Report on the Holocaust-December 1942.

Following is the transcript of the report from the World Jewish Congress on the annihilation of Jews in Europe which was issued on December 1,1942. I just want to make it clear that these are not my word. Bizarrely we live in a time where I feel compelled I have to mention this, because despite the fact they are the words of people who witnessed it and lived in that time, there are people now who will be offended by it because it is not political correct.

WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS December 1st, 1942.

(BRITISH SECTION).

————

ANNIHILATION OF EUROPEAN JEWRY.

HITLER’S POLICY OF TOTAL DESTRUCTION.

“The Jews of Europe are being exterminated by the Nazis. It is not merely that atrocities are being committed against the Jews. They are being quite literally slaughtered in masses, in pursuance of a systematic plan and in accordance with a deliberate policy.

This is Hitler’s ‘final solution of the Jewish problem of Europe’. He has openly proclaimed his design. He is now executing his policy with a diabolical fiendishness unknown in the whole history of human savagery.

2,000,000 is the barest minimum number of Jews murdered, tortured and deliberately starved to death in Eastern Europe. The number is probably much greater.

It is now clear that the mass deportation of Jews from France, Belgium, Holland and other Western European countries, has been for the purpose of concentrating all the Jews of Nazi occupied Europe chiefly in Poland for the purpose of facilitating their mass massacre.

On the 27th November 1942, it was stated at the Polish National Council in London that at the beginning of last September about 1 ½ million Jews have been murdered in an organised way. About half a million were deported to the U.S.S.R. in 1940, and of the rest of the peace-time Jewish population of Poland, several hundred thousand Jews have died of starvation, disease and frightful living conditions imposed by the Nazis.

Several hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in the Nazi occupied areas of the U.S.S.R. and in the Ukraine.

Almost the entire Jewish population of the Baltic States have been exterminated.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews of Roumania have been deported to Transdniestria and there massacred.

In addition, scores of thousands of German, French, Belgian, Dutch, Czechoslovak and Yugoslav Jews have been deported to Poland and the occupied areas of the U.S.S.R. for mass slaughter.

Many transports of Jewish deportees from Western Europe do not reach their destination. The victims, crammed into closed cattle-trucks, either die of suffocation or disease on the way or are done to death by their captors.

It is known that at the beginning of last August train-loads of Jewish deportees reached Germany from Belgium, Holland and France. The compartments were filled with dead and living Jews crowded together.

POLAND HAS BECOME THE NAZI SLAUGHTER-HOUSE FOR THE JEWS OF EUROPE:

Massacres of Jews have been going on from the first say of the German occupation. The holocaust took on a formal design, under an explicit policy, in March 1942. Himmler then gave orders for the extermination of 50% of the Jewish population of the so-called Government-General. The extermination was to be completed by the end of 1942.

Not satisfied with the speed and extent of the mass massacres, Himmler, in July last, decreed the total destruction of all the Jews concentrated in Poland.

It is from approximately this date that the large-scale deportations of Jews from Western Europe began. The massacres started on July 21st 1942, when German Police cars invaded the Ghettoes, shooting the inhabitants indiscriminately and at sight. On that date all the Jewish members of the Jewish Council of Warsaw were arrested on bloc as hostages.

On July 22nd 1942, the Nazis ordered the deportation to Eastern Poland and the Ukraine of all Jews irrespective of the age and sex. The daily quota of deportees was fixed at 6,000. Later this quota was increased to 10,000. Victims were dragged from their homes or seized in the streets in organised manhunts.

Jews were congregated in the squares. Old people and invalids were driven to cemeteries and shot in droves. Others were loaded into trucks, 150 persons being crowded into the space normally holding a maximum of 40. The trucks were then driven off. Hundreds died of suffocation.

This process is now going on continuously. The floors of the trucks are covered with a thick layer of lime and chlorine sprinkled with water. The doors are locked. Often the trains remain on a siding for a day or two or longer. The fumes of lime and chlorine, the lack of air, water and food, cause hundreds of deaths, with the result that dead and living remain packed side by side.

On arrival at their destination, 50% of the deportees were found dead. The remainder were taken to the special camps of Treblinka, Belzec and Selibor, where they were shot. Neither children nor babies were spared. By the end of September 1942, 250,000 Jews had been thus exterminated.

