Rebellion in the Warsaw Ghetto

rebellion in the Warsaw Ghetto designates the rebellion in the Warsaw Ghetto, carried by the Jewish war organization (Polish Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa, briefly ŻOB and/or ZOB ) under the direction of Mordechaj Anielewicz , the ZZW (Polish Żydowski Związek Wojskowy) and other organizations , starting from that 19. April 1943. The rebellion was struck down under line of the SS-general Jürgen Stroop.

The Jewish Ghetto rebellion is not to be confounded with Warsaw rebellion, which took place in the year 1944 in the entire city.

Warsaw Ghettoaufstand
conflict the Second World War
date 19. April - 16. May 1943
place Warsaw
result German victory
ZOB, ZZW, free groups of resistances German armed forces, SS, Polish police
of commanders
Mordechaj Anielewicz Jürgen Stroop
approx. 1,000 fighters approx. 1.000-3.000 soldiers
of losses
approx. 60-80% approx. 300 soldiers

table of contents


at the 1. September 1939 began the Second World War with the German assault on Poland. In the blitzkrieg the Germans could do, as well as starting from that 17. September the Soviet soldiers, Poland take. After not even one month, to 28. September, capitulated the capital of the country, Warsaw. In the meantime already high politicians of all parties had fled. The Jewish went frequently into the Soviet Union or at the time the still independent Baltic states and there mainly into „the Jerusalem of Lithuania “, to Wilna. So the members of the Jewish parties, above all those that linking and the Zionisten, were without leaders. But the parties and organizations of general Jewish worker federation ( federation) went, to Poalei Zion, HaSchomer HaTzair, Gordonia, Akiba and Betar into the underground. They created small groups of 5-10 members, that discussed among themselves or carried party work out. When most leaders return to German occupation to Warsaw, they could extend partially at the beginning of their number of members and trailer.

Already in October 1939 the Besatzer with the Jews in Poland proceeded as with the Jews in Germany, their business recognizable was made or it on open road flogged. Still in the year of occupation a so-called Jew advice was furnished. It was led by Adam Czerniaków, which already before the war in the Kehilla, which were active Jewish parliament. The again created advice could not work correctly, it could nearly no karikativen mechanisms support, the members became the instrument of the German Besatzer. 1939 wanted to let these establish a Ghetto in Warsaw. A Jew councillor named Szmul Zygielbojm, a member federation, called up a demonstration and held a speech, which was one of the first public protests in occupied Poland. Only one year later, to 15. October 1940, was created the Ghetto. On 2,4% of the surface of Warsaw about 30% the inhabitant should live. In the Ghetto also different organizations were active, like Joint distribution COMM with dte (JDK), an American relief organization, the Toz for medical assistance, as well as the Centos for support of children. The largest relief organization was however the Jewish self-help (Żytos). In this time also first active groups of self protections were created or extended like for example Tsukunft Shturm or Swit of revisionistic officers. The armed rebellion was not current yet, nor more than 550,000 humans in the Ghetto lived. The parties and relief organizations tried to contain the danger of typhoid fever and typhus fever. Also the soup kitchens were an important aspect in the first years of the resistance work. But most humans had also with the assistance too little to meal, only 15% the inhabitant became full. Thus also many humans at consequences of hunger died. Alone in June 1942 100,000 Jews in the Ghetto died.

Already to 22. July 1942 had been begun with the gradual dissolution of the Warsaw Ghettos in the context „ of the final solution in such a way specified of the Jew question “, as daily up to 12.000 humans in extermination camps, primarily into the extermination camp Treblinka were removed. When ever more humans to the hard labour were sent or died, the political leaders and their trailers the plan of the Germans became clear. Thus all political directions recruited for their organizations. The federation had a militia with 500 members in the year 1941, Swit was against it a cadre organization. The Zionisten, with them the strong socialist groups of Dror and Hashomer Hazair, co-operated closely. The communist party was in the reconstruction, after it had been liquidated by Stalin. In March 1942 the first non-partisan resistance unit, the anti-fascist front, was formed. It was carried by the zionistischen groups of young people and the Polish communist party (PPR). The anti- zionistische and anticommunist federation did not become member, since one did not trust the communist. The two leaders of the federation, Wiktor age and Henryk Erlich, were in Soviet shank, in which they also died later.

