything went".

The youth movement in the political underground was to prove to be important as a nucleus of the fighting force formed in 1942-43, it became a force in its own right.

The leadership of the youth movement was more resilient and became increasingly important.

Maintaining links with outside was very dangerous, carried out by "girls", that ran the double risk, being Jewish and carrying political material.

Still until reports of mass murder, there were no plans for armed resistance. The main function of the political underground and its various youth sections were that of their physical and spiritual existence.

The organ of Ha-Shomer ha-Za’ir, "Neged ha-Zerem", Against the current, wrote in its May 1941 issue that, "The poverty and total economic deprivation will pass when political conditions change, but the people will not recover from their decline if our youth are blemished and decadent for only we, youngsters aged thirteen to eighteen today, are destined to lead the Jewish masses to a different, better future."

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