The deportations are described by the Nazis as “the re-settlement of the Jews”. The “re-settlement” is a final one in the sense that few, if any, of the “re-settled” Jews remain alive.

THE WARSAW GHETTO:

In March 1942, according to official German statistics, there were 433,000 Jews packed into the Ghetto – the area walled off by the Nazis which formerly contained about 200,000 Jews.

According to ‘Arbeitsamt’ – the official Nazi Labour journal – only 40,000 Jews are to be left in the Warsaw Ghetto. These are the highly-skilled workers who the Nazis require for their war industry.

For September 1942, the Nazis distributed 120,000 ration cards for the Warsaw Ghetto. In October, the number issued was only 40,000.

The same process of elimination and massacre is going on in all the other Ghettoes of Poland. The reports state that the Ghetto of Lodz which formerly contained about 250,000 Jews has been entirely cleared of Jews.

NAZI METHODS OF EXTERMINATION:

Besides the Firing Squads, the Nazis are now facilitating mass executions by the use of electrocution and lethal gas chambers in which Jews are crowded and ‘eliminated’.

An electrocution station has been installed at the Belzec Camp. Transports of deportees are de-trained near the execution place, sheds with a metal plated floor. The sheds are then locked and an electrical current passed through the metal plates. Death is almost instantaneous.

A large digging machine for mass graves has been recently installed at Treblinka.

In Chelm, 10,000 Jews have been gassed recently.

The Germans have organised special Extermination Squads – Vernichtungskolonne – whose task is to round up and kill Jews on sight. The Squads fire indiscriminately into windows of Jewish houses.

The above summary takes no account of suicides, the insanities of mothers whose children are seized or murdered, and the innumerable outrages and atrocities resulting in the deaths of many thousands of Jewish men and women.

source

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/annihilation/

The Karski Report

It is often believed that the allied forces were not aware of the mass killings. The fact is they were aware but chose to ignore it.

Jan Karski was a Polish soldier, resistance-fighter, and diplomat during World War II. In late 1942, Karski was smuggled in and out of the Warsaw ghetto and Izbica, a transit ghetto for Jews being sent to the Belzec killing center. In both places, he witnessed the horrific conditions imposed by the Germans that had caused tens of thousands of Jews to die of starvation and disease. In Izbica, disguised as a guard, he saw thousands of Jews being crammed into cattle cars. Karski learned that the train was taking them to be murdered.

Karski then managed to travel across German-occupied Europe to London, where he delivered a report to the Polish government-in-exile and to senior British authorities, including Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. He described what he had witnessed and reported the evidence that Nazi Germany was murdering Jews from all over Europe. In July 1943, Karski journeyed to Washington and met with American President Franklin D. Roosevelt to give him the same report. Karski pleaded for specific actions to rescue Jews. Allied leaders, however, insisted that Germany’s military defeat must be their first priority.

Below is the transcript of the report he had issued.

“News is reaching the Polish Government in London about the liquidation [of] the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw.

The persecution of the Jews in Poland, which has been in progress from the very first day of the German occupation, has taken on extremely acute forms since March 1942, when Himmler ordered the extermination of 50% of the Jewish population in the Government General, to be carried out by the end of 1942.

Though the German assassins had started this work with extraordinary gusto, the results apparently did not satisfy Himmler, for during his visit to the General Gouvernement [sic] in July 1942 he ordered new decrees personally, aiming at the total destruction of Polish Jewry.

The persecutions in Warsaw started on July 21st. 1942, when German police cars suddenly drove into the ghettos. The soldiers immediately started rushing into houses, shooting the inhabitants at sign without any explanation. The first victims belonged mostly to the educated classes. On that day almost all the members of the Jewish Municipal Council were arrested and held as hostages.

On July 22nd. 1942 the Jewish Council was ordered to proclaim the decree of the German authorities dealing with the resettlement of all the Warsaw Jews, regardless of sex or age, in the Eastern part of Poland, with the sole exception of persons working in German factories or members of the Jewish militia. The daily quota of people to be re-settled was fixed at 6,000 and members of the Jewish Municipal Council were ordered to carry out the order under the pain of death.