The again created block from Hechalutz and PPR possessed a war organization with about 500 members. But they had nearly no weapons and were not operational. In July began the large Deportationen, the groups of resistances lost nearly their entire basis. The federation was most badly concerned, it lost 90% of its militia. After the end in October 1942 only 50,000 humans in the Ghetto lived. In the same period the Jewish war organization ŻOB (Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa) was created. The Hashomer Hazair is to be attributed that she could combine anticommunist and anti-federationistic groupings at a table. The war organization was formed after the model of the FPO from Wilna. In the ZOB was thus the anti-fascist block, i.e.: Hasomer Hazair, Dror, Gordonia, Akiba, Poale Zion and the PPR represent. The federation became likewise member. Besides two political arms were formed: once the national committee (Żydowski Komitet Narodowy, ŻKN), which the old anti-fascist committee was, and which co-ordination committee (Żydowski Komitet Koordynacyjny, ŻKK), which should organize co-operation with the federation.

Members of the co-ordination committee:

after loss of many members by Deportationen had to accept the ŻOB new members, whereby he did not take up everyone contrary to the ŻZW. In the following months both groups of resistances tried to organize itself weapons. The ŻZW had contacts to Henryk Iwański, a Christian Poland, which fought to the Jew in the homeland army and helped as one of the few during the weapon procurement. The ŻOB did not get weapons of the homeland army and few weapons of the left People's Army. They had to buy the weapons on the black market to a large extent, from money them from Kollaborateuren and the Jew advice had extorted. In this time also frequently Kollaborateure, mostly Ghettopolizisten, were executed. With this means the ŻOB tried to provide for further respect. Also they furnished to factories for gasoline bomb , which were used in the following rebellion as primary weapon. Still 1964 was found 100,000 fuzes for gasoline bomb in the area of the Ghettos.

18. January 1943

the highest German places it wanted that the Ghetto is completely dissolved for at the end of of 1942, this into the year 1943 was then shifted. To 18. January marched the commander of Sammern Frankenegg with its at least 1,000 soldiers into the Ghetto. The ŻOB and the ŻZW had improved their structures, their training and their weapon camp however in the last months. The ŻOB had 1.250 fighters and the ŻZW over 150. Since none announced itself to the Deportation, the troops had further in the Ghetto inside. Thus they were expected for example to the Gesiastrasse and at the Zalmenhof by fighters, among them also the leader Mordechaj Anielewicz. The Germans became up to 22. January with partisan tactics attacked. The Widerständler, in whose 50 groups only each tenth had a pistol, could sell the soldiers after four days from the Ghetto, but it 80% of their fighters had lost.

Anielewicz remained alive. Four days later were stopped the Deportationen. Since the staff of the ŻOB it was clear that they could prevent the Deportationen only temporarily, prepared them intensively for the next collision with the Germans. Also now many inhabitants weapons bought and created so-called „wild groups “. The homeland army sent now a larger supply with 50 pistols, rifles possessed the ŻOB nearly none. The ŻZW was well supplied by Henryk Iwański, it had even some submachine guns and - rifles.

groups of resistances

the Restghetto one divided into four combat areas:

  • Zentralghetto, led of: Mordechai Anielewicz, Michał RON field, Jochanan morning star, Israel channel. The combat team leaders were Zacharia Artsein, Ber Braudo, Aron Bryskin, Józef Farber, Mordechai Growas, body Gruzalc, Simon Kaufman, body Rotblat, Benjamin forest, Fondamiński, Dawid high mountain and Henryk Zylberberg.
  • Area of the Bürstenfabrik, aforementioned of Marek Edelman and Hersz Berlińnski. The combat team leaders were Jurek Błones and Jakub Praszke.
  • Factory site (productive Ghetto), aforementioned of Isaac blue stone, Hersz Kawe, Meier Majerowicz, David Nowodworski, wolf Rozowski, Joshua Winogron, Adam Szwarcfus and Eliazer Geller.
  • Muranowskiplatz, which was defended by the ŻZW. They were stated Dawid apple tree and Paweł Frenkiel by the former officers Abraham Rodła, air Rodal, besides they had a combat team in the other areas.


members of the resistance organizations taken part in the rebellion their family and many friends had lost ideology. As usually still young people they lost in the course of to two years an everything that they could do. Also they saw many humans vegetieren to death, without the Germans would have intervened. Young humans saw that they would probably not survive this war. But they wanted to show the world that the Jews do not let themselves fight and be led like lambs to the battle bank. Besides they were confused by the indifference in the allied countries. They had radical opinions and meant that famous Jews should commit suicide, in order to up-shake the world. Possibly the main aspect was it to pay back also humans by whom they were tormented („at least one to carry forward “). This would explain the partially suicidal sacrifice.


the ŻOB was contrary to the ŻZW only provisional equipped. In the rebellion each fighter had only one gun with 10-15 shot and some shells or gasoline bomb. They had to buy the weapons for the up to fivefold price on the black market. The People's Army wanted or could only few weapons supply, the homeland army did not take the fighters not seriously. To the weapons still about 2-3 rifles per area, in centers the Ghetto came were present a machine gun and a submachine gun. The ŻZW possessed 21 submachine guns, 8 machine guns and at least 30 rifles from the contacts to the Polish resistance.