By the next day, however, on July 23rd., the German police again appeared in the Jewish Municipal Council and demanded to see the chairman, Mr. Czerniakow. After the police had left, Czerniakow committed suicide. From a note he left for his wife, it became clear that he had received an order to deliver 10,000 people the next day and 7000 daily on the following days, in spite of the fact that the quota had been fixed originally at 6,000. The victims to be delivered to the Germans are either dragged out of their homes or seized in the streets. As the zeal of the Jewish police to perform these duties against their own people was slight and did not give a guarantee of efficiency, the Germans have mobilised temporary security batallions for the man-hunts, consisting of Ukrainians, Latvians, and Lithuanians. These batallions, under the command of SS men, are characterised by their utter ruthlessness, cruelty and inhumanity.

The Jews, when caught, are driven to a square. Old people and cripples are then singled out, taken to the cemetery and there shot. The remaining people are loaded into goods trucks, at the rate of 150 people to a truck with space for 40. The floor of the truck is covered with a thick layer of lime and chlorine sprinkled with water. The doors of the trucks are locked. Sometimes the train starts immediately on being loaded, sometimes it remains on a siding for a day, two days or even longer. The people are packed so tightly that those who die of suffocation remain the crowd side by side with the still living and those slowly dying from the fumes of lime and cholorine, from lack of air, water and food. Wherever the trains arrive half the people arrive dead. Those surviving are sent to special camps at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor. Once there, the so-called ‘settlers’ are mass murdered.”

sources

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/karski-report/

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/jan-karski

Irena Sendler

Remembering the victims of the Holocaust is extremely important, now probably more then ever, however it is also important to remember the heroes who saved so many from certain death.

Today marks the 111th birthday of Irena Sendler.

Sendler was born Irena Krzyżanowska on February 15, 1910, in Otwock, Poland. Her parents were members of the Polish Socialist Party, and her father, Stanisław Krzyżanowski was a physician, he died of typhus when Irena was still was a child. In 1931 Irena married Mieczysław Sendler, and the couple moved to Warsaw before the outbreak of World War II.

During the war, Irena worked at the Department for Social Welfare and Public Health in Poland, as a Social worker. She helped smuggle more than 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto during the Holocaust.

As head of the children’s section of Żegota, the Polish underground Council for Aid to Jews, Irena (“Jolonta”) Sendler regularly used her position as a social worker to enter the Warsaw ghetto and help smuggle children out. Hiding them in orphanages, convents, schools, hospitals, and private homes, she provided each child with a new identity, carefully recording in code their original names and placements so that surviving relatives could find them after the war.

In September 1943, four months after the Warsaw ghetto was completely destroyed, Sendler was appointed director of Zegota’s Department for the Care of Jewish Children. Sendler, whose underground name was Jolanta, exploited her contacts with orphanages and institutes for abandoned children, to send Jewish children there. Many of the children were sent to the Rodzina Marii (Family of Mary) Orphanage in Warsaw, and to religious institutions run by nuns in nearby Chotomów, and in Turkowice, near Lublin.

On 20 October 1943, Sendler was arrested. She managed to stash away incriminating evidence such as the coded addresses of children in the care of Zegota and large sums of money to pay to those who helped Jews. She was sentenced to death and sent to the infamous Pawiak prison, but underground activists managed to bribe officials to release her. Her close encounter with death did not deter her from continuing her activity. After her release in February 1944, even though she knew that the authorities were keeping an eye on her, Sendler continued her underground activities. Because of the danger she had to go into hiding. The necessities of her clandestine life prevented her from attending her mother’s funeral.

This work was done at huge risk, in October 1941 a law was passed that —giving any kind of assistance to Jews in Poland was punishable by death, not just for the person who was providing the help but also for their entire family or household.

Jews would also face the death penalty who were found outside the ghetto and for those who helped them.

After the war, Sendler’s first marriage ended in divorce. In 1947 she married Stefan Zgrzembski, with whom she had three children, daughter Janka, and sons Andrzej (who died in infancy) and Adam. After the death of Zgrzembski, Sendler remarried her first husband, Mieczysław Sendler, but their reunion didn’t last and they again divorced.

Yad Vashem recognized Ms. Sendler with the Righteous Among the Nations medal in 1965. She died in Warsaw, Poland, on May 12, 2008, following a long illness.

sources

https://www.ushmm.org/information/press/in-memoriam/irena-sendler-1910-2008

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous-women/sendler.asp

https://www.biography.com/activist/irena-sendler

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-57601563

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Martin Sealtiel, born May 19-1935. Murdered September 3-1943

It is strange sometimes how little you can find out of a person, yet you can still tell a story about him.

Martin Sealtiel was born on May 19,1935. There are no pictures of him. The only indication that he was born was a newspaper announcement in a local newspaper, placed on May 20-1935 by his parents. The announcement was of the birth of their son Martin. Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In neighbouring Germany, the first section of the Reichsautobahn, connecting Frankfurt and Heidelberg, was opened by Hitler in Darmstadt.

Weather wise May 19,1935 was not a pleasant day. The temperature that day was between 3.9 °C and 13.0 °C and averaged 8.0 °C. There was 1.9 mm of rain during 2.0 hours. There was 8.6 hours of sunshine (54%). The average windspeed was 3 Bft (moderate breeze) and was prevailing from the west. T

Martin’s parents, Esther Sealtiel-Waterman and David Sealtiel, got married on January 31,1934.

The family lived in the Cronjéstraat 17 in Amsterdam. Martin’s dad was a sales rep for a Metal company. Martin’s mom sold lamp shades which she made herself.

On May 10,1940 Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands. Although the lives of Jews didn’t change too much initially, gradually laws were introduced with the aim to eradicate every Jew in the Netherlands. The Nazis nearly succeeded.

On July 17,1943, the Sealtiel family is deported to Westerbork transit camp. On August 31,1943 Martin and his Mother are both transported to Auschwitz in Poland. They arrive on September 3,1943, they are both murdered on arrival. Martin was aged 8 at the time.

Martin’s dad ,David, is sent to a labour camp Warsaw,Poland. Here he has to clear rubble and debris from the ghetto. He died on June 30,1944 off pneumonia(at least that is what is death cert says) just over 9 months after his wife and son were murdered.

The whole Sealtiel of the Cronjéstraat 17, wiped away because of the warped ideology of Nazism.

I wish I could say that this was the only family, but that would be a lie. Millions were murdered and not only Jews. Homosexual, people with a disability, people with a different political point of view, Jehovah Witnesses and others were subject to the evil of the Nazis.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/207967/martin-sealtiel

https://westerborkportretten.nl/westerborkportretten/martin-sealtiel

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The young people who fought back.

 

I have many weaknesses ,one of them is that I have a very low tolerance or even no tolerance for people who have a warped sense of entitlement. I know I shouldn’t be intolerant and just rise above it , but I find that very hard at times.

Especially when it comes to the snowflake generation or millennials. A millennial is described  as “a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.Or people born between the years of 1981 to 1998. I have to say not all of these people do have that sense of entitlement, there are many very decent people among them. It is only a minority of millennials but is a very vocal minority, They appear to have a problem for every solution. Generally they have not experienced any hardships but yet they claim their lives are much worse then that of the generation before them.

Then I come across stories of extremely brave young people like Mordechai Anielewicz,Mira Fuchrer and Rachel (Sarenka) Zylberberg(all pictured above)zob

These 3 young people ,who were in the same age bracket as the millenials, all died this day 76 years ago in Warsaw, May 8,1943. They were all members of the  Jewish Combat Organizationor ZOB in Polish), a resistance movement in occupied Poland, which was instrumental in engineering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

 

The youth groups that were instrumental in forming the ŻOB had anticipated German intentions to annihilate Warsaw Jewry and began to shift from an educational and cultural focus to self-defense and eventual armed struggle

Their headquarters  was a bunker based on Ulica Miła 18 (or 18 Pleasant Street in English)

I am not going too much into the details of the group. I leave that up to all of you to do the homework on that, Because there is so much information on them.

Suffice to say that Mordechai Anielewicz was the leader of the ZOB and Mira Fuchrer was his girlfiend. Together with their friend Rachel  Zylberberg they played a pivotal role in the uprising at the cost of their lives.

On the 8th of May they were in the bunker with a group of about 120 fighters, when the bunker was discovered.s They were surrounded by the Nazis but the young resistance  fighters refused to surrender. Many of them committed suicide.

bunker

These heroes should never be forgotten.