the rebellion

day of 1

evening to 18. April 1943 became the Ghetto of police and German soldier changes over. On the next day, that 19. April (Pessach), should begin final liquidating. The ŻOB and ŻZW wanted to discuss negotiations on this day over a fusion of the two organizations. These negotiations were called off, since both groups were now in intensified alert stand-by. Thus the allocation of the areas remained like before. At 5 o'clock to 19. April marched the soldiers under the instruction formation with singing from the Nalewki gate, arranged by Sammern Frankeneggs in, into the Ghetto inside. The plan was to split center the Ghetto into two parts as the columns should advance on the one hand up to the Muranowski place and a second column should arrive at the crossing Zamenhof, Gęsiastrasse.

But exactly this were strategically important points of the resistance fighters. The ŻOB fighters attacked the Germans at the corner Gęsia /Nalewkistrasse. Alone there three groups (kind stone, Rotblat and Zylberberg) were concentrated. The Germans and their allied troops with machine gun shots, shells and gasoline bomb one surprised. The fighters could induce themselves fast from house to house. They had interconnected all houses, then they offered a heavy goal. The attacking had to depart after some time from the combat place. A second fight had inflamed to the Milastrasse and the Zamenhofstrasse. The Germans could not proceed against the Jews further and by the combat teams under Gruzalc, Braudo, Bryskin and Growas were back-thrown also there. From the ŻZW the groups of Chaim Federbusz, Binsztok and Janek Pika fought in these roads. To noon the German command was transferred at Jürgen Stroop. The German troops at the Muranowski place fought in the afternoon against the ŻZW, which could destroy some armored vehicles. The ŻZW hisste also a Polish flag and a flag with the David star. Against evening the Germans withdrew themselves. On this day an unknown number, certainly however around the 40 German soldiers were killed. The ŻOB lost a fighter.

day 2

the fight was resumed on the second day particularly at the Muranowski place, because the Germans wanted to absolutely catch up the flags. But the ŻZW fighters could defend themselves well, because they were supplied by the other side. They used for it a tunnel, which they had put on in headquarters. The fights broke also in the Zentralghetto, and the productive Ghetto under the instruction of Eliazer Geller was attacked likewise.

For the first time the Germans tried to penetrate in brush-Mach-suppl.-offered. When 300 Germans there on the way were, a bomb, three meters before the gate exploded to the district. Around the 80 soldiers died. Also in the following hours it did not succeed to the Germans to seize in the Bürstenmacherbezirk foot; the resistance of the ŻOB was occasionally so violent that the Germans asked even once unsuccessfully with white cloths for a 15minütigen armistice. With one that few successful actions, which supported the fighting Ghetto from the outside, conquered completely one of the Jewish Kommunistin Niuta „Wanda “Tejtelbojm kommandierte unit of the Gwardia Ludowa (people guard) a German machine gun nest, which fired at the insurgent ones of the Ghettomauer out. Finally the Germans set the area of the Bürstenmacher also fire who far from in fire, and Stroop instructed the attack of the Air Force, which destroyed nearly all houses.

With break-down of the darkness the Germans from the Ghetto withdrew themselves again, this time were at least 22 fighters please and 100 Germans died.

day 3

in the next days the fights continued. In the productive Ghetto the resistance fighters could strike the German soldiers with their weapons into the escape and protect many civilians before the Deportation. The Germans began to use systematically flame throwers against resistance nests. The Bürstenmacherbezirk was vacated, after it was destroyed nearly completely on the previous day, of the ŻOB, to 5 combat teams went in the night to 22. April into center the Ghetto. There the units with still good condition fought. Still were the Zamenhofstrasse and the Franciszkanastrasse hardest contested.

the following days

After the fight for the Muranowski place took 4 days, most fighters were hurt or dead, 20 of them fled by the tunnel from the Ghetto. Headquarters with the flags was taken and 80 fighters was executed. Meanwhile many parts of the Ghettos were set for fighters in flames, Anielewicz and its had to look for each other a new headquarters, since the old was destroyed on the Miłastrasse. Also in the productive Ghetto this technology was used by the Germans.

To 23. April became the Miłastrasse 18 the new headquarters of the ŻOB. This meant a change of their tactics: The Widerständler fought to a large extent before in houses and attacked the Germans from an ambush, now went it into underground shelters and started only purposeful actions, because them the ammunition went out. Also they had to change tactics, since Jürgen Stroop its no more did not let soldiers march in columns. The Germans formed small groups, which should seek out the shelters. First the fights went to 24. Further, there ŻZW and ŻOB fighters could hold themselves April in the productive Ghetto still in the houses Nowolipkistrasse 21 and 41 as well as Lesznostrasse 74, 76 and 78. But many houses were destroyed also there and the fighters withdrew themselves.