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The end of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising

Dworzec_Gdański_i_płonące_getto_1943

I often like to play with words for example when you take Warsaw and switch some parts of the name you get an accurate description of what the city went through during WWII . Saw War and Was raw.

Warsaw saw the war in its rawest  and most brutal form. It is also one of the few cities that fought back. The Warsaw ghetto uprising was  revolt that occurred from April 19 to May 16, 1943,by Jews in the ghetto and members of the Polish underground.

The uprising commenced on April 19 when the Ghetto refused to surrender to the police commander SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop, who then ordered the burning of the Ghetto, block by block. This is what Stroop said about fighters in the uprising in his report .

Strp012_Jurgen_Stroop_report_p5

“When we invaded the Ghetto for the first time, the Jews and the Polish bandits succeeded in repelling the participating units, including tanks and armored cars, by a well-prepared concentration of fire.  The main Jewish battle group, mixed with Polish bandits, had already retired during the first and second day to the so-called Muranowski Square. There, it was reinforced by a considerable number of Polish bandits. Its plan was to hold the Ghetto by every means in order to prevent us from invading it.  Time and again Polish bandits found refuge in the Ghetto and remained there undisturbed, since we had no forces at our disposal to comb out this maze.  One such battle group succeeded in mounting a truck by ascending from a sewer in the so-called Prosta [Street], and in escaping with it (about 30 to 35 bandits).  The bandits and Jews – there were Polish bandits among these gangs armed with carbines, small arms, and in one case a light machine gun – mounted the truck and drove away in an unknown direction”

By May 16th an estimated A total of 13,000 Jews had died, about half of them burnt alive or suffocated.  It was the largest single revolt by Jews during World War II.

General Stroop reported after the destruction of the ghetto that 56,065 Jews had been taken; of those 7,000 sent to the Treblinka killing center, and the remainder deported to forced-labor camps and the Majdanek camp. Some of the resistance fighters succeeded in escaping from the ghetto and joined partisan groups in the forests around Warsaw.

Below some pictures of the uprising.

Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_03

Askaris_im_Warschauer_Getto_-_1943

wg

Ghetto Resistance

Warsaw3

 

 

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Sources

USHMM

Wikipedia

The shoemaker and the Bride of Auschwitz.

shutterstock-333292880

This is a short poignant story but it has so much in it.A story of hope,survival,death, bereavement and most of all a story that tells us that life is a very precious thing. It is also a stark reminder that we have to remain vigilant to ensure that evil doesn’t win.

It is the story of Sonia K, and her sister, Jewish Holocaust survivors. I don’t know the sister’s name nor do I know Sonia’s full last name but this is really irrelevant.

170818125543-sonia-k-holocaust-survivor-1-full-169

Sonia and her family lived in Warsaw in 1943, when the Nazis found them in hiding. Warsaw Ghetto  was burning at the time, they were given a choice either to leave or die in the Ghetto. Although they knew where they would be going to, they decided to take that option. Sonia K said about it “Life is a very precious thing, and you hang onto it as much and as long as you can.”

Her parents and brother were murdered.

When Sonia and her sister arrived in Auschwitz, their heads were shaved and their arms were tattooed.1389.3 Holocaust G

Those who had arrived were put in selection rows of 5. Sonia and her sister were in row 4. A Nazi passed by and called out” Who here is a shoemaker?” although Sonia who was 17 at the time and wasn’t a shoemaker, lifted her hand. She said about that that she wasn’t sure who lifted her hand, if it was God almighty our her parents who had died, she didn’t know. But anyway her hand was raised and she also prompted her sister to raise hers. The Nazi guard believed them.

They were then assigned to work in a so called ‘shoe commando’, where they were separating and taken apart the shoes of murdered people.

Auschwitz_shoes_of_the_murdered_1945

One morning while going to work, Sonia saw a train arrive from Hungary, heading straight to the gas chambers. One of the women on the train must have been picked up on her wedding for she was wearing her bridal gown.gown

People were told they were going to the showers but they were all gassed, including the young bride. It is an image that will stay with Sonia until the days she dies, she said on an interview on CNN.

While allied troops were approaching Auschwitz in January 1945, Sonia and her sister were send  to other camps and then on a death march. Sonia barely survived the march, her sister and adopted sister had dragged Sonia along, Anyone who would stop on the death march would have been killed.march

In April 1945 they were liberated by American troops. Sonia K is now a citizen in the US.What profoundly saddens me is the fact that a brave soul like Sonia has to witness ,the start of what easily can become a repeat of what she had to endure. on the news when racist bigots call out chants like “Jews will not replace us” Capture

There is a significant difference between then and now. Now we don’t have an excuse to let this happen again because we have the luxury of hindsight.

Finishing up with a quote from Sonia “Silence is the first thing after hate that is dangerous, because if you are silent it is an approval of what is going on”

Many thanks to Norman Stone for pointing me to the story

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Source

CNN

They paid a high price-The heroes of the Warsaw uprising.

1 uprising

On April 19, 1943, the Warsaw ghetto uprising began after German troops and police entered the ghetto to deport its surviving inhabitants. By May 16, 1943, the Germans had crushed the uprising and left the ghetto area in ruins. Surviving ghetto residents were deported to concentration camps or killing centers..

So many times have I heard the argument “Why didn’t the Jews fight back” In the Warsaw they did fight back and they paid the ultimate price for it. I am not going into individual accounts for to me they were all heroes.

But as so many times before there are very few living heroes.

13,000 Jews were killed in the ghetto during the uprising (some 6,000 among them were burnt alive or died from smoke inhalation). Or died trying to escape the fire, in the picture below you can see a man jumping out of the window from a multi-story building.1024px-Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_-_26568

Of the remaining 50,000 residents, most were captured and shipped to concentration and extermination camps, in particular to Treblinka.

Jürgen Stroop’s internal SS daily report for Friedrich Krüger, written on 16 May 1943, stated:

“180 Jews, bandits and sub-humans, were destroyed. The former Jewish quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence. The large-scale action was terminated at 20:15 hours by blowing up the Warsaw Synagogue. … Total number of Jews dealt with 56,065, including both Jews caught and Jews whose extermination can be proved. … Apart from 8 buildings (police barracks, hospital, and accommodations for housing working-parties) the former Ghetto is completely destroyed. Only the dividing walls are left standing where no explosions were carried out.”

Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_-_NARA24

Stroop’s report is one of the most disturbing pieces of reporting of the Holocaust. It is just so ‘matter of fact’ as if they are minutes of meetings or reports of an ordinary working day, rather then committing mass executions and genocide. If the title of the report “There is no more Jewish residential district in Warsaw”

Stroop_Report_-_Cover_Page_(Polish_Copy)

But because of the detailed description of the actions taken in the report it became a blessing in disguise,for lack of a better word. there were 4 copies but only 2 were discovered after the war, Both copies were introduced as evidence at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, sharing the document number 1061-PS, and used in the trial as “US Exhibit 275”

The assistant prosecutor dealing with the persecution of the Jews referred to it as “the finest example of ornate German craftsmanship, leather bound, profusely illustrated, typed on heavy bond paper … the almost unbelievable recital of the proud accomplishment by Major General of Police Stroop.Jürgen_Stroop

Although they must have been aware they had little or no chance of succeeding the people in the Warsaw ghetto said “enough is enough” and decided to act and paid a heavy price for that action. But they did it with their heads held up high, Let us never forget the heroes of Warsaw.

1024px-Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_07

Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_-_IPN35

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Warsaw Ghetto-Hell on earth

1024px-Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_05

Most people know the stories of the concentration camps and death camps,and they even may know about the ghettos.

However what most people do not realize is the amount of ghettos created by the Nazis during WWII. In Poland alone there were more then 270 ghettos.

Life in the ghettos was usually unbearable. Overcrowding was common. One apartment might have several families living in it. Plumbing broke down, and human waste was thrown in the streets along with the garbage. Contagious diseases spread rapidly in such cramped, unsanitary housing.

Daily_Life_In_The_Warsaw_Ghetto_6

Following the 1939 Invasion of Poland, the new ghetto system had been imposed by Nazi Germany roughly between October 1939 and July 1942 in order to confine Poland’s Jewish population of 3.5 million for the purpose of persecution, terror, and exploitation.The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest ghetto in all of Nazi occupied Europe, with over 400,000 Jews crammed into an area of 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2), or 7.2 persons per room.