To 27. April came it to one of the last larger engagements: Fighters in the productive Ghetto attacked SS-men, who wanted to bring Jews to the envelope place. Many Germans withdrew themselves and the fighters under Geller released hundreds Jews. Also old ŻZW units from the Zentralghetto and the Bürstenmacherbezirk fought at the Muranowski place. Now also a group of the homeland army came under commander Iwański, in order to help the fighters. At the end of April decided the ŻOB to flee from the Ghetto. They could destroy still some tanks, had however no retreat lines. The first 40 Widerständler left the Ghetto on the same day. On the day of the work of the ŻOB the instruction was spent that on this day as much as possible Germans should be killed. Thus still some Germans died, in the evening still the international one were sung on this day. Since all other larger shelters were discovered, nearly all units went into the shelter on the Miłastrasse 18, at the end lived there around 500 humans. These hoped for assistance of the other side, because they had sent Simche of city halls and Zalman Friedrich as messengers to Icaack Zuckerman, who should coordinate the work with other organizations. They could win however no other group for it. At the beginning of of May the wild groups had become ever more active. This consisted of persons, who wanted to follow no organization or could. Thus they killed as disguised Germans on the Lesznostrasse some aggressors.

To 8. May was discovered the command shelter on the Miłastrasse 18 by the Germans. Many persons committed suicide or died by gas, which the Germans led into the shelter. At the night before Marek Edelman with a small group from the shelter had fled. When now the assistance of the other side arrived, all were dead with the exception of five or six humans. The ŻOB lost about 80% of its remaining fighters; 120 of them died in the shelter, under it also Anielewicz. To 10. May could flee Marek Edelman with further 40 fighters from the Ghetto. They were hidden in conspiratorial dwellings or went into the forests. A second group was discovered and shot by the Germans. Also 140 ŻZWler fled in these days from the Ghetto.


in the days after the escape were found to last that formerly more the than 1000 shelters. But a unit under Zacharia kind stone of the ŻOB and Józef Łopata continued to fight and held by June 1943 contact with the breaking out. Also different fighters held themselves still months, although the fight officially to 16. May with the breakup of the synagog to end was. These fighters hid themselves frequently several-day-long, in order to then attack aimed small German patrols. Germans died still another one year after the end of the war in the Ghetto due to ambushes. A resistance fighter survived in the Ghetto even up to Warsaw rebellion.

To the end of the fights in the Ghetto many fighters went into the forests. Some partisans, others again went were already early killed to Warsaw and others or betraying. Therefore the circle of the Ghettokämpfer got thinner in the months after end of the fight. Also the Widerständler in the city lived in continuing fear to be betrayed. On the roads blackmailers, so-called ran around szmalcowniki. They extorted Jews around their entire money and announced them frequently to the Gestapo. The few survivors fought with the Christians in Warsaw rebellion. A ŻOB unit in the “People's Army” was created. As Jews these fighters were not allowed to give themselves to recognize yet, because there were fascist groups that Poland in the rebellion, which killed both Jews and Germans. After the end of the rebellion the few fighters in the rubble of Warsaw hid themselves. If they were recognized as Jews, the Germans executed them. After the end of the war in Poland and the death of six million Jew many survivors prepared for the emigration, among them nearly all Ghettokämpfer. Also members of the federation emigrierten into the USA, the Zionisten to Israel.

Monument for the Ghettokämpfer in Warsaw

it is difficult to measure, how many humans fought in the Ghetto on both sides. On Jewish side determine 1000, the Germans use altogether surely likewise many troops. Losses of both sides are also difficult to measure, probably are however 75% the Ghettokämpfer please or were murdered. The losses of the Germans are likewise difficult to compute, there allied like Polish policemen in nearly no statistics to be specified. But might also on sides of the Germans 300 - 500 fighters to have fallen or be murdered. In the official messages Stroops is against it only from 16 dead ones and 85 wounded the speech.

Altogether the fights demanded 12,000 victims. Further 30,000 humans were shot to the fights, transported 7,000 in extermination camps.




  • Daniel Blatman: For our freedom and yours, 2003 London ISBN 0-85303-458-3
  • Jitzacak Zukerman: A surplus OF MEMORY, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford 1993


  • J.Sh. Herts: The geshikhte vun A jugent, New York 1946
  • Zivia Lubetkin: In umkum and oyfstand, Tel Aviv 1980
  • Berne pool of broadcasting corporations Mark: Oyfstand in Varshever geto, Warsaw 1958

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