Polen, Ghetto Warschau, Marktszene

People were always hungry. Germans deliberately tried to starve residents by allowing them to purchase only a small amount of bread, potatoes, and fat. Some residents had some money or valuables they could trade for food smuggled into the ghetto; others were forced to beg or steal to survive. During the long winters, heating fuel was scarce, and many people lacked adequate clothing. People weakened by hunger and exposure to the cold became easy victims of disease; tens of thousands died in the ghettos from illness, starvation, or cold. Some individuals killed themselves to escape their hopeless lives.

On January 20 1942 at the Wannsee conference , Reinhard Heydrich informed senior Nazi officials that “the final solution of the Jewish question” was deportation from the ghettos and subsequent mass extermination of the Jews. Implementation plan developed. Six death factories were built by German firms in occupied Poland within two-to-six months.

Heinrich Himmler, the commander of the German SS, made a personal visit to the Warsaw Ghetto on January 9th 1943 and was furious to discover that there were 40,000 Jews still residing there, despite his orders of July 19 and October 9, 1942, to clear the area before the end of the year. Himmler ordered SS Colonel Ferdinand von Sammern-Frankenegg to liquidate the ghetto by February 15.

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Below are some examples of the brutal conditions of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Erecting ghetto wall on Świętokrzyska seen from Marszałkowska Street

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A child dying on the sidewalk of the Warsaw Ghetto, September 19, 1941

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Suppression of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Captured Jews escorted by the Waffen SS, Nowolipie Street, 1943

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A child lies on the street in the Warsaw Ghetto, May 1941. Photo by Nazi officer P.K. Zermin, now in German Federal Archive.

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Dead man lies in front of a shop in the Warsaw ghetto.

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A woman lying on the pavement in the Warsaw ghetto, starving to death, 1941.

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Jews concentrated at the Umschlagplatz prior to deportation, 1943

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A corpse on the pavement in the Warsaw Ghetto

A corpse on the pavement in the Warsaw ghetto

A group of teenagers in the Warsaw ghetto, September 1941

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It’s the beauty that killed the beast:The bravery of Franceska Mann.

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Franceska Mann   (February 4, 1917 – October 23, 1943)

Franciszka Mann was a young dancer residing in Warsaw before the Second World War. She studied dance in the dance school of Irena Prusicka. Her friends at that time included Wiera Gran and Stefania Grodzieńska. In 1939 she placed 4th during the international dance competition in Brussels among 125 other young ballet dancers.She was considered one of the most beautiful and promising dancers of her generation in Poland both in classical and modern repertoire.

 

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At the beginning of the Second World War she was a performer at the Melody Palace nightclub in Warsaw. She was a prisoner of Warsaw Ghetto.

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After  Nazi Germany had invaded and occupied Poland she escaped the ghetto and went into hiding on the “Aryan” site of Warsaw.
In spring 1943 the Germans declaired that all Polish Jews, who possessed visas of the neutral South American counties would be sent there.
Ms. Mann obtained (or forged) one of those visas and then sought refuge in “Hotel Polski”, transformed by the Nazis into the transit camp.

However, the allegedly neutral South American states that admitted numerous Nazi War criminals after 1945 did not lift a finger to rescue their victims, who were deported from “Hotel Polski” first to Bergen-Belsen and then (on October 23, 1943) to Auschwitz.
After the train arrived at the death camp the Jews were told that they were to be “disinfected” before crossing the Swiss border. While some began to comply with the SS orders to undress and enter the gas chamber, others hesitated, unwilling to take off clothes which contained their precious travel documents. As they delayed, the SS assumed more menacing stances, threatening the Jews with guns and finally beating them mercilessly with sticks.
Franceska Mann was a girl of striking beauty and had not lost it completely despite all suffering.

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Thus she attracted the attention of the SS man Schillinger, who ogled her as she undressed.
Suddenly she threw an article of clothing at Schillinger, hitting him in the head. As he opened his holster, Franceska Mann grabbed his pistol and shot twice mortally wounding him; the third shot wounded a second SS man, Emmerich, who later recovered, but was disabled.
Inspired by her courage the fellow prisoners attacked the SS guards and severely injured two of them, but could not do anything against the machine guns and were within minutes shot or driven into the gas chamber.

Franceska_Mann

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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